What a momentous year! After half a decade of unexplained infertility (i.e. stress!)... I am pleasantly shocked to be expecting a second baby. I confess that in moving to India and attempting to get back to work, this sudden pregnancy did slightly pull the rug from under my feet. But the idea that by Christmas, there will be another child in our lives - a sibling for my son - is so delightful and sweet! And now that the nausea is gone, I couldn't be more content.
Boy or girl?
Any expecting couple is curious to know. And we're no different. The thought of buying little dresses... brushing a little girl's hair... watching her grow into a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman... and sharing all I've learned with her, regularly brings tears of joy to my eyes.
But here in India, that microscopic thread of X chromosome can prove deadly for a baby girl:
10 million missing Indian girls
I did the above report for BBC World TV back in 2006. And believe it or not, the problem is actually getting worse. Latest statistics show that the number of wealthy, educated Indians aborting baby girls is growing. Sex ratios are now so skewed, experts are predicting a breakdown of society within a generation.
"If sex ratios stay the same, 600,000 missing girls this year will become, in 18 years’ time, over 10m missing future brides. Robbery, rape and bride-trafficking tend to increase in any society with large groups of young single men." - The Economist, Apr 7th 2011
It's already happening in places like Harayana state, where female foeticide has been rampant for decades.
So why on earth does a girl engender such loathing in some prospective parents?