Friday, 27 July 2012

Dealing with Infertility

After I wrote the post My experiments with infertility where I lay bare my soul, I received a lot of support from all you dear friends who read my blog. I would like to thank each one of you for being so kind to me in this difficult time. Your emails, messages, texts and calls have given me strength to carry on, thank you.

Many people congratulated me for being brave to have  written  about how am dealing with infertility. I believe that just like people who have a hole in their heart or suffer from diabetes, infertility is a disease and there is nothing to be ashamed of being infertile. In 2009,WHO (World Health Organisation) has defined ‘Infertility’ as a disease. This is not self inflicted and can happen to anybody. Why do then people feel ashamed of talking about it?

After reading my post, some friends felt sorry for me and others had an instant advice ‘Have you thought of adoption? ‘. This question makes be furious. Instead of asking me, how I am coping, people have been insensitive and given me their pearls of wisdom. At the moment I am dealing with the reality ‘I can never have my own child’. The wound is too raw and it will take time for it to heal before I can even think of adoption.

I am trying to come to terms with my situation and am fighting hard each day. Some days are harder and I just want to curl up in bed and cry my eyes out and other days I am trying to find an answer. Every where I see, friends are having babies and some their 2nd child. I want to share their happiness but, the ache in my heart refuses to go away. I look at them with envy and anger that, I will never get to experience what they can. When I meet friends, they talk about their child’s achievement and post pictures of their paintings, artwork and music recitals on Facebook. I have nothing to share and I get that hollow feeling at the pit of my stomach.

I do want to feel happy and normal. I want to meet people who know exactly what I am talking about. I want to talk to people who are dealing with being childless and will understand that I am not going crazy and that I am grieving for a lost child. I want to be amongst people who will not judge me for feeling jealous of friends. People who will not be ashamed of talking about infertility and their own struggles of coping with it.

Unfortunately, after scouring the internet, I could not find a single support group in India for people who have struggled with infertility and are childless. Infertility affects nearly 15-20% of married couples  in India and the number is growing each day. Many of these people, like me want to approach a support group for counselling to come to terms with our situation. We need a place where we feel a sense of belonging.
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 To find answers and to help others along the way, I        started a group ‘AADHAR’ on Facebook. This group is not just for married couples. Anyone who wants to be a part of this group and contribute are welcome. Please spread the word and help me to make this group a success.

I am currently based out of Pune and would be interested in meeting people personally and have an informal group session. Anyone who wants to contact me, can drop me a mail at vkherdekar@gmail.com.


"Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

Monday, 23 July 2012

Are women their own worst enemies?


‘Unch Maza Zoka’ loosely translated as ‘My swing will touch the sky’ is a Marathi television series based on the life of ‘Ramabai Ranade’. The series deals with her life and that of her husband 'Justice Madhav Govind Ranade’ who was a reformer and the founding member of Indian National Congress. Ramabai was married at the age of eleven to Madhav Ranade who was 32 and had lost his first wife to illness. Ramabai was illiterate when she married Justice Ranade who helped her to learn how to read and write. In spite of their age difference, there was a camaraderie between them and Ramabai was thoroughly inspired by Justice Ranade. He was highly educated and strived his whole life to remove the social evils that existed in the society. He was against untouchability, the practice of sati and child marriage and sponsored the first widow marriage. He was a strong advocate of women’s right to education. Ramabai herself is  shown to be very enthusiastic and dedicated to learning.

There are many other characters in the TV series such as  her own family, which believes that if a woman learns to read and write, she is sure to become a widow. Her in-laws though not very approving of Ramabai’s education have grudgingly accepted it. The women folk in the house think that Ramabai’s place is in the kitchen and she needs to be a good homemaker and take care of the household instead of  learning how to read and write.

What comes to mind after watching this series is that, even though Ramabai lived nearly 100 years before our time, the situation of women has not changed much since then. The regressive social norms in India are still very rigid and still very much in favour of men.

Why has that been possible? Why is it that, we have not been able to change the way men in India look at women as objects? Are we as women, our own worst enemies?

I believe, we are our own worst enemies. As women, instead of understanding the pain of a woman, the mother-in-law is the one who will abuse and is even ready to kill her daughter-in-law for dowry. A woman instead of supporting her own daughter to study further and help her stand on her own feet, will get her married of at an early age. The daughter will have no education or the required skills to empower herself if her in-laws throw her on the road for not getting dowry.

