When you realise that you are to be a mother, you expect change. You think it is going to be difficult to be responsible for another life, to be taking important decisions that can make or break the future of another human, the sleepless nights, the doubts about feeding, there is so much to worry about. Then, there is the question of when to sleep, when to do your own thing: you know it is going to be hard. What you don’t think will be questioned, is your life style, your judgements, your choices etc.
People pour in advice once the baby is born; they expect the baby to be the centre of your life. Yes, it is understood for the first few months, and yes you are responsible for another life now, but then everyone needs to learn to live, and you just cannot give up your own life for the little one. Expect people to look at you weirdly if you choose to live; it is unacceptable to society that as a mother you refuse to sacrifice, even if you balance the baby and your life very well. As a mother, every choice you make is questioned, especially if the choice you make does not involve the child. Your choice for feeding, your choice for dressing, and your choice for taking the baby out, everything is viewed either negatively or positively by the people around you.
And God forbid you decide to go out to work, and live a life of your own. That will not be tolerated by society at large, at least not when it comes to the Asian society. “How can a woman not make her child her whole entire life? Why does she want to life a live of her own?” That amounts to something as bad as heresy and blasphemy. What people expect a lady to do, is to leave whatever life she has and only be a mother. They put her up on an altar, a pedestal so high, somewhere no woman wants to sit, just because she has given birth, and then they judge her for every slip, and everything that she does that goes against their ideals.
They tend to forget that a mother is a woman too, and thus begins this fight, a struggle that every woman has: to fight to claim back her identity. Every mother has to walk this difficult road, if she wants to be herself again. It is an arduous task, but if she wants to live her life the way she wants, then she has to fight this battle. Women are conditioned to think of themselves as last. It’s how they grow up and this is what they were told. Most women choose not to go through the trouble; women are riddled with so many identities that they forget that the most important one is “I or Me”.
What needs to change is the society’s outlook to being a mother. A mother is not flawless, a mother has her life of her own, and yes that may not involve her child. We need to let the mother be free to make her choices, even if we don’t agree with them. After all, each person knows what shoe fits them the best. Who are we to judge their choices? It is not easy to be a mother and have a life of your own, but if you are willing to fight, the end result is very rewarding.
Words: Jaibala Rao
Image source: natasek.blogspot.com