We have some messed up ideas of what it means to be a young woman, a newly married woman, a married woman without children, a married woman with children. There are some expectations of how women in each category should behave. Like a silent tree she must bloom and shed aspects of her personality according to the seasons. In Spring she must shade those around her with her full bloom of leaves and in autumn she must shed her interests in accordance with that of those around her. She must live for others and what she does purely for herself is seen as selfish. After all, does a tree ever shade itself?
The uterus enquirers have calmed down, in my case. Their attempts to know whether I have any 'good news' have been repeatedly thwarted by me. I still get the occasional query and my food baby is sometimes mistaken for an early pregnancy bump (sign that I need to start working out again). What I notice though is that when I say no to their queries I am expected to say it with great sadness. They immediately try to console me and say 'InshaAllah soon! Allah has a time for everything...' It's like they can't comprehend someone, especially a woman, not having a child as the first thing on her mind post marriage. It's like not having a child is the worst thing that can happen to a woman. As though we are machines that aren't living up to the purpose we were built for. Say a faulty washing machine that makes the clothes dirtier.
The same with young women who put off marriage for various reasons. They are viewed with great pity, even though these ladies might have everything working for them. Great qualifications? Check. Awesome Job? Check. Amazing friends and family? Check. Exhilarating life experiences? Check. No husband? It's worse than being stricken with cancer! There MUST be something wrong with her that she hasn't vowed herself to a MAN! And she doesn't even feel bad about it? How can she even smile? She must just step out into a shed in some abandoned farm and shrivel up and die a spinster death out of sight.
Although the thought of it makes me anxious, I would love to have kids someday. But this expectation that I have a deadline in which it's acceptable to have kids makes my uterus want to shrink and scream 'back off'. Especially when people go to my in laws and try to 'sympathise'. Like I am failing them in the one thing I was supposed to do as a daughter in law- continue their lineage. Alhamdulillah my in laws are super chill and never bring it up but I still find out about this and it just makes me mad. Not just for having random noses try to gain entry into my business and uterus, but also for this overall regressive mentality our society has and the stupid expectations it places on its women.
And what happens when you finally do have a kid? It's endless lectures on how to parent. How you must leave all sense of self and enslave yourself to your kid.After one year start the advices on having the next child. And if you have three plus children these same people will go 'How many kids are you guys having? Stop!'As though we are borrowing their reproductive organs to give birth to our kids. Uncles and aunties and folks who do this- You need to calm down and stuff your face with biriyani before people start naming and shaming you. Now that won't be good news.
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