Sunday, March 12, 2006

Boy or girl?

The Princesses and the baby Princes

I've just watched "The Boy Who Has Tumour For A Face" on Discovery Channel. The boy, Novemthree, had a tumour so big, it disfigured his face. Read about Novemthree here. After watching the show, I went into the room to give both my children a big cuddle even though they were asleep. Feeling blessed that both of them are healthy.

Watching the story about Novemthree and having met some people who have paid lots of money gender selection has gotten me thinking about childbirth and having children. No, I'm not thinking of having a 3rd child!

When I was pregnant with Laura, PT and I decided to find out the gender of our baby through ultrascan for practical reasons. We needed to find a name for our baby and also easier to get ready clothes and baby stuff ma. So, when pregnant with Adam, we also opted to find out the gender of our baby before he was born. People like to ask pregnant women if they knew the sex of their baby and I was not spared that. I was very happy to be pregnant with a healthy baby and didn't really care if my baby was a boy or a girl. However, as soon as I told I was expecting a baby girl, I suddenly got sympathetic looks and mumbling of something like "Oh, never mind. Can try for a boy next time" Never mind that I was trully thrilled to be expecting a girl!

Then when I was pregnant with Adam, the KPCs who found out that I was expecting a boy suddenly said, "Wah, good lah. One girl and one boy. Perfect!" Irony was, again I didn't care if the 2nd one was a boy or a girl. If I had a set of girls, they will grow up together and do sisterly things which I never got to do because I don't have a sister. If I had one of each, it was also good as they will be able to grow up together. Also good that I will be able to exercise fair parenting, which means no gender preference and that both the boy and the girl are expected to do household chores. Most important to me was (and still is) that they are healthy and they love and care for each other.

I am truly blessed that my children were born healthy. My friend whose son was born in the same year as Adam was not as fortunate. Her son was born with birth defects and he never left the hospital he was born in. He needed help to breath which meant my friend never got the chance to hold him. For one year, she faithfully expressed breast milk to feed her son. She was juggling work, spending time with her older child and caring for her son in the hospital, the whole time hoping and praying that doctors will be able to help her son get well enough to go home. He finally passed away when he was 1 1/2 years old.

Another case is a former schoolmate who got really disappointed to have 3 girls and was estatic when her 4th child was a boy. Thinking her luck has changed, she tried for one more child and again was disappointed to get a girl. All 5 kids are healthy and beautiful. I have heard her, when chatting with friends, praise her son for the most trivial things and yet put down her daughters. Done within earshot of her children. I cannot imagine what must go through the head of her daughters.

Then I read in the newspaper advertisements by companies who promise desperate couples that they will be able to choose the gender of their baby. At this point, some people will probably tell me "Ya lah, easy for you to say 'coz you have one of each". Well, why the obsession with boy child? Oh yeah, to carry the family name and to take care of the family. Traditionally, last time last time lah, the sons worked the field and tended the farm, so having sons is beneficial. Also, in Chinese customs, "On the passing away of the father, the eldest son becomes the head of the family. If the eldest son passes away, his second brother does not assume leadership of the family. Leadership passes to the eldest son of the eldest son or the grandson of the father. He must assume the responsibilities and duties to the ancestors on behalf of the family." (googled and found here) Mothers-in-law have been known to ostracize the daughter-in-law for not producing sons. They even encourage their son to sow some wild seeds to get a male offspring. Then there are are couples who try desperately to have girls because they already have 2, 3 or 4 sons.

Where am I getting at here? I guess I'm just using my blog to lepas geram lah. Our own children are blessings, whether they are boys or girls. Say a quiet prayer knowing that they are healthy.


Blogger Siao Cha Bor said...

the bottom line is "being healthy"

you may have a son but when he grows up, will he be a filial son?

now i get this very often "when are you going to have a second one? you know it is about time..your first one is so big oredi"

I oso very geram wan

12:39 am  
Blogger Min said...

SCB, ya lor, so geram.

I don't normally remember phrases from movies but one got stuck in my head. From "Father Of The Bride", the original one with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor:

"A son is your son, until he takes a wife;
A daughter remains your daughter, for the rest of your life"

What do you think?

12:53 am  
Anonymous midnite lily said...

i've heard someone say that a daughter was better because she's the one who ends up taking care of the family. a very rare statement.

i share ur geram-ness at preferences to boys. why can't people just be thankful that God gave them healthy children? some people can't even have kids.

1:37 am  
Anonymous Cindy said...

I believe that a child is an enormous gift and blessing, be it a girl or boy...children should always be wanted, loved and nurtured to enable them to grow up to become good, caring individuals and compassionate citizens of our communities. To me, having a filial offspring is an added bonus but as far as the parent-child bond is close and strong, loving children will always remember their roots and be there for their parents and those who need them.

Children live by what they learn especially from their parents so for them to blossom, we must be the gardeners who tend to them lovingly and unconditionally, making sure that there is no favoritism nor gender preferences because after all, it does take a great mom and dad to produce this little miracle in the first place, right? Males and females should rule hand-in-hand!

12:27 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Well said, Cindy. I like the analogy.

1:07 pm  
Blogger Lian said...

I also get the "how nice, one boy one girl. Enough lah". Apalah, like that is the ultimate goal -- to have a balance of boys and girls. Like you said Min, happy healthy children is more important. How many children I should have should not be dependant on the gender of my children but my own preference. It's like if you have 4 boys, you cannot stop. Must try for a girl (or vice versa). But once you get both boy and girl, ooooh cukup cukup.
By the way, your quote is very familiar. I had found it in a "famous chinese sayings" book years and years ago. I remember coz' I wrote it down to show it to my mom. Being cheeky back then. Hahah

2:33 pm  
Blogger lovelorn_larvae said...

boy or girl it does not matter
we should be blessed that these kids are healthy

12:55 am  
Blogger icancarryallthebagsandthebabiestoo said...

I have two girls, and though I would have loved whatever I got, I really hoped for two girls. I grew up with a sister and really enjoyed that experience and thought it would be nice for the daughter I already had. But, before I found out the sex of my second baby people were already buying me boy clothes and boy bedding and boy EVERYTHING! Everyone was convinced that I must be having a boy. And when they found out I was having a girl, they were disappointed and began talking about when I would try for "my boy."

Buy we only want two children.

I wonder where it comes from? Why can't a family just be complete with women? Mine is.

12:54 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Icancarry... It's annoying why people assume that we're disappointed when we're not.

4:14 pm  

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