Ms. Asha Bandal
Ms. Bandal always knew she wanted to be a mother. “It was something that I never questioned for myself,” she said. “I knew for sure that that’s what I wanted to do.” When she first became pregnant with Chase, though, she felt nervous. How would others react to a pregnancy for a single mother using a donor bank?
Her friends cheered her. “It was totally unnecessary for me to worry so much,” she said. “Not a single person here or in any realm of my life was anything but supportive.
Other women considering artificial insemination soon came to Ms. Bandal for advice. Their number surprised her. “I think because I actually went through it…seeing pictures of Chase makes it more real for those who are considering it,” she said.
Ms. Bandal teaches Spanish at St. Christopher’s, so many students were curious to know whether or not Ms. Bandal planned to teach Chase Spanish. The answer, of course, is yes: Ms. Bandal sees in the language an opportunity to give her son a gift her own parents never gave her.
Although her father speaks more than one language, Ms. Bandal spoke only English throughout her childhood. “I feel like it [was] kind of a wasted opportunity,” she said. “I don’t want to waste the opportunity with Chase.”
When it came to her baby shower, Ms. Bandal didn’t let gender norms decide whom she invited. “If I have close guy friends and close girl friends,” she wondered, “why … would I only invite my female friends to my baby shower?”
For Ms. Bandal, the traditional baby shower symbolizes a greater societal idea: that girls are supposed to take an interest in babies, and boys are not. “Why wouldn’t we expect that men would be sweet and loving to a baby,” she asked, “and why do we expect that all women should be?”
Ms. Bandal encourages boys to challenge this idea and others about our identities and life purposes. “I think it’s really easy to fall into ‘I need to get this job by this time. I need to be making this much money. I need to be married and have kids by this age,’” she said.
“I think it’s just so ingrained in society that ‘Oh by that time, you really should be doing this.’ That’s right for some people, but it’s not right for others, so to be able to…choose your own path, or your own future…[that] might be totally different form your best friend’s or your cousin’s … Don’t feel like you have to follow anyone else’s timeline.”