What if…..#InfertilityNotATaboo

“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?




11 thoughts on “What if…..#InfertilityNotATaboo

  1. Thank you for this, Jan.
    Just letting you know that I read and appreciated your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just another thought. You start off with only mentioning the “Indian female”. It may surprise you to know that Indian men also face the same stigma. And the “what if” discussion has always been the norm for many years in the most average of households in India between couples. It just does not get discussed openly and is usually restricted to the bedroom. The question of “any news yet” will never change.


  3. Great post, Jan. I see so many “uncles” and “aunties” ask insensitive questions at social events, like “when are you getting married” or “it’s time you have kids”. Gee, thanks for family planning our lives!

    Sometimes, people in these situations don’t want to attend social events due to these pesky people. I think as the new generation grows up here, people are starting to become more sensitive to these issues.


  4. It is something that affects so many families. Good for your for informing yourself and bringing awareness

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mind blowing post and loved it !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jan not many here in our society understand it’s the decision of two individuals. The want the cycle to keep going and if we don’t to follow it the feel the divinity is gone we don’t respect culture nd tradition. We have our principles and we will go with it. Procreation isn’t the measure of someone’s purity or a good heart. I don’t get the point when woman who doesn’t have a kid are being shunned from doing certain rituals.

    Good article dear 🙂 Keep up the good work :-

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for writing this, Jan! I think every Indian woman who doesn’t get pregnant with a few weeks of her marriage, gets this question. And for those of us who can’t conceive/don’t want children, it’s frustrating. It’s like our family expects that they are a members of the the marriage, like we owe it to them. The truth is we don’t owe it anybody but ourselves and our spouses. It’s hard to ignore those voices… But being an Indian woman was never an easy task!

    Liked by 1 person

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