I am a part of few mommy groups on Facebook. Often, on these groups, a mom asks queries about an unwanted pregnancy and whether she should continue with it. The replies are varied too. While some say that “it’s God’s gift and you must continue,” others say “abort it if you are not ready.”
With the recent ruling in certain states of the US banning abortions altogether, it has become a matter of debate whether women should be allowed to have a say in their own pregnancy. This ruling came as a huge shock to many as it totally banned abortions. According to various ministers there, they think that even a pregnancy resulting from rape should be kept “as a female’s reproductive system has a way of shutting itself down if she did not enjoy the act!”
Wow! Just, wow!
But before we talk of extreme cases like rapes, do we even consider the case of the average married woman? Oftentimes, she is forced to get pregnant because the family needs a boy child. There might be slip-ups in contraception too. No contraceptive offers 100% results.
In general, a woman in India is guilt-tripped if she even thinks about aborting her child. While rapists and mass-murderers go scot-free, a woman rethinking her pregnancy is made to feel like a killer. “Because the unborn child is a life!” she is told.
Does anyone think about the sleepless nights? The pain she’s going to go through? The struggle to supervise the children? The monetary aspect? Who’s going to pay for their doctor visits and school fees? No one.
Here’s why I feel that a woman should decide, for the most part, whether or not to keep a child:
Her body, her rules
However much her husband or in-laws or parents may be supportive, there are certain things that only a mother can do. Labour is one of them. Breastfeeding is another. Her body goes through a number of changes. The discomfort during pregnancy, the trials of labour, the pains of a C-Section, recovering after the surgery, is A LOT for anybody to go through. No father can even come close to imagining what it’s like.
Her life changes… Completely!
Yes, it changes for the better, mostly. But, not always. There are girls, who have severe complications arising from the pregnancy. Each woman’s body reacts differently to this immense change going on inside her. And these reactions are not always nice. Girls get period troubles, abdominal pains, lower back pains, chronic muscle pain that doesn’t go away for years, vitamin and other mineral deficiencies. There is always a huge risk associated with pregnancy, and since it is the girl that has to take it, please respect her views about it.
Her career is disrupted the most
In India, the average age at which a girl is married off is around 25. Most girls graduate at around 21-22. This situation gives those girls only 3-4 years to establish a name in their jobs. Most women have to relocate after marriage, which is a major event. But pregnancy and childbirth is something else altogether. No one hires a woman if she’s pregnant. She’s considered a liability after she has delivered a child. Team leads complain about them skimping on work while pregnant and after delivery. Some women wish to spend some time with the child before joining work. This puts them nowhere. Dads, however, do not face this problem. So I feel that a woman, whose life completely changes after delivery, should decide whether she should have a child or not.
After childbirth, in most cases, the husband becomes the sole breadwinner of the household. If a woman is working and earns more than her partner, she can decide if she wants to go ahead with the pregnancy. Homemakers, however, are left shortchanged. But a homemaker should be given more rights as she is the one managing the home and the finances, in most cases.
She sacrifices more
I know there are wonderful Dads out there who sacrifice as much as moms today, and the percentage of such dads is increasing surely and steadily. But, be that as it may, it is still pitifully small. Most of the times, it is the mom who has to sacrifice things for the baby. Her career, self-care, mental and physical well-being. The son has a fever. The mom will take an off immediately, not caring she has an important meeting at work. The daughter has to start a dance class, the mom will move things around so she can fit in the class logistics in her already overflowing schedule. This, and so many more…
If you cohabit with your partner and both share a great level of friendship and understanding, both of you can take this life-changing decision together. However, whatever the situation, no woman must be allowed to get pregnant without her express wishes. The husband and the extended family should be supportive till she is completely comfortable with the decision and only then go for it. An unhappy mom, who is burdened with an unwanted child is the most miserable person on this planet. This is a bad situation for the mom, for the father and most importantly, for the kid. The child deserves to have parents who really care about and want him/her.
What do you think? Do you agree? Let’s talk about this sensitive topic more!