is motherhood so essential for womanhood?


since the beginning of time,  i have heard how intermingled concepts of womanhood and motherhood have existed in our society. being a mother is a blessing given only to a woman. you cannot be a mother if you are not a woman and you cannot be a complete woman unless you are a mother.

recently i was in pathology and imaging lab, the biggest here in dehradun. as i was sitting there waiting for my turn. there were too many people and i had to wait for more than an hour for a stupid 5 minute check up. i should tell you that there is nothing in the world that irritates me more than waiting for something.

so my mother started chatting with a couple of ladies sitting with her. there was this girl ‘farah’ who caught my attention. she was lean and was wearing a burka. as her face was uncovered, i realized that she was quite young. not more than 25 i believe. though her husband appeared to be about 35.

anyways, she was beautiful. infact she was that epitome of beauty that many poets have narrated in the past. to me she appeared a perfect woman. her voice was actually silken and the way she was communicating was rather attractive. she was asked by one of the ladies about the reason why she had come for the test. she, at first, was a little hesitant. she tried to explain her point in very mild decorative words which were obviously not understood in the way they should be. on realizing this, she found it better to be straight forward and narrate what’s right instead of letting them speculate.

the woman was facing problems in pregnancy. it was 5 years since she was married to her cousin brother. she did not have any children. she was asked why does not she adopt a child? are the in-laws not supportive? this time she smiled a little and with almost a child like flair she told them that her mother-in-law( who by the way was her paternal aunt) loved her a lot and had advised her to do the same, but she refused. she has been regular to all gynecologists, endocrine specialists, fertility experts and others to check what problem does she have because of which she cannot become a ‘mother’. she wanted to have her own children and was ready to take the riskiest treatment for having a child. she did not mind becoming a literal goddess of medicines, if she just had  a child.

though the incidence is really small and did not matter much to those around. reason? they were all women and all mothers and according to them, a woman can do anything to become a mother. being a mother was the fulfillment of a woman’s life. it made me wonder, can a woman’s life not survive without becoming a mother?

i do not criticize the other people’s viewpoint, not farah’s. being a mother was a very important goal of her life. after all, what does a woman need in the world if she only has her children. but then i thought, are we not too prejudiced in some matters? a woman who is not able to bear a child has to go through so much. it is greater than a physical or mental handicap.

one of the basic life functions is reproduction. if someone is not able to do so because of certain medical conditions, let the world say anything, he or she treats himself or herself as a failure. in the case of a woman, specially a homemaker, it becomes a curse. she has nothing more to hold on to, but her household and the household is incomplete without her children. even a working woman feels the same pressure. she has to go through a lot. she starts feeling guilty of not having a perfect body that can bear her child.

sometimes, ignorance is bliss. but when a woman realizes that her motherhood is in danger, only she can realize what all she goes through. the role of a mother is so important in the life of a child and the concept of motherhood is so deeply incorporated inside a woman, that she cannot really bear the tag of being unproductive.

there is an option available to them, that they adopt a child. they enjoy their motherhood. it is really difficult to feel that she is an incomplete woman, because she is not a mother. all her beauty was useless to her if she was not a mother. all her talents and her abilities failed in front of this one disability.

i pray, that she becomes a mother.. either naturally or through adoption. this is one thing that she always wanted to be…. she is a woman.. no doubt.. but she has to be a mother.. to give a proof of her womanhood… at least in her eyes.

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