No one owes you an explanation for their life choices, especially when it comes to something as personal as having children. Actor Nadia Afgan was shamed for saying she didn't want children and is now speaking up against people who think they have a right to an opinion on her choices.
The actor appeared on Time Out With Ahsan Khan last Saturday alongside Omair Rana. They discussed their career choices and the roles they've done in TV shows seen recently. The conversation soon touched upon Afgan's marriage and how she and her husband "balance" everything in their house. The conversation later shifted on how Afgan spends her day with her husband where she mentioned that she has two dogs but no children. The host then chimed in and asked her if that's by choice to which she answered yes.
"At one point I thought, but then I thought it's okay, there are so many kids in the world. I'm very fearful and paranoid type of a person because I worry about his [Rana's] kids, my brother's kids, I'm very scared because the world has become so strange. Ahsan, you people are very brave because you guys have kids, I just stop breathing," she said. Rana chimed in and added that Afgan is the "best babysitter" one could find and complimented her for being affectionate and careful.
Afgan said babysitting is bearable as long as she knows that the kids are there for just a couple of hours. Soon after her interview, the clip started doing the rounds on social media platforms and the actor was called out for not wanting children and justifying it.
On Thursday, Afgan issued a statement on Instagram for the women who criticised her.
In the post, the actor wrote that she had decided years ago never to talk about this issue publicly because it was "so painful". Now, however, she feels like she needs to. "It’s needed because of the needless masala our influencers like to share, but more because I am shocked at how women have reacted to my personal statement on Ahsan Khan show," she said.
"I was a firm believer that all women, whether they have children or not, would know and understand how private a matter this is. I have always believed that all women understand how painful this journey can be, but the past few days have made me see how wrong I’ve been."
She wrote that ironically it's been women and "their hurtful comments, cruel judgements, harsh messages and despicable lack of compassion" that have made her change her mind and go public.
Talking about her marriage, she said, "Jodi and I have been married for 15 years. Both of us adore children - we really wanted to have our own one day. But Allah had other plans - and like everything else in life, we submitted to His will."
Afgan revealed that she had two miscarriages, three failed IUIs, battled depression after losing two unborn children, struggled from panic attacks out of fear of another miscarriage, gained weight from hormonal issues and was all set for an IVF treatment but couldn't go ahead with it because of the agony of the single line on the pregnancy test after going through "another emotionally and physically draining" procedure.
She appreciated her husband for being understanding supportive in her journey. "He saw what I went through, understood how I felt, and we made this decision, together. For him my comfort and health, both physical and mental, took precedence over everything. Contrary to this, the women in my life close to me and strangers alike, have shown a shocking lack of empathy - all these years and especially the last few days. I have relived my years of loss all over again since Saturday night."
She said that she is sad because she's been an ambassador for women rights all her life and believed that "women are one, a clan and a tribe. A group which sticks together, which believes in cheering each other on and giving each other respect, freedom and space - which understands what we go through when we bear children- and when we find out that motherhood was not meant for us - and how excruciatingly painful it is to talk about it on public forums. I stand corrected. We are not."
The Instagram post received comments from makeup artist Natasha Lakhani, actor Mira Sethi and Indian TV star Falaq Naz who sent hugs and love for the 51-year-old star.
Actor Zara Noor Abbas also acknowledged Afgan's post via her Instagram stories and said Afgan "owes nobody" any explanation as to what and who she is and what she believes in as a woman. "Specially no attention needs to give to faceless SM (social media) user. What you (Afgan) went through is painful - and excruciating. And I am proud of you for talking about this so strongly condemning these mindsets and behaviours."
Abbas also said that people in Pakistan think it's their business if a woman has a child or for say doesn't have one same for one who is married or divorced. "News is - it's nobody's BUSINESS," she concluded.
Reading Afgan's post was painful because she was driven to share something so deeply personal with the world because some people didn't understand that they have no say in her decisions. Let women breathe. Let them exist. Nadia Afgan owes no one any explanations and her post was made every more heartbreaking by the fact that she felt she had to post it.
But at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is, Nadia Afgan or any other woman owes you no explanation on why they do not want chlidren. It's their choice and it should be respected. If a woman says she doesn't want children, that should be taken at face value. She shouldn't have to tell you her entire life story for you to respect her decision.