#Opinion

Have Kids, Sab Theek Ho Jayega. Seriously?

controlling men, indian husbands, Successful women, Indian marriages successful, marriage problems have child, priyANKA chopra, rahul bose
Having child doesn’t fix bad marriage: It is common in Indian society to believe that having a child can fix every dispute in a marriage. It is seen like a band-aid that hides and heals the wounds that an unhappy marriage incurs.

It is seen as an answer to every question that an unequal, loveless and imbalanced marriage raises. But is this conception true? Is it right to believe that an unhappy marriage can be fixed by bringing a child in the middle? Doesn’t it raise questions on the taboo around failed marriages? And doesn’t it make the childhood of the person born out of conflicted marriages miserable? Even though a child might act as a covering for the disputes in marriages, it never erases it. Rather, it makes the wounds deeper because they are not confined to the couple alone.

What is a good marriage in India about?

Irreparable conflicts in marriages in India are never seen as a reason for divorce or separation of a couple. They are rather summed up as wear and tear of every marriage and a couple, especially a woman, must learn to adjust with them. A good marriage in India is less about love and understanding between the couple and more about children, family reputation and longevity. So rather than letting an unhappy couple to get separated, society expects them to “fix” their disputes by having a child.

On one side, it is a good idea to fix the disputes that almost every marriage might come across. But then does it mean that a couple should expend themselves in fixing the irreparable cracks? Why is it assumed that every dispute in a marriage can and should be mended? Why can’t separation or divorce be a normal option to choose personal happiness over others’?

Having child doesn’t fix bad marriage; It makes it worse

Often children are referred to as a symbol of love between a couple. But does that statement hold its ground when the child is born out of an unhappy and loveless marriage? Doesn’t then bearing a child become enforcement on the couple rather than a choice? If a couple isn’t happy with each other, will they be willing to share responsibilities of parenting? A couple should bear a child just because it is the next step after being married or because they are ready to care for the child including each other?

Let us also understand that a child born out of an unhappy marriage is doomed to have a childhood that is traumatic and unhappy with possible negative impacts on personal life and relationships. Being one of such children, I can vouch for the traumas and negative impacts that the disputes between parents can cause.

Witnessing regular fights and arguments between parents made happy marriage seem like an impossible reality for me. I became sensitive to loud noises, found it difficult to trust people and couldn’t relate to the normal and happy childhood of my friends. Most of my childhood was spent in the fear that what will the night be about- family bonding over the dining table or cries and fights in the corner of the room? On whose side should I be? Even when I grew up, the disputes didn’t settle and the traumas kept ruining my confidence. I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because these traumas made a home inside my mind and gave me wounds that could never be healed.

toxic marriage

Can divorce be better for your children than you staying in a toxic marriage?

In many cases, children who have witnessed violence at home normalise it in personal life also. They grow into believing that violence and disputes are normal in a relationship and hence become the carrier of the toxic patriarchal culture of violence. A friend of mine (who doesn’t want to be named) opened up about a similar experience in his life as a child who was brought up in an unhappy family. “When my parents got angry with each other, the impact was channelled on me. They bet me up, harshly, and forced me to internalise that it’s okay to beat or to be beaten.”

He further said that even though it is believed that parental violence on children “improves” the child, he faced the opposite of it. Because of the fear of violence, he became afraid of his parents and was reluctant to share anything with them even after growing up.

It is about time that we understand that an unhappy family is often the root of the lack of confidence, self-love and happiness in life. If you are lucky to have a good family time over the dining table at the end of the day, all the struggles of the day are paid off.

Who gains when every party is at loss?

So for whom are we normalising the idea that having a child can fix disputes in marriages? If it is for the kids, then we are wrong because an unhappy relationship between parents is one of the reasons why children have a traumatic, isolated and miserable childhood. Neither do the parents have the understanding to share the responsibility to care for the child nor is the child prepared to deal with their parents’ conflicted marriage.

If it is for the couple, then let us reiterate that conflicts in marriage need to solved by mutual understanding, love and support. It is not a fair deal to pressurise a conflicted marriage with the burden of a child. It is just like walking on a loose rope where there is a danger to lose balance and trip. So who gains from a conflicted marriage and parenting? I can see patriarchy sneer at my back.

Why are we forcing couples to undergo such challenges that will not only affect them but the present and future of children too?

Why can’t we just focus on fixing disputes in marriages before deciding to make space for a child and its healthy childhood? We need to understand that a bad marriage is an issue that needs an individual and immediate approach rather than covering it up or ignoring it in the faint hope of a better future.

We need to change the definition of a happy marriage and happy family- a happy marriage is supported by love, understanding and equality and not by longevity or familial pressure, and a happy family is built out of love and care and not out of the number of members.

Views expressed are the author’s own. Picture Credit: http://carson-family.org