Originally published on Nov 3, 2014 on trulysu.blogspot.in
As you grow and understand the world a little better, I think all of us have those fleeting thoughts about what kind of parents we want to be. The first thought on this subject usually is “I will not do that to my child”, and then in your twenties it becomes, “This is something I want to do with my child”. I want to be a mother some day and this is something I’ve known for sometime now and occasionally I allow myself to indulge in thoughts about how I want to raise my children. One of these thoughts is about the all important conversation around sex.
As an Indian girl I’ve received the talk on “Why I shouldn’t get pregnant before marriage“, as I’m sure many Indian girls have. (It bothers me that my brother has never received the version for boys, i.e., “Why you should not get a girl pregnant before marriage“.) It’s a warped way of talking about sex in India. You know they don’t say it outright so this is a way around having to actually say “sex”. Anyway, the reason I shouldn’t get pregnant before my marriage, as per my mother is, because what will my dad tell people? What will be our social standing then? My dad will be so devastated that he may just end his life. I’m sure these reasons are important to them and it may stem from some past primary and/or secondary experiences. Now I will in turn tell my daughter (I hope I’m lucky enough to have one) that she shouldn’t be an unmarried mother. But my method will be slightly different.
Here’s a conversation I hope to have with my daughter one day when she’s 18 years old:
“As difficult as it is to think of you as an adult, I have to accept the fact that you are independent and can make sound decisions on your own now. Including decisions about sex. However, as someone who wishes the best for you and is wiser than you, I want to give you some advice.
Be safe. First and foremost, be safe. Your safety is not something you should ever compromise. Not even if you’re madly in love with him/her. Health is your everything. Do not ever think otherwise.
Make sure you know why you’re doing it with this person. The first time is special. Not so much because it’s with someone you love; it rarely is. It’s special because this is the first time you’re letting someone get so so very close to you and it’s intimidating to share this intimate moment with someone. Some girls regret how their first time went while some don’t. Make sure you are in the latter group. I don’t want you to feel like you have to do it to please someone else. Do it only because youwant to. I don’t want you to feel pressured into doing anything sexual that you’re not comfortable with. Stand up to the person and say NO. It’s okay to say NO to the person you think you love. Just be aware of yourself, your desires, your reservations, and your feelings for the other person.
Don’t get pregnant while you’re still figuring out life. You’re not emotionally there yet to raise a child. Being a mother is difficult. It’s beautiful but comes with immense responsibility. You will be responsible for another human being’s safety, education, health, character, existence. At this point in your life, you yourself have not fully taken responsibility of yourself. You’re financially not in a position to support someone else and having kids is expensive. You have to be financially secure to feel that you can raise a child well. When you’re in college or have just graduated, you’re earnings are minimum. You can’t do justice to yourself or your child. Soon you’ll find yourself working multiple jobs just to put food on the table and a roof over your heads. As if being a mother wasn’t exhausting enough. Some women who become mothers while they are teenagers go through a phase when they wonder what would have happened if they didn’t get pregnant and pursued their career instead. I NEVER want you to wonder about an alternate scenario where you aren’t a mother. Take time to build your career; you need it. And you will see that by showing your kids your passion for your career you are teaching them a valuable life lesson. Your grandparents worked very hard for a very long time to go from having nothing to having a lot just so that that my brother and I would feel empowered to dream big. Ensure that you give your child the best of yourself. And you can do that only when you become the best that you can be.
The other thing about getting pregnant at a young age is the horrible decision you have to make between giving birth and abortion. I think a part of me will die if my daughter had to decide between life and death for her child.
So that’s why I don’t want you to get pregnant while you’re still so young.
Live life to the fullest and in a way that you will not regret later. At every point ask yourself if this is something you absolutely want to do and if you will be happier after that. Be safe and remember that your parents will always be by your side when you need us. Unless you murdered someone.”