Mothers are most important person of everyone’s life. To appreciate her efforts and love, Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout the world on second Sunday of May. On this day, we can see that social media is flooded with several posts in praise of mothers. Celebrating motherhood on Mother’s Day take us to a very important social issue. We hardly care about this issue that all mothers of world became mothers by their choice? It seems unusual question, perhaps it should not be asked in patriarchal society.
It is assumed that all the women want to become mother, but do we know that there are women who do not want to become mothers. We have women in our society who wants to become mothers without marriage. There are women who want to be a mother of adopted child. But these things are not easily accepted in our society.
Though there are women who became single mother and in fact before their marriage. But these kinds of examples are found in upper strata of the society. In India, one should have a marriage certificate to become mother.
Women can’t decide their maternity
I often ask this question to my mother sometimes, she smiles on this question and sometimes she answers with irritation, ‘ye bhi koi puchne wali bat hai?’ (Is this thing to ask about). she always says that Motherhood is the best feeling but it always comes with lots of sacrifices.
Being a rural girl, I can see the helplessness of young women married at young age and they are forced to reproduce child. In the last lockdown I was talking to my neighbour, she was barely 19–20-year-old girl and mother of two-year-old baby. She was pregnant for her second baby. When I asked her why you reproduce child so early? She says what can I do? I don’t have any rights on this, I cannot decide such things. She told me that her husband does not use any precaution to control the birth and she does not have access for birth controlling pills.
I talked to another lady of my neighbourhood, at the age of 32 she was mother of four children. I asked her the same question that why you have reproducing children at very young age? Firstly, she was offended with my question. Then she replied we women can’t decide that how many children we can reproduce. When I asked her about birth control precaution, she was totally unaware about it.
I talked to an Aangadwadi worker related to this topic she says this question does not exist for women especially rural and uneducated women. She is in touch with several women who are pregnant at very early age or multiple times pregnant. These women do not have their say in their own pregnancy. She told me that many women compromise with their dreams to become mother. Many leave their studies and jobs, and this thing is not limited to rural areas only, many dream-oriented women gave up their jobs, studies to attain motherhood.
Our Indian society also decides that which gender a woman has to reproduce? If she reproduces a baby girl, she has to keep reproducing babies until she become a mother of baby boy. Economic Survey 2019, points out the same thing that Indian families has tendency to reproduce child until they get a baby boy.
Our society forgets that the early age pregnancy or multiple times pregnancy makes a woman weak and as a result we can see high maternal mortality rate in India. According to report of Unicef India and World Bank, 2019, around 45,000 women die every year mean after every 12 minute a pregnant woman dies.
After talking and observing several women and reading various reports, newspaper articles I realised, In Indian society women are forced to become mothers. We can see the stigmatization of a woman who is unable to reproduce a child, our society gives her different names. Many of the rape survivors became pregnant and they have to keep the child into their stomach they cannot abort it by their choice.
Need of the hour
First of all, this notion needs to be changed that its duty of every woman to become mother. Let the women decide for their motherhood.
Secondly, our patriarchal society needs to understand that a woman has her physical capacity, she can’t be pregnant multiple times. Don’t torture her to become mother of male child.
Thirdly, motherhood should not bound by marriage, anyone can become mother of their choice.
We all need to understand that a woman has more say to embrace motherhood because she is the one who has to go through mental and physical difficulties.
Ritu, Research Scholar, University of Delhi