Wednesday, April 14, 2010


As a mother of two boys, the question I'm asked most is "Are you going to try for a girl?" All my friends, and plenty of new people I meet, have the idea that firstly, girls are preferable to boys because they're easier to look after (and shop for) and secondly, if you don't have a daughter yet, you have to try to get one.

I often feel like telling people that its rude to disregard Adrian in that way but I don't. I'm not that kind of person. In my mind, I've sometimes thought that if I was the wife or even the mistress of a king somewhere, two boys would certainly make me one of the favorites. I would be celebrated for having not one but TWO sons. Etc, etc, etc...Its no big deal. I love my boys and actually have no yearning to have a girl.

Over the weekend, I read about the reverse preference in some developing countries (countries where I would be envied). "The Weekend Australian Magazine" described a practice in India where the bill for an ultrasound is delivered in either a pink or blue envelope. This is the workaround to finding out gender because it is illegal to do so. In many cases, a pink envelope leads to a trip to an abortion clinic where the operation will be justified as a "feotal abnormality". Supposedly there are already 24 million more boys than girls in India because of the notion that sons will maintain the family line and can support their parents in old age. Well, that isn't going to happen if these boys can't eventually find a girl to marry!

Of course, a similar situation is happening in China. Its estimated that by 2020, up to 25 million men of marrying age could find themselves without a partner.

I haven't done the math so I don't know if the impact of these millions would make a dent to a population of one billion. But, having a cute three month old to play with everyday, I can't help thinking how sad this all is.

I'll be honest and admit that there was a split second of disappointment when I found out we were having another boy. I couldn't help it, there was just so much talk of a girl by family and friends. There certainly are no regrets now and I doubt anybody gives a thought to whether the child is a girl or boy when they hold their baby for the first time in the delivery room. They are just cute little (androgynous looking) babies! Its impossible to wish they were anything else.

I know life is different for people of various cultures but babies are babies. No matter how you look at it, its just wrong to abort because of gender.


Mike said...

If you have those twelve kids I mentioned previously, ONE of them is bound to be a girl. Maybe.

kelly said...

hey, i am about to write a same topic in my blog as i just gotta know my coming baby is a girl again. Lots of people started asking me when i will want to have the 3rd one..or some even trying to 'console' me that 'never mind, you are still can try a boy next time'....gosh.....

Bilbo said...

The topic of "gendercide" is a very serious one for many reasons, not the least of which will be the vast proliferation of men in poorer countries who will have no chance to find wives. Historically, one of the ways nations have dealt with excessive numbers of men - sexually frustrated or not - is through war. I predict this could be a very bad problem in the coming decades.

Amanda said...

Mike - I'll need my own reality tv series to fund that adventure!

Kelly - Congratulations! Two girls will be sweet. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Bilbo - You make a good point. At least Kelly is doing her bit to keep the girl numbers up.

NomadicExpat said...

It doesnt matter if they are boys or girls. The only thing that matters if they are healthy, responsible and respectful.. and in Chinese tradition, if they can take care of you, that's icing on the top.

I love your boys, especially having spent time with them and I dont think I'd trade them for girls even though I'd have a helluva time shopping for them. Hopefully one of them will take care of me when I'm old and feeble! :-P