Let me start by stating that I desire to have a male child like most people (or rather, most Africans) do, so this is not a campaign against the male child or having male children, but I have often wondered what the whole I-must-have-a-male-child-by-hook-or-by-crook syndrome was all about. if you are reading this article from another continent apart from Africa, you may wonder why this topic is up for discussion in the first place. Well, let’s just say that here in Africa,(and I can certainly speak for Nigeria), we place a premium on having male children.
A couple gets married, they hope and pray to have children, and God in his graciousness grants them a child, a female child. They are happy, they are grateful and they rejoice. Few years down the line, they are blessed with another baby and once again it’s a girl. This time around, her arrival is celebrated with less pomp and pageantry because her parents desired something different. Suffice to say that the birth of a third girl into that family may not even be deemed worthy to have a proper naming ceremony, and before you think I am exaggerating, I have seen this happen before. A family friend refused to celebrate the birth of his third consecutive daughter, not because he was broke, but because he felt it was an embarrassment to his manhood to have a run of 3 girls!
Many men have been lured into polygamy in the quest to have a male child, and many women are currently battling deteriorating health as an aftermath of incessant child bearing caused by the desperation to have a boy, even when they already have as many kids as they planned to have before marriage. A woman feels unfulfilled because of “her inability to give” her husband a “successor”, and sometimes the ignorant man overtly or covertly blames her for this, oblivious of the fact that he dictates the sex of the baby.
I am aware of the whole sentiment about having someone to carry on the family name and assume the role of the patriarch of the family in future, but I don’t think that is enough reason to subject anyone to physical or mental torture. Besides, it is not uncommon to see women keeping their maiden name alongside their husband’s name nowadays. I have a number of friends who come from families of only girls and who are all doing very well in their various fields of endeavor. Why don’t we adopt the mindset of being grateful for what we have. if you are one of those who has had 2 or 3 girls and feels unsatisfied because of that, have you stopped to consider the fact that some people don’t even have one child to call their own? Do you think it is by your sexual prowess or innate fertility that you were able to have those adorable girls you have?
The Rapists, Armed Robbers and Terrorists who are currently giving the world sleepless nights are mostly male and I imagine that no expense was spared in celebrating their births as the highly sought after sex, but I am not so sure that even their parents would want to identify with them now. This just goes to show that it is not merely having children whether male or female that matters, but how well they are brought up to be responsible individuals. But that is a topic for another day. Having a child at all is a huge blessing and I will most certainly be grateful to be a mum one day regardless of the sex of my child.