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NEPAL: I Love My Daughter; Stop Telling Me I Need A Son

Anjana Vaidya
Posted January 24, 2017 from Nepal

Strangers consoled Anjana Vaidya instead of congratulating her when she gave birth to a girl.

“I felt the pity of a society that doesn’t welcome a girl child into this world.

After my daughter was born, everyone expected that we would try to conceive a son. By the time my daughter was a teenager, the messages were no longer subtle.

“Take this Chinese calendar. If you follow this strictly, you will get the child of your choice. It’s a guarantee that you will have a son this time.”

“You already have a very intelligent girl. If you give birth to a baby boy, I am sure he will be more intelligent than this girl.’’

“These days, technology is so high you can choose the sex of your baby… why don’t you have a son?”

People would whisper that I was too career-minded or that maybe I had some biological problem. These are all good people who care for me. Why do they think my life and my family will only be complete after the birth of a son?

The truth is that before my daughter was born, my husband and I deliberately made a joint decision that we would only have one child, regardless of whether it was a girl or a boy. We made the commitment to care for this child wholeheartedly and to focus on giving our best to him or her. We were happy as we waited for our little one to arrive.

At 10:10 pm on December 3, 2001, my little princess came into this world without complications. I had counted down the days and nights for nine months with enthusiasm, joy, and love. I enjoyed every moment of pregnancy. And as soon as I gave birth, I couldn’t wait to hold my baby.

I delivered in a big government maternity hospital and I had heard stories of babies getting switched due to negligence. I had seen more than 20 babies lying next to each other and they all looked the same to me. I asked the nurse to put my tika (a small circle-shaped velvet sticker that is worn on the forehead, mostly by married women) on my baby’s forehead so that it would be easier to recognize her. I wanted to ensure that she wouldn’t get changed for another baby.

In response, the nurse raised her eyebrows and broke into laughter. “It’s a baby girl!” she said. Of course, I had already seen my baby. I knew she was a girl. What the nurse meant is that no one would wish to take a girl.

This was just the beginning of the messages directed toward my daughter that girls and women are worthless in our society.

After a couple hours, before my family was even informed of my daughter’s birth, I was moved to the general ward. A nurse and attendant helped me change rooms in silence. Without any guidance or consultation, at 21 years of age, I taught myself to breastfeed my baby for the first time. I could see my neighboring new mothers surrounded by family members. They were showering congratulations on newborn baby boys, giving guidance on feeding and holding babies, and helping the new mothers cope with post-delivery pain.

After some time, my husband and mother-in-law came with sweets to offer to the nurse and attendants. My family was overwhelmed with excitement, but strangers were still feeling sorry for me. The attendants even seemed awkward about taking the sweets. Some directly consoled my husband and me, saying we didn’t need to worry and we should try again for a baby boy after two or three years. For the first time in my life, I felt the pity of a society that doesn’t welcome a girl child into this world.

Two days later, I was discharged from hospital and came to my home with my little princess. Friends and relatives began visiting me, and they too were consoling me. They would look at her face, which they said was boy-like, and then predict that my next baby would be a boy.

Later, when my daughter celebrated her fifth birthday, people started advising me on planning for a baby boy. This advice even came from people who knew our decision to not have another baby; they didn’t believe we were serious. As time passed, the comments from relatives and friends only got louder. Every time, I would clarify that we really love our daughter and we are happy with an only child. No more babies for us.

Why can’t people recognize that a daughter can be the strength, pride, and power of the family—and that she can also contribute to growing the family tree? A person is not just a son or a daughter, but a human. It’s a fundamental human right that all must have equal opportunities to live a dignified life, with equal access to every basic requirement.

The craze for boys will prevail as long as our society practices inequality and uneven distribution of resources. The craze for boys will prevail as long as the contributions of girls and women are not acknowledged and valued. The craze for boys will prevail as long as there is female feticide, honor killings, and dowry cases. It comes from centuries of traditions and a culture that sets roles and responsibilities according to sex rather than capability.

Humans made these traditions and this culture, and I am positive that we can change them. It will take some time to shift mindsets, but I believe one day it will happen.

