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Friday, May 23, 2008

Boy or Girl

"Do you want a boy or a girl?"
Almost every parent-to-be has been confronted with this dirty question. The poor parent of today especially in India has no choice but to reply in politically correct terms- I have not given it a thought, anything would be ok or I have no problem as long as it is a healthy baby...
Then there are the ones who do serious guess work looking at the size and elevation of the stomach. Family members predict the gender based on the horoscope. Like my Mom was told that we girls were born because of her (bad) luck because my Dad had boys in his destiny. Notwithstanding the fact that the person who told her had more number of daughters than sons.
Like I got a reaction from unexpected quarters- kahin do ladkiyan na ho jaye ( Hopefully you don't have 2 girls). Since the reasons behind the statement were wrong, I did not like it at all.
Yet another person said that hope you don't have 2 boys because boys are unmanageable.
Then there was a guess work from someone who did not know that I was carrying twins- definitely boy - the tummy is so big!
Now what is this all about hoping and wishing on my and my husband's behalf? It is all upto us what we want and what we don't right? Why is someone else concerned. What if I had wanted 2 boys wouldn't I have cursed this lady to hell for wishing I didn't have 2 boys?
I don't know what people get with asking such questions. Do they really expect answers? They may be talking shop just for the sake of conversation but those comments made me fiercely protective of whatever child I was carrying. Why should my unborn child be inflicted with wishes of preferred gender?
Well, inspite of myself, I used to corner hubby with this question. Since we were expecting twins, we could dare to wish for the best of both worlds- a boy and a girl. Infact we did not want to give Destiny a chance of any other combination because on one go, our options were going to close, in our context.
But then I used to take a tougher stance with hubby. What if you have the option of either 2 boys or 2 girls only. My husband would answer 2 girls. Then I would remind him - what about cricket? Who will talk cricket with you then? He immediately answered- then 2 boys!

When I introspect, the very reason I want a girl is to have a life long companion for gossiping, girly talks, bitching, shopping expeditions, discussing the latest fashion, reading similar genres of books. To me, daughters are like soul mates to the mother. They will bear with you till your doddering end. I am literally scared that I will have nobody to turn to at that crucial juncture when I badly want to connect. Probably a man feels the same about wishing for a boy. A back-slapping buddy who will enjoy the same stuff, have man-to-man talk with him, and ultimately become a companion over boyish exploits. This need to connect with the same gender is primitive.
A neighbour used to say- I am very clear I want to have a boy. I don't want my child to go through these troubles of being a woman. Very clear about her wishes and not afraid to speak it out loud. I respect her for that.
I really don't think there is anything wrong in parents wanting a baby of a particular gender. Tomorrow when my children are going to read this, I don't want them to think that I love them less because one of them is not a girl. It was just a wish to be blessed with having both experiences. For days after they were born, I could not believe that one of them is not a girl because I was sort of sure that it is going to be that way. But it does not mean that I love them less.
Probably in the Indian context it is easier for one to say wish I had atleast one girl and not hurt any sentiments. But had it been the other way round, if they were both girls and I would have been going all over the place telling wish one of them was a boy, it would have hurt sentiments and activists perhaps making them feel I am regretting not giving birth to a male child. People would have sniggered- oh, a modern, educated woman is speaking like this and setting a bad example.
My question again- is it so wrong to wish for a particular gender? Probably yes in the Indian context.
So can we make a beginning by not judging any parent who says that they want a boy baby?


Cuckoo said...

I totally agree with you. The moment you see a huge belly, the question starts pouring in from absolute strangers even. I almost threw out my maid for saying that "you should wish for a boy first, once you have a boy, the next child could be anything"!!! Well, it is true that moms and daughters bond better than any other combination, but it is just as imperative in today's fast paced world that one makes and keeps friends for the same reasons of companionship in old age. I am sure am going to join a NGO that teaches adults English litracy when am done with my life's responsiblities and desires (when that'd be, I know not!!)

Anonymous said...

De-lurking for the first time to comment. Have been reading your blog for quite some time and I like the way you write.

I especially like your last statement " So can we make a beginning by not judging any parent who says that they want a boy baby".

Can we also add that we should not, in this day and age, offer condolences to people having 2 girls or tell them that their family is incomplete because they don't have a male issue.

You can guess where this is coming from. My parents have 2 girls and they and my extended family have never, ever ever.. said or made us feel that they would have preferred a male child over a girl. I grew up thinking that it was all luck whethere you had boys or girls. There are more girls in my family than boys. So it was all fun and games as children.

But once I began working and also after I came to the US, you cannot imagine my shock when well-educated people began stating," ohh we feel bad for your parents. Who's going to look after them?"

Makes me want to scratch their eyes out.

Sorry to hog your comment space. This statement always gets my goat.


Shobana said...

When I was pregnant, I so knew that I wanted a boy, for different reasons. I wanted one because, both my sis and bro have girls, and a boy would be nice. But if it had been a girl, I would have been happy too. Another monkey in the pack.

Something to Say said...

2 pregnancies and i have learnt to use both my ears - one to listen and the other to throw out. Who says only boys take care of their parents in the old age? Visit any old age home to enlighten yourself. And tons of girls share responsibilities of their parents.
Honestly, to each his/her own - boy/girl long as the parent takes good care of the does it matter?
And no I dont judge people when they ask for a boy or girl or when they tell me - o your family is now complete with boy and girl........and I hope people dont judge me when I dont make appropriate noises about the sex of their child.

Sue said...

I think the smart thing is to want whatever gender you want, and keep your wishes to yourself (and to your partner, perhaps.) Let everybody else predict, just smile and change the conversation.

V wanted a girl so bad when I was so sure I was carrying a little boy. His smile actually slipped for a second when he was shown a baby boy. :) I forgive him.

Sukla M C said...

@ Something to Say : I totally Agree why created 2 ears... Make best use of it like we used to in school/College (WGIISWGO - what goes in is what goes out)

I kind of love a One of both Scenario . . . I do not like a child growing up alone, everybody defiantly needs some one with whom you can have fun irritating all d time.

The Nicest of "wishing" i came across was from one of my best friends Seema, "lots of kids, probably few adopted"

It is something i have decided to consider "depending on my bank balance" . . . i must be able provide for them ( cost of today's education.. get d idea on what i mean by balance)

Again IDEALLY for me i don't want them to kno they were adopted (if they do they were.. NOT WHO WAS / WHO WERE)

Itchingtowrite said...

cuckoo- all the best for your ventures
aarthi- thanks for delurking - my day is made by comments on this space. can't believe people in US talk like that!!
shobana- so true- one always likes to have both experiences. but no one is allowed to be really honest in such matters
STS- so true- but still there is this inhernt hesitation to stay with the daughters!! but thinks r looking up
sue- ha ha, that was cute.. face fell!!
shukla- all the best . thats a nice thought

Mama - Mia said...

i really dunno what difference it makes eitherways! and people ask such questions beyond shop talk should just be ignored! :D

i would be lying if i say i dont want next one to be a girl since i have a boy now! but if its a boy, i would be equally happy. my point is i dont want kabir to grow up alone!! :)

lovely post!


Itchingtowrite said...

mama mia- most imp- having a sibling. i hav one long pending post on siblings coming up. in a draft situation now.