“Why Ma? Was it such a big curse to have a fourth daughter?”

“It’s me,  the youngest of your four daughters”

My friends were talking about their childhood memories yesterday and even though I have some pretty happy ones, the day I was born wasn’t that joyous. In all my life, I haven’t talked to anyone about this. Not even my best-friend who claims to know everything about me.

 My sisters  and a few others have told me what had really happened that day. I wish I hadn’t asked. They told me how after three daughters, you wished with all your heart for a son who could carry the family name and make you proud. They told me how you had cracked a one-sided deal with God. You’d said that you would give up on fruits if your next-born will be a girl. It’s a little hard for me to believe that you actually thought that would work. It was a difficult labour and you were exhausted even before I was out of you. You heard me crying and asked the nurse what your fate was – a son or a curse? She told you it was another girl-child. You lost consciousness and couldn’t stop bleeding because of the trauma.

“Why Ma? Was it such a big curse to have a fourth daughter?”

You awoke two days later and didn’t want to see me. Everyone told Papa words that one would say at a funeral. They told him to be patient and that all will be fine. But none of this hurt me as much what happened next. The doctor who was handling your case didn’t have daughters of her own. And I was a fairly pretty baby. She asked you if she could have me. And you agreed. Thanks to Papa who did not. photo-1470843810958-2da815d0e041

Why Ma? Was it such a big curse to have a fourth daughter? It’s not like I could help it. I’ve never told you this before and I always laugh along when others joke about it but I was really hurt.

But what happened a few days ago made me forget all that I had against you. I heard you talking to a neighbor. She has two sons and told you how bad it must be to have four daughters. That was when you told her that you are proud of each one of us and wouldn’t trade for a son no matter what. You told her that having four daughters is the greatest blessing. 

I remember telling you about my new job and how good I am at it. You had smiled your usual smile, full of compassion and told me the one thing I was dying to hear. You told me that you were proud of me.

I wish the world’s thinking changed the way yours did. I wish the world understood that having a girl-child is indeed a blessing.


Your youngest daughter 

Author: Zainab Haji

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