The morning was brimming with excitement, i was eager to dress up and look beautiful, for, after all i was meeting my long lost dearest friend, after so many years. Re checked myself in the mirror, “hmm not bad, not bad at all”!, and rushed out of the door.
There she was coming my way, I Literally ran towards her to give her a big bear hug.
She greeted me! “Hi sweetheart, long time huh! YOU LOOK SO DIFFERENT, HAVE YOU GAINED WEIGHT?!”
Another day, at an all girl’s brunch date!
While pulling each others legs, in jest, one of them asked her, “Hey till how long you want to fly like a free bird?!, High Time you grow your nest?!”.
She visits her friend over tea. Her friend’s Mom-in-law speaks!
“These modern girls i tell you, they just want to enjoy life, no sense of responsibility!. One becomes the kind of company one keeps!”.
I’m all excited and decked up for my cousin’s wedding, eager to meet my relations. There one of the aunts’ in our relation catches hold of me and says, “Your in-laws are too gentle to tell you this.” “If next time i don’t hear any good news, you will have it from me”.
At one of the official family get-together. One lady with a toddler in arms and a little girl next to her, trying to make a polite conversation with me, says “Hi! How many years you guys have been married?, No plans of kids yet?!”. “No no…, you must plan, else, what is the joy of living?!”.
You must be wondering as to why these abrupt, sentences; conversations. As to where am i leading or have i lost it?!
Some of you might even have guessed the topic too.
Well, well, well… These are some of the opening lines, greetings or well-being addresses that me and many Women like me hear, witness or bear on a day to-day basis.
Sometimes in the form of care; sometimes rightful advice; sometimes, jest or taunt and yet other times, out of mere curiosity or sheer boredom.
Today’s blog post is yet another one of heart ramblings but definitely not insignificant.
In a World full of civility, relationships, cordiality, certain expectations in regard to treating a fellow human being vis a vis his personal life is becoming a rarity of sorts.
If i may request you to remember how in a world where we were mere children… the art or i rather call mannerisms of greetings were like?!
We were brought up in such a way that it was pertinent to be careful not to hurt anyone’s sentiments by way of action or words.
We were taught and and taught rather well, never to cross the line of polite concern or getting too personal.
I thought we had learnt well.
But i’m appalled, rather aghast to see the stark shift in progressive society of ours. In terms of everything, i believe and understand, we have come a long way. But in terms of mannerisms, if i talk as such, i think now, that we were better off before.
I’m neither a doctor nor a science expert…, so this blog post does not document my medical struggles, victories or failures… But the post rather talks about the battles of the Emotional nature, more so, of Societal Judgements.
And yes, I call myself a Survivor, a Warrior; at least in my eyes and i dare to represent a section of Men and Women in this regard.
Dealing with a medical condition of your loved ones or your own, is on its own a tough period to go through physically, financially and emotionally… But on top if it.. If one faces direct or indirect judgements; probings; insensitive questioning; it can lead to undue duress; cause misery and may lead to mental breakdown as well. Disrupting further, the already disturbed equilibrium of a situation, family or person.
But in our society it’s sort of taken to interfere or have at least keen interest into the personal matters of closed doors.
I’m not here to familiarise you or seek sympathies by telling the gruesome details of the medical conditions or the treatments.
I’m rather here, to pen down my grievance regarding the matters of Judgement, Bias, Shaming and Insensitivity on the part of a sophisticated society, myself, and lot many fellow survivors are from.
The issue of infertility is stigmatised to a level that it either becomes a taboo to address or is hinted at in hushed tones, or taunting voices.
From a personal and long understanding of the whole dynamics of the situation of people, or couple or women, battling infertile condition, i must say its more of a Social condition.
Its not a story; mentality; belief, restricted to one community, area, faith, country or religion.
We have been brought up or conditioned in a way that says that facing difficulties in conception; inabilities to conceive naturally; having to seek medical monitoring/intervention in this regard… is a matter of shame, disgrace, a pity; a lack and talking about it openly is accepting defeat. Its something to be dealt with in hiding; behind closed doors; in secrecy.
The pressure from the kith ‘n’ kins, the so called inner circle of love looms the largest; the topic is either completely ignored; advised to be kept underwraps or only hinted provocatively. So much so that humans, couples, specially women facing it, start alienating; feel the ostracism. So much so that it becomes a reason for marital discord, battles with the familial hierarchies, family rejections, rights, often leading to divorces and forced separations.
From there starts, the social distancing; anti-social behaviour so much so that i have seen my fellow warriors ending up in hiding and depression.
I’m not trying to give this issue a Feminist turn. But from where i stand i do honestly feel that the BLAME GAME is real and traumatic for Women.
We the infertility survivors really do feel like a minority within a minority at times!
The struggle is real, needs strength and grit to not fall prey to the feeling of a lack.
The irony is that the pain is more emotionally felt, rather than physical, despite the painful procedures! And more so, because strangely, the Insensitivity comes largely from our own Gender.
Our mothers and daughters of this powerful Avatar of a Woman; Women who have borne witness to the worst prejudices; women who have stood against the wrath of times and continues to battle for their rights till today; women who bear testimony to all that could be harsh, brutal and cruel. Its strange that the ones who can be a source of power to the fellow sisters, often tend to shun them and make them feel lacking or to be blamed!!
