Right time to be a mother

Right time to be a mother

Most working women find it hard to decide on the right time for childbirth. What really matters is your body’s ability to take you safely through pregnancy, your mind’s capacity to prioritise and your heart’s calling for motherhood, writes Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma.

About two decades ago, education was a “privilege” to women, even those living in metros. They were expected to fulfill their family duties above all else, as their primary roles were that of a mother, wife, sister or daughter.

 Only if these duties were met, as per family expectations, could the women pursue any professional aspirations (if they were allowed to have one). If, by chance, a woman was the breadwinner, it was usually only because there was, perhaps, a lot of financial constraints in the family, but not as a matter of pride.

The scenario has changed to a large extent today. Education is no longer a privilege bestowed, but the right of every child, regardless of the gender. Women now pursue professional aspirations for not only financial security, but also for reasons of self-esteem.

Yes, times have changed. There’s a lot to rejoice about. However, all’s not well. While the women workforce grows stronger than ever in the corporate world, most women wage a battle within themselves on when is the right time to be a mother. When is the ideal time to have a kid? How long should the maternity break be?

When should she get back to work? How can she carefully restructure the career graph in such a way that neither the family nor work prospects suffer? 

Unfortunately, the time to plan and stabilise a woman’s career overlaps with her peak fertility period. No wonder this poses a huge concern for a woman who wants to have the best of both worlds.

Many a time, the woman’s career simply flies out the window post childbirth, and it is this fear that makes young women think of whether they need to marry at all in the first place, or whether now is as good a time as any to have kids, or whether to wait until she achieves a satisfactory professional tag.

There is no single outright answer. Every woman is different, as are her situations and resulting decisions. A few have tasted the success of achieving financial stability and well-placed promotions, and then gone on to sport the baby bump. Others have found it better to have a kid (or two in quick succession) and then chalk-out their career ahead.

On a general basis, younger women seem to find it easier to get back to work as their expectations may be low and they do not have a problem in starting all over again in their career. 

But there are other women who prefer to have a baby later on in their life, provided both their health and financial situations are upbeat. Such women believe that they have a greater bargaining power, with respect to flexibility of time and workload, on their return, .

However, if there is one thing every woman agrees upon, it is that managing both motherhood and career is no cake walk, no matter how flexible their professional life may be.

True, many corporate companies offer the work-from-home option for women who prefer not to take long maternity leaves. But it doesn’t help much when the child is still weaning or an overactive toddler demands the mother’s constant attention.

Having said that, it so appears, in the larger scheme of things, most women manage motherhood just fine.

 This is irrespective of the fact whether they opt for it early on in their lives at the brink of their career growth, or during their mature years when they feel have achieved enough to slow down a little.
There is no right time, really, to have a baby. The biological clock and career path have to be in sync. What’s ideal for one, may not work for the other. 

At the end of the day, what really matters is your body’s ability to take you safely through pregnancy, your mind’s capacity to prioritise and your heart’s calling for motherhood.

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