My dear daughter,

This letter is not just to you but to all those young women out there. This is from a concerned mother to all of you who are racing against time that they have forgotten to stop and smell the rose in their journey called life.

Somewhere down the line, we mothers in our quest for giving our girls independence and financial security have not taught them the beauty of being a woman. We have coaxed and coached you and today you wonderful young girls are standing on the threshold of an exhilarating world of a career. You are all happier carrying a briefcase than a rolling pin — why not? You are all princesses at multi-tasking and most of you learn to handle both the briefcase and the rolling pin with finesse. Why, then, this letter?

The reason is simple. Over a period, I have been experiencing a sense of disquiet that somewhere down the line, there would be a generation of unhappy women spending their time in guilt, if not regret.

The other reason are the two news items I recently saw in a couple of newspapers. One, the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, fretting about plummeting birth rates, had started promoting the idea of dating parties. The other, is that women have greater freedom in making a personal choice on when to have a child and have started resorting to cryopreservation — preserving their fertile eggs to be used later.

You are much more independent and versatile than we were. You are smart and confident and can make a mark in our economy. I am only surprised that, on the one hand, you are all risk takers and do not run away from taking any additional responsibility in your workplace; on the other, why do you shy away from the additional burden of marriage and motherhood?

Cryopreservation, though a wonderful scientific breakthrough, does not deal with an important aspect of taking the emotional aspect of being a mother into account. Mothers need to be young and healthy in order to shoulder this great responsibility for another human being. The older we grow, the shorter is our patience threshold. How then can we enjoy the joy and burden of motherhood? You youngsters are all too aware of the clock ticking in your office as far as promotions and growth are concerned, yet silence the biological one that is ticking inside you?

“I am not ready for marriage and motherhood” is a common refrain. My dear child, so also you were not ready for your schooling. Were you not apprehensive when you had to make choices in your academics, career, before your presentation at office? As a human being, we need to make many choices.

Family is the first social unit. It is to the family that we run when we need reassurance. A child helps us grow as an individual and become a better rounded person. That’s my belief. I do not believe that many of you have no motherhood instincts looking at the sprout of IV clinics across the nation. I only believe that many of you leave it too late for, after all nature decreed otherwise.

Finally, one can balance a career and home life. We only need to be open to the support system that is around us but more important, we need to prioritise and chalk out the most important things in our lives before it is too late.

(The writer is assistant professor in Manipal University and can be reached at chandrika1306@gmail.com)

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