Islamabad: The desire to have children is a natural phenomenon for most couples. So there is an inevitable and unavoidable personal psychological struggle that a childless person may experience.
There is no concept of privacy when it comes to the issue of childbearing. Every khala, phuphi and aunty will consider it their God-given responsibility to bombard a newly married girl with questions like, “So, what are you waiting for?” or “When will your mom and dad be blessed with grandchildren?” or “When are you telling us the good news?”!
These pestering questions come just as frequently from close family as from strangers, explains one woman on condition of anonymity. “Initially, I used to take the questions in my stride, even laugh them off, but after a while they became explicit, it almost drove me crazy but for the support of my husband.
Female Infertility Causes and Treatment
People, who hardly know me, never miss a chance to stick their nose in my business. Why should I explain to a completely unknown woman sitting next to me at a wedding why I don’t have kids, and when will I, and how many I want,” she fumes.
Such intrusiveness creates a milieu that further exacerbates a childless women’s awareness of her inability and more also adds to a childless couple’s disappointment, despair and pain in being unable to fulfill their parental instincts. For many women, because motherhood is synonymous with femininity, they are led to believe that childless women are deprived of the most central element of their gender identity. Many, therefore, tend to suffer from low-self esteem, social withdrawal, and other socio-psychological trauma.
The stigma is most devastating for the less educated women without careers or other non-familial aspirations. In illiterate or less literate families, particularly in rural Pakistan, they may even be subjected to domestic violence or other dangerous forms of so-called infertility treatments performed by local quacks that may endanger their lives.
Since the majority of Pakistani women are actually over fertile (a Pakistani woman gives birth to an average of 3.73 children compared to 1.5 in Europe and 1.9 in the US according to latest figures released by the CIA World Factbook), the problems faced by one-fifth of the country’s couples that are infertile are obscured amongst the myriad of overpopulation issues.
Depictions of childless couples in the media are few and far between, and there is a pressing need for family planning and population welfare organizations to run mass awareness campaigns aimed at reducing and resisting the social stigma of infertility.
Additionally, male doctors should be included in infertility treatment programmes to motivate men to take fertility tests. In many cases, letting go of ego issues can help a couple conceive.