In the name of society, tradition, culture, family name, lineage, their behaviour often sums up to be discriminating, insulting and biased.
Why is it that if ever a question in this regard is asked, its only to a Woman? Why is it that only a woman falls prey to prying eyes, or becomes the topic of a discussion or is given all sorts of advises; admonishing and scathing remarks?
I don’t say this from a biased heart towards Male gender. I speak only from my experiences in particular and of my fellow couples whom i have spoken to, at great lengths. Of Course, in muted tones, behind closed doors.
MY WAITING ROOM INTERACTIONS!
Over the years i have often found myself Waiting!
For most part of any bright, cheerful day!
Waiting in crowded corridors with empty hopes; cold waiting rooms of strict silenced clinics! Bare feet but not bare feels! Sometimes alone, sometimes with your spouse but mostly lost in the crowd. Somedays its like a swarm of women, all sorts, shapes, looks, mind yet all of them having same look in their eyes! Mostly of guarded eyes, silenced lips and open ears.
But then there are some bored to death, always chatty, the ones the whole room can’t ignore even if they wish to kinds’, like me… foolishly looking all happy, excited and hopeful in the dingy waiting room.
I forged friendships out of long periods of waiting, or maybe the similar situations helped… And they spoke and spoke their hearts out.
I found many out of us women have lacked safe places to all their stories and to construct a positive meaning about their autobiographical narrative within their marriages, families friendships, workspace etc. Hence they all turn inward.
- Sometimes overwhelmed by their situation –Defeated;
- Sometimes accepting it as a negative fate –Resigned;
- or Ignoring it and assuming an unrelated identity –Denying.
- But all of us have questions, tons of them.!! Maybe to the society we live in.
First of all, to have a child or not is the sole and complete prerogative of a couple.
And in circumstances leading to infertility, the future decisions solely theirs.
Being treated for Infertility is like being treated for any other medical conditions say, diabetes, jaundice or something else… then Why the Stigma?! Why the silence? Why the Shame?!
From time to time i have myself revisited many stages of my own understanding and interpretation of fertility and have reconstructed my narrative of WHO I AM! in this light.
I do have the capacity to see myself from a distance and be an impartial observer.
During the initial phase of knowledge and acknowledging of this situation; then the choice of seeking treatments; the decisions undergoing procedures or not; the success and failures of it. In all this and much more…, I have felt the presence of dark depressive forces of self doubts, alienations, mood swings, hiding into a shell all around me. But thank heavens, never overpowering me. Because i knew My Worth. I had the confidence to love myself no matter what. I had the strength of character to see my beauty. And also i had a safe heaven, my inner circle of love, and my partner to share my experiences with. And hence, my narrative is just the way it ought to be.
‘Am i just my Womb?!’ Will all that is to me becomes insignificant in front of this one sudden alteration in my persona??
- Is child bearing an only ultimate yardstick to a successful matrimony?
- Motherhood, the greatest joy of Womanhood is restricted only to biological chords?
- Can it not manifest itself amongst the ties of heart?
- What good or what greatness is it of then, if not unconditional?
Such questions and many more…
Coming back to me, i am perennially a happy go lucky; eternally hopeful; hopeless romantic; highly expressive human. I don’t get dettered much or rather easily by the circumstantial change within or without. The survival instinct is strong and hence, the urge to keep going Happily in life everafter.
Opinions of others do hurt sometimes but don’t matter at all. What rather affects is the distress, pain caused by my situation to my loved ones.
So when people judge the course of my life, my decisions, my lifestyle or what not, i generally ignore big time. But when it starts affecting my loved ones, i sit upright and answer back.
Remember people, you are not in my shoes, hence you don’t get to decide. Period!!
There is so much more to me than just one condition. There is so much to be done in life and so much to be grateful about. I carry my heart on my sleeves and intend to do so all my life. I have been blessed to have a friend for a partner who shares the same zest for life as me. Our decisions have been mutual and struggles too. And what lies in future too shall find us in togetherness ever so more.
But then there are my fellow sisters and brothers who are battling severe distress, loneliness and agony in their lives. So the world around us that is the so called educated society of sophistication (not considering the scenario of superstitious/remote thought process here at least), we need to buckle up on sensitivity and kindness. We need to create an atmosphere of an open dialogue. There should be acceptance from both ends. The taboos and shame should be dispelled. The onus of mental and emotional well being lies with each one of us. If we would talk openly and not indirectly, in remarks, a better understanding would prevail. And this would reduce anxiety and depression amongst the already suffering.
Also, suffering from a medical condition does not yearn for sympathy but that also does not mean that life should stop for the one… It should not be a Taboo… The life goes on, and if that one person enjoys life with zest and happiness and has accepted or moved on, no one has the right to Judge… No one deserves to be Judged for Trying to have a happy life, for dreaming further. Or on the basis of their decisions.
If you cannot understand it, at least do not dare condemn.!!
This blog post will be an abrupt end or rather one without an end, for my experiences won’t end here definitely. It’s going to be a long journey and a long ending one. But i’m hopeful the change in the attitudes and sensitivity will occur, if not radically then gradually.
If even one person reading this blog post will gain an insight and a better understanding into the emotional nature of the situation and will exhibit some sensitivity, i shall feel all this worthwhile.
Until next heartpour…
Xo Xo !!
That Pashmina Girl