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Marriage and Motherhood Are Choices Not Obligations, Respect it!

'Marriage and motherhood are not obligations but rather choices'- the statement alone speaks volumes and needs no further explanation, but I feel the need to elaborate as to why so many of us stand by this statement.

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Samridhi Mishra
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'Marriage and motherhood are not obligations but rather choices'- the statement alone speaks volumes and needs no further explanation, but I feel the need to elaborate as to why so many of us stand by this statement. In the past, I've often witnessed the elder members of the house telling the younger ones how marriage and motherhood truly complete a woman; how it liberates us and is the purpose of our existence. However, I know there is much more purpose to my existence and women out there.
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How do women is defined? What are the basic parameters through which womanhood is defined? Over the years society made sure women had no other role than to support the men and look after the children. This is how we have been limiting and defining women’s roles. However, with changing times and numerous struggles we have entered into an era where women can play a variety of roles. Perhaps, one thing that doesn't set women free is the burden to bear children or the choice of living without the marriage label. 

Why Society Force Marriage and Motherhood On Women?

The problem is that people still believe that women only belong in the kitchen. While the families support our education and work life but after marriage, we are expected to leave our work and cater to the needs of our spouse. Women are often treated as a product that checks the requirements of the extended family. At the end of the day, they are just preparing us to fit the resume of a perfect bride and use our skills to nurture future generations. The end goal remains to get us married and then look after children, teach them, help them with homework and act as the perfect trophy mothers. 

It's surprisingly infuriating seeing how every person out there can comment on choices that are entirely our decision and certainly concern only us. One can easily feel the pressure of the community; the gossipy aunties and grumpy uncles. The ones that have an opinion about everything and it's usually criticism because they simply cannot break the idea of an archaic society.

This pressure on women constantly reminds them of what they are missing in ‘womanhood’ if they choose not to embrace motherhood. This does so much more damage than it seems. In a way, women are manipulated. Every person has a different story, different struggles, and different opportunities. So keeping that in mind, let's agree that choices are subjective and should certainly be yours only. If decisions are taken based on what the people at large believe then we surely won't be content with the decisions, they become pointless and not worth it.

There can be many valid reasons when we decide against pursuing conventional traditions of society, What I expect of society is to acknowledge and respect women's decisions as they do with men’s decisions. 

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The reasons could be any, for instance- finances. We would rather plan everything financially than commit to something with irreversible consequences and have a ton of things to worry about. Why this because we gave in to societal expectations. Another reason is health; we do not pay enough heed to mental, physical, and emotional health. But postpartum depression, anxiety, and self-doubt are real. Utmost, we are not completely ready for a baby. The pressure will only make things worst developing a feeling of resentment. It could also be that we have something else as a priority and would want to act on it the same. The reason may be any or not at all, the point is it is our choice, society needs to clearly respect it. 

While we are growing together as a community and are changing the flawed concepts; let’s also start to be a little more accepting towards women and start valuing their decisions. It's time to show that we believe in them and trust them to do what's best in everyone’s interest but undisputedly in theirs. Marriage and motherhood are life-changing decisions but take a moment to reflect that they are even more life-changing for women; they have to make a lot more sacrifices than their partners. Motherhood does take a toll on our health(both physical and mental) so it should be our decision to embrace motherhood or not.

While we see a lot of celebrities also exhibiting the same idea of doing what makes us happy and that has given people a lot of confidence and enough validation. The biggest examples are Sushmita Sen, Miley Cyrus, and Jennifer Aniston. The ‘Friends’ actor summed up the entire idea as she wrote in The Huffington Post, "We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child.

"We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let's make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own 'happily ever after' for ourselves."


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