Women's Reproductive Health

When a Girl Isn't Good Enough

When a Girl Isn't Good Enough
Beach in Monrovia, Liberia

I am a 40-year-old woman from one of the remotest villages in Nimba County in Liberia. I don’t know about your part of the world, but the story that I am about share with you is very common in Liberia.

At the age of 18, I got pregnant from a man who was two years older than me. At the beginning, things went very well, and we had no differences. But when I gave birth to our first child, which turned out to be a girl, my boyfriend told me in the presence of the traditional birth attendants and other well-wishers who had come to partake in the celebration of the child’s birth, that she did not matter to him. He said he was in dire need of a male child. Everyone advised him that he should happily accept the child. But he accepted the child with coldness, hoping that our next child would meet his expectation of having a boy.

A year later our relationship returned to normalcy, and I became pregnant for the second time. Of course my partner still wished for a boy to take care of him when he became old and to replace him as the head of the family when he died.

We now began to pray every day and night to the Almighty God to give us a boy child. But I delivered twins, and they were both girls. Not only was my husband furious, but he also fell in love with another woman, who soon gave birth to a son. At this point, his entire attention was focused on his girlfriend and her son. My three daughters and I were left to fend for ourselves, and I had to single-handedly bring up and provide for the education for our three children.

I accepted this as a challenge. But as time went on and school fees began to get higher and higher, I felt I had no choice but to ask our pastor to intervene. Sadly, the efforts of the pastor were not successful. Coincidentally, while I was considering filing for divorce or taking legal steps against my husband for “persistent non-support,” a male social worker who was member of our congregation bluntly made my husband understand the biological determination of the sex of a child. The social worker explained that men have X and Y chromosomes, while woman only have X chromosome. He made it clear that the man’s chromosome determines the sex of the child. He gently yet firmly told my husband, “You are therefore maltreating your wife and children for nothing.” My husband regretted his neglect of us and later vowed never to behave like this again. “I was acting out of sheer ignorance,”he concluded, as he asked me for forgiveness.

United Methodist Women supports the health and family needs of women and children around the globe. In Liberia, your Mission Giving helps supports two International Ministries Projects in particular:

  • Liberia Conference United Methodist Women provides educational scholarships for mothers and youth throughout Liberia.
  • Liberia United Methodist Church: United Methodist Women supports Person In Mission, a program where women's coordinators work with women, children and youth throughout Liberia.

Posted or updated: 4/15/2015 11:00:00 PM
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  • Send your personal stories to Donna Akuamoah, Maternal Health Project Coordinator, at dakuamoah@ unitedmethodistwomen.org. Stories are published anonymously unless specified by the writer.
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