“I grew up believing life would really begin after I got married. Growing up, everything that I wanted to do was pinned to “after you get married”- travel after you get married, wear what you want, have sex, stay out late, basically anything that involves treating you like an adult and giving you freedom, do it after you get married. So I did, get married and I couldn’t wait for my life to finally start.
A short while after I got married, everyone around me started asking me when I was planning on having a child. Before I could figure out what I really wanted to do or wanted for myself, my happiness was now pinned to yet another milestone- “after you have a child”. Cheeky remarks soon turned into interrogatory questions- into sarcasm and eventually disappointment and disapproval. I was made to feel like I wasn’t doing my job or fulfilling my potential. Like I was lacking and in the process letting others down. Comments such as my marriage would suffer, there is a healthy age to have a child, look at your age fellows, left me feeling unsure, uncomfortable and unhappy.
I gave in. After months of trying I finally got pregnant. Pregnancy, labor and the delivery- were all extremely difficult and painful for me. I used to envy women who told me it was a breeze. After my daughter was born, I thought the worst was over- I was wrong. Having a child wasn’t what I expected it to be; for me it was traumatic. I have been depressed for the past two years. What initially looked like post-partum depression, has now turned into resentment towards my own child for taking away so many opportunities from my life.
I hold her responsible for things such as me not being able to travel. For not being able to fulfill my dreams. I blame her for an almost nonexistent relationship with my husband.
I and my husband sleep in different rooms because he has to go to the office and he need to put on alarms and my daughter is a very light sleeper. I keep wondering how this could all be different if only…
I also hit my child frequently. I do it because I have no patience left. For her eating issues (she doesn’t like to eat), for her hyper activeness or just general neediness. Her grandparents (my husband’s parents) make it worse by trying to help through giving her gadgets and spoiling her further.
For a long time, I used to wonder what life would be like if me, or her, would have died during birth. I am not proud about any of this- but I need to start somewhere and admitting the truth is one place to do it.
I hate it every time someone brings up the idea of having another child. I hate it when they tell me a second child will make it all easier. I know it’s not true.
They keep saying do it for your daughter- which to me seems like I am falling into the same trap all over again. I think I have started resenting all children in general. On days I have considered giving my daughter up for adoption. The guilt of that thought, stays on for days but the thought keeps coming back.
I know deep down all that pressure is for me to give them a male child, though no one says it like that. I know that unless I give in, or grow a very, very thick skin, there in no way out of this. I wonder if I will ever have the life I dreamed of having- a carefree life, for a few years, where I could do what I wanted to. Discover who I am. What I am capable of. I realize I myself might be responsible for being where I am- but I wonder if I will ever get out of here.”
Disclaimer: The writer is aware that she might still be suffering from post-partum depression/depression in general. I urge everyone, to read this without judging or prescribing; just hear her story. Her story being, the part others and the society in large has played in shaping her decision to get married, having a child, and how conforming to that pressure has put her in a dark place.
My two cents: The question “when are you going to have a child”- is not a casual one. It is not a friendly one. It is intrusive, it is discriminatory and can be hurtful. Remarks such as “now we just want a grandson, granddaughter, niece, nephew”, are not loving. They are regressive. Choosing to become a parent is a heavy price to ask of someone to fill up your boredom or to help you gain social approval. When you ask someone if “they are trying”, you are asking them a deeply personal question regarding their sex life. Unless someone opens up to you about their reproductive health or concerns, your comments or concern, is uncouth, unkind and possibly damaging.