Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Of three abortions

I'd met Ana several years ago while doing a tiny role in a play. She was beautiful- dusky and slender, and about to marry soon. She happened to be a Christian, her fiance was a Hindu. (I don't know if these demographics are relevant or not). Ana and her fiance got married, and before you knew it, she had conceived. She'd be at rehearsal, rather pale and wan, and then rush to the toilet and throw up.
We were all very solicitous of her. After a few weeks of throwing up and general misery, one fine day she announced that she was going in for an abortion. She also told us that she had had two abortions before she had married. ( Both pregnancies due to the same chap whom she'd subsequently married) . And now her mother-in-law was insisting that she abort the child as her son wasn't ready to be a father yet. Ana wanted the child, but could not have it without her husband's support. They were living with his family at the time.

I was furious with A for loving and marrying such a wimp. Didn't she have a say in contraception use? Especially after the first abortion.

If her husband had been on the premises I might have strangled him.
For not learning from the first abortion.
For not standing up to his mother.
For being so weak.

If his mother had been around I would have asked her a few simple questions:
1) Since when do you have the right to interfere in your married son's reproductive life?
2) Can you guarantee that Ana will be able to conceive/bear a child after this abortion?
3) Is there a hidden agenda responsible for this interference?

Obviously none of these questions were answered since they were never asked.
And though I did not have any right to ask them, these questions have stayed with me all these years.

It's been over a decade since I last met Ana. I have no way of locating her.
I wonder:
Does she have any children?
Is she as slender and beautiful twelve years later?
What kind of life is she leading? Is she happy?

A whole bunch of questions.
Not a single answer.


Mira's mom said...

Hey Dipali - praying with you that Ana does read this post one day and just answers up from the blue. By the way, I always felt that all of us, whether willingly or unwillingly were captive users of facebook or other social networking swites - any chance that she's there?

Anonymous said...

What a wuss that man is Gahhhh, and I hate mother in laws who dont know boundaries!!! I threw my ex out of the home for such issues - sorry for the rant but the angst just refuses to die when such things come up

Mampi said...

D, Maybe Ana is also asking the same questions from herself. After all, she would have to, in case she has not opted to live like a handbag.

Noodlehead said...

whoa! I hope ana's doing good wherever she is. oh yeah, pox in her MIL and husband!!

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

this is all too upsetting. how to find peace?

~nm said...

Strange!! Why didn't the son (I would rather not call him the husband since he was his mom's puppet) have the guts to come up to her and tell her that he didn't want a child?

And yes, why couldn't they have used proper contraception if he was that scared of being a father?

Damn that guy and damn that guy's mother!

Banno said...

Why is it that reproduction or the lack of it, or the handling of it, is dictated by others than the woman herself? And why is it that beautiful, intelligent women land up with such messes of human kind?

the mad momma said...

wow - this happens in real life? well wherever she is.. i hope she's dumped the wuss and told his mother a few home truths before she walked out with her head held high.

Indian Home Maker said...

I hope the girl found the courage and the smartness to make the son choose...I hope she is living a happy life with her husband and children- though he does not sound like such a worthy guy.
And it is very much possible that the mother was hoping for the boy to leave the wife (different religion)...having a child would have made a separation difficult...

Anonymous said...

Hope Ana's read this. And that she did move on and find her place under the sun.

Anonymous said...

Ana's story is saddening. I wish women had more control over their bodies. Unfortunately, there are men who compel their wives/ girlfriends to abort, just as there are men who compel wives/ girl friends to have more children just because they want a son :(

Unknown said...

Can I say that out of all the people in your narrative I found Ana the most annoying.

Yes, mothers-in-law can be evil and husbands can be wimps and/or controlling. But she was not a child. She was an adult woman letting others trample over her reproductive rights. She did not also seem to be some kind of gaon ki gori. She was someone who married who she wanted and carried on a relationship with him for a considerable time before that marriage.

So...oh why was she being a total doormat and letting others walk all over her? One thing I know is that people treat you as badly as you let them.

