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There was a time when unmarried women embracing motherhood was a topic beyond comprehension for our conservative sensibilities. There is a deep co-relation between motherhood and marriage in our culture, which infuses even the most educated among us with a hesitation to accept mums who aren’t so and so’s wife. Firstly, we are a nation which considers sex a big taboo, and sex before marriage is something whose mere mention makes most parents hyperventilate. Because if you are pregnant before marriage, it means you had sex before marriage. Which in turn means you smeared the reputation of your family, community and that of bajuwale Sharmaji. However, scientific advancements of the past few decades have made it possible for women to embrace motherhood via IVF, surrogacy etc. But has it lifted the taboo which surrounds motherhood among single women?

KEY TAKEAWAYS-

  • There is a deep co-relation between motherhood and marriage in our culture.
  • This infuses even the most educated among us with a hesitation to accept mums who aren’t so and so’s wife.
  • But these days women are choosing to be single rather than settle down with an unsuitable match. Many of them are opting for IVF or surrogacy to satisfy their urge to be a mother.

Here is a single woman who went ahead to have a child without a man in her life

Producer Ekta Kapoor was recently blessed with a baby boy via surrogacy. But it wasn’t quite easy. She revealed in a tweet that it took her seven years to attain motherhood. It was only when multiple cycles of IUI and IVF had failed, that she opted for surrogacy. This is quite brave of Kapoor, because not many women find the strength to share their fertility struggles so openly. But more than that, it is admirable how she has no qualms about embracing parenthood on her own. Here is a single woman who went ahead to have a child without a man in her life. So perhaps it is time that we accepted this new and updated definition of motherhood.

Motherhood is something which is exclusively associated with married life in our country. While girls are always encouraged to develop maternal instincts, there is a correct time and place to be a mum, according to the so-called social norms. A girl must ideally marry first and conceive a child from her husband. If she follows this charted course, her motherhood is then celebrated by one and all. She is showered with love and looked upon with respect. After all, we are a society which glorifies motherhood, equating mothers to goddesses. But the experience differs vastly when a woman doesn’t marry and yet conceives a child.

A girl must ideally marry first and conceive a child with her husband

To understand this discrimination, we must first acknowledge our patriarchal society, where having a child is a means to extend lineage, one generation after another. More important than who is carrying the child is whose child is being carried. This is the very reason why women are discouraged from getting pregnant without marrying first. It is ironic that a woman has no rights to her own womb. She cannot satisfy her urge to be a mother, unless she finds a suitable father for her child.

But times are changing. More women are opting IVF or surrogacy to satisfy their urge to be a mother, rather than settle down with an unsuitable match, just to abide by society’s norms. The best part is that women can have children anytime they are ready, and not when society commands them to. So women no longer feel the pressure to marry early, and produce a child (read male heir). They are not dependent on finding a male partner to fulfill their desire of being a mother. If they feel they are capable of parenting a child on their own, they opt for IVF. If their body rejects pregnancy, they can opt for surrogacy.

Ekta Kapoor’s journey to motherhood may not be path-breaking, but it certainly breaks many taboos in our culture. Hopefully, all the conversation her journey is generating will prompt people to be more accepting of single women who bring kids into this world.

Picture Credits: Asian Age

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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