Coping with Infertility

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There is no other word to replace Motherhood. To give a definition of it would be a futile endeavor, though we might succeed if we try to explain from a biological vantage. Biological interpretation has also got its limitations. For that matter, scientific understanding of the world and its phenomena is a continuing exercise. Scientifically explained phenomena that have been proven correct at one point of time are subject to change altogether at other points. While trying to understand the phenomenon of procreation, particularly of the human kind, one might deduce it as a natural process of continuing the human evolution. That is undeniable. But the explanation has its limitation, as it would fail to throw light on the implications that it has at the individual and the social level. What happens when this natural process of giving birth is enfeebled by different factors? The problem of infertility has been on rise. It was considered as an urban phenomenon, which is not true. Industralised countries have have faced this problem and they are still struggling with it. Asian countries like India and Thailand have become destinations for ‘Medical Tourism’. Many women from India have volunteered to become surrogate mothers for couples facing infertility problem. This advanced medical practice has not reach Manipur though. But the problem of infertility has been growing in the state. A number of infertility clinics that have been opened at different pockets of Imphal are evidences of the phenomenon. There are many couples who are living a traumatic life for not being able to bear child. Most often women alone shoulder the guilt and the blame associated with the problem. Male infertility is overlooked because of the skewed perspective that prevails in patriarchal societies. It is most often forgotten that it takes two for a child to be born. When a woman cannot bear children, it enormously affects her identity. The pain can extend far beyond her to impact personal relationships. Key findings from researchers based on infertility have maintained that first and most obviously, there is the disruption to the expected developmental shift to parenthood. The findings says that women often begin to imagine themselves as mothers long before actually trying to have children, and this is certainly influenced by implicit cultural and societal messages that idealise motherhood. When this imagined self of a mother, however tentative, is withdrawn, it may result in feeling a loss of control, threaten her imagined future, cause her to doubt her womanhood, and feel like an assault on her ability to self-actualise. Late marriage is one important factor as pointed out by medical experts. Women who are educated generally give priority to their career. On the other hand, it is the wish of the parents to see their daughter to be self-reliant in terms of economic independence. They want to see their daughters getting married with a stable job in hand. They want to ensure that their daughters do not become a burden to the in-law’s family. After all a bride with a job in her hand is considered most ‘eligible’, though this kind of preference is not expressed outwardly by the groom’s family. Another important factor for infertility is the changing physical environment like pollution and the life-style that we lead today. Infertility is an awful experience and it has great psychological repercussions. Education in this area – both for clinicians and the public – is call for.

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