Happiness and health trumps a baby's gender - Argus Friday 19th February 2016

Posted Tuesday 23rd February 2016   By Ericka Waller

I have three daughters. I wanted three boys. Want can’t change two XX chromosomes into XY ones however. Or so I thought. Two weeks after my emergency hysterectomy I just read that if I’d ditched eating oranges and not had sex on a full moon, I could have had my son. I never found out what colour we were having, pink or blue. If I’m honest I would have been disappointed third time round to be told I was carrying a girl. After a hard, fast and jolly painful labour, the words ‘congratulations, you have a daughter’ were music to my ears. All I cared about was a healthy baby.

Statistics suggest that if they were able to pick the gender of their child, women would overwhelmingly choose a girl. I’ve always been against the norm.

One study by parenting website Netmums revealed that while 45 per cent of women wanted girls and 32 per cent didn't mind, just 22 per cent actively wanted boys

Horrifyingly, in 1,000 women admitted to terminating their pregnancy after discovering they were carrying a baby of the 'wrong' sex.

Sadly it is not illegal to abort a pregnancy as a method of gender selection, but perhaps it should be?
Is it any better than how China dealt with ‘wrong sex’ babies? Female infanticide has been common practise for over 2000 years. 

Baby girls were strangled, put in sacks and thrown in rivers and down wells or dumped upside-down in buckets of water, by their own mothers.

3.5 million People in Britain have difficulty conceiving. Would these women have preferred to be in their camp, than saddled with a baby of ‘the wrong sex’?

One might say there is a case for those who are so desperate for a certain sexed baby, adopt rather than attempt to conceive.

The United Nations estimates that about 200 million girls are missing from the world due to China’s genocide. Simply put, as time goes on, men in Asia will be looking around for wives who simply do not exist.

Should we mess around with Mother Nature? Is it not enough to be blessed with a child? What did women do years ago when gender scans were not available? Did infanticide happen worldwide, just undiscovered?

I will always gaze, misty-eyed at my nephews and wonder what it must be like to raise a boy, make a man, be loved by a son.

But I would not swap any of my girls for the experience.  Nor would I have let the husband initiate sex whenever he liked (apparently by doing so you’ll get a boy) I would not have gotten out the house. And forget eating 17 plates of broccoli a day, with seven omelettes on the side whilst howling at the moon.

Knowing my luck, if I’ve had a boy, he’d have been then antithesis of what I’d imagined anyway. No doubt every rouge gene kicking around in my ancestry would have popped up (and trust me, there are some). He’d have looked like my Great Grandma tick, hated boxing, football and cricket, and demanded to wear dresses instead.

In fact, by coming out pink, I had no expectation of my children at all, and in doing so, they have exceeded any I might have set anyway.


In hindsight I see how selfish I was to want not only a healthy child, but a child who liked what I wanted them to like, looked how I wanted them to look. It was not a child I wanted at all; it was another go at life myself.
And finally, I was heartbroken to see that Storm Imogen took another chunk from my beloved old pier. Deep down I think I’ve accepted nothing can be done now, but there is a dormant Famous Fiver in me who love to have a marvellous adventure trying.

In true Brightonian fashion, my walls are adorned with photos of her on fire, lit up by sunsets, or invaded with birds. I’ve bought lumps of old wood and bent nails that are ‘apparently’ the old floorboards.

Over the years I’ve honed the most wondrous story of the Pier’s demise for the children. Sabotage, pirates, firebombs, seagull armies and a ghost train are involved. Perhaps I should publish it in a last ditch attempt to save her?

According to the West Pier website “It was place for the Victorian middle classes to socialise and exhibit their wealth, to see and be seen, to take in the sea air and admire the panoramic views of the land.”
One can hardly say the same about frequenters of the current pier, although you have to be jolly wealthy to afford a day out on it. I’ve never spent £100 so quickly or fruitlessly. In the words of my old friend Maurice ‘It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t fair.’

Read my blog about Brighton Pier.

NB: Thank you to Christina Summers who informed me Abortion is still illegal, based on a very old law, but there are circumstances where a woman and practitioners may not be prosecuted- how most women go about procuring a termination. I was not aware of this prior to writing the column.


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