“One girl and one boy. Your family is complete!”
“Now you have the perfect family!”
I lost track of how many times my husband and I heard those sentences during the pregnancy of my youngest–a boy. At first I just gave confused looks to the friends and strangers who were so thrilled about our “complete” family. Why did having a boy make our family complete? Even my husband didn’t understand such logic.
It was some sort of compliment or code we didn’t understand.
We started responding with, “Our family is complete no matter what. We’re done having kids after this one.” But I felt like I we were defending something we didn’t need to. We loved our firstborn daughter and would love our second no matter the baby’s gender. The only reason we wanted to know our son’s gender was because my mother was anxious to shop for baby things. Because she loves to shop.
In our latest book club for From Left to Write, The Underground Girls of Kabul by investigative journalist Jenny Nordberg, women in Afghanistan are deemed failures if they cannot produce sons. Never mind that a woman’s egg does not determine the baby’s gender. The lack of education about procreation is evident in the belief that women can grow a baby boy by wishing hard enough.
Our family is complete not because we have miraculously created one of each gender.
Our family is not complete because I have finally given my father a (grand)son.
Our family is not complete because I get to dress up my daughter like a doll and still have a boy to dress too.
Our family is not complete because we get the best of both worlds, when it comes to toys and books.
Our family is complete because both of our children have filled our lives to the brim–no, overflowing–with a love I could have never even imagined before we became parents.
Love makes our family complete.
This post was inspired by The Underground Girls of Kabul by journalist Jenny Nordberg, who discovers a secret Afghani practice where girls are dressed and raised as boys. Join From Left to Write on September 16th as we discuss The Underground Girls of Kabul. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.