What do you think when you see parents, who have a single child. And, that too a daughter? Yes, one daughter – no son not even another daughter.
I will tell you what I have heard from society so far – when they see my parents, who have a single child – a daughter.
Oh, why didn’t your parents try for another kid?
Or, maybe they tried but faced some medical complications?
Or, maybe they were too old to have another kid?
And why this doesn’t shock me because I belong to a country called India, where people still mourn the birth of a girl child. We still consider our daughters to be a burden because we need to pay a huge dowry when we are required to marry them off.
Additionally, sons are thought of as life-long insurance, unlike daughters, who are thought of as a temporary resident of the house until their marriage.
Recently during a casual dinner with my parents, this topic came up. And I was shocked when my dad told me that they had consciously made a choice not to try for another kid after me.
And I am sure you would be shocked too!
Hence, I asked them to share their thoughts with the world. So that new parents with daughters can learn from my beautiful maa-pa.
Now, what you would read is what my mom shared with me. I am going to share exactly what she said – in her own words.
*My mom’s words*
“Beta, I grew up in a middle-class family with two sisters. Your Nana Nani was well educated and both were working at very respectable positions with the government. But still, they were under too much pressure from my Dadi (grandmother) to have a boy for the reasons that you are well aware of.
But frankly, I never once felt the need for a brother, who could take care of my parents after all of us were married. Your Maasis(Aunts) and I are more than capable to take care of Nana and Nani, as you would have already seen.
And the huge credit of that goes to your Nana-Nani – as they never compromised on our education and made us independent. The result – we three sisters are married to intelligent people who understand that as they have responsibilities towards their parents, we have it towards ours. So, you see Papa treating Nana-Nani in the same manner as he treats your Dada-Dadi.
With my own experience with your Nana & Nani, I realized that it is a myth that girls are not capable of taking care of their parents.
And, perhaps that is why it never mattered to me whether my first born would be a boy or girl. Also, even before we thought of having a kid, we had decided that we would have only one child and make sure that we give the best of the world to her/him.
But, I would be lying if I say I didn’t have a preference when I was expecting you. I so desperately wanted to have a daughter. I feel daughters are emotionally more capable to take care of their parents – they are fountains of love.
After you were born, our relatives and friends told us that we were being stupid of not thinking of another baby since our first child is a daughter. Some of them criticized our decision and said –
“Tumhari Modern Thinking Ko Toh Budape Mein Pata Chalega Ki Ladka Hona Kitna Zaroori Hota Hai!”
We never paid much attention to them and always told ourselves:
“Agar Kismat Mein Likha Hai Ki Budape Mein Dukh Milenge, Toh Ladka Ho Ya Ladki Koi Badal Nahin Sakta”
We always believed that having a son is never a guarantee. And, we had plenty of cases among our own family to prove that. Hence, we always believed that you will be enough to take care of us.
In the last 26 years, I don’t know how many people have asked your dad –
“Oh, you don’t have a son? Who will look after your business?”
To which your dad always laughed and shared his standard response – “What if my son wasn’t interested in this business? What if he wanted to start a different business? Or what if he wanted to do a job? And, why can’t my daughter look after it? She is fully capable of handling my business.
From the day your dad and I got married, we tried to make ourselves financially stable so that we never have to ask our kids for money.
To us, it was never the gender that mattered. It was about the person – the values – the dreams and the passion that we wanted to inculcate in our kid.
My friends tell me that in a couple of years you will get married and then there will be “problems.”
They say we will face issues in finding you a good husband. People don’t want to marry their son into a family with the girl as the only kid. As this would mean that the girl would have to take care of her parents forever. I pity this mentality. And, frankly, I don’t want you to go into such a narrow-minded and conservative family anyways.
I wish our society stops discriminating between sons and daughters. Someday people will understand that just the way a son has responsibilities towards his parents, even daughter has towards hers.
Whether that happens someday in our lives or not, I know one thing for sure. You, my daughter, complete my family.”
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