Two months back I turned 29. I am a person who never bothered too much about age. In fact, I used to say I was 27 when I was just 25/26 just to be heard at the workplace and to sound mature enough. But suddenly when I turn 29 and see the first few strands of grey in my hair I feel this immense pressure on me when I get all these subtle messages from the people around me.
I am a woman, 29, happily married, have a flourishing career, a home that me and my husband has built together, a home that I absolutely look forward coming back to after a hectic day at work. I am (touchwood) financially sound on my own and can buy the things I want/ wish without having to ask anyone for it. And yet every single day I am made to feel incomplete.
I hate it when, even after having all this, people look at me with pity when they find out that after five years of marriage I am childless. The truth is that me and my husband we have never felt incomplete, instead in these 5 years we have grown together. We lived through the ups and downs and have learned to be entirely comfortable with each other. From two strangers brought together with marriage, we have grown into two powerful companions who constantly lifts one another and proudly celebrate each of our success.
To those people who think that we are unhappy because we are not blessed with a child, to them I wish I could say this out loud – I (read we) have never felt so proud of ourselves. I am content with whatever I have achieved. I have worked hard day and night during my school ages and throughout my teenage to be where I am today, conquering my dreams one by one. I am happy and proud that I am able to put all my years of education and hard work to good use.
Not many people have asked me about our baby plans before until recently, and even if they do, me and my husband have been successful in not taking it to our hearts. But then these days I sometimes feel so lonely. I see all those around me, people of my age group talking about nothing but being the perfect wife, about their perfect homes with their little munchkin. And please don’t get me wrong, I can totally understand where it is coming from, I mean there is no denying the fact that motherhood is absolutely one of the most divine feelings.
But in between all that I don’t see them talking about their passion, their dreams their talents that they had years earlier. June this year I was transferred to a new project. It is a challenging opportunity that gives me a lot of potential to grow career-wise, but the job requires me to stay away from home for five weeks at a stretch. Obviously when we heard of the opportunity me and my husband were thrilled but we couldn’t get the same from our families. They were worried mainly about two things – first the fact that I have to go to a new place alone and second the fact that I have to leave my husband for five weeks, who is going to take care of him?
Sitting on our couch, after calls to our respective homes, we felt so drained and I remember asking my husband, I wonder what would have been the reaction if we had told you got this opportunity instead of me? Even worse why is it that sometimes in the middle of the night I myself get this guilty feeling of staying apart from my husband when I know fully that it is for my career?
All this makes me question what is feminism today. Feminism used to be something important, something that came up out of a serious need to address the equality of sexes. Something that women of the world desperately needed (need). But who are today’s feminists? Social media has completely twisted the meaning of the word and is progressing it in a different direction.
Influencers (beauty, diet, and homebuilding) are considered important feminists today. I feel so sad when I see young girls looking up to them, blindly following their feeds. These women who proclaim self-love and financial independence in their Instagram lives and yet if you go through their content it is all about makeup products, and how they cook and take care of their partners like a child.
Little women is a classic novel that came out in the 1860s. The book follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo (Josephine), Amy, and Beth through childhood to womanhood. Toward the end of the book, we see Meg (who was a talented actor) married to the love of her life and raising their two kids, Amy who wishes to be an artist and live an elegant life gets married to her love and Beth finally succumbs to her illness. We see Jo, who aspires to be a writer, feeling content with her life and yet so lonely. She is late in finding love compared to her sisters but for her, her writing is much more important.
Recently I watched the 2019 movie, Little Women which is loosely based on the book, and below is a brilliant dialogue from the movie.
Women. They have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition. And they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. And I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it. But I’m so lonely. -Jo
While watching this scene I could not help but wonder, How is it that after all these years, where we saw independence, industrialization, modernization and the age of internet; how is that that I still feel the same?
Later that night, I told the story of the Little Women to my niece. I told her about all the four sisters and in doing so I made sure that I tell the story unbiased, to portray all the sisters from a good angle. For they each strived for the lives they wished for. At the end of the story, I ask her- “who is your favourite sister?”
She did not respond for a few minutes and I ask her again- “Who did you like the most?” She says – ‘”sorry I was thinking”.. she pauses again and then..” I think I want to be JO.” Beaming inside, I ask her, Why did you say that? She says –“ I like Jo because I too want to be a writer, I want to write about my life, my mom, and you. I want to write about these days we spend together..
I slept well that night.