“When are you planning to have kids? It’s better to be sooner than later. Once you turn 30, it is so difficult to conceive.”
It is quite amazing how our Indian society believes that it is their birthright to pass unsolicited judgments or give unwanted advice to women on motherhood. As Indian women, we are told that motherhood isn’t a choice, rather it is a mandatory task to fulfill our life purpose. From commenting on our biological clock to our motherhood journey, the nosy society ensures that women give up on everything to be mothers.
It is heartbreaking how our society’s obsession with motherhood stops it from accepting mothers as people with their dreams and desires. How society shames a woman who refuses to embark on the journey of motherhood? How society hates when women embark on the journey of motherhood but on their own terms and conditions? How society raises daughters believing that they need to completely dedicate themselves to raising a family? And, the ones who don’t are shamed!
Dedicating yourself completely to motherhood is neither bad nor wrong. But, making it mandatory for women is. Though it may work for some, there are many who want to be much more than just being a mother.
The life of a mother isn’t difficult; It is made difficult by society’s unfair expectations from mothers. It is heartbreaking how mothers are shamed if they don’t prioritize everyone’s dream, desire, and happiness over their own! Our society expects women to sweep their personal needs under the rug and let the children’s needs drive their lives. But why we force mothers to give up on their desires and dreams? Why giving up on dreams and desires for kids isn’t a choice but a compulsion?
Just because she became a mother, we expect a woman to give up everything that she was passionate about – career, hobbies, friendships, and much more. Every time she wants to do something for herself, we tell her – ‘bacchon ka pehle socho!’
It took me almost three decades to realize that my mother is her own person. She has dreams and desires of her own. She is a woman just like me, who wants to pursue her dreams, passions, and friendships. She also wants to lead a life on her own terms. She is a strong woman who has opinions that are different than mine. And, her purpose in life isn’t just to raise me.
Even Vidya Balan’s movie – Shakuntala Devi – sheds light on this topic. The movie touched upon the topic of how our society tends to forget that mothers are people too. They are not obligated to give up their whole life and dreams, just for the sake of kids. It is unfair to expect them to give up on everything they had achieved as a person in a blink of an eye. Why we label them as selfish or bad mothers if they tend to choose themselves over their kids?
Was Shakuntala Devi selfish to want motherhood as well as her dream? Wasn’t it unfair to expect her to give up everything that she worked so had to build?
It breaks my heart how our society expects women to give up everything in an instant for motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe motherhood is a beautiful journey. But why do we force women to put themselves and their dreams last – just because they are mothers!
While society expects women to drop everything else 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 chooses 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 complete responsibility? Is she not an individual before a mother? Is her career not important? Is her sole goal of life ‘giving birth’?
It is high time that we realize our mothers are much more than just being mothers. We may have been raised to believe that mothers need to be selfless and their whole life should move around us. But, our mothers have dreams of their own and desires of their own. We shouldn’t expect them to give up their whole life just for us.
It is quite inspiring how today’s generation is working hard to normalize that women are not just child-bearers – and are so much more. It is heart-breaking that we need to remind society that mothers are humans too! Isn’t it?