Sarah’s story retold by Mira Khatib
I looked hard at the stick in my hand, it confirmed my suspicions. Two bright pink lines glared at me, I am pregnant…again. With this news my heart sunk deep, instead of rejoicing, the question piercing my mind was,” is it another girl?” Being a mother of five wonderful girls, did not make the fact that having a male off spring is almost a necessity in our culture and beliefs. The family name must live on. I know this time my husband would not tolerate another girl. Yes, he does love his daughters, but the disappointment in his eyes when he looks at them and the longing for a son was so apparent that it hurts.
Although I am religious in my ways and Islamic faith, but I thought about this long and hard, if I do find out it is a girl, I will not keep her. The thought disgusted me, turning me into a murderer and not just any murderer; one whom will be capable of killing her own child. What kind of mother am I? A monster? A broken soul? One whose society’s rules and burdens put on my shoulder, a weight that I cannot be responsible for, yet I am.
I feel my child growing inside me, its heart beating to flourish and survive and join this world. Its sex would determine its fate. If I had a will of my own, I would not give this child up for anything, girl or boy, with one hand or none…it is my child after all, but I cannot live with the accusation stares every time my husband looked at me, or my mother in law disapproving comments and repulsive looks. Or those comments of strangers patting me on the back and telling me it is O.K. that maybe next time will be better. As if I am ailing, failing or worse facing a death sentence.
My girls are the light of my life; I would not replace them with anyone or anything…yet this does not change the fact that they are not boys, and I must produce a boy or my life will be hell. With a heavy heart I walked into the clinic waiting for the doctor to come and either put my mind at ease or hand me the knife that will not just kill my child but my heart as well.
He walks in smiling; waving that small piece of paper that determines my fate. “Congratulations” he says. But before he continues, I find myself stopping him. “No! Don’t tell me.” I demand. Without much thought I pick up myself and my baby inside of me and walk away…I will have to take my chances, I will have to plead with God. Whatever the outcome I will have to live with my choice, but at least I would be able to live…wasn’t I born a girl in a long line of girls? My mother didn’t give up on me and neither will I on my unborn child.