An increasing number of Indian women are choosing not to have children in a country where motherhood is revered, reports BBC Hindi’s Divya Arya.
Anjana Kumar has been married for more than nine years years now and does not have a child.
But that hasn’t deterred her parents from giving her traditional herbs “to help her conceive” because they still cannot believe her decision to remain childless.
Ms Kumar, 37, does not feel that the absence of a child has made her an incomplete woman.
“Frankly, I think motherhood is overrated. It may be joyous, but it’s also a big long-term responsibility that I could never prepare myself for,” she says.
Ms Kumar is among a growing number of women who are choosing not to have children in the world’s second most populous country where motherhood is glorified in society, literature and films.
An Indian scholar once wrote that the “apotheosis of motherhood has reached a greater height in India than anywhere else”.
Opting out is not easy for women in a country which, in 2011, had a total fertility rate of 2.5, only slightly higher than the replacement rate. It is also a country where more than 200 mothers also die out of every 100,000 live births ever year, and an infant accounts for every sixth death.