When my first delivery failed to deliver on third golden chance
SPICE OF LIFE: Though nobody disclosed the goings-on in their calculative minds about my case, their silent actions spoke louder than their measured words
The calls of feminist crusaders defying parochial notions about gender, bolstered by the tightening of the noose around medical malpractices to curb female foeticide, has brought a paradigm shift in diluting the long-standing disparities between males and females. However, society even today seems to be shy of rendering even-handed acceptance and respect to a baby girl with their arms rarely flung as open and wide as to a baby boy.
My first issue in this context turned out to be a unique case per se. My elder sister, married in the same home to my husband’s elder brother, had already given birth to two baby girls. Post conceiving, I learnt to my sheer shock that what I’d perceived as my first pregnancy was in actual being covertly looked upon as the third golden chance by many in our circle.
The news of the birth of another baby girl to my sister-in-law in between blew the insidious fear lurking in the minds of many out of proportion. My mind would refuse to erase an old memory when our entire sophisticated clan overwhelmingly celebrated the arrival of the first baby girl, bombarding my sister’s phone with tons of messages welcoming her to the new phase of pious motherhood.
Post the birth of her second daughter, the quantum of celebrations witnessed a drastic drop with half-hearted phone calls and customary messages. Though nobody disclosed the goings-on in their calculative minds about my case, their silent actions spoke louder than their measured words. The more my expected date neared, the more was the number of dos and don’ts to be followed that bluntly smacked of superstition.
The changing dynamics in the ambience around me began taking a sinister toll, causing me a mental trauma that mysteriously overpowered all other kinds of physical trials and tribulations a mother-to-be would go through otherwise. My unchecked agitation was taking a nasty turn after each passing day and my continual excessive brooding about the result eventually spurred me into spilling the beans about my inner ordeals to my husband, who fortunately extended his wholehearted support, comforting me by recalling one gospel truth that choosing the baby’s gender was the Almighty’s discretion.
His timely reassurance did take the panic off my mind until the nurse wheeled me into the operation theatre. My stretcher’s passing through the passageway allowed me to have a fleeting glimpse of the family members gathered outside. I could read the anticipation for a miracle writ large upon their faces as if I were the one who would break the jinx. My mind recounted families where there was a line of girls followed by a baby boy, but hardly could it reach that rarest of rare vice-versa case where two or three elder boys were followed by a baby girl.
I opened my drowsy eyes to the sight of my husband who smiled at me, nestling a newborn in his arms. My heart began racing like never as I asked him the baby’s gender. While my spouse made the much-awaited revelation, my eyes swept across the empty room before gently drawing to a close to absorb the reality that had paradoxically muted many to mournful silence. They were the ones I used to consider wholehearted advocates for gender-benders, thus far. firstname.lastname@example.org
The writer is a Kharar-based freelance contributor