A story of love, loss and second chances by Nikita Singh, releasing this Valentine’s Day.
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A proud mother, on this daughter’s day, talks about encouraging her daughters to be mentally strong, taking their own life decisions without having any regrets.
It was 2011 and I was carrying my second child. My first one was close to 3 years and I was happy that my mission for two kids would get over soon. I don’t know, but if you are pregnant (the second time) and meeting people quite often then there is a high possibility of you getting special comments. They would inspect you from head to toe and start giving their judgements about the impending delivery.
Most people or I would say 99% of them would want you to have a boy. This becomes more concrete when your first child is a girl. I heard a lot from people during that period and honestly, I never had the patience to argue with empty minds. I had to leave in the middle of those conversations.
It’s a mindset, deeply ingrained and one can’t do anything about it. For those people, girls are always secondary and a second girl child is least wanted in the family. Anyway, in the month of April, I delivered a girl. A healthy and beautiful baby is what everyone wishes for. But then, I realised that the congratulations were meek, there was grief in their tones. I couldn’t understand how a new baby could distress anyone. But it happened and I faced it.
I belong to a family where we are three sisters and similarly my mother was one among two sisters. I have never witnessed gender bias and how it feels at home, where you differentiate among your own children or you decide their work according to their gender.
So, what I understood from the social perspective, being a mother of two daughters, is that it is like a baggage that you carry your whole life. They will get married, I need to save a lot of money to marry them and finally they would be off to another home. And my husband and I would be left alone to god’s mercy. Isn’t it? This is what you expect from a boy and not from a girl? Paraya dhan– Kind of?
But I shunned all those questions by people, about when I was planning to have a third child. There should be a limit to it…how can your personal life ever be someone else’s business? I am happy with my two girls and I am not saving for their marriage. For them and of course for us, that is not the only agenda for their life. There is so much more to do apart from getting married. I save for their education, to make them explore things, to travel with them and to get those things that would empower them.
Secondly, it’s our duty and responsibility to educate them well, to give them freedom and to make them understand the right and the wrong. They have all the rights to decide for themselves and yes, we do support them. All the time – good, bad, thick and thin, they can always come back to us at any point in time.
We want to understand them, their own feelings, their dreams and not to live our life through them.
Life is not easy and I tell them the same quite often. I want them to be self-sufficient and to able to manage all possible tasks according to their age irrespective of their gender roles. Also, they can learn easily when they see it from close quarters. Like, we all share our work in the best possible manner. I really want them to be strong mentally, so that they would be able to take their own decisions in life without any regrets.
They are my pride and I love them to the core. They are not meant to be perfectionists or ‘good’ girls. They need to live up to their own dreams with sheer hard work, grit and determination.
I don’t expect any resources from them, no old age special care, financially, or any sort of obligation. I want them to fly high wherever they want and live a happy life.
Note: In India, the last Sunday of September is #DaughtersDay, this year, on September 23rd.
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