BATTLE OF THE SEXES
First, mommy had a baby girl. Then she had another baby – a girl again. Then another baby – but a boy this time around.
The news quickly spread that mommy’s baby had arrived. So as expected the phone began ringing and the well-wishers began pouring in. Again, as expected, after the hearty congratulations came the big question, ‘Boy or Girl?’ Interestingly some people didn’t even bother with the congratulations at first. Instead they reversed the order of ‘things’ by jumping first to the famous ‘Boy or Girl?’ question. It was after the more favourable response – Boy – popped out, that the excited congratulations followed.
Now, this congratulations was quite different from what mommy was used it. It was big. It was loud. It was racy. It sounded more like ‘Finally, you have done it.’ There were loud hi-fives and big thumb ups flying across the room. Some people actually substituted ‘well done’ and ‘you’ve done well’ for ‘congratulations’.
Mommy couldn’t help but compare these exaggerated greetings with those she received about 2 years ago when her second daughter was born. Goodness, there was nothing she did not hear. Someone actually told her ‘It is well’. Another person shared his testimony of how he finally had a boy after 2 girls. So in his words, ‘Don’t worry, God will do it for you too’. There was also a joke that she had better not become ‘Abigail’. Mommy was a bit lost – why in the world would she become Abigail. It was then a friend explained that the name Abigail sounded like a Yoruba and English mix of ‘A bi girl’ which can be roughly translated to ‘We give birth to girls’. Some people even had the nerve to jokingly tell her ‘E e ti bere’ (a traditional way of saying that in the absence of a baby boy, you’ve not started the child bearing journey yet).
Anyway all that was past. Now, she had her son in her arms and she was being hailed from all corners. Amused, she looked down at him and realized that the fact that he came with body parts different from hers didn’t make her love him more. The fact that he would carry on her husband’s family name didn’t make her love him more. The fact that some traditions felt that he should have access to more family ‘rights’ didn’t make her love him more. The fact that he was a boy didn’t make her love him more.
She loved him because he was a part of her. He had been a part of her right from the very beginning. She had experienced the miracle of him growing inside of her and he had taught her the art of selflessness when his demands from within influenced her lifestyle and choices. He had made her discover strength she thought she had lost when she pushed out his 4kg body. He had made her realize that she had more room for love when she stared into his eyes for the very first time.
Yes, she loved her boy. And yes again, she didn’t love him more than she loved her girls. Her girls were just as special as he was because they too had made her heart feel the very same things. They too had taught her the very same lessons he taught her. They were all special in their own way and even though they each occupied different pockets in her heart she loved them all the same.
Though a tradition that I want to believe is slowly dying, there are still a few cultures where higher premium is placed on the male child. Hence some ‘serial’ and ‘first time’ moms of girls feel the urgent need to ‘produce’ a boy. Mommies, this is no fairy tale. I have listened to radio shows where even some female callers support the notion of a woman visiting the labor ward as many times as it will take her to get out that ‘heir’. I have also heard some very educated people pass comments which insinuate that the male child is a must-have. Even a medical doctor has told a colleague who had 2 girls that she is disappointed in her for not being able to time her sex ‘right’ in order to have a boy. ‘How do you think I did it?’ she asked. You also have women tearing up during ultrasounds when they discover that they are carrying yet another girl…
and you have husbands going outside his matrimonial home in search of a boy.
Yes, it will be great to have both sexes but ultimately isn’t it more important to have healthy, well behaved children, no matter their sex. Besides, who are we to play God? Truth be told, no matter what package our little bundles arrive in, they are the perfect answer to our prayers and deserve to be loved without any reservations or comparisons.
So dear moms, in this 21st century, let’s join hands breaking off what’s left of this terrible tradition by putting equal premium on all our children and giving them equal opportunity, no matter the sex. After all, when we are old and grey I am certain that what will give us joy is not the sex of our children but what they made out of their lives.
Is this a story you are familiar with? Have you being made to feel more special or less important simply because of the sex of your children? Do share your story with us.
Image courtesy: www.clipartkid.com, www.mademenoire.com, www.cutebabypictures.org