ACHHAM, Dec 15: In the hope for a son, Radhika Kunwar of Nawathana gave birth to nine daughters one after another. After waiting for years, she couldn't be happier when she finally gave birth to a son as her tenth child. "Repeated pregnancy itself was a challenge to my health and raising so many daughters together was an added burden," she laments.
Similarly, Bindra BK of Mallekh -7, Nandegada also gave birth to six daughters “due to the desire of breastfeeding a son.” She still expects a son and is trying to welcome a male child in her family. "A woman is disrespected and ostracized by society if she doesn't deliver a son," said Bindra.
A few years ago, Paru Bogati of Marku-1 gave birth to a son as her first child. Family members were elated but unfortunately, their happiness couldn't last long. Her son died after three months.
In order to regain the love and respect of her family Paru and her husband Nauraj gave birth to their second child. To their disappointment, it was a girl this time. The couple tried time and again but could not welcome a son even after giving birth to seven daughters. Actually Paru gave 13 births of while she had three miscarriages and one daughter died after birth. But the couple made one more attempt which finally gave them “a great respite”.
They were on cloud nine after knowing it was a son. "No matter how close they are, daughters will one day get married and move to others' homes. So, we must give birth to a son who will look after us in our old age, "said Nauraj. According to him, no dynasty can continue without a son.
Forty-five years old Paru who spent most of her life giving births and raising children shared that she felt ashamed to face her sisters-in-law as she didn't have a son. Cuddling up with her newly-born son, Paru said, "I even thought of committing suicide after failing to deliver a son but he saved my life."
Paru, Radhika and Bindra are the representative cases of hundreds of women who are forced to risk their lives due to the pressure of giving birth to a male child. This clearly proves that gender discrimination and biasness is still widely prevalent in the district. "In recent years, the number of births has decreased as women have started aborting their babies after finding out their gender," said Jhapat Dhungana, Public Health Inspector at District Public Health Office (DPHO), Achham.
Despite giving birth to too many children, parents in the brural parts are unable to provide them proper diet and other necessities due to poverty. This has badly affected the growth, development and overall health of children.