Modern living and technological advancements have little or no impact on age old practices followed by our society. Ostracizing women who are unable to bear children is one such malpractice that continues to plague certain sections of the Indian Diaspora. According to the statistics, 35 – 40 per cent of the infertility problems are caused by male conditions, another 35 – 40 per cent by female conditions. However, our society continues to point an accusing finger at women due to our patriarchal family structure.
Infertility be it for a man or a woman can be emotionally and physically challenging. Familial care and support can play a pivotal role in helping the couple deal with this situation. Treating women as an outcast and devaluing them can turn into a painful experience. To understand this better.
let’s look at some of the social problems faced by women dealing with infertility:
Deviation from a normal way of living- Socio cultural norms view procreation as a normal or healthy way of life. Women who are infertile are viewed as someone deviating from this norm. They often face discrimination and feel stigmatized for ‘failing’ to become pregnant
Prejudice and ill will- Fertility is often treated as a vital trait that defines a woman. It enhances her attributes of feminism and grace. Such misplaced views often breeds narrow mindedness. In a scenario like this, women facing infertility problems are not only made to feel guilty but repeatedly face the ire of their family members or society in general.
Social Exclusion- For women who are unable to conceive even years after marriage, attending a social gatherings or a family function is no longer an enjoyable experience. Such women become a target of ridicule and embarrassment for their supposedly ‘pitiable’ situation. Infertility in women is viewed under the lens of superstition, considered unlucky in certain communities and are barred from attending religious events.
Negative Social Attitude- Societal pressure or exclusion can aggravate the situation for a women leading to emotional stress and psychological problems like depression. Negative social attitudes can elevate the distress in a childless couple. In most cases, women bear the brunt as they are constantly reminded about their barren state.
Infertility in women is not a life threatening problem. Timely consultation with your doctor and adherence to good lifestyle habits and diet can help you deal with it in a successful manner. As far as social problems and infertility is concerned, it’s high time we rise above such archaic thought processes and open our minds towards accepting women for their inherent strength, attitude and capabilities instead of judging them solely on their ability to procreate.