Friday, May 19, 2006

No regrets, please

All through college and MBA school, I was very firm that I did not want to have any children. I had many perfectly good reasons for this:
  • I wasn’t too big on responsibility. The thought of being responsible for anyone other myself wasn’t an appealing idea at the time.
  • I wanted to travel, have a hotshot career and make truckloads of money. Motherhood didn’t fit very well into this scheme of things.
  • We live in a hugely over-populated country. Why add to it?
  • The world is not a pretty place these days and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Bringing an innocent child into this world didn’t seem like such a great idea.
  • Jai was not particularly interested in having kids either.

After I got married, I gradually became less rabid about this point of view but was still quite ambivalent about whether or not I wanted to have kids. Inspite of mounting pressure from the families of the “So, when are you giving us some good news?” variety, I kept postponing the decision and responded to such queries with a saucy “It’s a matter of ‘if’ and not ‘when’…”

Push came to shove when I visited a gynaecologist at the ripe, old age of 28. As fate would have it, the doctor turned out to be a pushy Sindhi lady. After the initial check-up, the conversation went something like this:

She: So, when are you planning to start a family?
Me: Er…I haven’t really thought about it.
She: Don’t you think it’s time that you did?
Me: (with barely contained irritation) I don’t think I am quite ready to decide yet.
She: Why aren’t you ready? How long have you been married for?
Me: Two and a half years
She: Are you happy with your husband?
Me: {Not that it’s any of your business but…} Yes.
She: Are you comfortable with your in-laws?
Me: Yes.
She: So, what’s there to be ‘not-ready’?
Me: Er…I don’t think I am emotionally ready to become a mother.
She: See, you have to decide. With your history (completely random cycles that seem to indicate some sort of hormonal balance), it could take you very long to conceive. So if you don’t start trying now, there is a chance that you may never be able to have babies. Are you okay with that?
Me: Er…I don’t know
She: I think you’d better go home and talk to your husband and take a decision.


So that’s what I did. To start with, Jai completely freaked out at the thought that a baby was even in the consideration set. So I had to deal with his stress along with my own confusion. But I decided to persevere and have a long, hard think about the issue. I did some scenario building and these are the two possible outcomes that I arrived at:

  • Scenario One. I decide not to have kids. Fast-forward to when I am 50 years old and the biological clock has stopped ticking. Is there a chance that I’ll regret not having become a mother? I felt that there was a probability that I might wake up one day with the feeling that something was missing in my life and wishing that I had done things differently.
  • Scenario Two. I decide to have kid/s. Fast-forward to when I am 50 years old. What are the chances that I’ll regret having children? Here, I felt that the chance of feeling any regret was close to zero since once you have kids, you love them and they become a part of you and your life and you can’t even imagine a life without them.

There it is then. It was not mushy, maternal urges that pushed me into motherhood. I had a baby to minimise future regret!

And I can already see Scenario Two happening. On the eve of Ayaan’s first birthday, I am bidding adieu to one of the toughest years of my entire life. Yet, I have no regrets. If I had to do it all over again, I would still make the same decision. In fact, even more so since I now know the joy that Ayaan brings to our lives and Scenario One seems like a dry and dull existence in comparison.

24 comments:

  1. Nice post Ro! A good read for many women of our generation in India who grapple with exactly the same question!
    Am not taking sides, but you have put it down really beautifully ... inadvertently made a strong case for this side!!

    Happy birthday Ayaan!! And congrats Jai and Ro -seems like you're through the most difficult stretch in many ways! Many joys to all 3 of you in the coming year!

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  2. I know what you mean--many's the time I have asked myself "What did I do with my time before I had children?" While we always knew we wanted one, our illusions at being able to control the timing of our pregnancies were stripped away over and over again. Too fertile, I guess. Anyway, even though it's a lot of work, especially in that first year, it gets easier and easier the older they get. (Okay, in that 18-month to 3 time period, it doesn't seem all that easy, but it passes.)

    Happy Birthday, Ayaan!

    Congrats to you and your husband for surviving the first year!

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  3. Happy birthday to Ayaan, GingaBoo also send their love.

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  4. hey rohini, just the thing am going thru now at 28!!!!!!!!! this post is for ME :) we are still thinking... the line ... The world is not a pretty place these days and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Bringing an innocent child into this world didn’t seem like such a great idea.... you seemed to take the words off our mouths!

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  5. And here I sit with 4 kids! I have to say, we always knew we wanted lots of kids, so that when we were gone, they'd have each other to lean on. I hope that they become the best of friends. Although at times, I can't imagine that because of the FIGHTING they do. I do think about the whole crowded earth thing though, and resources that are limited, etc. I just hope that their generation can figure out how to solve some of our problems!

    Cool post, and congrats on your Aayan turning one...a big milestone for sure!

