When Are You Getting Pregnant? Dear Society Stop Asking This To Married Women

when are you getting pregnant

When are you getting pregnant? A question that begins taking rounds as soon as a woman gets married. But why? Is this pressure for motherhood on women justified?

The pressure of marriage on women is real. The day women cross their 20s, they are expected to wrap up the “show” of achieving aims and get settled. Only marriage seems to define the worth of a woman, neither her degrees nor her job. If she gets married to a high-earning man, she earned financial security. If she gets married into a high-class family, she earned social security and reputation. Really?

Is marriage the answer to every issue that a woman faces in her life- from being broke to feeling existential crisis? What about being independent first which automatically solves most of the issues? Makes sense isn’t it? But as if this wasn’t enough to dictate the choices of a woman, the pressure of pregnancy looms as soon as a woman gets hitched. When are you getting pregnant? It’s high time, think about completing your family? Why does society ask such questions to married women? Why can’t it let women decide when and whether she wants to be a mother?

When Are You Getting Pregnant? Not even a year of marriage goes by, families and even neighbourhood aunties start hounding women to “start a family”.

And if the married woman is working, all that she gets to hear is quit job and bear children. In our society, marriage is less a relationship of love and equality between two people but more a legitimisation of sexual relationship and pregnancy. According to patriarchal norms and beliefs, just getting married is all that is required to be ready to get pregnant. But is this pressure for pregnancy on women justified? Shouldn’t pregnancy be about choice and mutual agreement and preparation of both the partners? And why should marriage be the factor to decide and legitimise pregnancy?

We need to understand that the pressure of pregnancy looms over and affects women more than men. In our country, the female workforce is as low as 23 per cent and many women are married at an early age. The NHFS survey revealed that poorest women with no schooling or only a primary education tend to marry at 17 or 18 years old and the median age of motherhood is 20.

A major reason behind this is the pressure of marriage on women which forces them to not quit their job, but education also. Parents prefer to marry their daughters rather than wait and let their careers flourish. And many in-laws do not allow their daughters-in-law to continue their job and education.

Of course, exceptions exist, but if women are forced to bear children as soon as they get married, the aim of women empowerment will be pushed further away. The pressure of pregnancy might lead to early pregnancy, unprotected sex, the pressure to carry unwanted pregnancy and resulting consequences on health and career. Moreover, many women are made to feel incapacitate and left out if they choose to delay their pregnancy after marriage for whatever reasons.

But it is high time now that we get rid of the idea that women’s primary duty is to get married and have children/family. First of all, a woman is a family on her own. She has her career to nurture and a future to build. And even if she gets married, she doesn’t need a child to make it a happy marriage. A couple can be a happy family by being there for each other.

What is the need to enforce pregnancy when they are not ready for it? Rather, in a country where bad marriage and divorce is taboo, is it not important for a married couple to invest a few years of marriage in building a strong ground of mutual understanding and balance?

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Moreover, we also need to get over the idea that a woman cannot conceive a child after an age. As long as a woman produces eggs, she can have babies irrespective of her age. Yes after an age, pregnancy could be complex but there are medical facilities to assist a healthy pregnancy. Furthermore, there is always an option for adoption. Then how does it make sense to hold women back, dictate their choices and enforce pregnancy on them? Time is changing, priorities are changing, technology is evolving too, what is holding the patriarchal society behind?

Pregnancy is a life-changing decision for a couple. More so for women who have to sacrifice their work-life, bear physical and mental strain not only during childbirth but even after it. The change that pregnancy brings in a woman’s lie remains forever, sometimes as conspicuous as a scar and sometimes as invisible as a memory. So any pregnancy should be planned by the couple and women should have the final word on it, neither marriage nor society.