In the meantime, I pay the price in my society for my choice to remain a mother of a single daughter. Sometimes that price is expensive. I am valued and treated a bit less in comparison to my contemporaries who have boys.

I do not give a damn about the people who evaluate me on the basis of my child’s sex, but I will not tolerate seeing my daughter—or any girl—devalued, mistreated, and deprived.

It is time for the voices of women and girls to be heard and our contributions to be acknowledged and respected. This change begins with individuals and it spreads through families to our communities, to the nation, and to the world. Let’s start now, with you and me.

Comments 56

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WorldCare
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 24, 2017

Dear Anjana, you have written eloquently about this cultural preference for male babies. You are RIGHT! Females are equally important and can grow, learn and contribute to society. I am so glad that you recognize this problem. Maybe you can convey this to others in your community. You are a model for them now, loving and respecting your fine daughter. Thank you for writing to share this story.

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Worldcare,

Thank you so much for nice comment. Definitely, I will keep my determination and work to show that girls are also contributors for this world. 

regards

Anjana

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 24, 2017

Dear Anjana,

The whole way through reading your story I was on the edge of my seat, thrilled to read about your strength to stand up to the multitude of attitudes you lived through with such grace and determination. You have no doubt affected people's attitudes in your whole area, slow going as it may seem. "Humans made these traditions and this culture, and I am positive that we can change them". These wise and powerful words are an affirming message to us all as we work together to change the way women and girls are treated on this planet. The photo is beautiful, clearly showing your princess's beauty, vibrant with the love she has been surrounded with from birth, even before birth, knowing that she would be everything that you and your husband want. Your story will go far as we retell it to anyone doubting the value of a girl.

With love in sisterhood,

Tam

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Tam,

Thank you so much for such an inspiring comment and honest lovely gesture. I really wish and highly hope that every girl in this world to be treated well and valued for their beingness.

Love, anjana

Clodine Mbuli Shei
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Anjana, Thank you for speaking out. i have a similar challenge with my little daughter. Its another story i will need to work on. I agree with this question 'Why can’t people recognize that a daughter can be the strength, pride, and power of the family—and that she can also contribute to growing the family tree?

My little daughter is my pride, it doesnt really matter to me what people think dear. 

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Clodine,

Thankyou so much for your comment and sharing the same views. I would love to hear/read your story too. My love and best wishes to your little daughter.

Regards,

anjana

Clodine Mbuli Shei
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Anjana, Thank you for speaking out. i have a similar challenge with my little daughter. Its another story i will need to work on. I agree with this question 'Why can’t people recognize that a daughter can be the strength, pride, and power of the family—and that she can also contribute to growing the family tree?

My little daughter is my pride, it doesnt really matter to me what people think dear. 

PilarAlbisu
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Anjana,

What an inspiring post! I can't imagine the pain and frustration you must have felt, especially as a young mother, at seeing society's backlash towards your decision to be the mother of an only girl child (who, might I say, looks like a little ray of sunshine!). The most important thing though, is that you were true to your beliefs and steadfast in your love for your child. With such a strong mother and role-model, I have no doubt that she will grow up to be the change that this world needs! And we'll be there alongside her!

All the best,

Pilar

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Pilar,

Thank you so much for your inspiring words. I am too very fortunate for being a mother of such a sensitive,responsible and enthusiastic daughter. She is prominent and very keen to prove herself that no girl is less than any boy. So thank you so much again for your wishes to her and standing together.

Love,

anjana

Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
djamila ibrahim olame
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

courage et felicitation maman

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Mon chéri amie Djamilah, Merci Beaucoup ! J'ai aimé le commentaire. :)

Chaleureusement, anjana

djamila ibrahim olame
Jan 30, 2017
Jan 30, 2017

merci aussi maman

nessa s
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

It is an attack on ALL of us that baby girls are not welcomed as wholeheartedly as boys. The sex of a child is still seen (even in western countries) as being the most important aspect of childbearing and childrearing, and this has to stop. After all, if all future births were boys, there would BE no future births!

