For most western parents a healthy baby, regardless of its gender, is cause for celebration. Sadly this isn’t true in many societies, as this first-person account from a young Afghan mother reveals…


I Just Keep Delivering

By NAHIDA, age 21 / Shared from Afghan Women’s Writing Project

I am Guljan. I am 21 and I have three children and I have had very bad experiences during pregnancy. We don’t have money to visit private hospitals in Takhar where I live so we usually go to public ones. In public hospitals doctors behave with patients in an awful way.

Personally I don’t want any more children, but my husband wants one after another. I don’t know what he is going to do with all these children.

If the baby is a boy or girl, for myself it does not matter, but for men, they keep saying it should be a boy. Unfortunately my children are all girls. It absolutely matters to my in-laws. They only want a boy and that’s all.

I grew up in a large family and I married into a large family. I don’t know about condoms or birth control or other stuff. I just keep delivering children. It seems in our neighborhood families usually have 12 to 13 children. They don’t care about other things, they just want their dinner table to be filled with children and that’s all. In families where the husband has more wives they’ll have even more. If they expect 13 from one wife then more from other wives, the number will be more than 25.

If the baby is a boy or girl, for myself it does not matter, but for men, they keep saying it should be a boy. Unfortunately my children are all girls. It absolutely matters to my in-laws. They only want a boy and that’s all.

I hated visiting doctors for the delivery. They do not behave in a good way. They expect people to give them money or have a reference before they take care of patients. They don’t care if you live or not, or if you deliver your child on your own.”