By Helen Ovbiagele Woman Editor
â€˜YOUR mum told me that the baby has dropped, Sarah,â€ Mrs. T. told her niece.Â â€œYes, auntie.Â Dropped?Â Well, it arrived last month.â€ â€œDropped is the term, some of us in the medical profession choose to use for safe landing,â€ explained the aunt.
â€œCongratulations, my dear!Â We thank God for safe delivery.Â You must feel very fulfilled, donâ€™t you?Â This is the third child in six years of marriage.Â Thatâ€™s fast these days when you have to look deep into your pocket before starting a family, or continuing.â€
â€œThank you, auntie.Â Youâ€™re right.Â Financially, having kids is very tough o!Â Do you know, ma, that we run through a pack of 30 diapers in just five days?Â Thatâ€™s six per day, and coming at over a thousand naira per pack, just keeping the baby clean is expensive.â€
â€œI know.Â Not to mention clothes which sizes seem to change every day, and baby cosmeticsÂ which get more and more sophisticated and donâ€™t come cheap.Â Thank God youâ€™re breastfeeding, so, you will save heavily on baby milk until the baby is about one year old.â€
â€œThatâ€™s true, ma.Â Youâ€™ve not mentioned the cost of creche and house-help when I return to work.Â I was lucky that the baby came when I was about to start my leave, so I have 12 clear weeks at home before I return to work.Â Next time, Iâ€™ll make sure that I apply for leave after the baby has arrived.
That will give me more time at home.â€ â€œNext time?Â Sarah, are you planning to have more kids?â€ â€œAh, auntie, God has promised me a girl.Â I have three boys now, but my husband has always wanted a daughter.Â I would like a daughter too, even though Iâ€™m so grateful to God for my boys.â€
â€œThank God you expressed gratitude for what Heâ€™s given you, Sarah.Â Many couples are looking for a baby, irrespective of the sex, and pregnancy is not coming easy to them.Â You have three boys and youâ€™re complaining.Â Does my sister know you want to have more kids?â€
â€œAuntie, donâ€™t tell her o!Â She thinks three are enough crowd in the home already.Â You know she and dad opted to have just the two of us.â€ â€œOf course I know.Â Our parents thought that was too few, but she and your dad stuck to their decision and they had just Gerry and you.
Even though raising kids was a lot easier and cheaper in our time, they refused to have more.â€
â€œAuntie, that was easy for them because they had a male and a female.Â As for us with only one sex of kids, one should try again.Â Â Iâ€™ve been talking to my God.
I feel in my heart that the next one will be a girl.â€ â€œHm, what about the expenses youâ€™re moaning about?Â Â Where will the money come from?â€ â€œGod will provide, auntie.Â Girls care for their parents.Â Many boys are selfish when they grow up.Â They want to cater only for their own immediate family.
Itâ€™s only if they have a nice wife with a conscience, that she would be the one urging them to visit their parents, send them money and presents, call them, etc.Â I do all that with my parents, as youâ€™re aware, auntie.Â My brother cares and he loves them and even me, but he canâ€™t find the time to demonstrate that love.
He would do anything for us, but you have to prod him.Â You have to remind him that our parents would like to see him more often.Â My husband and I donâ€™t want that in our old age.â€
When my friend told me of her conversation with her niece, I understood how the latter felt, but should we long for a specific sex of child?Â Â Shouldnâ€™t we be grateful for whatever the Lord chooses for us? Thank God that in the case of Sarah, itâ€™s a girl, not a boy, that she and her husband are longing for.Â Usually, itâ€™s not having a male child which can break or make a union.
The situation is as old as the hills.Â Â For some odd reason, many women believe that having a male child gives them security in their marriage.Â So, they would go great lengths, and sometimes at the risk of their lives, to ensure that they produce a male child.
Some would tell you that they know that men always prefer to have male children, and that they would feel bad if theyâ€™re not able to have a son.Â Is the sex of a child human-controlled?
