Aswathy Chandragiri :
I am pregnant and no, I am not loving it. Am I liking it? Hmmm… do I have an option? All I can say is that I don’t mind it… it’s just a natural process that is transforming my body and curtailing my normal life. But the decision to have a baby is a life changing one and how much discretion does a woman have to make this decision is debatable.
In my case, I never wanted to have a baby. The reasons are many and do not wish to elaborate all of them. I completely fail to understand the compulsion behind propagation. Neither I nor my husband boasts of great genes that I think is my social duty to be passed on for the greater good of the world. Many famous persons who did great in this mortal world never bothered to produce a progeny. And, many who did, found that their children could not live up to the society’s expectations of them. I do not want to mention famous political or Bollywood families in India who feels this way. However, let’s not lose hope. It’s all probability. Let me hope that my baby, instead of simply becoming another virus that eats up this world, would do something good for the society.
Why am I hoping this? It is because that is the only thing I can do. I can either let down my husband, in laws, parents and most of all, my grandmother by deciding not to have a baby. Or I can decide to bring a child to this world and not ‘enjoy’ the period of pregnancy, crib all the time and finally deliver the baby. Or I can concentrate on only the good things of pregnancy; somehow squint my eyes to see things optimistically just for my happiness,and finally deliver the baby. I chose the last option.
I am not the kind of woman who sacrifices herself for her family or does things to please others. But when I fight for a few things – like not finding any need to have a baby and telling others to understand my point of view- how ever personal it may be- it is a fight against the whole society. Four years after marriage, wherever I go I am confronted with this question. My grandmother laments about when she will see the third generation. It is not that she has not seen the third generation. But coming from a matrilineal society, my grand mom thinks that only if her daughter’s daughter has a baby will it be the third generation and then she can die peacefully. I realised that there is no use debating such things to elderly people whose mind set you can neverchange.
For my mother, having a baby is all about finding a purpose for life. But why do you have to bring a being into this world filled with sorrows to find a purpose for you to live? Look out and you can find millions of purposes to live. I am happy this way and I do not want my life to change. Yet, after a lot of deliberations, I chose to bow down to the world.
Now, when I try and cope with the changes that are taking place, there are certain things that irritate me to the core and sadly they come from my fellow females. ‘Oh you are pregnant. It was the most beautiful time in my life. Enjoy, pamper yourself’ I get a million advices… Personally, I do not think vomiting in the mornings, passing gas frequently, burping every time you eat, nauseating at the smell of food, not able to eat the things you like, giving n number of blood and urine tests, having an itchy tummy, losing sleep and many such things as ‘enjoyable’ as it seems to most ladies.
Maybe I am wired differently? I do not know. When I browse the internet for pregnancy updates, all I see is happy, serene and smiling pictures of pregnant women. Then I get these messages from women who have just turned moms regarding how beautiful motherhood is and if you are a good mother you will surely forward this message! Bull shit. Blowing your own trumpet and asking others to join too.Sometimes, I think that the halo around motherhood is a narrative, an attempt by the society to falsely elevate the status of woman so that hopefully they’ll reproduce and the world will go on.
These are my purely my thoughts. But I wish that people out there understand that all women are not the same. So don’t force them to mould their lives according to your ideas. Because if you do so, many women like me break down and let others decide their lives for them. You have won and I have lost.
The reality of motherhoodis not all roses.Everyone knows this. Yet most mothers try to see the goodness in doing all that they are doing for the child instead of cribbing or fighting for what they really want. Let me do it too because I do not have an option.
About the writer:
Aswathy Chandragiri is a freelance researcher and copywriter. Her research interests include gender, identity and transnationalism. She is an Indian Classical dancer and a travel buff who loves animals more than humans.