Dear all, brace yourselves…this is a long post 🙂
This question was sent in by a lady who had written a while back with this question: I have two girls. My question: is it possible for me to determine the sex of my next baby because I want them to be boys. Medically, is it possible Dr.K? Thanks.
My answer: Hello madam. How are you doing? There’s no medical way of determining your babies sex ahead of time. Be thankful for your girls and always remember that there are people who would give anything to have a baby (any sex) at all. For more on this, please click on this link
She then wrote this…the question for the day. Please read and also provide some advice especially if you have been through this kind of situation. I would really love to get the views of men on this too.
Q: Good evening, Dr. Ketch. I appreciate your words of encouragement and advice. I love my daughters…they are my life. My problem is my hubby…he wants a male child by all means and that if I don’t give him a male child in my next pregnancy, he is taking in a second wife. I am so confused because at any little discussion of a new born male child from friends & family, he uses it against me that all I know is to have female children. Believe me, I am deeply hurt. I don’t want to lose my home because of child gender.
A: Dear writer, first, I’d like to thank you for writing in and sharing this. This is deep and it is personal…but you chose to share it. I hope that by discussing this, you’ll find some peace and indeed help other women in your position as well as educate the men on this forum too.
The sex of a child is determined by a man. A boy has XY chromosomes while a girl has XX. The woman always contributes the X chromosome. She has no Y chromosome and so no matter how much she desires to have a male child, she cannot provide the Y chromosome. The husband on the other hand, has both X and Y chromosomes and so he, essentially determines the sex of the child. If he provides the X chromosome, that combines with your own X and forms a girl. If he provides Y, that combines with your X and forms a boy.
Having said all of this, I am not unaware that in Africa the ‘burden’ of birthing a male or female child or any child at all is placed on the woman. Family, society and the community at large ensures this issue is compounded by constantly focusing on the woman and in many instances, encouraging the man to marry another wife if his ‘primary’ wife cannot have a child or if she has children, if she cannot have a male child. This is disheartening and has led to the break-up of many homes. In fact, I’ll share my own story. I have three children. Two girls and a boy. I had my two girls first though. I recall that one of my cousins-in-law called after I had the second child and asked me what sex my baby was. Upon hearing she’s a girl, he paused for a moment and said, ‘well, we’ll manage that and wait for the next time.’ To be fair to him, he was smiling (I could hear his smile) when he said it and I’m not convinced that he actually understood the significance of what he was saying…which was essentially, ‘you’ve birthed a second-hand citizen. We like you and so we shall tolerate this one more time. However, you’d better be sure that you get it right the next time!’ It was an out-of-body experience for me. I wasn’t quite sure what to say because every option that came to mind was definitely going to destroy my phone 😀 But that’s how bad it gets, people are very vocal about their thoughts on this issue in our environment.
Under this pressure, women who wish to ensure they ‘do not lose their home’ make multiple trips to the labour room, having pregnancy after pregnancy, until some of them unfortunately lose their lives. The sad part is that the very thing they started out wanting to protect, the sanctity of their homes, is lost as the husbands left behind soon marry wives to take care of the children left behind.
So, my dear, I have no easy advice for you. We can’t determine what chromosomes (X or Y) are released at any time, so the sex of the child conceived is totally up to God. I feel particularly sad that your husband rubs it in your face. Even if it were your fault (which it’s not), some support from your husband would have been wonderful. The girl child is not inferior to the male. No, she’s not! In fact, more often than not, she’s the one that remembers to care for the parents when they are old and tired. In these days when women are doing great and awesome things, it’s amazing that in Africa, we are still at the stage of looking down on female children. Great men like Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama have female children only and are perfectly happy with them. If you worry that your female children will not carry on the family name, then let them answer double-barreled names (Okonkwo-Ajibade). If the issue is that she leaves her home to go to another man’s home…hey, remember that you also took another man’s daughter and made her yours. If she runs your business from anywhere, that business is still in the family…even if she later hands it over to her own children. We certainly need to re-think our views on these matters. If a man would continually blame his wife for having girls only, has he ever wondered how he would feel if the case were the same for his daughter and her husband gave her this grief?
Perhaps you can get someone who your husband respects to talk to him about how the things he says hurts you? Or perhaps your family doctor or his parents…if they are supportive of you. I, personally, do not believe that your ability to birth a male or any child at all, can cost you your home. Don’t be mistaken, I am aware that second wives have been brought in on account of this. But my point is that any home that will disintegrate because of this, already had the makings of disintegration and this was just an event that speeded up the process.
Digressing to my story again, my third child is a boy…but that was going to be my last missionary journey to the labour room anyhow 🙂 When I was pregnant for him, I had no idea what sex the baby was as I always told the doctors that I didn’t want to know…I always loved the surprise of being given my baby and finding out the sex at that time 🙂 So, it was a pleasant surprise to behold my son…who had quite a few pink stuff to wear as I had shopped for both sexes (male and female…just in case). The third was going to be the last (whatever the sex)…I had nothing to prove to anyone and certainly had my whole life ahead of me. I didn’t get grief from anyone (apart from that phone call I had mentioned above) but I doubt that my thoughts on this would have changed even if I had people on my case. I was not going to be defined by the sex of my baby or babies, making countless trips to the labour room. My daughters, by the way, have given me loads of happiness and I cannot imagine trading that joy for anything. I can only imagine what they will do in the years to come! Just in case my son comes across this post, I hasten to add that he’s pretty awesome too 😀
So, my final admonition is this: I need you to get busy and be sure that you have a life…a job, an occupation, a career…something that keeps you busy so that you don’t spend too much time thinking about this. Hopefully, this will pass. But you need to realize that you are worth a whole lot more than your ability to reproduce, male, female or any child at all. You are a unique, fearfully and wonderfully made individual who has a lot to offer this generation. Find your calling, find your purpose and birth it.
Loads of hugs coming your way….