“So when do you plan on having kids?” How many times have we heard this question. As a woman, you are told that motherhood isn’t a choice, but a box that you need to tick. The biological clock is ticking they say, but does anyone ask us if we care?
Are you not considered a woman outside of motherhood? Is the aim of your life just to bear children, take care of them and devote yourself completely? While that definitely works for some, we have constantly disassociated motherhood from being a woman. And it’s not like it gets easier for those who choose to have children either.
Somewhere between taking care of every single family member and making sure their emotional needs are met, a mother often forgets her own. A woman’s personal needs are swept under the rug as the needs of her children take the steering wheel. But this should be a choice, and not a ‘condition’.
Her career, the hobbies she enjoyed before she became a mother, the things she was passionate about – does anyone even ask if she is making time for those? Why is she expected to drop everything and devote herself to ‘bacchon ki dekh bhal?’
At the age of 25, I’ve finally come to realise that my mother is her own person. She has seen more of the world than I have, and yet she overlooks certain things, takes her stand and has opinions of her own. Opinions that I shouldn’t feel like I have a right on. And her sole aim in life isn’t to raise me.
Vidya Balan’s film Shakuntala Devi shed light on the topic as well. As her character began making her daughter her priority, she lost her footing as a mathematician. She clutched on to her black book and looked back at everything she had achieved as a person, before she left it all in the blink of an eye. Was she selfish to want it all? To keep at something she worked so had to build? Definitely not.
While society expects women to jump up and down and take on the role of a mother in an instant. The fact remains that as a woman, she should have the choice to make those sacrifices. And if she choses not to, if she wants to hold on to her career, then why can’t the other parent pitch in? Why is it ‘expected’ of her to take up the responsibility? Is she not an individual before a mother? Is her career not important? Is her sole goal in life giving birth?
Our mothers were ‘someone’ before they turned to motherhood. We’ve been conditioned to believe that mothers are self-sacrificing, but the truth is, they are their own person. They have dreams of their own.