"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?