Pakistani women are calling out pregnancy shaming for its hypocrisy

Pakistani women are calling out pregnancy shaming for its hypocrisy

It's ironic how our society first pressures women to get pregnant... and then shames them for it
Updated 03 Jul, 2019

For a country that ranks as one of the most densely populated in the world, it is almost baffling that there is little discourse about the biological processes that lead up to this conclusion.

Following a couple's marriage, the first question they're asked is "*Aur khushkhabri kab suna rahe ho?" (When will you tell us the good news?), completely ignoring a couples financial standing or personal choice.

But interestingly enough, once a woman is pregnant, she shouldn't really talk about it. And how dare she show her baby bump!

Case in point, Aroosa Siddiqui at Fashion Week Pakistan 2018, where the young woman walked the ramp pregnant and received spiteful comments about showing off her baby bump, something which needs to be hidden.

Writer Zeina Toric-Azad has had enough of it and took to Twitter to ask why pregnancy shaming exists in a country obsessed with having children.

Zeina's question brings into sharp contrast the contested notion of modesty or 'haya' which has become increasingly suffocating, hampering the mobility of women in public spaces.

This immobility and ex-communication of women is further aggravated if women are pregnant. Zeina's thread dissects the very reasons for this restriction and inaccessibility.

Answers to Zeina's thread revealed some very intriguing aspects of pregnancy in the Pakistani society.

Women started opening up about the bizarre things they have either gone through or seen pregnant women go through due to the embarrassment attached to expecting a child.

These include unrealistic expectations such as not screaming during labor, as it is deemed inappropriate for women to scream or cry out very loudly.

Some pointed out the lack of safe public spaces that increase the discomfort of pregnant women when leaving the household.

Also, how is it okay to mock a pregnant woman?

The overall attachment of shame is one many don't understand.

There's a lot that needs to be undone and unlearned with regards to pregnancy and the myths that surround it. Let's hope this conversation grows.


M. Saeed Jul 02, 2019 07:44pm
We are completely ignoring the children who since ages are being told that the angels bring the babies from the sky-light windows.
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RationalBabu Jul 02, 2019 08:59pm
In the Western culture every baby is planned and cherished and when a woman decides to have a child she is proud to show off her baby bump to the world. Whereas here a woman is expected to reproduce multiple times often without the means to support the offsprings and then made to feel ashamed about it! Who is more civilised?
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Nadeem Jul 02, 2019 11:39pm
People are petty.
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Silly Jul 02, 2019 11:52pm
I am amazed with these sort of comments that women is shamed to show her belly. Lack of education in such manner is the problem. Plus, in schools children needs to know how does the baby comes into this world. Lastly, I have no hope of such society where we still don’t give empathy towards women and there issues.
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AK4PK Jul 03, 2019 01:33am
We all came to this world through the divine process of man+ woman= pregnancy = women having bumps = pain and immense inconvenience = child birth = joy and pride. Each stage of the process has its ups and downs and the woman carrying needs respect and kindness from everyone around, known and unknown. If at any stage she screams or shouts because she is in pain, it is her right to do so and there is no shame or embarrassment attached to such behaviour. Am a man grateful to a woman for my birth.
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Ahmad Jul 03, 2019 04:54am
Excuse me! Where does this happen? May be in your case and your limited definition of society. Majority of Pakistanis don’t have any issue and treat pregnant females with respect and dignity .
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illawarrior Jul 03, 2019 07:11am
Pregnant women need to get "out there". Everyone else needs to get over it!
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rajendra Jul 03, 2019 09:15am
Good that DAWN is not regressive. Very few tabloids have courage to talk taboo subjects.
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MA Jul 03, 2019 06:59pm
I dont know why these so called librals brings out such nonesense issues. I dont see in my life any pregnant women is disrespected anywhere. They are respected more actually when they are out. I think these so called librals living in thier own little space and cant see the world around them.
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Nilofer Yawer Jul 03, 2019 07:53pm
@Ahmad maybe so in your experience, but I can give you many examples of women being rejected maternity leaves since it's not considered 'an illness', or women shamed into hiding and carrying themselves with shame since people keep staring at them. Their entire body language changes. The point is that despite it being a natural process, no one can stand a healthy and happy woman. We like to feed off of women's insecurities and slander or mock them to make ourselves feel good.
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Mrs saba Jul 05, 2019 03:08pm
@Ahmad my MIL wanted me to stay indoors when I was pregnant telling me halat dekho apni. And we live in a pretty elite neighbourhood.
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Pawan Jul 05, 2019 03:52pm
Pakistani society must change its attitudes. Life is about living naturally and not under fear of society. Good to see a lot of positive changes in Pakistan, led by women themselves mostly and supported well by men in many cases. Good going. More to do.
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