The other day when I uploaded a photograph of my daughter (currently 8 years old) from her toddler days, my WhatsApp buzzed with a startling message from an acquaintance that read, “Time to have another one!” The message that perhaps was sent with a noble intent did not really go down well with me as I feel it was invading my privacy. And this is not the first time, unfortunately!

I have been advised to plan a second child as my first one was growing up.

The notion of she being lonely or we as parents becoming helpless and alone when she leaves for greener pastures are some of the many conjectural statements that I have always been bombarded with.

Perhaps this might resonate with many parents/couples who are nurturing a single child or intend to do so. Why does the society take liberties in poaching someone else’s boundaries? Who gives them the right? Unsolicited advice and suggestions come from quarters that you would either least expect or want. However there’s no stopping these individuals who think they can walk into anyone’s life without being permitted to do so!

Sadly our society abounds in characters like these who assume it their basic right to advice when it is nowhere expected out of them. Girls/women of so-called “marriageable age” (again a dictum of the society we live in) are questioned or even accused when they are unmarried; the worse happens to the ones who have been divorced for no fault of theirs. Even if the family wishes to render some support this effort is thwarted by the society. Another common scenario is when a couple completes a couple of years into their marriage but are yet to have their first child, the society pitches in again by instigating the family or the couple to plan their first child. They soon start contemplating that there must be something wrong with the woman-for we have never learnt to doubt the man!

Once the couple fulfills their aspiration of bearing a child, their audacity resurfaces in the form of “have another one”, “one is never enough”, “who will take care of you in your old age?” Suggestions/questions like these continue pouring in until you decide to close your doors permanently on them.

Family planning is completely a couple’s prerogative; it is not even a right that their immediate family can claim to have. The decision to have a child or not is again on the couple for they would be the people who would be responsible for the life that they plan to bring into this world; and the least they would want is to give them an unpleasant life. Child birth and parenting is a task that spans across one’s lifetime. It does not come with an instruction manual wherein you acquire skills or expertise to bring up the child. You learn as you go; it is a never ending journey which brings in essential life lessons every day. And this is a journey that couples voluntarily get into. This is a lifetime commitment which one cannot stop anywhere on the way.

This magnanimous task or responsibility comes at a much higher cost than what one assumes it to be. But again this is a choice one makes; it is not a choice that the society and its inmates must decide or impose on one. Besides it is pragmatic to say that child rearing is expensive. You might have the best of facilities and care givers but the cost in return sometimes leaves a hole in your pocket. Well this statement might draw in a lot of hate comments but one cannot evade the truth. Moreover the support that new parents need are immense; the mother especially remains at the most vulnerable phase of her life where any unpleasant experience can scar her for a lifetime.

Before asking couples to plan a second or a third child the society and its inhabitants need to weigh the pros and cons- a mother after her childbirth needs ample time to heal herself. The scars may be physical but the notion of having a body that was never hers before itself takes months to sink in.

Apart from these post-partum depression is a reality which by now our society needs to get acclimatized to. It is no rocket science that a woman who has undergone 9-10 months of unfathomable pains, discomfort and indescribable changes in her body will be superhuman to accept all these besides nurturing a new life who completely and solely depends on her for all their needs. Then comes the family expectations. When not paid attention post-partum depression can span over months or even years!

So,it is time that we all respect the privacy of a couple or even a woman and not guide them to give shape to aspirations that aren’t really theirs!

    Do you like Joyadrita Ragavendran's articles? Follow on social!

    Facebook Comments

    Comments to: Hum Do Hamari Ek…

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Attach images - Only PNG, JPG, JPEG and GIF are supported.

    Latest Post