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.
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?
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.