Like many Indian Women, our patriarchal society always victimized me at every step of my life – be it emotional, psychological, or physical. But as I grew up, I developed a coping mechanism. Rather than fighting it out, I embraced the abusive society by succumbing to its demands, costing me my self–worth, self-esteem, and well-being.
My loved ones kept hurting me and I kept embracing all those bruises. Sometimes in name of love and, sometimes in name of ‘Farz’. But, when I was pressured to accept motherhood against my wish, I broke.
I never wanted to become a mother but I was forced to. Before you pass any judgments, I would like you to stop reading it now.
I am not writing this post for your judgments, I already have many people in my life to do that. I am writing this to reach out to all those women, who were told motherhood is mandatory; who were told there is nothing called Postpartum Depression – who were told that they need to stop doing drama and become more responsible as a mother because that’s what every woman does!
So here’s the story of a woman, who was forced to become a mother! Because that’s what women are born for!
Even after 6 years of marriage, I wasn’t able to conceive because of PCOD. And with time, I made it clear to my husband that I didn’t want to be a mother. But, in our patriarchal society, that is hardly a choice. Married couples owe society kids. If they don’t, they have to bear the abuse at the hands of the same people who loved them so much.
So, to save my relationships, I shut my inner voice and underwent a tormenting gynecological treatment to become a mother. After a long wait, I finally gave the good news that wasn’t so good for me. Still, I pasted a smile on my face. No one could see the pain and turbulence, that I was going through.
I had to endure not only physical aches but also emotional outbursts, breathing issues, psychological stress, taunts, and unnecessary draining customs and rituals, which made me even more exhausted and melancholic. But the most traumatic moment was yet to come.
It came when at the beginning of my eighth month I started getting labor pains. I was immediately taken to the hospital. The doctor declared that it was a premature delivery. I delivered a baby girl and instantly she was admitted to NICU.
Ideally, as expected from every new mother, I was supposed to be happy and excited for my newborn but I wasn’t feeling anything. I was numb. I couldn’t feel any happiness or any emotion for my newborn.
When I saw my underweight skeletal child fixed with multiple pipes inside the incubator, I felt bad for her but not as a mother but as a human.
At that moment, I knew something was wrong. But I was in denial mode. I was denying the fact that my forced choice of motherhood slipped me into depression.
In a society, where women are told that they are born to bear children, it wasn’t easy for me to accept that motherhood didn’t make me happy as people told me it would. And, though I was trying hard to accept the forced choice of becoming a mother as my own, I was facing psychological confusion that was waning my energy.
But, one day all that I had buried surfaced and I broke into tears. I finally accepted the pain I was feeling. This sadness and loneliness drained me so much that no one could even imagine.
While many expected me to pray for my underdeveloped baby, I could not feel anything for my child. I just wanted to run away from the hospital but I knew I couldn’t. Then one day, I expressed my feelings to my mother and my pediatrician. I sought counseling from a psychologist and consulted a psychiatrist.
Although I felt relieved after talking to them, I wasn’t completely healed. The depression still prevailed and affected my lactation.
I felt immense guilt that my child had to feed on formula milk. I felt ashamed that I could not breastfeed my child. This guilt and constant taunts from people made my motherhood even more painful.
Sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuation, constant anxiety about my baby’s health, anger, and irritation for losing my independence as a human, and sporadic crying spells took a toll on my holistic wellbeing.
Although motherhood was traumatic, I started acknowledging the positive things around me. I was happy that my baby was fine and recuperating well. With the support of my family, I started healing and my mind & soul gradually stabilized with the passing time.
My love for my child steadily developed. I slowly accepted the changes in my life. I mainly healed because I decided to take help and get better. With the awareness that my pain was inflicted upon me by this patriarchal society, I accepted the fact that I wasn’t fine.
But in spite of this seemingly happy life, I’ve never been content as I embraced motherhood at the cost of my independence. I gave up on my most cherished wealth i.e. my solitude.
It breaks my heart how society shames women who don’t want to embark on the journey of motherhood. How society refuses to listen to their voices or cry for help. How women are not considered a complete woman if they don’t bear the child! Why do we push a well developed human being into depression just for a new life?
While I am still struggling with my feelings, I know of one thing for sure. My baby girl will never be forced to find her purpose in life in being a mother. She will be what she wants to be and no regressive society will be allowed to hijack her dreams and aspirations!