By: Angel Ramnani
The biggest challenge I have faced is knowing that Indian families typically want their first child to be male. My parents conceived a child before me, but my mother aborted because she was afraid it would be a girl. At ten years old, my dad informed me of this as he said he suggested to my mom that they give me a chance. They treated me nicely at first, but my mom eventually started blaming me for things I could not control, like my gender. Beaten and mentally abused by her, I have scars to this day that remind me of what I experienced. However, I do not think of them as reminders of being the wrong child, but as battle scars.
Lacking encouragement and affection from my parents, I lost confidence in myself. I became depressed and stopped talking to everyone around me. As a result, my grades started to decline and more stress was added when my mom became pregnant. The twins brought chaos into our household and I thought my life got even worse. Since my brother was premature and has a tough time, my mother wanted to give him up for adoption. She was willing to send my sister along with him because she did not want to deal with another girl. However, I made sure that did not happen by promising them that I would act like a third parent around the house.
Responsibilities piled up and I began losing focus at school. As I was reading to my siblings one night, it hit me that I wanted to be their role model. I want to give them what my parents were not able to give me. To this day, my siblings motivate me to fight for them and to prove to my parents that girls are as good as boys. Although my past has shaped me into who I am today, my siblings have inspired me to work harder for my future. While I may not be the gender preferred by Indian culture, I refuse to let any gender role define me.