Ajay

PAR26-Ajay

Name: Ajay
Age at interview: 32
Gender: Male

Background: Ajay and his wife have a two-year-old daughter and a second child on the way. They live with his parents in a regional town. Ajay is a social worker and he and his wife migrated to Australia from India a year before their daughter was born.

About Ajay

Ajay and his wife found balancing parenthood and work very difficult without family or close friends nearby, as their daughter could not cope with childcare. Their parents have helped them by coming from India for several extended visits.

More about Ajay

Ajay and his wife migrated to Australia soon after marriage and settled in a regional town. Despite family pressure to have children, they waited two years. When Ajay's wife became pregnant, their families were 'very happy'.

Ajay's wife experienced 'horrible' morning sickness during early pregnancy, and Ajay helped her by learning to cook. This was different from India where women were usually in charge of domestic duties but he said he enjoyed the challenge. When his wife was five months pregnant, her mother came to Australia, which Ajay said provided 'a good mental support'.

Ajay's wife received antenatal care through the local public hospital where she gave birth. For Ajay, being involved in the pregnancy and subsequent birth was new, as in India this was considered 'a woman's business'. His wife's labour lasted 24 hours and was a 'traumatic experience' for her. Ajay found watching her endure so much pain 'terrible' but he said it increased his respect and love for her. He now believes men should be in the delivery room to 'be aware' of what women go through.

Two months after the birth, Ajay, his wife and baby visited India for their daughter's baptism. Ajay's parents returned to Australia with them for 12 months to help care for their daughter as both he and his wife were working full-time.

After his parents left, Ajay said life became 'a bit stressful' as they tried to put their daughter in childcare but this did not work for the family. Ajay and his wife talked to their employers and, as Ajay's manager was 'understanding', he was able to work part-time. Ajay's wife was a manager herself and her job was less flexible. She could shift her hours but was often called in outside of work hours, which was very difficult for the family. As Ajay and his wife felt her job offered 'more opportunities', Ajay did not want to 'spoil her career'. Instead, they asked Ajay's mother-in-law to come back for six months, then Ajay's parents for a year.

Their parents had provided 'emotional support' and helped them adjust to parenthood and life in a new country. However, their parents also missed their own social connections at home. They offered to take their granddaughter back to India until she was older but Ajay and his wife have not agreed as they would miss her too much.

With his wife pregnant again, Ajay is hopeful that their daughter will be able to adjust to childcare after his parents leave. Longer-term, Ajay said he wants his children to understand their Indian heritage and learn the language but understands that their experiences will be different from his own. He anticipates some 'cultural and ideological conflicts' with his children but aims to be a 'good guide' to them. His advice to others in a similar situation is, 'Don't give up because moving to a new country is one of the biggest decisions you made' and 'a lot of people are here to help you'.