My Daughter

Dear Chatterjis,

I have read your posts and comments on gender discrimination with great interest and would like to share my story with you.

My daughter is three weeks old and has been totally rejected by her grandparents.

The moment I gave birth and they told me she was a girl, I felt a slight pang. I said to my husband “your father is going to be so upset”. I hated myself there and then for even caring what my father in law thought, but I have seen his response to my first daughter and I did not want the same for our new arrival.

At home, hours later, my in-laws sat discussing their misfortune whilst I was in the kitchen and my new arrival upstairs. I cried and cried for hours. I wanted these people out of my house so that I could fill my baby’s heart only with love and not disappointment.

My father-in-law had expressed his desire to have a grandson from before I was even pregnant and anything less would not be good enough. He refused to deliver mitai (sweets) to our relative and family friends. My mother-in-law refused to help us.

I have sat indoors for three weeks with terrible mastitis and haven’t been able to hug my daughter in as much. I cannot wait to be able to pick up my daughter again and tell her how much I love her and no-one will tell her she is not precious.

I have been brought up in this country and cannot believe what I am going through and can only say to any woman, cherish your children, you are lucky to have them.

Thank you, Anon.


5 Comments to “My Daughter”

  1. Dear Anon

    I am totally shocked at this terrible behaviour. I’m unable to conceive but would love to be in a position to hold my own mini me. Stay strong.


  2. Anon – I am equally shocked by your treatment but have many friends who have experienced the same and it is sad. However you will change things because you will not allow your daughters to feel inferior and slowly we will evolve to a more equal society. A friend of mine has a father in law that actually came to her house to give condolences when she gave birth to a girl and said “I really thought this time you would do it” (she had another 2 girls previous to this one).

    Stories like this make me shy away from dating asian men as you end up with the whole family and their ingrain sexist and religious views.

  3. A truly sad tale for you and our culture. No matter how many times I read or hear about tales of rejection of girls I always feel awful. Like you, Anon, we have to channel our anger positively.

    My grandparents used to say that girls bring sunshine and laughter into a family and I hope your girls bring that to you.

  4. What a shocking account. I cannot believe things like this still happen. I swear if it was me I’d ban these people form my house, regardless of who they are. And if my husband was equally as unsupportive with his silence, I’d ditch him too. There is no need to bring up children, both boys and girls, in such an negative environment, where daughters are treated like second class citizens.

    I know it’s easy for me to say such things because a) I don’t have children of my own and b) I’m not married, but I have seen my own society change since I was a child and I know it takes strong characters to change things like this. In my community, sweet meats are given out regardless of the sex of a child. It’s seen as backwards if you don’t. Maybe behind closed doors things are different, but that too will change over time.

  5. Anon – your story convinces me not to marry an asian boy. I imagine that you haven’t confronted them for their rudeness or confronted your husband for his silence because it will keep the peace. But then you also are accepting the gender specific role that Asian women are lumped with – that we compromise all in our lives for the greater good and peace in our homes. I would find it difficult to keep my mouth shut and would therefore would have in-laws that hated my guts and cause friction between me and my husband.

    There is a positive note to your diary entry however and that is that your daughters have something that no-one else does and that is a fantastic mother who is sensitive to these issues and will not allow them to affect the way that you treat them.

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