The Guwahati molestation case is one of the many situations wherein the woman is seen as an object instead of a human being. To top the situation, women leaders who are supposed to raise their voices against such injustice are belittling women by asking them to dress up conservatively so as not to provoke men in our society. As if, these men will not eve tease or whistle at a woman who is dressed conservatively or never rape a woman who wears a sari. Such shallow statements are nothing but means to cover up and protect men from ever facing the reality that they are no longer living in the ‘Barbaric age’, that women are not possessions but have the same rights as they have.

For such incidents to stop, we as women need to stand united and think of each other. Every mother needs to teach her son to treat women with respect. Every woman needs to teach her daughter that she never has to compromise. Every man needs to treat his wife and daughter with the same respect he expects from them.
The series, ‘Unch Maza Zoka’ talks about women empowerment and the importance of educating women. Justice Madhav Ranade was such a driving force to bring about social reforms even in the face of severe criticism. Today, our society needs many such Justice Ranades if it needs to be, a safe and secure place for all the daughters, sisters, wives and mothers of India.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Are you listening?

These past few years have changed me as a person. I was someone, who could talk a lot and have a conversation with anyone, on any topic. But now, I am unsure about making conversations and try to listen more rather than speak.

In this entire process of learning to listen more and speak less, I came across a lot of specimens who had some distinct qualities that could be neatly categorised into sections. I too have been a part of some categories at one point of time and so can easily identify the symptoms that plague them. They  all practice the art of listening at different levels.

You too can easily identify them, they are all around us.

1) The Motor Mouth: This class of people can be identified by the endless talk coming out of their mouth. They have a perpetual verbal diarrhoea and cannot keep from talking on all topics right from their cat to their cousin’s aunt’s nephew’s neighbour. They don’t even take a pause to breathe and can comfortably keep talking talking

for hours at end. They have an opinion about each and every topic under the sun. You can get tired of just listening to their endless talk. Such people could care less for what others have to say and are very bad listeners. They have never ever listened to anyone else talk and such people can be really annoying. They will cut you mid sentence and start their own topic with total disregard whether other people are interested in their interests. I have never been a part of this category but am sure hubs will have a different opinion.

 

2) I could care less: These people will have no interest in whatsoever you listening5want to say. They can ignore you totally and have a conversation with someone else sitting next to you a. These people are always in a hurry to move to the next thing and could care less about your opinions and viewpoints. They will rush past from one conversation to another at breakneck speed without taking a pause to listen to anyone. They are the worst people to go to if you have a query or a problem and want them to listen. This category of people will not even pretend to listen to your conversation. Stay far away from such people as they do more harm than help.

 

3) Lost in Wonderland: The people in this category will be day dreaming and lost in thoughts when you are talking to them. 5ccc4_funny-dog-pictures-i-sorry-wad-u-say-i-wasnt-listeningYou can identify them by that dazed look in their eyes and the blank expression on their faces. They will be in their own world and will keep saying yes, right, hmmm at regular intervals just too prove that they are listening.

At the end of your conversation they will end up asking you about the same thing about which you spoke just a few minutes back. These people can be infuriating as they just pretend to be listening to you but are actually lost in thoughts. The ‘Lost in wonderland’ kind have a very short attention span and it is better to seek someone else for advice or suggestions.

 

4) I am just being polite: This category will at least pretend to listen to you albeit out of politeness. Most people you meet for the first time or have just met only a few times, fall in this category. They will have a smile imageson their face and will try to maintain eye contact when you are speaking, just to be polite. In their head, they are actually trying to think what they want to say and deciding on various topics to keep the conversation flowing. On the other hand they might also be thinking of an excuse to escape from a conversation.

I have been in this category many times and I too have thought of ways to escape from a boring conversation or when one person like ‘The Motor mouth’ has captured a conversation and is going on and on about his own life.

 

5) Tell me, I am listening: The people in this category are genuinely interested about what you have to say and will listen to you without any distractions. 1133702_f520Though these people are a rarity in this world full of distractions and the constant hum of voices, there are a few people who will ACTUALLY listen to you and will not just see your lips moving. Many men will say they fall in this category as they hardly ever speak in front of their wives. Even though they do not speak does not mean they are actually doing active listening.

They will not make their own deductions but will wait for the person to finish what he has to say before they say a word. Such people are rare gems and are a comfort to you in tough times or when you just want someone to listen.

 

Listening is an art, which is just like other forms of art, that becomes better with practise. It takes a lot of will power and effort to make your mind to concentrate and listen to someone else speak. Our natural instinct is to share our own story, our own problem or our own achievement. One has to keep aside his own stories and just listen with an open mind and a conscious body language.

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