I have been wanting to write about these three words that have the power to throw you into maelstrom of emotions from sheer panic to distress and sometimes even elation if the circumstances support you. Yup I am talking about the nation wide obsession of asking procreation status update from newly weds and especially those wed for a minimum duration of one year . For once the marriage is done, next duty is to reproduce.
I guess we were one of the few lucky couples who escaped this question for a good long 2 years but that was the end of our honeymoon period and soon after that we were often jerked around by strangers at parties, relatives and even friends in our age group with these three words. Imagine the horror and appalled silences that followed when we answered with simple words "We are not ready" . Strangers would quietly slip away and avoid us, relatives and so called friends would start advising us on how time is running out, our duty to the family etc etc... At first we found it amusing and we would often joke about it later, but slowly the frequency started increasing and well when even people of our age group started lecturing, I think we kind of lost it. At least I did. The whole thing had shifted scales and had moved from being amusing to annoying.I have now estranged myself from more than one well meaning friend due to this!
One day while discussing this with P, the below points evolved. There are two reasons why a couple does not have a child
1. They don't want one and so its anyway none of anybody's business.
Why is it so hard for the society to understand that its possible for a couple to not want children? Why are they perceived as "incomplete"? I know some couples who are perfectly happy in their lives and have chosen to be childless. Of course usually such couples cannot vibe with couples with children and can never really understand why they are so obsessed with their children all the time but that's not a big problem, as there are plenty of like minded people out there to get to know and become friends with. The only real challenge these couples face is society and elders. I have often wondered what kind of reply is perfect for the good news question but the workings of the Indian society has left me baffled. Sometimes no answer is the best answer for nothing is going to be enough. Ignore and change the topic, people with sense will take the hint and those who don't well they are not worth any thought but remember biological clock and all the other reasons hold true and every couple should be prepared for the consequences. That said it is still their business and a matter choice.
Moving on to the second reason
2. They do want one and are in process of trying( TTC apparently is the abbreviation used) in which case all that the society accomplishes is to make them feel small and distressed. Maybe that is the whole point- It is true that people in our country feel good by making others feel like a failure. Yes, as far as our society goes, failure to reproduce is a colossal waste of marriage and life.
I have had close friends who have been torched at the hands of our society because they don't have a child and every time someone threw this question at them, all it did was remind them how much they wanted a child of their own. My heart goes out to such couples and I wish the people around them would just let them be.
Even though most people are obnoxious in their inquisitive nature it will only help the couple to not announce to the society at large they are in the TTC phase. Yes! Some couples actually go around announcing this personal aspect of their lives not only to close relatives but also friends and colleagues! Why? Why are you sharing something so personal with the society which can be cruel and mean? Protect yourselves and keep others guessing.
We as a couple have passed through both the stages listed above.At first we were in the first group and simply did not want children as we wanted to enjoy being together as a couple. That said we were prepared for the consequences also. Adoption was always a strong option in our agenda and I was even thinking of assisted conception if required at a later stage but at no point did it deter us from enjoying our alone time. That was our choice and we take full responsibility of the consequences.
After coming to Brussels things slowly stared changing and we wanted to give our fate a chance. The same time last year we realized we really wanted a child and well now we have with us our own little Miss A. :)
I think this blog will undergo a huge change and is going to be colored in the various hues of motherhood, pregnancy and related issues. As a result I guess it will get a bit more personal and uninteresting to people who are not in this phase of life, which is understandable. In the recent months I have searched and loved reading mommy blogs and each of them have helped me battle the feeling of being alone. Some have made me laugh and some have made me cry but importantly they opened up a whole new world for me ...I hope in future this blog will also help and lend some sense of similar comfort to women in this phase of life.
I painted the below painting as we were waiting for our little one.