Bachchan Baby - Nosipho
If the Bachchan baby had been born somewhere in South Africa, it might have been given the name Nosipho, which means she is a gift, in the language isiZulu. There are many boys and girls named Sipho or Nosipho respectively because all African languages have this concept of the baby as a gift.
Various cultures and religions have their way of explaining how this gift comes about. What cannot be disputed, however, is that it takes place in a woman’s body. No baby girls who grow up to be women, no sons and no future generations!
Visitors that used to follow this blog when I was active know that I’ve never commented on stars’ personal lives. I was mainly interested in the story, how actors interpreted it, costumes, lighting, directors’ vision, music and editing.
The life cycle
Today I’m writing about Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan’s baby for two reasons. Firstly, Aishwarya is the reason behind this blog. She was my initiation into Hindi cinema. Secondly, their baby is a reminder that women have a choice. Some have children. Others decide not to.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is not the first woman in the world to have a child. She did not request all the media attention about her pregnancy. We have all those people in India, Africa, Europe etc. because women give birth to children who grow up to be adults. Time passes and they get old, die and life goes on, meaning more children are born. A child is born as you are reading this blog.
Women and the pregnancy choice
Life as we know it will be disjointed if more women decided not to have children. It is for this reason that we should celebrate women and give them a safe and loving space. This is not always the case. Most social workers will tell you that violence against women happens predominantly at home. The preference for baby boys in some cultures makes things worse.
Numbers vary from country to country, but there are women who decided not to exercise the motherhood option. They have their reasons. In fact, two children are regarded as a ‘big family’ in some countries. Some couples are happy with just one.
I thought that having one child was a personal decision, until I lived in a country that encouraged women to have more children. Its policies support pregnant women in a variety of ways.
No medical bills. Health care for pregnant women is free. Husbands or partners have long ‘paternity leave’ to help bring up the baby. Parents have no financial stress when the child grows up because the state provides basic clothing and schooling (elementary, primary and high school).
Children and the economy
This is where I learnt about how the birth rate affects almost everything a government does. If more women decide not to have any children, a lot of industries will be affected. Just think of all the things parents buy.
What is the most expensive item? It’s a home. Some couples in South Africa love living in apartment buildings, but move out when the baby comes. Maybe I should qualify that. They buy a house if they can afford it.
It might be argued that economic freedom is one of the reasons why women have a choice when it comes to their bodies. They have money to climb Mount Kenya or set up their own software companies if they want. Maybe they remember sharing a room with two sisters and an aunt, or eating the same food day in day out. Maybe, they’ve seen divorced women struggling to make ends meet with more than two children.
We may not like it, but the fact remains that women have the choice to have or not to have children. The reasons are both personal and societal. If they are societal, it is up to policy makers to correct them, so that women feel comfortable with giving up that choice at some stage.