Is there Still Pressure to Have Children after Marriage?

Giving birth is one of the longstanding traditions of South Asian culture but is there still pressure on women to have kids after marriage?

Is there Still Pressure to Have Children after Marriage?


Infertility is one of the main effects of PCOS

Across all cultures and eras, the topic of when to have children is frequently posed soon after a newlywed couple settles into their home and begins their lives together.

Until the couple ultimately has a child, the question keeps coming up.

“When will you have another” is the next question that will eventually come up.

DESIblitz explores the question of whether women are pressured to have children after marriage.

According to Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director of the Centre for Social Research in Delhi, young women in India are under significant family pressure to have children.

“It is extremely important for Indian women to have a child.

“Even today in the rural areas and small towns, if you don’t have a child from the natural marriage, then the men are forced by their parents to choose another wife because you can’t produce a child.”

The pressure is not exclusive to South Asian countries, but the notion that women are expected to have children immediately after marriage is also a worldwide phenomenon.

A variety of factors influence pressure for newly married couples to have children.

Parents, In-Laws & Friends

Is there Still Pressure to Have Children after Marriage?

When married couples decide to have children, opinions from close relatives and friends frequently play a role in their decision.

Following a wedding, parents and in-laws subtly mention their desire to become grandparents in passing and conversations.

South Asian cultures, including those from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and others, closely link marriage to parenting.

Although there are strong relationships between parents, in-laws, and a newlywed couple in desi homes, couples must emphasise that they did not get married to just have grandchildren.

With the couple that may be secretly attempting to conceive, the connection with the in-laws might be quite hazardous.

According to research, boundary difficulties are a problem in most families with in-laws.

The boundaries change throughout time, become more pronounced during emergencies, and are made unpleasant by a lack of familiarity.

On an online wedding forum called WeddingWire, a woman explained her experience of facing pressure to have children immediately after tying the knot. She said:

“Did anyone else start being pressured about babies from the moment they got married?”

“We got married literally this past Sunday and already we have a family saying ‘oh we can’t wait to have mini yous running around’ and ‘we are so ready for grandchildren’.”

She added:

“Along with other comments to the effect of ‘no I don’t want you to have children yet, you should focus more on establishing your career first’.

“I am usually pretty good at putting these things to bed because I don’t have issues being stern or affirmative in settling unsolicited advice or commentary.

“But I’m pretty taken aback by how quickly it started and that we are both being told what to do while also being told the complete opposite.”

Just as frequently as it comes from family, friends may put pressure on a couple to start a family after marriage.

Dr Ellen Walker PhD, a writer for Psychology Today, remarked:

“I’ve been told by many young women that they feel left out, as one by one, their friends get pregnant and shift into roles of mommy and daddy.

“These young child-free women get together with groups of others their age and find themselves alone in the crowd, as the talk moves from diapers to day-care options.

“They feel that their choice is to either join the group by having a child of their own or find a new group of friends.”

There will undoubtedly be problems with boundaries, privacy, and life transitions.

Couples may discover that they can talk with their parents pretty well, but this conversation can become noticeably more difficult when it is with the spouse’s parents or friends.

PCOS and Infertility

Is there Still Pressure to Have Children after Marriage?

The pressure to have a child may be exhausting for newlyweds, but when fertility issues exist for a couple, the pressure becomes even more difficult to bear.

Given that parents and in-laws are eagerly anticipating the birth of a grandchild, it can be challenging to address reproductive issues on one’s own and even harder to inform relatives and friends of the situation.

The condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes hormonal imbalance, metabolism-related issues, and a wide range of other issues.

According to Metropolis Healthcare research in 2016 that was done throughout all of India, 4824 women had hormonal issues as a result of PCOS over the course of 18 months.

As per the study, their main symptoms were irregular periods, cramping, an abundance of body hair, weight gain, and infertility.

Infertility is one of the main effects of PCOS.

In a society where a lot of importance is given to the concept of motherhood, women experiencing infertility issues may experience an internal battle.

Girls are instilled with the notion that having children should be their ultimate goal in life from a young age.

This idea is so established that not having children has a significant negative effect on a woman’s mental health.

Infertile women are more likely to experience domestic abuse, according to a report titled “A Study on Domestic Violence in Infertile Women”.

Women with PCOS are therefore under tremendous stress.

When women are diagnosed with PCOS-related infertility, they may feel as though they are failing in their primary responsibility of becoming mothers because of the constraints placed on them by science.

Furthermore, members of their own family may make fun of and mock them for their illness – with many cases of in-laws blaming a woman for “failing” her feminine responsibilities.

There have been several instances where a husband has divorced his wife who is infertile to wed a fertile woman instead.

The burden on a woman’s mind and body is increased by the infertility stigma connected to PCOS.

A woman is made to think that being a mother will define her value or worth.

The conversation around feminine norms and standards has to be altered.

Women are all different individuals with identities that go beyond their ability to get pregnant.

The objective of women’s rights would be further away if they are pressured to have children as soon as they are married.

Pregnancy pressure can result in early pregnancies, unprotected sex, pressure to bear unwanted pregnancies, and other negative effects on one’s health, marriage and career

In addition, if a woman decides to wait to get pregnant after marriage for whatever reason, she may be made to feel helpless and excluded.

But it is now imperative that we abandon the notion that a woman’s prime responsibility is to have a husband, children, and family.

A woman is first and foremost a family to herself.

In addition to focusing on their marriage and job, women may also have to plan their future together.

Furthermore, a woman doesn’t need to have children to have a happy marriage even if she marries.

A couple can be a happy family by being there for each other.

What is the need to enforce pregnancy when they are not ready for it?

Isn’t it more vital for a married couple to spend a few years of marriage investing in developing a strong foundation of mutual understanding and balance in a desi society where poor marriage and divorce are taboo?

Furthermore, we must abandon the notion that women can no longer conceive children after a certain age.

No matter what age, a woman may have children as long as she produces eggs.

Yes, pregnancy after a certain age may become complicated, but there are medical resources to support a healthy pregnancy.

Furthermore, adoption is always a possibility.

So how does it make sense to restrict women’s options, make decisions for them, and compel them into pregnancy?

What is keeping the patriarchal culture behind when time, priorities, and technology are changing?

For a couple, deciding to become parents is a major life choice.

More so for women who must give up their work-life balance and endure physical and mental tolls both during and after delivery.

The transformation that pregnancy causes in a woman’s body lasts a lifetime; it can be as obvious as a scar or as subtle as a memory.

Therefore, each pregnancy should be discussed and decided upon by the couple; neither marriage nor society should have any influence.

Ilsa is a digital marketeer and journalist. Her interests include politics, literature, religion and football. Her motto is “Give people their flowers whilst they’re still around to smell them.”

Images courtesy of Instagram.

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