For god’s sake, infertility is not a sin!
For infertile couples living in a joint family, coping with the stress of infertility could be nothing less than a nightmare. Many such couples are derided because of their infertility, and are often excluded from family functions because they are considered to be “inauspicious”. And if that was not enough, they are treated as second-class citizens simply because they don’t have a baby, while preferential treatment is provided for the daughter-in-law who does have a child.
The Hum Aapke Hain Kaun family
On the other hand, there are many joint families who are extremely supportive. Some family members are thankfully mature and provide a lot of affection and motivation to the infertile woman. They empathize with her and understand the pain she’s going through. Rather than painting all mother-in-laws as villains (blame our TV serials for that!), we need to understand the value a joint family can provide. People who live in a joint family often have a much more mature perspective, because they’ve seen a lot more of life's ups and downs. Because they live together, they share their sorrows and joys. And it’s a universal truth that sharing halves sorrows and multiplies joys, isn’t it?
In a supportive household, the daughter-in-law who is infertile is treated as part of the family, and is often pampered. The family members understand that she’s hurting on the inside and they do their best to try to integrate her with the rest of the family. Surprisingly, even some mother-in-laws are extremely supportive, especially when they’ve suffered miscarriages themselves and they know what it’s like to go through the loss of a pregnancy.
It all balances out
As one of my patients told me, “I get so much pampering from my family members that I’m touched. Honestly, though I do grieve about the fact that I don’t have a baby, I’m blessed that I have family members who love me so much. My nephews and nieces shower me with so much love that I don’t feel the absence of my own biological child at all.”
The major advantage of having a large joint family is that the chances of finding at least one empathetic family member who will provide care and comfort is much higher. The love and support this one person provides can outweigh all the barbs and taunts the others thoughtlessly fire.
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