I don't know where to begin as my whole life has been filled with ups and downs. Let me go back to where it all started.
I had an arranged marriage and have been married for 12 years now. Right from the very first day, my relationship with my in-laws was bad. Everyone in the house dominated me.
I can't even begin to tell you the things I have gone through in these 12 years.
After marriage, my husband left for the USA as he was working there. I was left with my in-laws, even though my husband had promised me, much before the wedding, that he’d take me along. But as soon as we got married, he refused to take me. Still, I accepted the situation and lived with them.
His family includes my mother-in-law, father-in-law and two sisters-in-law. All of them tortured me in every possible manner in these two years.
I was forced to give up my job even though I’ve always wanted to work.
But the circumstances of the house were horrible and I had no option but to quit. They would make me do all the housework, even when I had my periods and was in pain.
After about 2 years, my husband finally took me to the USA. In the meanwhile, I got pregnant and by the grace of God, I was blessed with a baby girl. I stayed with my husband for 3 years and those were the most beautiful years of my life. My husband was the most supportive and loving person.
However, after 3 years, we had to shift back to India because of his work. I had to live with my in-laws once again and they left no stone unturned to torture me. I was abused for small things like not cleaning the washrooms properly or if the food wasn’t made well. To my surprise, my husband never supported me or took my side.
I thought I was married to a stranger, as this was not the same man I’d lived with for the last 3 years!
He would never go against his mother or sisters. Even after seeing everything that was happening to me, he just remained a mute spectator, a coward who never said anything. At the same time, destiny decided to throw another challenge at me.
My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD (mild form of autism). Shockingly, I was blamed for it!
My in-laws believed that my genes were the cause of this problem in my daughter.
I can never forget that horrible experience! On one hand, I was taking my daughter to various doctors and for therapies, on the other hand I was fighting with the school authorities to allow her to continue school while on the third side, my in-laws were tormenting me every day!
No one helped me in improving her condition but everyone made it a point to blame me for it!
When I asked my husband to help me because all this was driving me towards depression, he coolly said, “Every girl has to obey her in-laws as they are the elders. I can’t go against them." To top it all, he blamed me for having poor tolerance.
Finally one day, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I raised my voice against my in-laws. My husband instantly asked me to apologize to them. I refused and things went out of control. I was all alone, fighting against five monsters!
To worsen things, my husband revealed some of our bedroom secrets to his family.
He told them that I was on birth control and was not planning a second child. That was the last nail in the coffin! I left the house because I couldn't take it anymore. When I was leaving, they took my daughter from me, even though she was crying for her mother!
I was not allowed to take my daughter with me.
I went to my parents’ house but to my dismay, they refused to take me back as I belong to an orthodox family. My mother was adamant to send me back to my husband’s house.
I wanted to file a police complaint against my in-laws for forcibly taking away my daughter, but my parents stopped me.
Neither did I have money to support myself nor a roof over my head.
Ultimately, I was forced to go back. My in-laws were least bothered about my return but my husband asked me to forget everything and start our lives afresh. I had no option but to stay with them.
Since then, my in-laws’ behavior has turned even worse. I have to get up at 5 o'clock every morning to do all the household chores, take care of my autistic daughter and cook food for everybody.
No maid is allowed in the house while I am forced to do everything alone. Once again, my husband is back to pretending that he can't see whatever is happening with me.
He claims that he loves me but doesn’t do anything for my happiness!
A few days back, I got another shock when I missed my periods. I am not ready for another child, especially in this hostile atmosphere. I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother-in-law came to the USA and stayed with us for 3 months till my daughter was born.
During that time, she put me through hell. I would vomit all day but was still made to do all the household chores. After my daughter’s birth, I was not allowed to sleep for more than 5 hours even though the baby was cranky and would keep me awake all night!
I remember sleeping on the washroom floor after taking a quick bath, just to get a few minutes of sleep.
In addition to this, I was allowed to see my daughter only when she had to be fed. During other times, my mother-in-law would keep her away from me.
She even told my husband to send our daughter to India with her because, according to her, she has good experience with kids while I wasn’t capable of raising my own daughter!
My entire pregnancy and the birth of my daughter became a nightmare because of her; I couldn’t enjoy even a single moment of it.
Now when I am expecting my second child, I’m scared to bring him or her into this abusive environment. Nor do I want to go through another nightmare without anyone’s support.
Currently, when I have trust issues with my husband and my in-laws and I don't even know the fate of our relationship, how can I bring a child into this world?
Above all, how will I manage everything alone? I will have to do all the household chores without any help, take care of my autistic child who needs complete attention and raise another child with no help from the family!
I am too terrified to bring another child in this house.
I have spoken to some of my friends and they advised me to keep the baby because I have an autistic child and when she grows up, she would need someone to care for her after I’m gone. I don't know what to do.
If I decide to keep this child, I will have to be ready to go through the same trauma again and manage everything single-handedly. But if I don’t keep this child, will I be doing injustice to my daughter?
Shall I bring another life into this world to look after my daughter?
I shared my thoughts with my husband and he said that I should have this baby only if I am mentally sound and prepared for it and if I’m not, I shouldn’t go ahead.
Probably after 2 years from now, I may want another child when my relationship with my husband is good and trustworthy, when the environment of our house is sound and stable and when my life is actually happy. Then again, who knows what will happen in the future.
But now may not be the right time to bring another life into this world to suffer like me.
I am so confused. I don't want to take any wrong decision, which I will regret later.
I am very worried about my daughter as well. I keep thinking about what will happen to her after I'm gone. Even though she is showing a lot of improvement, I need someone to take care of her.
I am slogging day and night to give her the right therapies, medications and injections. I’m working on her personal skill development but there is still a long way to go. It haunts me to think what will happen to her if she doesn’t get better.
Because being a girl in this society is a challenge in itself and being a mentally challenged one is even more difficult.
I don’t have ADHD or any other problem and am still going through hell. I worry how will she manage to live in this world! I have only two options.
Either I give my daughter a sibling who will take care of her in the future or I make my life less challenging by not opting for this second baby.
I keep praying to God to give me the wisdom to take the right decision. If I weren’t staying with my in-laws, I would have had this child because I could have taken proper rest during pregnancy and after childbirth, and also hired help to take care of the house.
I even asked my husband to move out to a rented house for 2 to 3 years so that I could raise both my kids well, but he is isn’t ready for it. I haven’t told my mother-in-law or the other family members about my pregnancy, because once I do so, they will not allow me to terminate the pregnancy.
My husband has said that no matter what happens, he will not disclose this secret to his family members but I don’t know whether I can trust him.
The only thing I know is that it is my right to decide if I want to keep the child or not.
If anyone has the right to bring this child into this world, after God, then it is the mother who keeps the child for 9 months in her womb and bears the labour pain.
No one else has the right to decide about it.