As a newly married couple, especially in India, one is constantly pressurized and pestered by the society to extend their family and have children. If for some reason you have been married for more than a year and have not yet shared the “good news” that every aunty and uncle you have ever met for the briefest duration are literally dying to hear (for reasons unknown), then you would find it extremely difficult to attend any social gatherings without being questioned for the reason for not starting a family yet.
Let me share my own weird and hilarious experience in this regard. Me and my hubby, both working professional, workaholics, extremely ambitious and who love to travel, had mutually consented to plan to have a kid when we felt we would be mentally prepared to enjoy that phase in life. So obviously no matter which family function we attended people threw us that curious look and asked us when will we be sharing the good news. We genially laughed off such incidents. But this one incident seriously came under the category of “bad manners” and “none of your business”. My hubby’s close friend invited us to a small get together at his place to celebrate their shifting into a new home and their son’s birthday. We accepted the invitation and despite being an eve of a working day in the mid of the week we were punctual. A few minutes post being seated at their home, my hubby’s friend’s wife asked me to help her out with some snacks preparation. As soon as I entered the kitchen I saw the wife’s mother, whom I had only met once before when I was newly married, lovingly greet me and then pop the same question – no kids yet? And without warning and before even waiting for my response she starting ranting about some excellent IVF clinics she knew and could get me some discounts on since she new people there. I was looking at this lady dumbstruck and thinking that she has completely lost her mind, then simply said thanks for your concern aunty but we have not planned yet and left that stuffy kitchen. Almost 1 year after this incident we finally decided that we were ready and now we have been blessed with a beautiful and healthy 3 month old son born via a normal pregnancy and somehow I have not confronted any such vicious aunties since then. Such is life dearies!
So, no matter WHY, WHERE, WHEN and WHO pops such weird questions on you, always remember that bearing a child MUST always be an informed decision taken only by the couple. You need to be mentally prepared to take this step together. No one else, not even your parents, in-laws, closest friends or busybodies can make or force this decision on you cuz frankly it is the biggest responsibility. Just imagine, once you take the decision to embark on this extremely wonderful yet challenging role of parenting, everything you do will either positively or negatively impact the new life. Even if your mother in-law tells you “beta jaldi kar lo bachcha, hum haina….hum dekh lenge” (Dear plan for a baby, don’t worry we will take care of it). Always remember that no matter how strong your family support system is, you have to be 100% involved with your child and no one can replace you. The initial months are the most trying and crucial in this regard. Once your child starts taking external food, it’s dependency on you gradually starts decreasing; until then you are everything it needs whether they are happy, sad, cranky, hungry, sleepy or unwell.
Now if you say, OK we have thought through our decision and want to go ahead…now what?? Now you must realise that you have not only decided to bear your child but you are about to bring a brand new member into the next generation. So when you think about what kind of next generation you would like to see, I’m sure your answer would be something like: they should be in the pink of their health, brilliant, loving, smart etc… Sounds wonderful does’nt it.
Now answer these questions truthfully:
1. How is your lifestyle?
a) Is your lifestyle resulting in the pink of your health no backaches, sugar, BP, obesity etc., something you can boast about OR
b) are you actually a couch potato with a sedentary lifestyle and with the ailments that come along with it, resulting from poor eating habits of course?
2. OK now you might have loads of degrees ranging from Bachelors and Honors to Masters and maybe even PHD, but
a) are you brilliant, innovative, creative, lively, pursue your hobbies OR
b) have a mundane life with a 9 to 5 job and think that a kid may bring back some liveliness?
3. Lets see, how are you as a couple?
a) Are you a team and always work in tandem to help each other out with household chores, buying groceries and also enjoy your quiet time together and know how to have fun? OR
b) Do you keep fighting, pushing blames for incomplete chores, keep your home messy and run away from each other to find peace, quiet and solitude or to have fun with friends rather than each other?
Well the above three questions are a kind of Couple Litmus test.
If you as a couple answered YES to the part a) of all the above questions, then Congratulations!! you are ready to bear, give birth to and up-bring a spectacular child ready for a beautiful next generation.
Whereas if your answers were YES to the part b) of the above questions, then although you might think that you are ready for the crucial job of parenting but in reality you have a long way to go mate! Cuz its approximately a 20 year exciting project that needs all your time and energy to blossom. You need to be active and in the prime of your health to enjoy every phase and be fully involved in your child’s development.
Now I’m sure you understand “What to Expect from Yourself before you are Expecting.”
In the next blog we will focus on how to achieve positive responses to the above 3 questions to enjoy your life as couples as well as parents.
Till then take care and enjoy life…chao from yours truely!