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

So true dear Nessa, thank you for the comment. Best regards, anjana

leila Kigha
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Dear Anjana Thank you for such a beautiful story. I particularly love it when you say ' It is time for the voices of women and girls to be heard and our contributions to be acknowledged and respected. This change begins with individuals and it spreads through families to our communities, to the nation, and to the world. Let’s start now, with you and me.'

It starts with you and I

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Dear Leila,

Thank you so much for nice comment and standing with my view. Definitely we can start from ourselves first and motivating to others. 

Please convey my warmest love and regards to your grandmother.

love, anjana

Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Adanna
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Dear Anjana,

This is very inspiring.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Love,

Adanna

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 27, 2017
Jan 27, 2017

Dear Adanna,

Thank you so much :)

best, anjana

Soumeya Lerari
Jan 27, 2017
Jan 27, 2017

It has been the case in Algeria since forever and although it has substentially changed in some parts of the country, many still consider having a girl as being a curse...

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

Dear Soumeya 

Good to know that it has been changing in some parts of your country. Good luck.. Hope one day there will be surely  equality and women enjoy all the rights.

Best regards, anjana

shnayx2
Jan 27, 2017
Jan 27, 2017

Thank you for sharing your story. I am not a mother but know that loving your children unconditionally is crucial for their happiness and success in life. Thank you for being a changemaker and great mom!

Love, Renee

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

Dear Shnayx, 

Thank you for your wishes. its true that unconditional love is very crucial for children's development.

Love, anjana

Laura Jackson
Jan 27, 2017
Jan 27, 2017

Good for you, Anjana.  Seems all of the people who feel sorry for you have not noticed that a major shift is happening in the world.  Women are the hope of the future.  I am American and was at last weekend's women's march in Washington DC.  Wow!  And it was happening all over the world!!  

Men have done an amazing job of getting things built in the material world...buildings...rocket ships...computers...etc.  But the building of 'things' has reached its peak.  What humanity truly needs for its survival is deep human connections and this is where women take the lead.  How lucky you are to have given birth to a daughter at this pivotal moment in history!  

And thank you for choosing to have only one.  I have chosen to have no children because the rate of reproduction on this planet is unsustainable.  The most crucial factor in saving the environment is to slow populations growth.  Good for us!

Sending love and joy from New York City,  Laura

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

Dear Laura,

Thank you so much for all your love, joy and support. Yes indeed i am very happy to be a mother of a lovely daughter. I also respect for your view and concern on saving environment, Good luck. But i also I highly hope for the day, when everyone can opt and enjoy the motherhood for sustaining the nature. 

Love and hugs, anjana

maggie farquhar
Jan 28, 2017
Jan 28, 2017

Dear Anjana, How I admire you. I too know the absolute joy of the gift of a daughter and feel your hurt that not everyone felt as you did.We are in a period of enlightenment and I feel the change in the air, women are speaking up and protesting against inequality and I hope and pray that the "powers that be" are listening.Sending you and your beloved daughter love and strength.

 Fondest wishes Margaret

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

Dear Maggie,

Thank you so much for all your love and motivation. Surely together we stand, so hope we can fight together for the equality and we all girl and women will be enjoying all our rights.

Best regards,

anjana

Carolyn Seaman
Jan 28, 2017
Jan 28, 2017

Dear Anjana,

What a powerful story you have shared of your strength and courage in the face of a society that tries to force you to subject your life and happiness to its limiting beliefs that keep the female gender unaccepted and unappreciated.

Your story resonates very well with me and the societal practice here in Nigeria as well. However, I agree with you that our voices must continue to shout aloud our value to society.

By the way, your daughter is beautiful and looks as spirited as yourself - her amazing mum!

Love,

Carolyn

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you so much for taking time to read my story and all your motivation and love for me and my daughter. Sad to know the same situation in your country as well. I am too sending you all the strength and courage to face all those practice in your country.  Lets  unite and make our voice louder and clear, so that no girls or women face the discrimination on the base of her sex.

Love,

anjana

Carol Sunborn
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

As a mother of 2 sons and one daughter... I can say there is a special relationship with my daughter that I love. Love the boys and their families but it is not the same relationship. Sad that the world cannot see that women can do everything that men can do and, generally, the outcome is better. 

