I wanted a son but we had a daughter
Growing up as a person of Indian descent, it is ingrained in you that when it comes to having a child – a boy is better than having a girl.
Deeply rooted in cultural beliefs, the context for this line of reasoning is purely archaic and comes from long-established religious and cultural practices in India. Where having a daughter is considered to be a burden in low-income segments of the population, specifically when young girls come of age and are to marry. Parents of daughters are then confronted with a slew of financial implications like paying for a wedding and potentially depending on cultural practices having to provide a dowry to the groom’s family. This “financial burden” is what drives South Asian culture to promote having male children over female children.
I wanted my lineage to continue
For me personally, growing up as an Indian male, this argument was always presented to me. However, I had more selfish reasons for wanting a son, in that; I wanted the lineage of my family line to continue throughout future generations. Selfish, I know, but most men, at some point in their life, have that thought process I believe. What I never imagined is how fulfilling and rewarding my life would be when we actually had our beautiful daughter.
Finding out we were having a girl
I remember the day my wife and I were at the doctor’s office waiting to find out the sex of our child. Like most first time parents, we sat there nervous, excited, anxious and eager, all at the same time. As the ultrasound was being conducted, my wife and I were super quiet trying to take in all the information, watching the monitor closely to see if there were any clues.
Clearly, outside of hearing the heartbeat and seeing our child’s head, we really couldn’t make anything out. As we sat in expectation, our doctor asked us if we wanted to know the sex of our child, and we both looked at each other and said “yes”.
Now, before I continue, I want to make sure I set the proper context up. Prior to arranging our doctor’s appointment to determine the sex of our child, we had heard several different old wives tales. People told us that because my wife was carrying the child lower in her belly, we were having a boy. People told us because my wife hadn’t gained that much weight we were having a boy. People told us because my wife’s complexion looked great, we were having a boy, and because she didn’t have morning sickness, we were having a boy.
Whatever the old wives tale was/is, all indications pointed to us having a boy and we just needed confirmation via the ultrasound.
So as the words came out of the doctor’s mouth, and she said, “congratulations, you are going to have a beautiful, healthy baby girl,” I was surprised and ecstatic.
At that moment, I didn’t care anymore about having a son. I was thrilled that we were having a daughter, and more so, I was thrilled our child was healthy.
In a matter of seconds, as I processed the information, I was thinking about how close my daughter and I would be, the special bond I would have with my daughter that I may not have with my son. I kept thinking of the saying mama’s boy and daddy’s girl… I was already thinking about tea parties and dress up. I was already imagining the bond we would develop.
In that moment, after the doctor spoke, I was in love with my daughter and what I was seeing on the ultrasound machine. In that moment any selfish reasons I had about having or wanting a son vanished. In that moment, everything I had been taught or learned no longer seemed relevant or important.
Having a daughter has completed me
Our daughter is now three-years-old, and every day with her is a blessing. Watching her grow up, mature and seeing her become independent is awe inspiring. Seeing her accomplishments at a young age like walking at 10-months, wearing high heels at 12-months, or climbing out of her crib at 15-months was amazing.
But what I realised along the way is how much any child is really going to be a product of their environment. Our daughter, for instance, loves football and basketball, because she watches it with me whenever we get a chance to. She will be a Detroit Lions fan and a Michigan State fan like me because that is what we like to watch.
I thought by having a daughter I was going to miss out on sharing my love for sports. But I was wrong and so were my preconceived notions about having a daughter. Outside of meeting my wife and being married, my daughter brings me the greatest joy. Not for all the reasons, I wasn’t capable of thinking before, but for all the reasons she exists that I don’t know of, the person she is today, and the individual she will grow to be in the future. All along the way, we will have a special bond, a daddy-daughter bond.
This post was originally published on BrownGirlMagazine and republished with permission.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.