Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Boys and girls


I've been thinking a lot about boys and girls. While staying with D's dad we found ourselves watching the news, something we don't really do at home. There was a segment that talked about an Indian actor named Aamir Khan (the "Tom Cruise of India") and how he decided to use his celebrity to start a talk show that dealt with some of India's most controversial but important social issues. One of the first episodes of his show was about the horrible and heartbreaking practice of female foeticide, act of aborting a fetus because it is female. This is a huge problem in India, to the point where sonograms to reveal the sex have been outlawed. Sadly, this law is not well enforced and there are stories of woman being forced to abort their babies due to the baby's gender. What fascinates me the most is the social implications. There are apparently villages of men of marrying age who cannot find wives due to the lack of women. But, even though they are living with the consequences of showing preference for male children, if they do get married they will want that little boy.

As a mother of a daughter I can't imagine not wanting my little girl. But, I live in a different culture. And as I think about the preferences of many Indian's for boys, I'm wondering if in the US we're seeing a subtle but present preference for little girls? I read this article over a year ago but what stayed with me is the lengths it described some families as going to in order get their little girl. And more recently this article was about yet another woman desperate for the daughter she imagines will relate to her and share her interests. Among the families I know I feel there is desire for girls. I have a member of my family who was very disappointed finding out her first child would be a boy, and a good friend who wanted a girl so badly she feels she willed her daughter into existence.

Of course this is the perspective of women I know (I know much fewer men who have stated a preference for a gender). But I wonder if other people are seeing this trend. It's hard for me to relate. I really had no preference for what gender our little one would be. I believe that either gender have their wonderful qualities and of course every child is also different. I assumed I'd be able to connect and hopefully share interests with my children regardless of their gender. If we are lucky to have a second child, it would be fun to have a boy. I'd enjoy seeing how raising a boy would be different from raising a girl. I'd love to see my husband pass on the values of being a good man to him. But, if we had another girl wouldn't is also be fun to see how my daughters would be different from each other? Or watch the kind of relationship they would form as sisters (something I didn't have).

The good news is I know that all parents love their children and even if they have desires or expectations, whatever their children end up being there is always lots of love there.

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