“Sooo..any good news?”
“Are you guys planning a family?”
“Hasn’t it been a few years since you got married..have you checked with a doctor?”
“Maybe you should go to this temple and tie a cradle”
You probably guessed what the above questions are about.
As a newly married, one of the things that I have heard a few times is the “when you have a child” statement. Every time I hear it my mind voice goes “What if we DON’T or CAN’T” and my heart beats faster. I am sure if my mom or any elder person in my family read it they are going to ask me not say it out loud (or wash my mouth!!).
I have unconsciously been affected by the taboo associated with this topic. It is a reflex reaction which probably every Indian female has. Growing up watching how infertile women were treated through the years, we develop an internal fear. That family friend who was grilled publicly at every social event about why they don’t have children or that aunt who was banned from performing certain rituals because she was considered ‘inauspicious’. Witnessing such things around you makes you feel like you are inadequate if you can’t procreate.
Quoting Gitanjali Banerjee from Infertility Dost “the social apathy for infertility patients is appalling and transcends sane logic.” Which is very true in the Indian community. Inappropriate questions and solutions being thrown out at their faces at every given opportunity that women start isolating themselves from these circles. They are made to feel inferior and are pushed into depression for something they aren’t responsible for.
Makes me wonder if we fear for any other ailment this way. And feel traumatized about what the community will think. Why is the empathy shown for other diseases not shown for infertility?
Motherhood is considered sacred and divine while infertility is a curse.
One of the things we discussed when we got married was the “What if ” factor. I don’t want to be one of those women who is going to be asked uncomfortable questions, isolated and thrown into the pit of depression for no fault of ours. I want to be informed, prepared and be accepted, whatever the outcome maybe. I don’t want to be praised for being a mother/parents nor be shunned because I/We can’t/don’t want to be one.
And that starts with us (as a couple)..it starts with us being empathetic, compassionate to others and #breakingthetaboo. It starts with us being comfortable with who we are and accepting whatever the outcome is. It starts with us deciding if we want to go through the trauma of treatments or other ways (like adoption) to be parents or if we want to remain child-free. It should not be because our community or family want us to. It should not be to avoid uncomfortable confrontations or discrimination.
Such discussions helped us put ourselves in the shoes of others. We want to treat people like how we want to be treated in that situation. If we do have a child, let’s not feel entitled to give free advice to others who don’t. Let’s be sensitive and learn to respect their privacy. At the same time, let us be supportive if they need us.
This blog is to #SpreadAwareness about Infertility through Infertility Dost, India’s first website that facilitates couples to brave infertility with support and knowledge. You can find other links on Write Tribe.
What are your thoughts and experiences on infertility? Did you ever have discussions about the ‘What if ‘ factor with your spouse?