It is not easy being a single woman in India. Especially when you’re nearing 30 and still show no signs of ‘settling down’ as they call it. As a single woman myself, there is a quote that resonates with me: “Just because you have a womb doesn’t mean you need to bear a child, only as much as a person with vocal cords needs to be a singer.” Society has certain boxes for women and if you don’t happen to tick any of them, you invite a lot of wrath. Nowadays, women, being more career conscious, are delaying motherhood or simply opting out of it. And boy, society ensures they hear no end of it. I, for one, can never relate to being a mother or having kids. Motherhood is not womanhood, it is merely one aspect.
Even the degree-toting, vodka-swilling urban Indian woman isn’t free from the traditional roles and expectations ascribed to childbearing sex and how she had to fake a baby bump to conform.
These are some of the reactions I get when I say I don’t want children.
1. Who will look after you in old age?
Well, it is too far off to think about it now, honestly. But some kids turn out to be total jerks and abandon their old parents in old-age homes.
We read plenty of stories of how senior citizens have been abandoned by their children on the streets or outside hospitals.
So no, this is not a reason to have children.
2. You become a woman only once you embrace motherhood.
Get real. Like I said before, motherhood is merely one aspect of womanhood and does not validate your existence as a woman. This statement is disparaging to a lot of trans-gendered women or women battling fertility disorders. Being a mother has got nothing to do with giving birth.
3. Don’t you want to continue the family name?
Why exactly should I do that? So what if my family tree ends after me? Surely that won’t cause an apocalypse. I would rather donate all my belongings to a charity, where they will be put to better use.
4. You will feel lonely seeing all your friends with kids.
No, thanks! I chose a different career than most of my friends and I am happy getting paid peanuts for it. My passion comes first and in no way causes me to envy those with better jobs than I.
If anything, my pals should feel envious about me for not having kids to look after or not putting my career on hold to have a child.
5. You were a kid once, too.
Well, I certainly was a kid once, but that was not my choice. My choice here is to not have kids.
6. It’s a different feeling you get when you hold a child.
I feel extremely happy to the point of being delirious whenever I hold a small puppy or a kitten in my hands.
I was in a relationship for five years and it was a serious relationship. But, I had made it clear to the guy that I never wanted to have kids. Maybe, that is why he was bitter to me for a long time. But I didn’t want to stand the way of his having a family, so we both moved on. We had some good times and bad times, but me not wanting to bear a child was the clincher for him. He mocked me often that I refused to grow up and take responsibility. In retrospect, I think he may have been right, but the word ‘permanent scares’ me. That’s why I don’t even want tattoos, leave alone a baby.
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I had my life figured out. At 15 I knew I wanted to be an entertainment and lifestyle writer and the second thing I knew was that I never wanted to be a mother. I am no 16-year-old girl now who’s high as a kite and says, “Marriage is so uncool, I hate them kids.” I am 29, and I have made an informed choice about getting married only to a guy I connect on a deeper level with and someone who isn’t family-focussed or isn’t looking forward to having kids.
So you see I don’t really care if I don’t have kids. And it is fine with me if someone else chooses motherhood, because I like to respect the choices women make for themselves. I expect the same from people around me as well.Published in