23 needles in baby's head - female infanticide in China
Expectant parents, fretting over the sex of your baby is perfectly normal! If you’re getting what you wished for -- great! But for those who will be welcoming the exact opposite of what you had hoped for, here’s advice for you.
In 2007, there was a case of a Chinese woman, Luo Cuifen who went to seek medical attention after experiencing certain medical complications. During an initial examination, doctors found 23 needles stuck in her.
Some of them were pushed into the fontanelle, the soft spot on a baby’s head before the bones knit. They suspected this a deliberate act by the grandparents to kill her. In China, sons are preferred, whereas females are referred to as ‘maggots in the rice’.
Due to the prejudice against girls, many women do not report their pregnancies and if the baby’s a girl, they kill it. Luo has since suffered inexplicable anxiety, insomnia and depression. At times, the needles emerged from strange bodily wounds. With her grandparents dead, there was no indication of an investigation to come.
This is just one case in point. Like her, there are many other baby girls who have suffered a similar fate, if not worse like murder. Does gender preference justify infanticide?
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As long as baby is healthy
Once the initial excitement of the pregnancy news fizzles out, a lot of expectant parents like to say, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, as long as the baby is healthy.”
For mums and dads who share this sentiment, you’ve taken a huge step in deciding that, regardless of the sex of your baby, the most important thing to you is that you’re good parents, if not great.
I wanted a girl, but it’s a boy!
However, this acceptance perhaps comes easier to first-time parents. There are those who do have a preference when it comes to the gender of their unborn child, for whatever reason. For example, if a couple already has two sons, their desire could be for a daughter with the next pregnancy.
If you’re one of the many parents caught in this wave of emotion, remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong feeling this way. In fact, it’s perfectly understandable. It’s the first thing a pregnant mother and the baby’s father get to find out about this little person on the way, so the sex of your baby is a big deal.
What’s even tougher is, knowing that at the end of your final trimester, you and hubby-bubby will be welcoming the exact opposite of what the both of you had hoped for. This can be devastating, especially if you’ve decided that this is the final try. When this occurs, it’s easy for a disconnect to exist between parents and child.
Dealing with the disappointment
While your disheartenment with regards to the sex of your baby is completely natural, it is vital that you quickly recognise the potential harm this can cause, affecting mum’s mental, physical and emotional state and ultimately the stability of the pregnancy and your foetus’s well-being. Nip it in the bud before resentment sets in!
The child is already a part of your family’s life and will complete the circle of your home unit. As such, the sex of your baby shouldn't hinder your relationship with him or her. During all stages of your pregnancy, it's crucial to bond with the being growing inside of you – after all, the baby is innocent and needs your nurturing to develop right.
Sex of your baby: Love and acceptance
Be it a son or daughter, be fully aware of how the sex of your baby will affect your reality, the expectations you’ve harboured in preparation of his or her arrival, embrace acceptance and let love do the rest. Guilt should have no part in how you relate to your child to prevent him or her from growing up feeling unwanted or rejected – the bigger picture should be what drives you.
Also, consider yourself blessed to be able to relish the everlasting gift of parenthood. There are many out there who have not been quite so privileged. When you consider this, your ordeal somehow becomes more bearable.
For more on gender-driven infant deaths, watch this video: