The married gals in the office were discussing something the other day. The topic veered around having kids and one of them remarked that with the birth of her first child, it felt like the child had taken the best out of her, because she never felt healthy after that. The other girls agreed. They too felt that after the birth of their kids, their health had taken a beating. They all loved their kids to bits by the way. This was general women talk.
So I asked them why they had kids! The answers were interesting. Some had a child because the in laws or parents wanted grand kids, some had a kid because hubby wanted and some because friends advised that delaying kids was not such a good idea. Not a single girl had a child because they wanted one. Of course they all wanted kids, but because it was ingrained in them by upbringing and societal compulsions.
There are two other married girls I know who are in their late twenties and still not ready to have kids. The reason? These girls are beyond social conditioning and are thinking for themselves. They do not want a kid because they do not want one! One is on the verge of a divorce due to this reason! Both are adamant that they will not have a kid till they feel like having one.
A little bit of probing and I was left with some startling results. And I began to understand why some western counties are experiencing declining birthrates. And I anticipate the same in India too, though in the distant future. The trend is already started in the cities.
Most girls acknowledge that pregnancy spoils their figure and health. And most of them acknowledge that this is an area where they have absolutely no control. They can choose who they can marry, what they can wear etc etc. But the choice of having a child is not hers at all. It is almost as if her womb is collective property of her family and society.
This might sound appalling, but many girls think that men need them for procreation and the act of procreation and then...child upbringing. Period. Beyond that they feel they don’t serve any purpose.
This post is not about women’s responsibility and all that blah. It is about women questioning that notion. It is about girls asking why they cannot be looked at beyond the accessory called the womb… and their desire to choose to use their womb OR NOT! They are questioning the generations old notion that a woman/married couple MUST have a kid. That she is of no use to a man if she does not want to have one. It is about women who would like a choice in the matter. This generation of girls will only raise these questions. But the subsequent generation will start exerting their rights, especially the right to their body not being taken for granted.
And all this throws some interesting questions. Will a man marry a gal who does not want to have kids? For men, having kids is a sign of masculinity. For women a sign of fertility. But then both have to work the next day and work equal hours. And when the task of gestating a kid and then giving birth, then the mandatory confinement etc etc is not acknowledged at the work place at least beyond statutory period stated by labor laws, women tend to question the futility of the exercise. The feeling that they are being short changed vis a vis the father of the kid, is always there. It is a silent accepting resentment...for this generation of women.
This post is about “some” women and their choices with their body, and their desire to not be taken for granted because they have a womb and their desire not to use that womb if they chose. And also about men accepting that not having kids is not a sign that they are not masculine, an acceptance that many girls feel will lift a big historical burden from their shoulders :) There will always be more women willing to have kids than those who do not. But the ones who do not, should not be looked upon like deviants.
The last para is to ensure that this does not become a modern woman bashing forum. Comments on the same will not be published. If a “particular group” of Anonymous commenters, who usually slander here [:p] want to contribute to the discussion positively, they are welcome. Those who cannot stomach the post, please don’t bother leaving a comment and giving me the added chore of rejecting it. You are welcome, however to hang around and see how a mature discussion takes place. Of course you will hang around anyways without me telling you all to :p