When Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was pregnant, the gender of her unborn baby had become a national obsession. While I wouldn’t say that the same thing happened with me, but yes, it did cause some flutter in my social circle and kept the ladies busy.
“You are going to have a boy” One lady said.
Fascinated, I asked. “How do you know?”
“By looking at the shape of your tummy. It’s round like a football. And also the fact that only your tummy is showing, no weight gain anywhere else.”
Like a naïve, I accepted her observation.
A few days later, another one commented. “It’s definitely a girl.” Confused, I asked, “Why do you say so?”
“Because you are glowing. I can make out from that glow that it’s a girl.”
Are you bu#$%t*ng me? I felt like asking her. But she was oblivious to my silent stares. “If you are carrying a girl, you glow and if a boy, then your skin looks dull and lifeless.”
I will tell you one more instance, one old and respectable lady in our family told me, “I know it’s a girl.” I told her, “Thank you. My husband will be very happy to learn that as he is desperate to have a girl.”
The next moment she did a double take, “Arre, I was just joking. It’s surely a boy.” I still wonder to this day whether she said the ‘girl’ thing deliberately to upset me. Because it’s common knowledge that a Marwari woman always longs for a ‘boy’ as her first born to be awarded ‘THAT’ special status that only a mother of the boy gets.
Then came my maid into the picture, yes my maid too. She said, “Bhabhi, it’s a girl.” Again I was forced to ask her, “Why do you say that?”
She smiled and said, “The way you get up from the bed in the morning. If you get up from the left, it’s a girl.”
One more woman asked me, “What’s the shape of the hair under your belly button? Is it straight or zig-zag?” I was shocked. This was getting weirder. Really! Nobody had any business asking me that.
I said, “I don’t know”.
“Oh!” She sounded disappointed. “If you knew, I would have had told you whether it’s a boy or a girl.”
Interestingly, every single one of them claimed to have always proven right. I was just thankful that there was no third gender, or I would have had to listen to more such theories.
Two days before I finally delivered, I had gone for my regular ante-natal check up. My doctor, looking satisfied with my progress said, “Good, good. The baby’s head is engaged. And you shall have your kishan-kanhaiya before Janmashtmi (which was co-incidentally 3 days later).”
Though a doctor was not supposed to disclose the fact, I was now sure that it was a boy. Nobody could say that with as much assurance as a doctor could.
So now on the D-day (just a day before Janmashtmi), in the labour room, my little baby was wailing as all newborns should and I was still on the labour bed recovering from the aftermath of the delivery; I didn’t even bother to check with the doctor or the nurse the gender of my child. I didn’t need to right? The doctor had already revealed the secret. So finally when I felt strong enough to ask the nurse, “How is the baby?” and she replied, “Your baby (baby is used for girl in gujarati and baba for boy) is fine!”, can you imagine the intensity of my shock?
“It’s a girl?” I asked still not believing. The nurse must have made a mistake.
“Yes,” the nurse replied.
For a tiny moment or two, I confess I felt sad. Firstly, for the last 2 days, I had resigned myself to the fact that my baby is a boy. Secondly, I was worried how my parents-in-law would take the news of a girl child. But I needn’t have worried; my husband’s family were ecstatic on finally having a baby girl in the family. But there was something that my mother-in-law said that took the prize; she said, “I always knew it was going to be a girl. My astrologer had already told me that.” Could I have said anything to that?
But how could it be? Why did the doctor lie to me? These are some questions I would never have answers to. For me what was important was that I had a beautiful and healthy child.
I still think of those days and wonder about all those people who were so sure of their gender guessing. The ones who had guessed a girl proudly beamed at me with ‘told you so’. Somehow they made me felt as if they had a hand in my delivering a girl. As for the ones who were claiming it’s a boy didn’t dare open their mouth again before me.
A lesson well learnt: Predicting your unborn baby’s gender is not a science, but guesswork. 50% times it always comes true.
Did you have any similar experience during your pregnancy? Did it come true?