Very interesting story Dipali, and I wonder what Ana is doing now.

Anonymous said...

How sad

Roop Rai said...


Neera said...

I too really hope Ana is happy and well and you are able to locate her somehow.

Usha said...

It is so sad that educated women act as if they dont own their bodies. And often isnt it a woman who is the enemy of another?

the mad momma said...

actually - no offence Dipali - but what were they doing to get knocked up accidentally so often?

i know birth control is not fail proof but all of us here have used it. it can fail once - but twice? thrice?

i hate it when people are careless and use abortion as back up contraception...

Mana said...

Why did she marry such a gutless fellow?

Choxbox said...

i dont know dipali. the more i live the stronger is my conviction in this - you take shit, you get shit.

hope ana has found peace.

Anonymous said...

God...that post upset me.


Can;t you try and trace her?

Unknown said...

My eldest bua had to abort two babies because hers was a widow remarriage and her mom in law didnt want her to have any children. The abortion , in the late 40s and early 50s were done by midwives or"dais" and left such a scar on her brain that she turned schizophrenic in her later life. Therefore, I doubt whether a woman who has not had a voluntary MTP can find peace . But again, I hope and pray that she has .

Pinku said...

its a sad stroy.

but I wonder how a woman who is allowed to be a part of a theatre group (not a conventional job by any reckoning)is not allowed to have a baby, if she so wishes.

Are you sure it really was the mother in law who insisted on it? or was the lady in question more worried about her career and figure?

Also its not like she couldnt have taken some precautions herself...pills and other female methods were available even 12 years back, weren't they?

Rohini said...

OMG. Three abortions. That husband of hers deserves a spanking...

dipali said...

@mira's mom: You know, I've even forgotten her maiden surname, if I ever knew it, so I doubt if I'd find her.
@phoenixritu: Yes, but what about her own good sense? Seems lost in that strange 'love' she had for the guy.
But once married, I can imagine her crumbling under the combined pressure of hubby and MIL.
@mampi: I wonder if she has reached/crossed her breaking point.
@noodlehead: I can't exonerate her either, you know.
@kbpm: just forget you ever read this:)I'd forgotten it for years.
@~nm: The entire bunch of them seem to be highly irresponsible people. But given that they were married and she wanted the child, it seems really cruel.
@banno: It is really so puzzling and disturbing.
@the mad momma: I agree with you totally- the behaviour of all concerned seems both careless and callous. I think Ana was as responsible as her spouse for the three untimely conceptions.
@indian home maker: What you suggest seems very likely- that seems to be the reason for the MIL's stand.
@threedrinksahead: We can only hope!
@lekhni: Sad to say, there are also women who have abortions without even informing their husbands. Surely having or not having a child within matrimony is a joint decision. But as you say, mostly it is women's reproductive rights that are imposed upon.
@jawahara: I agree with you absolutely. She seemed totally besotted with the twit she married. And she apparently didn't care enough for her own body to go in for reliable contraception.
@mumbaigirl: Oh yes. I remember feeling so angry and upset for a long long time.
@rooprai: hmmm.
@neera: Hope so.
@usha: I agree with you totally.
@manasa: Love is inexplicable, no?
@choxbox: Absolutely. Why be so needy in a relationship that you can be trampled all over?
@chandni: Yes, it is upsetting. But I don't think I can trace her- I didn't really know her well.
@eve'slungs: Yes, I can only imagine the emotional scarring your poor Bua went through. Even if a woman makes a considered, informed, unpressured decision to terminate a pregnancy, it still remains traumatic.
@pinku: I have no reason to doubt her word. It was not a professional
theatre group, by the way- just a bunch of amateurs. She had been modelling for some time and was looking forward to having a family. I think she told us about her MIL's stand because she was in such shock that she needed to share the trauma, and we were all meeting for rehearsals every day.
@rohini: He sounds like a spineless idiot, but they should have mutually decided to plan their family, no? Especially given the earlier abortions.