There was a news item on the internet the other week, in which scientists claim that what a woman eats while pregnant can influence the sex of the child she would have.
They then listed the food items that would ensure that a male child is conceived.Â Â I didnâ€™t bother to store away those names because I donâ€™t believe that the theory would work.Â I believe God guides the man to produce â€˜x â€˜or â€˜yâ€™ chromosomes to produce whatever God wants at Godâ€™s own time.
â€œMadam, I donâ€™t care what sex of children my wife and I produce,â€ said a colleague.Â â€œOur major concern before we got married was that the Lord should give us healthy kids, and the where withal to cater for them properly.Â Â In His wisdom, He gave us three girls first and then a boy.
Actually, we meant to have just three kids, so, after the third one, we both went for birth control.Â Â This worked for several years and then my wife got pregnant!Â We were shocked, and my wife cried for several weeks.
We donâ€™t approve of abortion when the womanâ€™s health is not in danger, so we kept the pregnancy.Â It turned out to be a male.â€ â€œAdmit it!Â Â You must have been overjoyed to have a son at last,â€ I teased him.
â€œA son at last?Â Â Well, we were overjoyed, but not because of the babyâ€™s sex, but because of safe delivery and a healthy and normal baby.Â My wife was past forty when she had that pregnancy, and well, we were a bit apprehensive; having read medical articles on how a late baby could be.
Heâ€™s the delight of the entire family; being last born.â€
â€œWhat if it had been another female?â€ â€œWe would have still been overjoyed for safe delivery.
Iâ€™m not condemning people who long for male children.Â Itâ€™s just that my wife and I had made up our minds thatÂ the sex of our children wasnâ€™t going to be an issue.Â We stuck to that.Â Maybe couples should discuss this before they get married.â€ I agree with this totally.
Along with religion, money issues, live-in relatives, number of kids to have, etc.,Â I think couples should find out what the other thinks of the sex of the kids they would have, before they tie the knot.
This may sound silly, but if one of them says he/she would be devastated if they donâ€™t have a particular sex of child, then they shouldnâ€™t marry.
Hunting for a particular sex of child can put a tremendous strain on even the most loving union; with the wife having no peace of mind as sheâ€™s terrified that the man may go out for what she couldnâ€™t produce.Â God does have a sense of humour, though.
Many years ago, I was told the story of a wealthy man who had six male children with his wife andÂ was so upset that he decided to go a-hunting for a female child.Â Â He was attracted to this young youth corper posted to his organization.
He got her pregnant, and his people came from home to plead with madam to accept the situation, and that the young lady wouldnâ€™t be a threat to her home.Â Madam thanked them and kept her peace.Â The young lady had a male child.
Oga tried again.Â She had another male child.Â Â Terribly upset now, he retired from work, settled the young lady and gave her kids for him to his eldest sister, and emigrated abroad with madam and their six male children. Theyâ€™ve settled there permanently.
Those two kids later joined them, and the young lady is married to someone else.Â What a laugh!
Fast going are the days when you needed a male child to carry on the lineage.Â These days, weâ€™re enlightened enough to know that that theory is neither here nor there; since thereâ€™s no guarantee that your male children will have male children to â€˜carry on the lineageâ€™.
As for the male child being the one that will cater to your financial needs in your old age, youâ€™ll be lucky if , due to the hard economic times and unemployment, you donâ€™t feed him and his family all the days of your life.
He may even be eagerly waiting for you to kick the bucket so that he can possess the little youâ€™ve managed to assemble in life.Â Also, the male doesnâ€™t always earn better wages than the female, and some ladies earn higher salaries than their husbands.
That means, we can safely invest in good education for our male and female children; giving them equal opportunity to become achievers.Â Both of them will bring us honour with their success.
From an early age, we should treat our male and female children equally in the home; nurturing them and teaching them useful skills, and helping them develop the confidence, self-esteem and integrityÂ that will enable them stand on their own feet in future.