“Ah it is a girl, no worries. This is your first anyways. You still can look forward to having a baby boy in a few years” said 65 year old Sarita to her flabbergasted daughter-in-law when she delivered a baby girl, who weighed 3.5 kg and is a healthy baby.
Sarita’s daughter-in-law, Disha was extremely tired after being in labour for more than 18 hours and was disgusted by the sexist comment. Disha and her husband, Jay have been married for almost 3 years now and are working in MNCs, both were concentrating on their careers, when slowly Sarita started nagging them about wanting a grandchild.
Initially it was all in good gesture and fun, but later it got serious and became a nag. Every other day she would bring in news about other relatives who had become grandparents. This went unnoticed by Jay, who took every news at face value and replied with a nod. However, Disha started realising that this was a hint to them, as the precious 3 years of their married life have been completed and now it was time for them to take it to the next step.
Disha pondered over this for a while and then one day discussed with Jay about expanding their family. At first Jay was surprised as he had no hurry to have a baby as recently they have invested in an apartment, who’s possession was due in 6 months. Balancing work, family life and visiting contruction site was already hectic, having a baby at this juncture was a big NO for Jay.
He replied back to his wife about with these realities and Disha realised that he is right. However, they both came to a conclusion that after moving to the new home, they will start with the family planning and let the case rest.
Even though the eligible couple had decided upon themselves to have a baby after a year, Jay’s mother, Sarita was persistent. She didn’t understand these hicccups about managing the finance and the possession of apartment were good enough reasons to push the family planning decision further into future. According to her, having a baby was the most important of it all and other things could wait.
The happy family of 4 lived together in harmony. Sarita and her retired husband took care of the household and the children(Jay and Disha) were able to put maximum efforts in their respective jobs without having to worry about household stuff.
Off lately, Sarita mentioned a couple of times about the blessings of having a boy baby born into the family; how important it was to have a boy in the family who would carry the name of the family into future generations. She also shed light on importance of having a girl child in the family, the light of the house who cann be dressed into beautiful frilly clothes and will be the incarnation of goddess ‘Lakshmi‘. Her opinions about raising a boy child and a girl child were vocal, not to mention that she was very opinionated about how boys play with toys and are notorious, while the girl babies are very silent and calm if handed a barbie.
These opinions shed a fair amount of understanding of the older lady and were analysied by Disha. She explained this to her husband, summarising the opinions of her mother-in-law and how different it is from their own views of equality of genders. Jay was taken aback with the accusation againts his mother. However, after a few days of conversation with his mother, he realised that the value system of his mother is set and cannot be changed by any way. He was caught in a dilemma.
He tried to maintain a cordial relationship between his mother and his wife, bridging opinions and views. He explained the gender equality to his mother. Though she was sceptical at first, slowly she realised how derogatory she had been to the unborn child. During her pregnancy, Disha was suggested to earn saffron, that would gurantee a fair baby. The company where she worked gave her the leniency to work from home at necessary times, and a 6 month maternity leave was approved for her as per the policy. As days flew and 9 months passed, Disha was blessed with a beautiful girl but had to undergo a difficult labour, which tensed the whole family.
The comments made by the relatives didn’t go unnoticed, the new parents were still basking in the glory of their first child. Jay made all attempts to prioritize his new family and pamper his wife and baby with love, care and support.
In the mean time, Disha, in the past two years had carefully created a strong mindset about raising children and how to avoid gender discrimination and other superstition to seep into their minds from the elderly people by reading various books and listening to other people’s experiences. She often shared these details with her husband who judiciously listened with an open mind. The arrival of the new born was celebarted like a festival amongst family and friends, despite a few comments from relatives about why wasting hard-earned money for a small ceremony(that too for a baby girl). The generation gap between the 65-year old lady and the couple in their 30s was bridged by the arrival of a baby. Sarita realised that girls and boys are equal and deserve equal love. Disha realised that certain value systems and beliefs cannot be changed overnight.
The happy couple wouldn’t give any ear to these comments and learnt the art of ignorance while dealing with a baby at hand and all the responsibilities that came with a new born. Their child was named Samta meaning equality.
P.S: This is a fictional story revolving around fictional characters experiencing real life issues pertaining to superstition and gender discrimination. A tip to all the new parents to take practical decisions despite the social and family pressures.