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 30, 2017
Jan 30, 2017

Very true dear Carol. lets raise our voice louder so that we can enjoy our right and acknowledgement of our contribution to society. and its also true that the feeling of daughter is so special.

love, anjana

Aramide Oikelome
Jan 30, 2017
Jan 30, 2017

Dear Anjana,

You are a very strong and brave woman. 

Thank you for inspiring us to stand for what is right. 

Our daughters deserve the very best in life and we must ensure they have it.

Thanks for sharing!

Blessings!

Aramide

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 30, 2017
Jan 30, 2017

Dear Aramide,

Thank you so much for your blessing and motivating comment. Definitely, we have to ensure for equality for all. For that we have to start working from individual level and also make the joint effort for achieving this.

With warm regards,

anjana

Lana Holmes
Jan 31, 2017
Jan 31, 2017

LOVE this message!  I grew up with a mother that was so glad I was her daughter because I was so very much like her as a child.  She was a wonderful defender and protector of my girlhood.  Your daughter will remember your actions and it will shape her life as my mother shaped mine!

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 01, 2017
Feb 01, 2017

Thank you so much dear Lana. So true and its also a blessing for a mother to see their children's happy life and follow her dream.  Please give my warm regards to your mother. Your message made me also remember my mother, who is a true inspiration forever to me. Love, anjana

QueenVirtuous
Feb 01, 2017
Feb 01, 2017

I'm so proud of you , Anjana. You've set an example for other women in your area and all over the world. Other girls will hear this  story from your daughter and will develop a high sense of self-worth. Womanhood is safe in your hands.

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 01, 2017
Feb 01, 2017

Thank you so much for taking time to read my experience/ story and your motivating comment. It would be my pleasure, if my belief becomes others inspiration. Indeed all girl and women are worth and they have equal right to have a dignified life.  

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 02, 2017

Dear Anjana

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article. Society has made its business to determine what is right and what is wrong. We think we know more than the superbeing that created us. This is a very wrong mentality that we have to get rid of. Very child is a blessing from God. Many people cant have children and so if you can its more than a blessing from God whether a boy or a girl.

Stay blessed and thanks for sharing. 

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 06, 2017
Feb 06, 2017

Dear Anita,

Indeed every child is a blessing from god. Thank you for your encouragement and love.

Best, anjana

Hamza Abbas
Feb 05, 2017
Feb 05, 2017

I really admired for reading this wonderful story, thanks for speaking out, I had story that I am working, I was the fourth daughter for my family, my mother had 3 girls for her pervious husband, when she married my father I become the first born at the side of my father and the 4th daughter at the side of my mother, but when mother get her fourth daughter all the people including friends and relatives felt sorry, they said oh sorry we were expecting you to get a baby in this change, but my mother did give ear to them and she created a poem for me which is: you are a diamond, the bone marrow of my bones and you are better than all boys. When I have grown, my mother had shared with me the story and how the people felt bad when I came, I felt so annoyed and started to be women activist to make sure that a boy is not better than a girl.

Feb 06, 2017
Feb 06, 2017
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Hamza Abbas
Feb 05, 2017
Feb 05, 2017

I really admired for reading this wonderful story, thanks for speaking out, I had story that I am working, I was the fourth daughter for my family, my mother had 3 girls for her pervious husband, when she married my father I become the first born at the side of my father and the 4th daughter at the side of my mother, but when mother get her fourth daughter all the people including friends and relatives felt sorry, they said oh sorry we were expecting you to get a baby in this change, but my mother did give ear to them and she created a poem for me which is: you are a diamond, the bone marrow of my bones and you are better than all boys. When I have grown, my mother had shared with me the story and how the people felt bad when I came, I felt so annoyed and started to be women activist to make sure that a boy is not better than a girl.

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 07, 2017
Feb 07, 2017

Dear Hamza,

Mothers are angles to their children. I can truly feel your mothers feelings to face unnecessary response from others. But her strength and unconditional love to you and considering yourself as a diamond prove that you are a real charm to her. her belief for girls are better than any boy is so powerful. Salute to her. Stay strong and make your mother proud, my best wishes to you and please convey my warm respect to your mother.

