“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”
~ Albert Einstein.
I have been wanting to write on this since Nick wrote his post – Childless.
In the exchange of comments that followed there, we had this to say to each other. Apart from this exchange, the other comments and responses from Nick are worth a read too.
Me: Nick, to be an infertile woman in India is worse than being a zombie. I know of women who were blamed for not producing children and subjected to tests of all kinds till it occurs to some moron in-law to get his son tested. No one talks about male infertility and I think that is something that needs to be addressed too in childless but wanting children couples.
Nick: Ramana: Yes, I’ve often read that being a childless woman in India is a serious stigma. And you’re right that the possibility of the man’s infertility is often overlooked. Though I think that’s less the case in the UK, where nowadays the man is routinely checked along with the woman.
What prompted this post however is the latest story from a friend of mine in Coimbatore who had rung me up to give some good news. His grand daughter Meena got married in 2001 to a scion of one of the South’s wealthy and well known trading families. I have known Meena since she was a little baby in arms but could not attend her wedding as I was preoccupied with other matters in Pune. The couple went off to live with the family’s estate in the Nilgiris immediately after marriage. After five years when no child was forthcoming, Meena was subjected to all kinds of taunts and ill treatments and was asked to undergo various tests and treatments. It was presumed by the family that she was responsible and not her husband. Eventually, Meena could not take it any more and came away to her parents and started a career as a teacher, got formally divorced and started a new life. She got married again in 2010 to a classmate from school days and moved to the USA where her new husband has a flourishing medical practice. My friend just now told me that he has become a grand father to twins. I could not help asking him about whatever happened to the husband from the first marriage and he chuckled and said that he got married again and continues to be childless!
Obviously, this is a clear case of the man being infertile but the woman facing the brunt of criticism and condemnation. There are other similar stories too that I know of where the husband is infertile but the wife goes through a tough time. Such is our paternalistic society.
On the other hand, I also recently came to know about another couple who got divorced after many attempts to get the wife to become pregnant through IVF protocols failed. The husband got married again and has just become a father of a baby girl.!
Strange are the ways of nature!