I’m past the point of exasperated eye rolls and loud sighs.
A strange calm, masked by mild humour, eventually set in. The judgmental looks and panicked questions stopped ticking me off a while ago. My brain is well prepared now.
I can’t even blame the aunties and uncles. They really don’t know any better. Still staring bewildered at an uber progressive society, they’re trying to soak in whatever they can. It’s generations ahead of everything they were once familiar with.
In recent times, women work and party. They travel and study. Some of them run businesses first, families later. Young girls have boyfriends. They even do live-ins. They have lots of male friends. Many marry non-Indian men. More and more are waiting to marry.
As a girl in the second-half of her twenties, I’m bound to face the inevitable attack every female my age absolutely must bear. It’s beyond control. It’ll happen.
The topic was first stirred when I was close to 20. A neighbour lady I barely knew had casually scanned me from head to toe, and after a deliberate pause, told me I was old enough to think about marriage and kids.
It’s almost like she did a mental check to be sure about exactly what she was suggesting. Because I was at my tallest and had breasts, I guess she felt out of danger for selling sex and procreation to a teenager. Mumbling through a nonsensical, embarrassed response, I sprinted home and forgot about it.
Since then, it just got worse. A few years later, once I was of a safe ‘marriageable age’, the real preaching began.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been reminded about my “ticking body clock”. The “don’t be too late in life” threats echo in my subconscious. The evolution of life has been recited to me repeatedly like cheap poetry.
“Find the father of your future babies or die trying.”
Gee, thanks. So much for having other life goals. One day, I finally decided to speak the avalanche-making words at a family gathering. That I might actually never have babies at all, like ever.
Nil. Nada. Not even one. Who knows!
All hell broke loose. Honestly, I enjoyed it. It gave me the kicks. Years of suppressed rebellion had done the talking. After that night of shocked silence, I repeated myself on other occasions and received all kinds of responses, from ghastly expressions to hopeless head shakes.
I even comforted some of them for my “loss”. For real!
Interestingly, I was also told body will stay barren and my existence on this planet will go waste if I didn’t complete the cycle of being human, if I didn’t give back what I’d received ~ life.
Goddamn it. That was heavy. Too bad I laughed.
I told you, I’m getting better at dealing with this. So are many other women who don’t want to hear this shit anymore. If it weren’t too rude to tell someone elderly to shut the fuck up, things would’ve been much easier. But we’re trained to be polite.
What I want to do with my body is my right. How hard is that to understand?
Maybe I don’t see myself as a mother yet. Maybe I don’t feel maternal instincts like I’m supposed to. Maybe I want to be a burden-free globetrotter for the rest of my days. Maybe I can’t find the right person to make a baby with. Maybe I’m not mature enough.
It really isn’t that dramatic. I’m not a child-hater. I’m not dissing the life of a parent. I’m not “too modern” for my own good.
I’m just a girl unsure about having kids. That’s all.
Telling me I’m unaware that the consequences of my decisions now will lead to painstaking regret later is not cool. I’m an adult. I know what I’m doing. Or not doing.
Leave alone misinformed parrots; I won’t forget the look on my gynaecologist’s face when I told her I wouldn’t be reproducing for a while. She said I needed to be “sexually active”. I asked her what made her think I wasn’t?
The horror of silence, I tell you.
I don’t care anymore. The destiny of my uterus is not a matter of public debate. These matters are immensely private, and should remain so.
If I’m in the mood to create a mini-version of myself someday, I’ll do it. If my mother has to be a grandmother, she will be. If I’m lucky to experience that famous unconditional love, it’ll be mine.
I’ll figure my way out, even if it’s past the dreaded 30s. Technology is working wonders. I might just preserve an egg, just in case! And I’d definitely love to adopt.
However, I won’t be a mother, sooner or later, to meet society’s expectations. I‘ll be one on my own terms. I’ll stand by a stellar sunset, alone or with a little one. Only time will tell.
And that should be perfectly fine with everyone.