We had been married for two years and the most frequent question we got asked was, “when are you giving the good news?” Now as Indians and newly married couples, we all know what that means. When is the new addition to the family happening, in other words, when is the baby coming.
Honestly, even though I would just smile and say nothing, what I really wanted to say to them was, we are not planning to have any. Yes, both my husband and I had initially thought of not having any children and for the want of serving/loving a child, we remotely adopted a girl in Pune, India while we were in the U.S. We would annually send money for her upbringing and upon our yearly visits to India, we would visit her.
This went on for about 2 years. After which, my motherly emotions started surfacing. And so after about 4 years of holy matrimony, we decided we should take the plunge and after all, give everyone the good news, they had been waiting for.
Little did we know that this good news would tax the hell out of us. Getting pregnant was not as easy as I thought. When I was in school, I feared that even holding hands with a boy would make me pregnant, silly and so naive, I tell you.
But when my husband and I actually tried to get pregnant, it was so difficult for us. We waited for 2 years and then decided to see a fertility specialist. All this while we were still in the U.S. where infertility is considered nobody’s fault and not looked down upon. Upon further examination and various tests, it was concluded that nothing was wrong and that we needed to take a break from our hectic work schedules and try again.
I was relieved to hear nothing was wrong, but stressed out about having to keep trying. But when I retraced my thoughts again, I wondered well, ‘so what if something was wrong?’ Whose fault is it anyway? Should infertility be looked down upon? Should we blame each other or should we be in this together?
And when I recently moved back to India, I noticed how infertility is considered such a taboo. Most often, it is assumed that it is the woman’s fault. When in fact, more often than not, men are accountable due to low sperm count. Nevertheless, women have to bear the brunt of it all, even if it is the case of male infertility.
Treatments such as IUI, IVF, and Surrogacy are spoken in such a hush, as if we are doing something wrong. Why should it matter so much how we bring the ‘good news’. I think it is about time, couples who are emotionally drained with this whole pregnancy thing, should get help if needed and go for alternative methods rather than thinking “log kya sochenge and log kya kahenge.” I think it is about time, we stop blaming women for not being able to carry forward the family name and I most certainly think it is about time for us to understand that it is nobody’s fault.
Getting pregnant for some might come as easy as breathing air, but for some of us, it is a gruelling and emotionally challenging process. So, my humble request to all out there is, please don’t ask couples who have been married for a few years as to why they haven’t had a baby, they will when they want to. Perhaps, there are physical, mental, emotional or even financial challenges. Please don’t look down upon alternative methods of fertility and please respect their decision if they don’t ever want to give the ‘good news.’
As for me, after failed attempts at IUI, we finally gave our family the good news in 2010 and welcomed our daughter who is six now, into our lives.