Saturday, September 22, 2012

Of making babies

I was talking to someone who is going through a bad mis-carriage phase right now. It is tough on folks, both partners in fact. Not just the physical stress and pain but also the mental trauma, especially if this is not the first time it is happening.

But this is a phenomenon that is here to stay. When a good chunk of my friends were having kids, I saw so many of them go through multiple mis-carriages that it started to seem the normal thing to happen. And I had seen them (especially the women) go through hell. I was telling this guy the other day, that it is hard for his wife additionally since we are all subconsciously conditioned that the ability to make babies is the only thing that makes us complete as women (I don't know how many of you remember that yuck number equation in a movie called Sundarakanda where Venkatesh neatly sums up at what stages in a woman's life, points are added to her womanhood, till finally when she has a baby, she gets 100 points, thus making her the complete woman - I always found it nauseating, even as a 11 year old kid)

But in my mind it was always a feminine topic. That only women suffer such mental trauma. But what I realized is, it is no different for guys. In fact it is probably worse. When a man figures he cannot make babies, I think it hits his ego way harder than it does a woman. It is a question of his man-hood much more than it is for a woman a question for her woman-hood.

Infertility is a growing problem. The number of infertility clinics is on the rise. Even movies are being made about them. But it is still a taboo to talk about it. If you go through infertility treatments, it is always a hush-hush. There was much appreciation in Bollywood when Aamir-Kiran declared their baby was born via surrogate. And everyone admired them for coming out in the open and admitting it. But really, considering no one had seen Kiran ever getting pregnant with a big belly, they would have had people speculate anyway. The only thing they did by announcing was to kill speculation. A smart PR move. Bagged some brownie points for being embracing and honest about infertility treatment etc. If it was a more discreet method, like say IVF, I wonder if they would not have passed it off as a normal conception and pregnancy.

So I think, the bottom-line is, as human beings, we are still tied to the most basic and raw elements of pride. That of making babies and furthering the human race! We can go the moon, Mars, you name it. But if we discover the inability to have babies, we feel inadequate. Like not worthy human beings, men or women. This is what I have found at any rate. So much for being the most advanced and refined of all living species.


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