How do you measure satisfaction? What makes you you? How is your life defined? I often ask these questions to myself. The best answer is that my life is defined by my choices. Good or bad; they are mine. If I jump from a building tomorrow (with a parachute, of course), it’s because I want to experience bungee jumping.
I do not love definitions. Not only are they limiting, but are unnecessary. I am terrified when I get asked “Tell me about yourself” in interviews. And this is where the problem begins. As a person of the female being, society has conveniently put my existence into 3 categories. First, as someone’s daughter. Second, as someone’s wife. Third, as someone’s mother. This is what rattles my bones the most because society has programmed a woman to think that her life centres around servitude and dependence.
In my early 20s, I realised that there is one person who I absolutely adore and admire. Me. I literally cannot live without me. In my late 20s (28, to be precise) now and I’m cruising the marriage Titanic since 9 months. Though the husband is a gem of a guy, I am still the diamond. I am still more important to me. I come first. I’m not complaining. He’s a good guy and I chose him. He was not thrust upon me. I kept putting off marriage because I wanted to marry at the ripe old age of 69, but, in India, if you aren’t married while everything is still pointing up, you might as well jump in a well.
Since my wedding, the primary concern for everyone who isn’t me is when are the little babies (and I mean the plural, babies) popping out. Whenever this question is posed, I not only get annoyed, but also lose faith in my gender because most of these come from aunts, mum, sisters, and other female members of my family. Though I’m 28, my mind’s elevator goes only between 15 and 20. Forget having kids; I don’t even like kids. Some words of wisdom I am bestowed with when this topic rears its ugly head in any conversation:
- It’ll be a problem to have kids once you cross a certain age. That means 30: The kid-popping equation according to many:
So when you get married, you have to spend the first year planning to have the little rugrat. Spend most of the second year carrying the mutant to term to be on track for year three with the widdle baby. Age shouldn’t scare anyone into expelling a baby out their kitty.
- Have a kid first and then do whatever you want: I went to Paris on my delayed honeymoon. There, the husband and I were free to explore and go wherever we wished without having to bother about another appendage sticking to us. I see people on planes and places running around their toddlers unable to enjoy the moment (or sleep in peace). I want none of that. It takes 24 hours for me to take care of myself so I cannot squeeze in any time for a baby. I want a life of adventure and discovery not one of pacifiers and diapers.
- You will feel maternal once you have a child: What the hell does this even mean? I am already maternal. I take care of my husband, parents, cat, and friends. I am just not a mother figure. I am not maternal towards children.
- You wouldn’t be here if your parents thought the same: My parents have been through enough torture dealing with hell-raisers like my sister and me. They have suffered for a long time. It was their choice. I didn’t come to them in their dreams 29 years ago and say “conceive me! conceive me!”
- Your husband wants children. Also, he’s growing old: The husband is 7 years older than yours truly. With or without kids we’ll turn old. I understand his paternal urge, but it’s not his body that goes through the 9-month ordeal. The cramps, mood swings, pain, and responsibilities are all mine. I cannot put myself through all that because he wants to be called daddy.
- Have one of yours and then adopt one if you want: Perhaps one of the most irritating and insulting things you can say to me. In the off-chance that I want a child, I would want to adopt one. So when the topic opens up, I am advised to have “one of my own” first. What in the name of Regina Philange does that even mean? When you adopt a child, they automatically become a part of you. Children are born from the heart, adopted or otherwise. This kind of backward thinking has something to do with family blood and some other vague nonsense. I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass to such thoughts. The equation here is very simple:
Finding each other will fill the (apparent) “void” of not having. People spend years and years trying to conceive when there are children being abandoned every day who are in need of parents. All because of the urge to eject a foetus with similar features as theirs.
I realise many people, especially women feel that their life is fulfilling with a child. That’s their choice. That’s what they want. People who are childless are seen with pity. They are talked about in hushed tones in family gatherings. They are made to feel incomplete. It shouldn’t be so. Children are not the route to nirvana. They are a part of your journey should you choose it. That’s not me. I am not a breeder to put children out into society. I am a human being (90% at least).
Get this people. My ovaries are my business. What I do with them is my choice. I will fertilize them, remove them, get them drunk, take them out to a party, or dress them up in cat costumes and make them dance the Bachata. The decision lies with me and me alone.
What do you think? Is your life meaningless without children? Are they the only goal worth achieving? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.