I live in that part of the world where even today if you are expecting a baby, especially the second one and the first is a girl child, people expressly anticipate it to be a boy.
Everything from the glow of your skin to the lack of it; your constant, incurable nausea; the shape of your growing stomach; the pattern of your sleep and the way you look, everything implies that it is a boy ‘this time’. Your friends, neighbors, family members, all think that they are pleasing you by telling you that ‘this time’ you will be blessed with a boy.
Some of you may not believe it but I know this because this is exactly what happened with me last year, when I conceived for the second time at the age of 38 years, after years of denying any need of a second offspring. We took the plunge because our first born, my then 11 years old daughter, had been begging us to give her a sibling and we couldn’t say no to her anymore. So we decided to try granting her her wish and God listened to her as well.
And the new chapter began. Everyone was thrilled. The grandparents on both sides, uncles and aunts, our friends and neighbors, whosoever came to know was exhilarated to hear the news. More so, because it’s considered important to have two kids and it might be a boy child ‘this time’.
And the anticipation or rather manifestation of the male child began. “This time it will be a boy.” I heard this almost everyday and almost always replied that it could be a girl too.
I almost every time said that because one it was a logical thing to say as we couldn’t be sure of what it would be. Second, it didn’t matter to us and we were as thrilled to have anyone as our second born. Third, I didn’t want my unborn child if it was a girl to feel unwanted or not talked about. She was as much wanted as the he was.
I have never understood people’s, especially Indians’, obsession with a boy child. There are special rituals and celebrations related to the birth of a boy whereas girl’s birth sometimes doesn’t even considered worthy of congratulations. This is how things had been since generations and I had begun to think that things had improved but I was mistaken.
There is definitely some progress now. A girl as a first born is celebrated because the childbirth is celebrated and she is a child and the hope remains that there will be a second time soon and with a different gender and so when the second time comes another girl is not expected, and definitely not verbally.
When it happened with me I was sickened by this biased anticipation. I am a well educated, modern, working, independent, proud woman and I was shocked to realize this brutal reality. Of course there were some exceptions who spoke neutrally but mostly it was the boy anthem I heard everywhere.
Personally I did not anticipate any specific gender because to me wanting one means not wanting the other. And that is so unfair. To the unwanted one.
And I didn’t anticipate anything in particular because I feel if is not what we wished for, then it is God-sent.
I just wanted a healthy child who would become our little companion for years to come and make our life’s journey more beautiful, abundant, adventurous, somewhat challenging and eventful.
And isn’t that the reason why we have children? To make our lives complete and hearts full with the love and care we feel for them and to evolve and become better persons as we are given the opportunity to become while bringing them up. And what does this beautiful life process has to do with a bias towards any gender?
We eclipse the light sent to our lives because of an age old belief that sons carry our names and legacy.
How wrong this obsolete belief is? Have you seen any name known in the history of this world because he or she was someone’s father, mother or grandparent?
People become famous and are remembered for their own deeds and contributions. They are known for their own accomplishments and attributes and not because of their successors’.
Our children are not the bearers of our negligible and insignificant names and legacies.
They are our gifts to humanity who come through us and because they come through us they get to be with us for many years. And for those years they become our companions and teachers.
Yes, I call my children my mentors. They have come to my life to teach me.
To teach me unconditional love and compassion in their initial years when I am required to just adore them and take care of them.
To teach me the value of my life, youth, good health and the way I live my life because that leaves impressions on their quality and perception of life.
To teach me patience and wisdom in their growing up years as without the two I can’t nurture their uniqueness and bring out the best in them.
To teach me all that I never learned as a child but have been given the opportunity again as their guide and companion.
To teach me humility as I have made and owned maximum mistakes as their mother and not in any other role and realized how fallible I am.
And one day they will teach me the value of my freedom and time for self when they will fly away from my nest to try their own wings.
Our children are our companions for many years in our own journey of life and its high time the society learned that the gender of our tiny companions is of no real concern in the world we live in today.
They are not for us to own, they are certainly not born to carry the burden of our unfulfilled desires and insignificant inheritances. There are here for their own journey and purpose and not to carry on with ours.
New life means new journey and new life’s arrival is an event of celebration because it brings with it new hopes, dreams, another carrier of the virtues and legacy of humanity.
Yes. Legacy of humanity is the only legacy we need to pass on.
So whenever I prayed to God, which i did very often in those months I was carrying another life, I prayed Him to bless us with a healthy baby and the wisdom and ability to bring him/her up to be a good and contributing human being.
And then His blessings came as a beautiful tiny bundle of joy who we named Rubayat which means God’s verse and lovingly call Sria which means joy. And it was a girl ‘this time’ too and we couldn’t be happier as our little girl brought into our lives much more happiness than we had dreamed of. Her protective father, her doting elder sister and her thoughtful mother, which is myself, have been on cloud nine since then. She is a dream come true and why not.
She has made our family complete and our hearts and house full to the brim with love, joy, beauty, cuteness, her smiles, her cries, everything that wasn’t there before she came along.
And another reason why she is a dream come true is because subconsciously I think I wanted to have her. I think I had always felt fascinated with the idea of becoming a mother of and bringing up two beautiful, bright, lively girls. Whenever I would come across such a family – mother, father and two daughters, I loved looking at them and would fantasize having a similar one myself.
To me all children are good, boys and girls, but it was a very personal emotion I never consciously thought about or even verbalized because I am not biased. I actually realized the feeling when my subconscious fantasy became a reality and filled me with an unparalleled joy. I would have been very happy to have a son too but having you, my most anticipated one and the God-sent, I became ecstatic.
Thank you God for being so kind and listening to the said as well as the unsaid and thank you my little girl for choosing me as your bearer, companion and guide for the years to come.
I will try to do my best. I promise!!!