DESIRE v DUTY?

  • Agonyaunt

May 7, 2019-

Dear Aunt,

My husband and I have been happily married for six years now. We fell in love during our college days. We had to struggle to convince our parents to let us get married as we were from different castes. Now we have a daughter who has just turned three. I also have a healthy relationship with his family.

Between us, my husband and I are best friends. We have shared everything with each other since the initial days of our relationship. But just a few weeks ago, I found out that my husband had kept a very important thing from me. I came to know that his parents allowed him to marry me under one condition—that I bear them a grandson.  

I always wanted to have a child, whether a boy or girl. But since my husband’s parents want a grandson, he’s asked me if I am willing to get pregnant again. I refused right away. But since he told me the truth, I have been hurt and confused. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to go over those uncomfortable days all over again—from conceiving, pregnancy, labour and post-natal care—especially since I have a demanding career and a very limited number of holidays for emergencies. I’m not prioritising my work before my family but it’s more about my health and also what I want to do.

On the other hand, his parents are strict when it comes to such ‘promises.’ As they have also fulfilled our wishes, they believe it’s time we fulfil theirs too. We both think that having a daughter is enough. But I fear his parents might try to hinder our relationship. Due to all this, my husband is thinking of moving to a different country. But that isn’t a solution either, because my parents live here and my daughter is emotionally attached to both of her grandparents.

Aunt, please help me!

—Reshma

Dear Reshma,

It is your right to decide the number of children you want, as it is your body that has to go through all the pain and changes. Both your husband and his parents need to respect that. It is also very sexist of his parents to ask for a grandson. But having said that, please do not panic and think things through calmly.

You say that you have a good relationship with his family. If so, it would be wise to talk to them first. They may want your husband to keep the ‘promise’ but you cannot fulfil a promise that you weren’t aware of. You have to convince them that you are not being selfish by not wanting to get pregnant again. Since you have now lived with them for six years, hopefully they have gotten to know you more and won’t judge you when you open up to them about your feelings.

It is also important to communicate with your husband. Why do you say that your in-laws will try to hinder your relationship? If you and your husband are best friends, then this shouldn’t come between you two either. If your husband understands where you stand and that pressuring you to get pregnant for the sake of a baby boy is completely wrong, then better communication with him will only help you strengthen your relationship with him.

Although he may also be in a tight spot as he has to stand by your side but cannot dishearten his parents, your husband needs to understand that having another baby may not solve the problem—what if it’s another girl? Will you guys having children until you give birth to a son?

Therefore, you should first talk to your in-laws. May be your husband hasn’t done a good job of communicating with his parents, so you need to step up and have a serious conversation in a family meeting of sorts. Do not assume how they will react, but concentrate more on voicing your plans for the future and your desires.

Running away from the problem is not a solution. Good luck!

Published: 07-05-2019 10:16

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