Image source : arthit
A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart
---- Author Unknown
This sunday i.e the 25th of september 2011 was world daughter's day, as a daughter as well as the mother of a daughter, this day certainly is very special for me. It is the only formal occassion to celebrate being a daughter or having one.
I am not one of those who think that daughters are better than sons or vice-versa. There's something unique and wonderful about all children, and god gives us children that we are supposed to and meant to have in our life, so be it a son or a daughter they bring a whole lotta joy into their parents lives .
It is no secret however that as far as Indian homes go, a clear preference exists and it is towards the male child.
Even today every new bride is blessed with two things, her husband's long life, and that she be able to bear a son. As though, her life and happiness depends on only those two outcomes.
Like nearly every other married Indian girl, even I've been 'blessed' by many people those two things 'saubhagyavati bhava' and 'putravati bhava' (may your husband live long and may you have a son).
These blessings irk me to no end, to the point at which I don't even care to get them. Also to be noted is that my husband has never been blessed with having a long-living wife in a similar way, what a nice dig in the ribs it is (for me)....
Another aspect that disappoints me in such 'blessings' is that often times the person liberally dishing out such 'good-wishes' is a woman. Why do we women, devalue our own selves ? How can we expect others to value or treasure us, if we don't treasure ourselves ? Is it so unthinkable to bless someone with a daughter ? What would happen exactly, if one did have a daughter (as is more likely than having a boy) ?
I have noticed that this type of a mindset exists in even the most 'supposedly advanced' section of Indian society, i.e the educated and urban elite section. There is a growing trend in recent years of young urban couples to limit the number of children they have to just one, or in some cases to two. It is a very logical and sensible decision in many ways, India is facing a huge population problem already, and raising a child in today's world certainly isn't cheap, so with lesser number of children, couples can provide a lot more comforts to the child, not to mention more personal attention. However, an interesting little detail I see is that most couples with a boy will say that they are done having babies and don't want anymore, but among those who have a girl as the first child, seem more likely to try for another baby, seldom have I met a couple who says one is enough when the one is a girl, that is not to say that there aren't any examples of such couples, but those are by far in a minority, atleast in the present time.
In today's times, how much does it matter if one has a son or a daughter ?? most sons (in the urban educated section of society) are not living with their parents, due to the trend of more and more nuclear families catching up or are living in a different city/country due to work requirements . Then even in case of aging parents, more and more girls seem to be taking responsibility for the ongoing care and other financial responsibilities, I have several examples of the same in my own family . So in terms of parental love, respect and care, there isn't much of a difference in a son and a daughter anymore, yet we seem to enamored by the concept of a 'son'.
On the other hand, I also don't subscribe to the flawed reasoning that seems to be getting popular with some people these days, especially women, that a daughter loves or cares for her parents more so than a son, so in that sense it is better to have a daughter than a son, there can be just as many good and loving sons as there are daughters, many a times other compulsions of life be it work related or any other can get in the way of children fulfilling their responsibilities towards the parents, and so some times the sons may not be able to completely fulfill their responsibilities towards their parents, but the difference is that society highlights the cases where the sons aren't doing their part, and any case where the sons are holding up their end of the deal isn't considered praiseworthy, while since there isn't a similar requirement from the girls, hence any case where the girls are willingly stepping up to the plate are highlighted as girls caring more, but other cases where the girls may be doing nothing doesn't raise eyebrows.
In the end I'd say, like I said in the beginning of the post, whether a boy or a girl we have the child we are meant to have, so long as we do our job to raise them with good values, and the ability to think for themselves, we've done our job as parents. So instead of blessing women with a son, we can start by wishing them a healthy pregnancy, and happy motherhood, and whether it results in a boy or a girl, we bless her that it'll be just as much of a fulfilling experience . That might be a good starting point for changing our outlook towards the girl child .