When a relationship matures and people start planning for the future and think about marriage, discussion on having children always comes up as one of the most important things. Couples generally adore the idea of having a child of their own and planning the perfect family. I wanted the same until now, partly for fear of being judged and partly because I love kids.
Times changed, ideologies were transformed, experiences moulded, and I became a ‘selfish’, ‘careless’, ‘heartless woman’ because I became the woman who cringes at the idea of giving birth to a child. When I first told my mother about the fact that I wanted to have kids but did not want to give birth to one, it was hard for her to believe. She accepted, still worried about who would want to get married to someone like me.
Working with approximately 200 kids from slum communities and children at traffic signals, I realised how biased life is. They are suffering for no fault of their own. And still, I have never come across a single time when I could find any of them complaining about their lives or crying over deprivation. I have seen them happy and content in whatever little that they have. Some children attend schools, some children work as beggars at traffic signals, there are children with parents, and then there are the ones with no one – The orphans.
Being an orphan doesn’t really make any difference in their lives except for the times when they come back from school – some kids eat with their parents, and some of them eat all alone in the corner. Some clean themselves once in a while after constantly being pushed by their mothers and some of them never take a bath as no one cares for them.
These little things disturb my soul, and somehow I am drawn towards them emotionally unlike a professional social worker. I can’t stop thinking about them, the situations they live in, where they find no problems amidst adversity. The little time that I spend with them is the only time I laugh and it looks like I’m not working for their well-being and happiness, they are the ones who’re working for mine.
I am elated when random kids wave at me from a distance with utmost enthusiasm at traffic signals while being on their jobs. I am the happiest with my kids, and this proves to me that I do love kids. I am not a ‘heartless woman’ because I do not want to have a baby biologically.
This might be my tokophobia (fear of pregnancy). I am attached to so many of these kids already that it is overwhelming at times. If the situation permits, I want to have as many kids as I can afford. I might not be able to give all the opportunities and comforts but might be able to fulfil some of the necessities of life.
It’s okay if no one wants to get married to a woman like me, this definitely doesn’t make me any less of a woman.