Kanwalful Meets World: The right time to get pregnant

You know how it is. Everyone’s asking the newly wed bride if there’s a khushkhabri, before even her mehendi fades off. It’s no secret that 90 percent of relatives want the juicy details on your family planning goals (and inadvertently your sex life).

I obviously faced the same. The first year of my marriage with Anes was filled with random relatives asking if I was pregnant yet. We had no intentions of having a child so early back then, but it offended me that everyone was so curious. And I would turn from red to blue in embarrassment trying to brush it off.

The second year I gained weight. Because of Baskin Robbins, not a baby. But of course everyone assumed otherwise.

“How far along are you, dear?” A wise, family friend asked with concerned eyes, staring at my few extra bulges in the Paishwas, at my sisters wedding.

“Approximately 30 tubs and 25 individual scoops along, aunty.” I wanted to reply but catching my mother’s stern glance said instead: “I’m not pregnant.”

Which of course led to a concerned: “Oh, doh Saal toh ho gai na?”

I was often told in hushed tones by relatives (and even random people on airplanes) that I should start trying before I got too old. Of course biology was never their strong point and I managed to stifle my anger only because I understood their shortcoming. I was also told not to worry about money. If Anes was not earning enough, the child would bring its own kismat.

By the third year, I learned to tune out these advices.

“Koi problem hai?”

“Doctor ko dikhaya?”

“Doctor ne kya Bola?”

“Chalo jo Allah karta hai, behtar hota hai.”

In short, the fact that we were voluntarily delaying having a baby was fiercely denied. It had to be a medical reason and one that was slowly turning me into a bechari.

On to the fourth year of our marriage, when I did (by choice) get pregnant it was met with:

Aray hum ne bohot duaain keen thi!

Even doctors, in Pakistan would first ask which treatment I was on, completely disregarding the fact that it was by choice that we decided to grow our family a little late.

Bohot precious pregnancy hai na aap ki.” A nurse said to me.

“Aren’t all pregnancies precious?” I asked.

Laikin aap ki toh bohot mehnat ke baad hui hai na.” She explained.

Aap ko meray bistar ki kahani kis ne sunai?” I retorted, smirking at her horrified face.

When Minha was born, among other silly things that were said, one was: “Acha ab jaldi se doosra bhi kar lo.

Because, hello:

1. Minha would need siblings for entertainment.

2. The desi biological clock starts ticking in late 20s.

3. Because, buss, this is the polite way to find a reason to intrude into a couple’s sex life in desi land.

But for me, my life choices have never been based on what people say. For me the right time to get pregnant was never the “optimum” one (i.e. the wedding night, lol) preset by society. Not only are comments on a couple’s parenthood goals their own personal matter, commenting on them is crass and insensitive. You never know their aims or their struggles. There have been multiple times, when all I ever wanted was to shove a green star TV commercial on someone’s face: baji issi se seekh lein. But of course…

The point is, get pregnant when you want to/if you want to. It’s not a race. It’s not an expectation you have to meet. And it’s certainly not a choice you should let other people make for you.

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