Best, anjana

Enmita Marin
Feb 08, 2017
Feb 08, 2017

Dear Hamza, 

thank you so much forsharing your story. I´ll tell you something. My mother was raising believing that she must have a boy child, so i first came (i am the oldest child) she felt sorry for herself. And she put in risk her life and health searching for a baby boy. Finally after 3 miscarriage, she had her son, and she can be happy and no judgement for the entire family. 

This situation that you tells us in your story happens still now, in 21th century, in more countries than people think. 

Thanks for sharing and bring me the opportunity to know a BRAVE, UNIQUE AND EMPOWER WOMEN like you, who put her health and happiness first. 

you are a hero for me.

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 10, 2017

Dear Enmita, Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your feelings. So sorry to hear about the miscarriage for the charm of baby boy. Its pity that still there is practice ongoing that is causing the health hazard for women's reproductive health and life. Lets work together for equality and prove that no girl is less any any boy if given equal opportunity in every step of her life.

In solidarity, anjana  

Enmita Marin
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 10, 2017

thank you Anjana for your solidarity. You are right! lets work for that! i will share your story in the talks that i have with teenagers and girls so i will inspire them. Thanks for your support, it always a blessing now stories and people like you. 

a fraternity hug for you.

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 10, 2017

So nice of you Enmita. Would love to hear the feedbacks.

Love, anjana

Shaheera Panday
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 10, 2017

Dear Anjana, I've heard similar stories from my mom when i was born. Its amazing how mothers never fail to love us unconditionally even when everyone else is against it..I salute your spirit and yes more love to you and your daughter from my side.

Anjana Vaidya
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Dear Shaheera,

Thank you so much for the wishes for me and my daughter. Lets work together for the women empowerment so that every mother can be happy to give birth to a girl child and yes very true, mothers are true shields for their children. My warm regards to your mother and best wishes to you for your bright future and making your mother proud.

Love, anjana

IAmBeautiful
Mar 09, 2017
Mar 09, 2017

Very moving story and I can relate. Your story was very emotional for me. All the best!

Anjana Vaidya
Mar 20, 2017
Mar 20, 2017

Hi beautiful,

Thank you so much for your comment. Yes it relates to every women that have one girl child.

Love and hugs,

anjana

Lizzie Yaks
May 01, 2017
May 01, 2017

Anjana, Thanks for the strength God has given you. Change must begin with you and me. As a mother of three daughters, I 've heard people especially women tell me I still need a baby boy, I always tell I love my girls. Together our voices must be heard.

Anjana Vaidya
May 05, 2017
May 05, 2017

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for nice comment. Sending you a love, care and strength to face the same pressure we share. I hope one day our girls will prove themselves that they are not less powerful than anyone. Please follow your own decision and focus on supporting your daughters. Wish you a very best my friend. 

Keep raising your voice.

In solidarity,

anjana

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 12, 2018
Jul 12, 2018

My dear sister Anjana,

I admire your bravery on standing up for your beautiful daughter, even braver for paying the price in raising her amidst the pressure of having a son.

You have put up a good fight from the day she was born until today. I am so proud of you. I feel you somehow.

I have two boys. My husband and I decided to stop with two children regardless of the gender. People around us are telling us to try for a girl. There is this belief that a perfect family is having children from both gender. I would really love to have a daughter; however, we are happy with our second son.

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! I know your daughter will be a great woman leadet like you. Hugs!

Anjana Vaidya
Jan 23
Jan 23

Dear Karen,
Thank you so much for your solidarity and love. The feeling of a perfect family is having both genders is fine and it is purely a personal choice or decision. But if anyone imposes to other in the name of belief, it becomes violence. The son preference is very high in our society due to various cultural and traditional aspects. Thus girl child is not preferred and they are taken as liabilities and non-competent… so pity. The people who love and care me make more pressure to have son, so that my life would be more secured (in their view). The patriarchy is deeply rooted and girls are deprived from the opportunities (economically, socially, physically, culturally), which leads them to incompetency in comparison to boys. So I just wanted to show that if the girls are given the choices, privileges and access in every opportunity, they are also competent and can also shoulder to their parents as boys.
Love and regards,
Anjana