Early menopause a reason to marry early: My mother expects me to get married early just because I might have early menopause. She constantly reminds me of my ticking biological clock and how it makes me more vulnerable to marriage pressure than men. But is it right to enforce marriage upon women under the fear of early menopause? Why are women constantly reminded about their ticking biological clock? And is marriage all about getting pregnant at the right time?
Bizarre reasons to justify early marriage
I could never understand my mother’s logic. For her, my early &t=370s">menopause matters more than my education and employment. If I do not start earning on time that’s fine. But if I miss the time within which I should get married is like the end of my life. And I don’t think I am alone in this giveaway of bizarre reasons to justify a woman’s early marriage.
But let me ask you few questions. Is marriage all about giving birth to children? Doesn’t society’s obsession with the proverbial ticking biological clock of women show that marriage is only conceived as a medium to legitimise childbirth? Should women then just marry the next man so that they can give birth to a child before reaching menopause? What about finding the right partner who can support and make the marriage a relationship of equals? Is that not important when we talk about marriage?
Motherhood has no age and doesn't always require a partner
If we look around, many women have embraced motherhood beyond the ‘acceptable’ time. For example Kishwer Merchant, Kareena Kapoor and many more. It is about time that we get rid of the term 'late pregnancy'. Moreover, today there are many different ways in which women can be mothers. Processes like IVF, sperm donation and surrogacy can help women embrace motherhood in case of complications. So should women live under the fear of early menopause which might or might not happen? Even if she wants to conceive a child, shouldn't it be completely her decision and planning on how to manage career, marriage and motherhood?
And should she necessarily be married if she wants to be a mother? Does a woman really need to conceive if she wants to be a mother?
This brings me to adoption. There is always the option to adopt a child if a woman cannot or doesn't want to conceive. Many famous women have given us goals that motherhood is not about giving birth but about raising a child. For example, Sushmita Sen, Mandira Bedi, Gauri Sawant and many more have adopted kids and broken the stereotypical definition of motherhood. They have redefined motherhood as a journey that single women can embark upon without giving in to the pressure to have a male partner to support. And this can happen even after menopause.
And what if a woman doesn’t want to be married or have children? Should she give in to the pressure of getting married just because a woman must be a wife and a mother?
The change that we need
It is high time we stop enforcing marriage on a woman. Marriage is an option and not a necessity. We also need to stop defining marriage as a medium to increase progeny. Marriage should be primarily about love, partnership and equality. Only then, by mutual agreement, it should lead to parenting. Rather than finding reasons to justify early marriage, families should normalise women’s agency to choose what they want from their lives. A woman’s life is much more than her marriage or motherhood.
Views expressed are author's own