My parents were taken aback when I confessed to them that I am in two minds about getting married, and my siblings and cousins tried to talk me into it. But I was just following my gut feeling. I still had to convey them the actual reason behind my uncertainty.
‘For marriage, if it is not a 100-percent yes, then it’s a no.’ – The Trip, YouTube series.
Getting married at the age of 24, after completing your education and one or two years of job; having a first child at the age of 27 and another at 30 - isn't this how the society sketches our lives?
Teenage is difficult as it is and it’s a nightmare for a fat and short teenage girl who is still dealing with the drastic hormonal changes and coming to terms with the fact that she is going to bleed every month for majority of her life. From being bullied for not-so-baby fat anymore in school years to discovering myself as a girl during college time, somewhere I met the woman in me; more importantly, I recognised the human in me. The sad reflection of our society is that we nurture our babies to grow into a woman or a man but not as a human. Had we raised humans, who we wouldn't have half of the problems we are facing today.
I am almost 30 years young and unmarried – the first of many to-come gender restrictions, which I overcame with my head held high. When you find larger-than-life purpose (being an animal rescuer, activist and environmentalist), everything else in life starts to seem so trivial. Slowly you start weeding out people who not only don’t contribute in making your life better but also make it miserable.
At 27, I realised companionship is more important than getting married. I decided when I find the person who would love to be my companion more than just my husband, I will marry him. Better to marry late than the wrong one. Even it means not getting married at all.
We, Indian women, are brought up thinking that the home we grew up in isn’t ours as we are paraaya dhan and then when we get married, we spend our lives setting up and taking care of our husband’s home, which isn’t ours either. All our lives we keep shuttling between our parents’ house and husband’s house, yet none of them to call ours. Becoming financially independent is breaking another barrier as I may not ever have any house to call my own, but I will always have a home of my own.
So after the marriage conversations, what always comes next is the hankering for children. I have never wanted babies. As women, we are expected to bear a child, become a mother. But society doesn't look at it as an option for a woman but a necessity which I refused to believe in.
There was this one time when I was looking for prospective grooms on a matrimonial site and met someone. We started talking and came to the point when we started discussing how we see our respective futures. When I told him that I don’t see my children in the future but the ones I adopt or foster, he backed off. We were very much compatible but this conversation was a deal-breaker for him, which I was totally expecting. This whole scenario happened one more time with another person. It dampened my spirits but did not shake my beliefs.
The astonishing part is that when I asked them why do they want children, they responded with ‘Because we should have at least one child of our own’, ‘I can deal with it but my parents would definitely want grandchildren with their blood in them’, ‘Because that’s how it is and should be’, etc.
I had so many questions to ask but I let them be. You can have children by means of adopting as well. What is this obsession with your ‘own blood’? Why not make life better for someone already present on Earth rather than bringing one more?
When a woman is unmarried, then something must be wrong with her. If she chooses not to have kids, there's still more wrong with her. Actually, there is indeed a lot wrong with me - that I am practicing my rights. My right to my life, my body.
People still ask my parents - 'When is she getting married?' and I am glad my parents have now come to terms with it and reply with 'Whenever she wants.' Amazingly, people have started accepting my decision to not have children and I appreciate their willingness to at least try to support me.
Views expressed are the author's own. This is a reader's experience shared in our personal stories section. The opinions expressed and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SheThePeople.
SheThePeople wants to know your story. Have you or someone you know overcome a specific gender restriction or stereotype? Tell us about it. What’s the story? Why is it important to you? How did it make you feel? Tell us in 500 to 800 words.
Email your story, with photos, to email@example.com