I always wanted a sister, but never had one. So I now live my dream through my two little girls. One can never predict which one they will get when they’re pregnant. Yes, there are feelings, hunches and old wives’ tales, but it’s the ultrasound or the “it’s a boy/girl” that confirms your future as a parent.
I grew up in a culture that placed importance on having a son because it is the son who carries the family name through generations and the son who performs the last spiritual rites for his parents when they die. Truth be told, I’d rather have a good daughter perform my rites than a bad son doing them. It used to drive me bonkers if someone asked me, “Are you going to try for a boy?” as if it was a matter of driving to the grocery store and picking out a baby from the baby aisle.
I do admit that I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a boy, whether he’d be naughtier or what he’d look like with our combined genes. But this was more out of curiosity than a need or want. Am I sad that I don’t have a boy? N.O. W.A.Y.! I would not trade my girls for the world. They are my sunshine in stormy weather. They make me lose my hair and fill my life with wonder and joy, all at the same time.
Parents live with the illusion that having one gender over the other will provide them a form of fulfillment. There are lots of parents, mostly fathers, who enjoy the “playing sports” aspect of having boys and then there are others who enjoy the girly activities with their girls. Most parents, myself included, hope that our children will always be close to us, in proximity and emotionally. But this is just false hope. I love my mother more than life and here I sit, 8461 miles away from her, living my life with my new family.
I feel sad that the value given to a female in this world is, at many a time, worse than inhuman. I am not a feminist, but I do believe in humanity being one. My heart bleeds to read about human trafficking, female infanticide, the mis-treatment of women even by other women, the biased benefits awarded to males over females. I watched a documentary recently about female infanticide, looked at my girls and wept. Newborn baby girls were suffocated upon birth. Can you even begin to wrap your mind around such an act?
Do you know what makes me even more sad? The fact that educated people of my generation still subscribe to this gender differentiation. What is the point of book knowledge when there is a lack of human knowledge? Stop for a moment, put your hand on your heart and think about whether this has crossed your mind, that you would have liked to have had a boy, or that boys should do some things, but not girls.
Some of us may be in a position to directly help girls or women in these circumstances and that is what we should do. The next best thing I think we can manage is starting with this lesson at home, with our children. Teaching our girls and boys about treating each other as human beings rather than formulating a method for them based on gender. It’s my genuine request that parents sit up, take this seriously and start raising good human beings, boy or girl.
Growing up as a female myself, this never bothered me that much because I knew I would be able to take care of myself should the need arise. But having girls? Now that’s a whole different story. I pray that they never have to face gender challenges in life, but if they have to, I hope I would have equipped them with the strength, knowledge and love to emerge victors.