Nana Garjikauli, 53, Telavi

“As I was the only child in the family I always wished to have siblings. For the same reason I wanted to have many children, at least three. Because of the public attitude that having a boy in the family is a “must” people used to ask me, “You gave birth to the third child because you wanted to have a boy, did not you?“. This was rather offensive and I used to get rather angry. As for a male member of the family, he always wants to have a son. My family was no exception. But I know that people become aggressive when their wish to have a son does not come true. Thanks God I did not experience anything like that. I have one rather negative memory in this respect. When I had my first child in the Telavi maternity home, there was one girl (I even remember that she was from the Kondoli village), whose husband did not come to visit her because she gave birth to a girl. She cried so bitterly… I do not know the continuation of this story. Unfortunately this is a real story that happened thirty years ago.

I am a biologist, therefore I explained to my husband how it is determined whether a baby girl or baby boy is born. I told him that I have only X chromosomes and he has Y. If the sperm that gets into the egg is Y, a baby boy will be born, if it does not then a baby girl will be born. Later he laughed a lot, saying “she took care to explain to me from the beginning as if she knew how the things would turn out”. My husband has two brothers and was rather confident that we would necessarily have a boy. But I remember rather kindly when I had labor pains and we decided it was time to go to maternity home, my husband told me on the way to the hospital „I would like to tell you that you should not worry. No matter what, I will not worry“. In those times it was not easy to learn baby’s sex in advance in Telavi. Those words pleased me very much because I knew that he wanted to have a boy very much. I also wanted to have a fourth and fifth child, but not for the sake of having a boy but because I wanted to have many children. I wanted to have a son because of other reasons, not because of Georgian attitude that we needed to have an “heir” or to continue the family line. I was always concerned that Georgian boys were not brought up the way I wanted them to be. I used to say that I was going to set an example of bringing up a boy in the right way.

As I already told you, there was not widespread access to ultrasound and we did not know our baby’s sex in advance. When I got to hospital, one of the women working there made some calculations and told me that I would definitely have a baby boy. She had always predicted baby gender accurately for every pregnant women entering the hospital and had never made a mistake. I did not take it seriously because it did not really matter to me; during the labor I did not know what I was going to have. I remember silence after having my baby, „what’s going on?!“, I asked them but nobody answered. A dead silence followed again when I asked for the second time. My first thought was that the child had a defect but at the same time I thought, “Maybe the baby is a girl and that’s why they are not telling me?!” „Is it a girl?“ I asked again “Yes, it is a girl”, somebody replied finally, her voice tinged with regret. I remember my post labor reaction and half-philosophic speech, „Why would you say that?! Does it matter for the kid whether she is the third or tenth one?!. For each of us the universe begins with us, does not it?!“ I was rather disappointed that they had such a regret with respect to a new born baby. In fact they were silent because I had a girl because there are cases when women have a shock when they learn their baby’s sex that is not desirable for them. They thought automatically that I had a third baby because I wanted to have a boy. I think they were in shock themselves because their calculations were wrong and a baby girl was born.

My third daughter Lika has often heard comments like „So, you probably gave birth to her because you wanted to have a boy, did not you?!“ I used to strongly protest whenever people said that and depending on who and in which form they told me that, I explained, „No, I had always wanted to have a third child“. Sometimes I think that Lika may have some complex in this respect because everything that happens leaves some trace behind, probably…

Before dealing with society I had to talk with my spouse because I knew that males could have a serious stress in this respect. We had neighbors, a couple. The wife was from Russia. They had two sons, who went to Russia to study and had never come back since. I used this example rather successfully. I told my spouse, “They were probably so happy that they had boys, who would continue family line and live in the family, but where are they? I have not seen them for years”. I think my husband has also changed his approach gradually. You may want to have a son but you should not think that you are unhappy because you do not have a son. Maybe I am not completely free from public pressure. I remember telling my kids once that their father was disappointed because he wanted to have a boy. I suggested that they call one of their sons after their father and give him their surname in case they had two sons. Maybe I said that because I also feel inferiority complex, even though I had always thought that wanting a boy was not the reason for which I had my babies. Probably, a psychologist would explain that better”.