Sunday, May 22, 2011

Becoming mother of a daughter

Binu with her daughter : photo from facebook
KATHMANDU, May 23: “Son or daughter?” my elderly neighbor asked me pointing my big belly. I proudly replied “daughter” as I was going to be a mother for the first time.I was eagerly waiting that cherished moment. But hearing my reply, her facial countenance darkened. She narrowed her eyes.
Anger was bellowed inside me but I remained silent. Breaking the silence, she began giving me sympathy, “First daughter is okay. But, next time check and give birth.”

Her underlining meaning was clear: find the sex of the baby through ultrasound, if she happens to be girl, choose abortion to get rid of her. Next time, give birth to a son was her ‘benevolent’ suggestion. My child wasn’t liked and welcomed before coming to the world because she was a daughter.

This is the stark reality of the society we live in. More troubling is that she was not the only one to give that suggestion to me.

Even educated, independent cousins, aunts, and friends were also giving me that benevolent (as they say when I oppose their idea) suggestion. One cousin of mine (undergraduate student) said she would give birth to only one son, if first child happens to be girl she proudly says she would abort.

When I went against her she even labeled me murkha, stupid, not to understand rules created by society.

Her explanation is so simple, “Society is like this didi, why take risk? If you give birth to daughters only, who knows? Your husband’s family might pressurize you to have sons and your husband might also join them. What could you do at that time?” she questions me.

How could this intelligent, smart, talented, and educated sister become an advocate of sex selective abortion? Her case clearly highlights how female sex selective abortion is deeply rooted in educated, middle class family.

Sarina further boast that all her cousin brothers and sisters, neighbous have either two sons or one daughter and a son. How could it be possible? They easily adopt available sex selective abortion.

The concept of giving birth to only one child has further lead to abortion of female fetus.

Increase in cost of living and education has forced couples to go for only one child.

Most women wish their first child to be a son. So, she wouldn’t have to go through arduous process of giving birth to another son. My cousin sister was so relieved after she gave birth to a son as a first child.

If first child is daughter, every one suggests you to abort next fetus if she is female. But, I have never heard of people suggesting to abort male fetus even if the first child is also male. I have heard so many women boasting of having only sons.

Until, now we have only heard about the serious consequences of sex selective abortion in neighboring India and China. But, this practice has been assumingly high in our country also.

If this practice of sex selective abortion goes unchecked, we may have to face situation like lack of brides and sexual violation against women.

In neighboring India, sex selection abortion has become a booming business. It has lead to highly imbalance sex ratio. Sex selective abortion has been very alarming crisis faced by India and China. So, many men are forced to remain bachelors.

United Nations and several agencies have warned both countries to stop such practices. If the practice of sex selection abortion is unchecked, Nepal may be following the trend of India and China.
The writer is Master in English Literature from Tribhuvan University. She covers international affair in the Naya Patrika  and is a new mother of a 6 months old baby girl.

No comments:

Post a Comment