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Mayuravarshini Mohana
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Motherhood is one of the ways through which society ties down women. Having a child is a major life decision and most often than not, it is forced upon women. It is an act of usurping one of the most fundamental rights of any human being- the right to control one’s body. An immediate and intense pressure a newly married woman faces in the Indian society is to have a child. Social gatherings almost always find her plagued by relatives asking her for ‘good news’. This attitude dehumanizes women to the status of mere child-bearers.

When a woman decides not have a child, she is subjected to cruel social treatment. She is branded ‘unwomanly’ and is ostracized to the extent that it becomes traumatic. Such women are vilified and become the antagonist to the deified mother, both of which are discrete methods to control women. While the former overtly experiences hostility, mothers are often overworked and taken for granted. The concept of motherhood is glorified so as to keep women confined to the realm of domesticity. It is a responsibility which, when forcefully thrust into her hands against her wishes, makes other aspects of her life, such as a career, cumbersome. It would tax her emotionally and physically if she is not ready for it.

It is not women’s ‘destiny’ to become mothers. Motherhood neither defines a woman nor does it determine her value of self. Every woman has the sole right to control her body and her life. Motherhood is a choice (just as marriage should be) and is high time society gets this clear.