Monday, March 15, 2010

For the Mother Not To Be (MNTB)

There are a plenty of online advice and books on parenting for the mothers to be. But there is very little help for the mothers not to be (MNTB). So I thought, I'll write some thing from my experience....

If you decide not to have a kid at all, it is easier to manage as you would know your reasons. In India this category is too small if not null. But if you are told that you would not have a kid at all, it actually is a big shock. Doctors will explain the technical reasons why it is so; but you would never be able to understand why it happened to you.

Facing something without knowing the reason is very cruel and difficult. Those who meet with accidents, fatal illness and who lose loved ones suddenly will understand this difficulty. However the subtle difference between this set of people and the nulliparous women is, not many people think that it is an illness; it is treated as incapability and the MNTBs face sarcasm. It is a lot easier to discuss about accident, illness (depending on the illness though) and death than discussing about not having a child. But many people will be interested in discussing this with you. You need to learn how to handle this - there are techniques from a simple 'shut up' to 'oh yeah you are right; let me think' to changing the topic gently.

In life not everybody gets everything. There is an unresolved X in every one's equation. This X could be any of the 16 categories of bliss including money, property, health etc. Lack of each category has its own set of difficulties. When some one does not have money and does not have the potential to earn, he or she is not despised as much as when some one does not have a child. This is very strange. If the poor person is not unhappy about being poor and does nothing to change the state he or she is praised that they are content :-) But if MNTB is not unhappy and diverts her energy into something else, she is arrogant and is not feminine :-D You need to learn to be happy irrespective the fact that you might be called arrogant!!!

For 'n' number of years after the marriage, people will keep asking if there is any special news ('n' depends on the patience!?!?! of the clan) and after that they start advising you to adopt a kid. If you decide not to adopt, that is it, you are not a woman at all :-) Only 'women' can understand the greatness of being a mother!!! As if they are the mothers of Gandhijis or Newtons or Tendulkars or Kalams and have brought up their kids in the best possible way!!! If you decide to adopt, think if you can love the kid whole heartedly. Any child will argue and fight with the parents (Did you not argue with your parents and did you not disobey them?) at some point in time. Be prepared to accept that. You should adopt for your own happiness otherwise, there is every possibility that you would ask yourself "how much I have done to this kid and he is not grateful to me".

Women (and men too, of course) who are not even respected by their own children will start advising you :-) You would want to take advice only from an expert!! Yeah you have your role models & mentors to guide you at office and you don't take advice from the Trail raters!!! Trail raters won't even have the guts to give you advice but these women will start their funda. You need to learn how to stop the gyan.

Having said this, I want you to understand that there are a lot of genuine people who might hurt you unintentionally. They want to be supportive or at least they are not bothered about the issue. They treat you like how they treat any other friend or relative. However, sometimes you tend to misunderstand their activities. Like how you forget to inform somethings to your friends, they may also forget to tell you. You might misunderstand that they ignore you. Be watchful of this kind of assumptions. Baseless assumptions are very dangerous be it in business or in personal life.

And there is another set of people who would start pumping in information on various doctors, alternate medicine, home remedies, poojas you need to do etc. This information could be so very tempting as they would tell you with a lot of success stories(you may not be able to verify them though) You need to learn to stop getting tempted. This is the most difficult part. If you want to try out something do it whole heartedly and be prepared for any result. These two requirements seem to be contradicting with each other. But they are not if you are careful about your thoughts. If you do not want to try out anything new, be firm and learn how to stop the inputs.

There are times when some one asks you how many kids you have or how are your kids. This could be a naive courtesy inquiry or could be a cruel attempt to make you unhappy. Learn to differentiate otherwise you could become a jerk and offend a genuine person. Learn to answer the question with a sweet smile irrespective of the motive behind the question. If they asked you out of cruelty, that is the best disappointment you can give. If they asked you without the intention to hurt you, ensure that they do not feel bad that they asked a question that hurt you. After all, we are talking about well intended, naive courtesy inquiries in any gathering you may attend. Be gentle on people.

All the above are external issues. Most important thing is to learn to handle your own emotions and your husband's feelings. You may have a range of feelings from anger to despair. You may feel angry at yourself, your husband, parents, doctors, supreme power, fate etc. Or you may feel guilty that you could have been careful earlier, or taken better medication, or taken a break from career etc. As per medical science, there is very little you could have done to avoid this. When you feel guilty or angry, you can not think clearly; you will not breathe normally and not eat properly. All these behaviors are harmful to you as a person. Take care of what you have rather than getting worried about what you do not have.

Accept the fact. There is no point in crying over something you can not change. It is easier said than done. But there is no other choice. Think why you wanted to have a baby in first place. Is it because you wanted to bring up a great person or because that is what every one does and that is what have heard of. Think if you want to bring up a kid for YOUR own happiness or you want to do it as the neighbours have kids and it is a status symbol.

If you are really fond of kids, then choose adoption. But please understand that adoption has its own complications. Of course kids are stress busters; they are sweet; it is fun to watch them speak, walk and dance. But they are also the stress creators - when they fall sick and you have an important deliverable at office. Think if you are serious enough to handle the stress for the fun of bringing them up. Every parent goes thru it. But here the difference is they are not your own kids. It makes hell a lot of difference. Meet with counsellors before you adopt. Talk to people who have adopted and successfully managed the entire project. See if you have the support systems in place. If YOU are convinced, then go ahead and adopt. If not, there are other ways in life :-) If you love gardens and do not have space, then you can always enjoy the beauty in the parks!!!

Be pleasant with your family - your husband, parents and in-laws. They are also as hurt as you are; it is just that they may not know how hard it is for you to talk about it. Discuss about your feelings with them and arrive at a protocol about the issue. Gently remind people if they violate the protocol. If it is beyond the threshold, be a little hard. They should also learn after all!!!

Get yourself occupied in interesting things. It need not be expensive hobbies; it can even be revenue generating work. Travel to different parts of the world. Connect with cheerful people. Enthusiasm is contagious. At times you would feel low, in spite of your best efforts to be happy. Go thru the upset feeling; do not pretend to be happy. Cry if you feel like. You will get over the hurt eventually. Time can heal any wound, however deep it is.... The only thing is, you should accept that you have a wound and you should genuinely want it to heal. Both pretending to be happy and self pity will kill you.

Take care of your health. Improve your fitness. Eat healthy food and exercise regularly. When you are in good health, most likely you will be happy. When you are not well, it is possible to get into foul mood & foul mood will make you more sick and you get into a vicious cycle.

Save for your old age. Invest intelligently so that there will be a steady income even after you retire. Plan carefully about your old age - your stay, your health, wealth and hobbies; more importantly, execute the plan!!!!

Wish you all the very best!!!

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