Motherhood: Being a woman in India can be sometimes difficult, especially, if you are outspoken and a raging feminist like me. But at the same time, I am extremely thankful to all the amazing women in my life who have taught me to embrace womanhood with immense dignity and pride. Being an only child, I have had an intimate relationship with my parents, especially my mother. I don’t think that embracing womanhood and growing into the wonderful woman I am would have been possible without her.
I grew up in a small town and I felt much closer to the city but as I grew up I started noticing the bitter parts of my hometown. As mentioned earlier, being a woman in India can be difficult especially when you belong to a part where people still carry an orthodox mindset. Embracing my hometown and holding my head high did not come easy to me; the journey was pretty harsh and full of self-doubt but a constant force that kept me going was my mother.
I was around 10, when the first time, I heard someone say, “Oh, you have a daughter only, it’s alright, you’ll have a son someday.” This was the first time when I saw someone showing concern over such a thing. But it was surely not my last time. My ten-year-old self did not know how judgemental and cruel this world can be.
“Oh who would take your name ahead then?” “Oh, your daughter would be so alone after you.” “Oh, why didn’t you guys try for another kid?” There was no dearth of humiliating statements as such which were usually directed toward my mother and me.
Over time, I was convinced that I will never be enough for my parents. That I will always be a girl child who will get married someday and leave her parents. Kyunki Betiyaan toh hoti hi paraya dhan hain [Because daughters are supposed to be married off after all].
One time a relative outright said ‘Dena hi tha toh bhagwaan ladka hi de deta’ in front of so many people and it took everything in me to not break down right there at that moment. I immediately asked my parents to take me home, my self-esteem did not allow me to take another breath in that room. I cried in front of my mom that night. I was so tired of taking all these comments and having people disregard me so easily.
After some time, my mom came close to me, she gently held my hand and said, “Bhagwaan betiyan kismat waalo ko deta hai or mai bahot khush hu [I am happy I have a daughter, not everyone is blessed with one].” Her face showed this calm smile and but I could see the tinge of pain in her eyes. In a minute, I realized if it has been hard enough for me, it has been a hundred times harder for her. She was the one who braved through all the petty, regressive questions and shielded me from being pricked with the shards of their archaic mindset.
I had an epiphany that night: in a society, there always will be such difficult moments for it is cruel. I understood that we don’t owe anything to people who berate us. The realisation, that I was raised to be a powerful woman dawned on me that night and no one has the power to make me feel that I am any less than them, struck me. As long as I know I am enough and I can do anything I want in my life and I realised my mother will always have my back one way or other.
The little growth I see in myself, I know it is because my mother’s support, care and love. I am wiser in picking my battles but it is exhaustive. I know that if I fall to my knees someday, my mother will still be there holding my hand gently like that night.
View’s expressed are author’s own
Suggested Reading: Why Do We Romanticise Motherhood? Isn’t It Time We Stop?