One of the comments I get when someone finds out about my combination twins is, “Wow!” “Great!” “You don’t have to be looking for a boy or a girl.” “Lucky you!” . And in our kind of society, you can imagine there are so many people saying that to me. Even my own mother couldn’t be happier with the combination, like it was especially made for her.
After having three girls in a polygamous home, she felt less than secure in her home. Although, he is just her first grandchild, my son has come to fill the spot of her son in her life. She refers to him as “Oko mi” literally meaning “My husband”. Having a boy was very important to my mom, maybe it even still matters to her, but I think she has accepted her lot and moved on from that life. On a second thought, I’m not really sure.
While we would like to believe that we are now in the 21st century, we are still a deeply patriarchal society and most women still long to have a boy rather than a girl, if it was possible. That aside, when you have been having boys like a childhood friend of mine, whom I saw at my parent’s annual thanksgiving service recently (it’s a mini annual reunion for us and our friends.), you begin to have thoughts. She came with her nine-month old son and I was like, “Ha! Na every year you dey born o!!” That’s not true, because that was just her second child, and he had been born after a child with special needs. But, hey, we are talking about my childhood friend, with whom I bathed in the rain naked. No hiding mouth or editing myself.
I asked how she was coping, with both kids, as both of them needed her attention full time. She was still breast feeding the younger one, and the other young man was still in diapers and needed 24 hour care. She said she was doing very fine, but would still be trying for another baby, as soon as the boys were like 3 and 2 years old.
I was surprised. When I asked what the hurry was, she reminded me of her age and added that, ‘Don’t you want me to have a girl like you?” The fact that she had preference for a girl had never crossed my mind. While, I admit, I was the less girly among my childhood friends, while we were growing up, I think I got more girls in the child bearing stakes. They all have boys for now, as they are still reproducing.
When, I asked what the big deal about a girl was, as she was even blessed with more of the ‘preferred’ choice, she pulled my younger daughter to her and said, “Don’t you just love this your mini-me” Truthfully, I looked at her and I fell in love with that pixie face again. At that moment, we both did love the idea of daughters, and having a ‘mini-me’ versions of ourselves, at least before age catches up on us all.
While, we were yet talking, the circle had grown and another friend with much older boys said she needed a girl to soften her boys up, and increase the number of females in her house (5:1) and importantly balance out her family. But considering she had vowed never to go back to the labour ward again, after the birth of her fourth boy, this might just be her mouthing off. Anyway, even if she was just not saying it, I don’t think she has any fertility challenge, so she can afford to continue giving birth to more kids, and I’m using ‘afford’ loosely here.
Before I leave the fertile chicks, I should tell you about this fellow school gate mom, who I just found out is pregnant again, after four girls, two of whom are out of secondary school. I was like, “Wetin she dey look for?” and she is already showing, which should put her at around 6 months. The teacher, in whose class we were, saw the look on my face as I looked at her bump and said, “She is looking for a boy, abi, Mrs so and so.?”
I felt like the ground should open up and swallow me in my embarrassment, I did not say anything oh!!! But before the ground would open, she just batted her lashes, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “This time, I will have a boy.” Such a definitive statement! To which, I said, Amen. Possibly, she already knew what she was going to have anyway. Good luck with their family balance project!
If only it was possible for everyone to just continue to have babies until they had their sequence of gender. If only! Ihinose perfectly thought she was going to have it smoothly when it came to reproduction. Her mother had nine kids; boys and girls. And then she had married a man, who came from a lineage where they produced more boys, but it was all fine, as she had resigned herself to being “mama boys.”
Only neither sex came, at least not easily. They got their first child, whose sex they did not really care about, through IVF. They gave her the name, Osariemen, meaning God gave me. Having her was a blessing and they knew it. More so, as the doctors had told them, they would need help with conception subsequently. She was all the more precious. No spontaneous pregnancy for them. Different strokes for everyone.
By the time they were ready to have another baby, it took a lot of thought on their part, before they decided to go for gender selection procedures, as part of their IVF cycle. This was their last assisted cycle and they wanted to balance their family, gender wise.
Thankfully, it worked for them; the selected male embryo implanted and split into two. Talk about miracles. Ihinose’s heart nearly stopped as the radiologist identified not one, but two sacs. After that, all thoughts of gender balancing were thrown out the window. Who talks gender balancing, when you are having twins, when you have only been asking for a boy, and then to be blessed with two. It was a blessing!
She carried the babies to the 36th week and had a scheduled C-section. Everyone stopped calling her Mama Osariemen, she became Mama Ejima straight away.
Whatever name it is called, family balancing, gender selection, they are all relative. The sex that is important to me might not be to you. And it only just matters because of the fact that we got one child or two before.
To the TTC moms still in the waiting room, a child is a child is a child! Forget it’s sex.
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