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Dear Woman,

I saw what you did right there. You’re one of the many who talk about your ability to procreate as a winning trophy. I’m happy for you. But I also want to reach out to you because I think I can read between the lines.

You were probably told that your value depended deeply on your fertility. When you got married, you probably took a sigh of relief when you found out you were pregnant. You must have basked in all the glory and attention a young mom gets. It’s rightfully deserved, your body is doing so so much right now. You deserve all the love and care because it’s exhausting to be a mom in the making.

Your bundle of joy came into the world and made you whole. Or so you thought. All the mommy groups out there just validated the fact that you indeed belonged to a very powerful group of people. Your group had the power to move the world. It’s no wonder that such a huge part of all the campaigns around our world is centered around you. Your status. Your state of being. Your ability to procreate.

All that was fine, but one day, you decided to run a competition in the same mommy group, gloating about how early you had achieved this status in your life. All your friends chimed in, competing on who was the youngest when she was blessed. I wanted to be part of your friends too. But I couldn’t.

While you thought that number of years was a good measure of your worth, you failed to see that this was just part of who you were. In undermining yourself, you undermined each one of us: the moms still waiting for their miracle.

I think we are very brave because we do not have that one thing our society deems an essential for a happy life. Our life’s steering wheel was never in our control, but guess what? You had no control either. What you gloat over like your hard earned medal, is something that was given to you. God decided it for you and science and physics and biology suddenly aligned in your favor. When you study the biology of procreation, you understand how over a million coincidences take place to make the miracle of life happen. So what I’m saying is, it was given to you, the same way it was kept away from me, and none of us, I repeat none of us gets to take credit for that.

You see I’ve heard it all. From people asking me straight upfront about the “defect” in my body to assuming the right to openly ask me about my “failures” at holding a pregnancy. Some have even come up with their theories of what’s wrong with my fertility. And all the while rubbing it in my face that what I lack is something life cannot move ahead without.

I’ve even had a little spectacle when a very loud mouth lady of the family snatched my nephew from my arms saying, “apna laao na”. The same woman now has a beautiful granddaughter. I feel sorry for every woman and every girl in her family to have someone like her around them.

It was never in my control anyway. And sometimes, I’m glad it is not. We cannot take the burden of our choices. Trust me that’s one decision you can never ever take the burden of; whether it was conscious effort to procreate, or a conscious effort not to. Somethings are better left in the hands of God.

What I’m getting at is, the difference between your group and mine is nothing. Nada. It’s just a matter of where you focus lies and what is the vision of your efforts in the long term.

I’m standing here, tall and confident. No baby is coming to save me. No child is coming to give me that green chit after which people will start giving me the benefit of doubt for things I mess up deliberately.

I have to assert my presence with a harder force because when I enter a room, I do not have an adorable baby that instantly gets everyone’s attention. So I have to make sure that when I walk through that door, people like me for me and come to me to talk about stuff that matters: like growth, like facing your fears, like understanding world politics, like having an opinion other than how reprimanding spoilt brats in public affects their confidence or not.

Numbers only define you when you sell yourself short. That little competition you did there in that mommy group just showed me a darker side of life where all of us women are pressurized into believing that ‘fertility-bullying’ is a real thing.

Please rise up above this. Let’s break this cycle.

With love,

Someone who would love to be in your shoes.