Why the pride with a baby boy?

− My youngest sister was daughter number five, my grandmother started crying.

Girl or boy? Does it really matter anymore? PHOTO: HindustanTimes.com

It’s an anomaly I’ve never quite understood. From a tender age I’ve learnt that a mum having five daughters was by some felt as if she had been unlucky; unlucky to not have been blessed with a boy.

Was that her fault? Were they doomed to not have a brother in the family? Was it a sad occasion that this mum was made to weep at the birth of baby girl number five? As if she committed a crime to bring to this world another girl?

I find it hard to pinpoint the reasons behind why some people, particularly within certain cultures and societies, feel that having a baby boy is the proudest of moments. In some countries unfortunately the new born girl is buried for one thing; being a girl.  This is more commonly known as female infanticide.

Shame she was made to feel

A boy is still more valued in some cultures. PHOTO: IndiaWest.com

But this article isn’t about female infanticide. It’s about people like me and you living in Europe and the surrounding countries dealing with comments, opinions and ideals of what the better sex to give birth to is.

A friend of mine recently described the shame she was made to feel when she gave birth to another girl, while someone else in the family got the red carpet treatment for bringing a boy into the world.   Mum-to-be was nothing but happy and hoping for a normal and healthy baby.  The sex of the baby had no relevance. But she tells me that it was mainly the older females in the family who made her feel bad and almost guilty for having a girl, almost as if she’d let them down in a way.  She said: “I just want a healthy baby, the child’s sex is up to Allah.” And she recalls a comment from an elderly relative:  “Ahhh, I’m so sorry, it’s ok you’ll have a boy next time”

Who would feel sad to be blessed by a cute little baby girl? They are adorable. PHOTO: GerberBabyContest.net

Now the young lady in question comes from a very modern middle to upper middle class family and her South Asian in laws are also liberal in many respects… or so she thought.

Why is it like that? Why do baby boys in some families gain the glory but the girls are seen as a burden?

Does it matter anymore?

Many people ‘explain’ this by saying how girls eventually marry and leave their parents in comparison to boys who are always there to look after their families. I’m not sure if this is relevant in this day and age or if it’s even correct.

It’s in the frightening moments like this, of which I sadly get to hear about too often, that I think about my own mother.  She always says to me when I discuss the matter of baby–boy-pride with her: ‘”All my daughters have been more than any son could’ve been to me. You are all highly educated, independent and strong. There’s nothing you girls can’t achieve that men can. And more importantly, you are always there for your family even though each one has your own family to look after. What more can one ask for?”

I think about her words and recall the day my youngest sister was born and my grandmother started crying which in turn upset my mother. She was daughter number five.