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09 Dec 2023, Edition - 3070, Saturday

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Having a child is a choice not a necessity

Indrani Thakurata


Bengaluru: We have come a long way, a friend quipped in a gathering—-while talking about women breaking barriers, women claiming professional space in their own right, women balancing work and family, women able to shun judgements and trolls that brackets her. But have we really? Are we able to detach ourselves from the burden of furthering a family? Are we able to shun those who judge us for our choices?

” On this international day of the family, I would urge people to understand what family is and also understand that the notion of a family has gone through its own changes. Why is it that people can’t celebrate a married woman and her choice of being childless. Why is it that we as women have to make a family, which is always equivalent to making babies?,” asks Sandhya Kumar, who had to face criticism and ridicule for not treading the obvious path. Echoing similar thoughts and experiences, ” PV Priya, An HR in a leading IT firm says, ” I am so much in love with my husband and I don’t wish to share him with anyone. I am not ready for a child. And this simple thing is so difficult for people to digest. They question me repeatedly about my family. The two of us are family, and I have my parents, he has his—so we do have a family. Having a child is not making a family. I don’t see it that way.”

“ The awkward questions have become so rampant that I have stopped going to gatherings. Furthering a family, adding a generation is the only motive of marriage it seems. The society is such that you will be questioned about not having a child, not marrying. They won’t let you be happy with your circumstances. Some are insensitive and ruthless with their jibes,” she adds.

The stereotypes that the society propagates is the root of all problems. “A woman needs to have motherly emotions. She isn’t complete till she is a mother. In Fact, there is an advertisement that talks about emotions and how you have never felt it till you have become a mother. Such ideas of motherhood that forces an unwilling soul into submission is problematic,” explains Sonali Thakur, a social scientist, feminist. Almost announcing, Sudeshna Saha says, “ But the idea of a family and the celebrations of only traditional milestones are changing. In the west, people have started to have vasectomy parties and they name their cars or favourite toys. We are surely breaking free from such notions of family and pressures to carry on the bloodline.”

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