The more things change…
The more they stay the same. Trite and cliche, but true.
I’ve started to feel pressure again as everyone starts to stare at me – and more directly, my abdomen. It came up in conversation once with a new acquaintance, in the typical Indian way of asking about life: how Adam and I have been married for a year yet, and it’s still just two of us. No kids. Additionally, with a new swathe of new staff–and nonworking spouses!–with many of them in my age range… I find I’m once again on the outside by not being pregnant, or already having kids.
Adam and I pre-emptively had the conversation a few weeks ago (as I have to schedule a doctor’s appointment in Feb/March to get my current method extended), and he’s very firm about doing what his parents did, and waiting til about 30. So — two more years of being looked at like I’m some kind of freak because I not only don’t have children, but we don’t want them. Adam may get the chat we heard some friends experienced: the Mrs had to go to the hospital, and the doctor was chatting with Mr outside. Finding out they were 4 years married with no children… the doctor started to offer fertility clinic information. The idea of simply choosing not to have children yet is shocking.
This is not endemic to India, however. Upon being married, friends and family were almost immediately pressuring us to have kids right away (including a friend posting something to that effect on Facebook — I’m pretty sure it was mostly in jest). Here, it’s simply a cultural norm: you have babies immediately. A marriage isn’t complete without an heir, especially a boy to continue the family name. Female foeticide/infanticide still exists across the country. While America & Canada don’t have the issue with that which India does… the pressure to breed immediately clearly is not something that can be stamped off on as “developing country” and a sense of moral superiority acquired.
Thusly, I find myself fairly ostracized. It makes me vaguely irritated, as I am simply discounted because of that decision not to have kids – yet I also know that it is likely because of those decisions that people don’t want me around. I can’t blame them – I wouldn’t invite someone to my house who’s telling me I need to immediately have children because they are SUCH A BLESSING AND YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW YOU LIVED WITHOUT THEM BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS INCOMPLETE WITHOUT THEM (caps intentional, because someone has, in fact, shouted this at me. In the tea garden. With very little provocation, after querying when we were going to have kids and receiving an answer of “not any time soon”).
The fact that people look at me as if I have failed, utterly, in some aspect, is frustrating. Waiting seems to almost be anathaema across the board, and because of that decision, I find that I’m excluded from events and social activities and even general interactions. It irritates me to find that exclusion so present despite the “inclusiveness” of the Woodstock environment.