FATHERHOOD: I WANTED A SON BUT WE HAD A DAUGHTER
DEEPLY ROOTED CULTURAL BELIEFS
Growing up, as person of Indian decent it is ingrained in you that when it comes to having a child having a boy is better than having a girl. 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 Indian culture to promote having male children over female children.
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.
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 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…!
OLD WIVES TALES
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 because my wife was carrying the child low 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 that 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; 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 think of the saying Mama’s boy and Daddy’s girl…I was already thinking about tea parties and dress up. I was already thinking about 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, climbing out of her crib at 15 months was amazing. But what I realized 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 watch. I thought by having a daughter I was going to miss little things like this because my perception was is that she wouldn’t be interested. I was wrong, and my pre-conceived notions were wrong. 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.
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