Paromita, is a brilliant student from Presidency college in Kolkata. Now settled in Bangalore with her husband, she works for an IT firm where she heads the HR department. Paromita and her husband have bought an apartment in a posh locality of the city and live a happy life. Promita is 33, she has no children and she is a friend.
Last week when I invited her to my daughter’s birthday party, she declined to come; I was surprised and asked her for the reason. Rather hesitantly, she tells me that she wants to avoid the curious looks and questions that are often fielded at her for not having a child at her age.
The problem she says has nothing to do only with not having children, but the fact that she does not want children. In her words she is in a stage of life where she does not really want children, because she thinks that it would be an additional pressure on her husband and herself, when they have just about started to enjoy the benefits of a good job and a settled home.
To the many who have raised eyebrows on such issues in our society, Promita is of course not the single such case in society today. There are plenty of young women both Indian and outside who have opted not to be mothers because it does not really suit their career dreams. Of course to most people in India and elsewhere it would come as a surprise that a woman would want to give up on becoming a mother for her job. But the thought is not new nor is it a one off thing that is a temporary phase. In what may appear as strange to some others, it is also not a very agonizing decision always for those who take it.
Young women see it as a career and lifestyle decision that they are happy with. Of course there are different variations to it. There are many who have made this decision in their late twenties and early thirties and yet regretted it later on in their lives. There are of course others who have never regretted the decision not to become mothers and give their career a priority over raising a family. And then there are yet others who have shied away from being a biological mother, because it would mean marriage or even a partner that they are not ready to commit to.
When ex Ms Universe Sushmita Sen, decided to adopt a child, instead of marrying someone and having a baby, many eyebrows were raised. No doubt her motive in such an adoption was far more than being a single mother and beyond the confines of being committed to someone. The fact that she could take a decision that would go away from the society and reaffirm her own belief in herself, speaks a lot in sync with the woman who decides not to have a baby to further her career.
Contrary to the age old believe that every woman wants to be a mother, there are in fact many women who actually don’t and abhor the idea of being hung with a baby and a responsibility with the rest of their lives.
Pooja( name changed), who stays in Kolkata, has been married for the past three years. She works in a multinational company and does not want children. In fact she and her husband are quite comfortable with the idea of no children because they know, it is early days in their careers and a child now could tie them to a particular place or job and not allow them to experiment. But having said that, peer pressure and regular admonishing from both the couple’s parents, have made them uneasy. Pooja, is also apprehensive of telling her in-laws that she does not want children and would rather concentrate on her career now.
The decision whether to have a child or not can only be taken by the respective parents. Any such decision taken under pressure and when one is not really prepared for it could be a disaster for not only the family but the future of the child too. Having a child or not, is a personal choice, whether taken for one’s career or otherwise, it is time society respected that decision.
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