Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Baby boy or girl- does it really matter?

Picture taken from
So the other day I went with my mum to visit a family friend who has five boys. I was saddened by the way the kids interacted with their mum; one of them was so disrespectful to her even in our presence that I was beyond shocked! I remember thinking, 'gosh if this was my younger brother, my mum would've whooped him upside his big head!' Actually if he were my brother the scenario we witnessed would never have played out. Anyway, as she bemoaned the fact that her boys were such a headache and that people that had girls were so lucky, I couldn't help but wonder why her kids turned out the way they did. As I thought about it, I began to piece the puzzle together. You see, she initially had three boys and a girl, but she lost the girl at a very young age. Her and her husband wanted another girl so badly that they decided to try again, and in the process, had two more boys. I believe what happened (but obviously, I don't know for sure) was that the three boys they had before were somewhat forgotten in their parents' search for a girl. And this led to them becoming the rebellious young men they are today.

Their story is not actually uncommon in the African culture. Usually, it is the other way round. An African man has not yet 'arrived' until he has a male child. I know a family that had seven children in their search for a male child. Seven! Thank God the seventh was a boy, otherwise who knows when they would have stopped? Even one male child is not enough sometimes. Another woman I know had a boy and two girls. One day I overheard a conversation she was having with my mum, and she mentioned that she wanted to try for more children to see if she would get another boy, just in case her only son died. Yes, you read right. What a crazy way to think right? I guess maybe it's because I'm a woman that I really don't understand why men want to have a male child so badly. So what if there's no one to carry on your name after you're gone? Truth is you wouldn't even know about it because you'd be dead! Think about it, if you knew that that particular child you long after so much would be your downfall on this earth would you still want him/her so badly? I'm sure many of you know of families where the male children have caused untold heartache to their parents, whilst the females are the ones bringing pride (not to talk of money) to the family. I know the reverse is the case too, and I tried telling that to my mum's friend.

Now I'm not saying I don't want to have a male child. I'm not crazy. I want both male and female, because I believe both sexes are gifts from God. But if I only have one sex, I hope to God I don't beat myself up about it, or put my life at risk by getting pregnant for as many times as it takes to get a particular sex. I would be grateful to God for the fact that at least I have a child/children and I would love and cherish them like life itself. If my mum's friend (who is a lovely lady by the way) had focused on giving her three boys all the attention and love they craved especially when they'd just lost their sister (instead of trying so hard to replace her), maybe today she'd have three boys who loved, respected and honoured their mother, instead of five boys who kept her on her knees every night. To be fair though, I don’t know exactly what she went through during that period so who am I to judge?

But what I’m trying to say is this; whilst I pray that someday I'll be blessed with both sexes (and at least two boys- what can I say, I'm African!) the truth is that I would be happy with any. Boy or girl. I just pray I marry someone that feels the same way.


  1. You make a good explanation to a possible reason why their behavior is the way it is.

    I agree with everything else you said too. I find it crazy the repeat pregnancies people have in their search for one particular sex. Dont the others matter once you've had them and they turn out not to be what you really wanted?

    I have 2 daughters, and yes I'm African too. We never found out the gender of any of our kids during pregnancy. It didnt matter to us if it was a girl or boy. The most important thing to us was having a healthy child. I'd like to have kids of both sexes but dont stress myself about it for any one reason or another. And if any kids that come after are girls too, then I'm cool with that. They all mine afterall.

  2. I admire the way you see things Wendal; I wish more African men were like you! So many of our men tend to forget that the kids they have are theirs and they need to be loved and appreciated, boy or girl! And your daughters are very cute too! :)

  3. Children are a heritage from God. I believe that it is actually possible to know God's will when it comes to having children i.e. the number, sex, and even names! As extreme as this might sound, it brings contentment because whether you have one boy or three girls, or you adopt, you'll know you are following God's plan. And that's what really matters.

  4. Renny I think we need to copy Wendal's DNA and pour it into the cup of every man living in Nigera. Maybe then we would have more happy

    My dear I have realised when one is not consumed with the things of the Lord your mind can become indulged in things that do not really matter. I know so many people who are just praying the God will give them one child let alone a boy or a girl. :-)

  5. @Chisome, yes I agree with you that God definitely wants to be involved in even the minutest details of our lives. Problem is that not many of us seek Him in all areas. Maybe if we did, we'd realise that it isn't actually the number of kids, or their sex but what you do with them when you have them that counts! :)

    @Butterflydiaries, yes oh, we need more of Wendal in our societies today! ;) A lot more people need to appreciate the fact that at least they have kids (whether or not the sex is what they wished for), because too many would give anything (literally!) just for one!

  6. Just the other day this thought went through my mind, why is it so important to have a male child? The only answer that came to me which i'm still trying to fathom is, all the prophets of old first had sons! Now i know this is not the answer to the importance but there has to be some correlation somewhere. Anyway I have an aunt who had 3 girls and desperately wanted a son, regardless of the fact that when she's pregnant she's so sickly that fear of death lurks around the corner! She conceived again and was so sick this 4th time, she lost the baby. Only a few weeks ago i hear she gave birth and finally to a baby boy! (i didn't even know she was preggers a 5th time!) Thank God for her! While i am happy for her, i don't believe i am prepared to take such a risk at the cost of losing my life and leaving behind 3 beautiful girls given to me also by God.

    To each man his own, i pray for a son or sons but if he doesn't come by the time my number of "how many kids to have is up", shikena for me!

  7. Lol at shikena! I thank God your aunt didn't lose her life in the process. You know some people are not so lucky! I understand that there's more to the whole male child thingy than meets the eye, even if I can't understand it. My own is that I wish people wouldn't destroy their lives and marriages in the search of a particular sex, when there are countless babies out there looking for someone to love them, their own children included!

  8. Renny i found a scripture on sat, Numbers 27: 1-11, that may shed some insight on this topic! Zelophehad had 5 daughters and no son, they brought their case before Moses on why they would not give them their fathers inheritance that his name may be carried on. Moses took their case before God and God said they should be given their fathers inheritance and should the man have had no daughters, his brothers should take it and should he have no had brothers, they should pass to the man's closest relative. The point of this scripture was to highlight the fact that though a man has no son or daughter, his name or possessions should not die but be passed onto his relatives. So it doesn't matter whether a man has a son or not, his legacy and inheritance should still live on. After all the emphasis on male children is only because of the man's name not dying.