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  6. Happy Birthday to Ayaan. And I hope you guys make it through ok. Kiddy parties are such killers, usually :-)

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  7. just thought I'd add that although I'm a mom & grandmom now, I went through many of the same thoughts before having kids, especially pts 1 and 3! My husband never fails to point this out to me whenever I enjoy my children's company :-) Anyway, happy birthday to Ayaan.

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  8. [Quack quack] I wasn't really making a case for either side though. Those reasons for not having babies were perfectly good ones too. And I am sure that many people go the other way and never regret it.

    [Talena] I know! Weekends are more tiring than weekdays now!

    [Mosilager] Thank you Ranjit, Ginga and Booboo.

    [Pearl] Hope you figure it out for yourself. There's no 'right' decision. We all have to do what we think is right for us.

    [Beth] I totally agree with the bit about the kids having each other to lean on. For me, it was always either no kids or atleast two.

    [Sue] Thanks. The birthday party is over and done with and I survived - supported by my mom, husband and lots of wine. Post coming up on the birthday party.

    [Suemamma] Just goes to show that once the little ones do come along, there are never any regrets.

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  9. hope Ayaan has a great bday!!! WOOOOOO!!! :D i just have a pic of me on my first bday .. my eyes huge with the size of the candle !

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  10. I am glad you made the choice of having a baby and not regretting the same. No home is complete without the sound of baby chatter and running feet. Ayaan is like a ray of sunshine who will continue to give us all lots of happiness as years go by.

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  11. [Grafx] Ayaan had a great day and I had an even better day with my mom and friends around to celebrate my "Surviving One Year of Moherhood" day.

    [Patti] I agree

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  12. im adding you to my "Caffeinater" blogroll.

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  13. You know, I feel just how you felt before Ayaan. Hmmm.. wondering if I'll ever change my mind.

    I saw all the "Having a baby changes everything" ads and did go all awww over the frog and the sink ones. (are they adorable or are they adorable?!!)

    Still... giving up my life, my interests, my QUIET moments, all my moments by myself, with girlfriends... oh god!! How did you give all that up???

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  14. [Grafx] Thanks :)

    [Psyche] The trick is to not think about it too much and just do it.

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  15. Rohini, I too am a working mother with a son Karan about to turn 1 next month. And I echo all your sentiments - about not having any regrets, about the birthday being your day to celebrate "surviving one year of motherhood".

    congratulations to you for keeping your sanity through the past year! also when did you give up breast feeding?

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  16. Hi. Nice to have another mom visiting.

    I gave up breastfeeding at 11 months. Ayaan was always a fussy feeder and I had planned to stop at 1 year but he started rejecting at 11 months so that was that.

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  17. Karan has 6 teeth now and bites (really hard) at times. But i have some crazy resolve that I will feed him till he turns 1 -not a day more (God help me with that!) and not a day less (3 more weeks left).

    I am not a blogger or a blog reader, cept the blog of my mom. but i have in the past 2 days almost read all your blogs, cos you write so well and cos i can so identify with 98% of what you write (including the giving away your dogs to your mom bit, heartache with your son's lack of weight gain and specially the one about the sisterhood of moms).

    your blogs have brought laughter (as in actual laugh out loud so much so that my colleagues have looked up from the comps), tears and also that warm gooey feeling to me.

    cheers to a job very well done....and i dont mean just the writing, i also mean your apparent success at being a good working mom. it sure is an inspiration to me.

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  18. Thanks. That's the nicest (and longest) compliment I have gotten in a while :)

    Ayaan was a late teether. His first tooth came in only at 11 months so I did not have to suffer biting. But I had almost every other feeding problem with Ayaan so maybe God decided to spare me on this one!

    Saw the lovely video of Karan getting off the bed. Isn't it fun to watch them learn stuff?

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  19. Thanks for dropping into my blog. Yes, glad you decided for it. I too thought hard and fought harder against having a kid. But when I finally gave in and had one, (at 31, pretty late by everyone's stds)it felt great, despite a lot of problems. Mine's turning 3 next month and a joy to be with.
    Belated Happy B'day to Ayaan.

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  20. You know, sometimes I wonder why I rushed into this whole thing so early. Particularly when I realise most of you guys here are in your mid 20s on.

    BUT. As I tell my friends, I'll be done with college troubles when they're still struggling to put their kids through school, heh :-D

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  21. [Priya] Hi. Totally worth it in the end, isn't it?

    [Sue] Yes. And maybe, if you have a daughter, people will ask you if you are sisters...

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  22. I was one who thought, I shouldn't bring kids to this crazy world.. I now hv three kids... Once i was a famous doctor, now I am a stay at home mama.. I don't hv any regrets.. None at all...

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  23. Anonymous12:03 am

    I don't understand why you couldn't just adopt later. There are plenty of children/babies who desperately need homes and you wouldn't be adding to the overpopulation...

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  24. Anonymous2:47 am

    Loved this post!!

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