Unwanted

How do you change culture?  Can it start with one person?  How do you change the norms and values of millions of people without tearing apart who they they are?  Without  stripping them of their identity along the way?

Some things are not wrong.  Just different.  But some things are more than that.

It is a society where women almost go into confinement during their pregnancy, and modesty during labor means no family members are present.  Eighteen year old wives give birth for the first time, terrified.  No one offers them comfort.  Husbands cannot be in attendance.  The mother and aunts wait outside until after the labor.  No encouragement is given by the nurses or doctor.  No one holds her hand as she grips the bed for her life…and her child’s.

A beautiful child, who lives in the slums

How can we change the mindset of a society that views women as second class citizens?  A world where parents hope only for sons, because daughters require a dowry, and they cannot carry on the family name. They are a burden.  Sometimes even unwanted.  Sex determination clinics for the sole purpose of aborting female fetuses are all too common, despite the fact that it is illegal.

Are these unborn children, who’s only crime was being female, not beautiful in God’s eyes too?  Do they not deserve the same amount of love as any other child?  Do they not deserve a chance in this precious life?

Are we not all beautiful in God's eyes?

I watched the numerous births at the hospital these past three weeks and only one was a boy.  I couldn’t help wondering if God is trying to bridge the gender gap that India has struggled with.

As the newborn girls cried I looked on in amazement as they opened her eyes for the first time.  My heart was heavy.  Would they have been more loved if they had been born a boy?  Would they have received more respect?  More opportunities in life?  I knew the answer to that.

But I prayed.  I prayed they would be loved.  Loved for who they are.  I prayed they would be respected.  Be given opportunities.  And that they would realize that they have a Father who loves them because they are His children.

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8 Responses to Unwanted

  1. Anonymous says:

    Chelsea,
    I just finished reading your whole blog…all I can say is AWESOME!!! It’s great reading about your experience…its almost feels like if I close my eyes, I am right there with you. God has put you where you are for a reason! You just keep shining your light for those around you, even if they don’t understand your language, they will understand your love.

    We know that all these girls are fearfully and wonderfully made, marvellous are His works…we just have to trust in the LORD that they will know this also.

    Love & prayers to you,
    Katy

  2. Chelsea,
    I just finished reading your whole blog…all I can say is AWESOME!!! It’s great reading about your experience…its almost feels like if I close my eyes, I am right there with you. God has put you where you are for a reason! You just keep shining your light for those around you, even if they don’t understand your language, they will understand your love.

    We know that all these girls are fearfully and wonderfully made, marvellous are His works…we just have to trust in the LORD that they will know this also.

    Love & prayers to you,
    Katy

  3. Anonymous says:

    Chelsea – thank you for your post. You are my Monday morning inspiration.

  4. karenrebecca says:

    I am praying with you. I have so enjoyed reading your blog…I work at AMG International in Child Sponsorships. Thank you for being willing to go and be Jesus’ hands and feet!

  5. Dr. Gaines says:

    Such wonderful reflections and good questions! I have always found it such a challenge to balance the preservation of cultural practices, values, and norms with changing practices that are oppressive, detrimental, and produce poor health outcomes. One of those dilemmas we face as we strive to do our best. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take the best of all cultures and create a tapestry from them to guide us? I am so excited by what you are experiencing and learning and give you so much credit for engaging in self-reflection. How life-changing for you and those you are touching! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. patbagley says:

    Interesting observations. Amazing how travel to other countries and cultures only serves to broaden our thoughts and question aspects of those societies, and our own beliefs. Heading there in two weeks andlooking forward to my first trip to India. For your Rotary presentation in October, please have plenty of photos and videos for the group.

  7. Kristian says:

    I’d like to vent just how jealous I am of your experiences in India as I read this blog!

    Sometimes we are so concerned with the scope of social injustices in other cultures that we want to overhaul things on such a grand scale, but often a more powerful intervention is to be with each person individually. Words of encouragement during labor or just to hold eye contact if there is a language barrier could plant a seed of kindness and dignity that the mother may still remember many years later. That kind of unexpected support and affirmation may even inspire her to pay it forward, but even if it doesn’t at least you’ve made a lasting difference to one person.

    We may never have a chance to make big social changes, but we should take every opportunity we have ,no matter how minuscule, to incite change. If we think “micro” every once in a while we can achieve “macro” things!

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