Malayalam cinema is on a roll these days and the latest masterpiece to add to the list will be definitely Sara’s. Sara’s is a feel-good romantic movie that was released earlier this week on Amazon Prime. The movie discusses a socially relevant issue on how parenthood should be a choice.

The movie follows the life of Sara, an aspiring young director who does not wish to have kids. Right from her teen years, she feels like she does not have the knack to take care of kids.  She grows up aspiring to direct her own films one day. After years of struggling in the industry, finally, when her movie starts rolling she gets pregnant. It was an accidental pregnancy and the film shows how the couple gets on with the whole situation ahead of them.

I would definitely recommend it to everyone, and I mean everyone including the older generations. It is an eye-opener for this society of ours who just cannot accept the fact that being a parent is a choice / voluntary decision to be made by the couple together.  In India, more than half of the women who get married do so only because of the ‘get married before 25  or you won’t find a groom’ norm dictated by society. Finally, when she consents to this and gets married, the next question pops up within two months of marriage –  when can we hear the good news?

If the couple fails to have a kid by the end of the first year they start assuming that there is something wrong, usually with the wife. And if they get to know that there isn’t anything wrong, then they start assuming that it is not a happy marriage.  For starters I would like to just point out here a few other reasons a couple might not have a kid other than health issues or unhappy married life;

  • They chose to delay pregnancy because they not ready to be a parent yet
  • They do not have the financial stability to take care of a new-born
  • Their current job arrangement does not account for breaks and they cannot afford a nanny and so on.

I have seen couples who take the decision to be a parent just because people keep asking them about the good news. If they reply giving any of the above-mentioned reasons these same people would go – if you delay it now you might not get a child when you ask for it. To all those who say this, let me get this straight- you have no idea the stress that this sentence gives to the person who is listening to this.

Today, I read an article by a lady who narrates her story of handling two pregnancies while working in the office all the while. She says she had struggled through her pregnancy, working even in the 8th and 9th months.  She is disappointed by the film because apparently for her the movie promotes abortion. She believes that it is not necessary to choose between career and family life. Since she has done it both and done it well also.  Reading the article I could not help pointing out some facts-

The movie does not say that it is not possible to take career and motherhood hand in hand. I have seen several ladies who do it both together and that too perfectly. But not everyone has the same capabilities. Just because some ladies are able to manage both, they cannot decide that everyone has the patience and capacity to do the same.

What if there is a woman out there who cannot handle both together and has to compromise one? Does she have a choice? The movie talks about such ladies.

Actually, that is one of the best things that I loved about Sara’s. Even while we see Sara struggling because she is sure that she cannot manage both motherhood and career together, in the same frame we find her sister-in-law easily juggling her career in medicine and being a parent to two young kids.

That’s the message we must get from the movie. It is not like those who have kids are not good in their other ambitions. No. It talks about how parenthood is a choice, how being child-free is an option for couples who wish so.  Because what happens now in our country is that being a parent is simply the one next step soon after marriage!

One other thing to consider here is whether the career of the woman in question allows a long maternity gap. For instance, an office job or a permanent public service job etc allows a long maternity gap. The job is still there and one could easily pick it up from where she left. But what about a job in arts, engineering, oil and gas, etc? All these fields are male-dominated and it is a struggle for ladies to make a mark in these sectors. It is not easy to find a job in the first place. And once they are in, there is a lot of effort put in to maintain and rise up in the career graph. It is not something that one can just drop one fine day.

And let us not forget about the fact that most companies won’t even consider a CV with a job break of 2 to 3 years. I have seen so many ladies struggling to get in a job after maternity break! So these ladies who say the movie is nonsense because they managed to do motherhood and job together, well good for you! But just because you did it you can’t expect the same from every other girl and definitely, you cannot dictate what is right and wrong.

Another discussion that I saw around the movie was who gave the right to humans to deny the opportunity of birth to a living human? Let me tell you about a talk that I heard from a prominent ‘YouTuber/ influencer’. This particular video has around 2M views and just as many comments. In the video, this lady talks about her hardships, how she rose from the challenges of early marriage and 4 hurtful pregnancies to continue her studies and be what she is today.  I am not going into the toxic elements that she is bragging about in the video not realizing even today what is wrong with society’s conditioning. But there is a point in this video where she talks about passing through a very dangerous third pregnancy. She was literally struggling through the whole thing,  fully bedridden with severe bouts of pain equivalent to pregnancy pain every single day of her pregnancy period. By God’s grace and her extreme willpower (which has to be appreciated), she managed to get through this third pregnancy. And then she gets pregnant ‘accidentally’ in another one or two years. This time even her husband and doctors asks her to rethink since it another pregnancy could be harmful for her health. Here she talks about how she was adamant not to go forward with abortion since she did not want to deny birth to her unborn foetus. She says I made up my mind that even if something were to happen to me it doesn’t matter since she just wanted to give birth to her child.

There are countless comments below this video on how brave she was, how selflessly she went forward with her pregnancy. If someone puts a comment on the importance of birth control devices, he/ she is doomed to get so many abusive comments. All I could think about was what would have happened if she had lost her life in the fourth pregnancy. What about her three elder children. Don’t they become motherless? Isn’t that something to think about?

Isn’t the wellbeing of children who are born, not a matter of concern? People believe children are God’s gift and hence no one has the right to deny life to one of God’s beings. However, how this child survives after birth no one seems to care.  There are countless children in this country forced to quit studies to look after their younger siblings. Even worse what if the couple decides to abandon the child after birth?

The number of orphans in our country is rising to an ever alarming rate and this no one seems to care about.  What is even more alarming is the fact that even when there are so many orphans in this country the rate of adoption in India is abysmally low! One of the main reasons for this being society’s perception of children as someone to carry forward their genes, the lineage. Don’t you think it is time that we as a society be more concerned about them? Those little children who are forced to live without being loved.

So what is then the right decision? The answer is-  it’s a two-sided story of which neither is wrong (having children or not). In the end, it is (it should be) a personal choice. It should be what you truly want.


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