Tuesday, March 15, 2011


“All awaited your arrival in this world Sadness prevailed when you turned out a girl” These two lines were penned by my grandfather in one of his poems on my birth.
I was the first grandchild in the Menezes household. My father was considered the genius of the family; he had a Master’s in Physics and held a good position as Scientific officer at BARC, Trombay. Naturally, his parents expected only the best from him and for him. They hoped for a grandson to carry on the family name. God had other plans however and I was sent instead.
My grandfather got over the disappointment soon enough and I became his darling. My grandmother never stopped hoping and finally, when there was no heir, she blamed my mother, taunted my father and showed marked preference for her daughter’s son who was born a year later.
I grew up hearing harsh words spoken to my mother by a drunken father who, disappointed at his inability to produce any more, blamed her for the trouble. I became a tomboy in rebellion, seeking love and acceptance outside the home. I decided early on in my life that I wanted my children to be all girls so I could love them to Eternity and back.
Recently, I read an article on abortion and how female foeticide is on the increase and I wept. When we do not want something, we dump it out as if it is garbage, never realizing that there are others who may need that very same thing. A friend of mine struggled for years to get a child, praying and begging God, even going to ashrams and pilgrimages, but to no avail. Finally, against the wishes of their family, they adopted a beautiful baby boy. Now they are so happy and desire to adopt another. I hope it is a girl this time, for my sake.
Every time I visit my family doctor, he asks me if I am expecting again and if I need to go in for an operation. My answer: NFP and abstinence. Fact is, I don’t want to play around with my body. Do the best with what God has offered, and trust him to plan, I say.
We tried for a girl and had three boys before we got our little Princess. Some are not so fortunate. I know of people with strings of boys or girls who have given up trying. I wanted a large family and God gave me one. I did make the mistake of rejecting His gift at one point in my life (after my first-born) and for years I allowed fear to rule. When God uprooted that fear and forgave me, I full-throttled and had three in a line, spaced beautifully 3 years apart.
For those who say abortion is no big deal, you should watch the documentary “Eclipse of Reason”. Dr. Bernard Nathanson shows, with lurid clarity, the horrors of this cruel act, where body parts are brutally wrenched from fully formed torsos, the head crushed as the final blow. The first time I saw EoR, I sobbed hysterically, holding my hands over my womb, mourning for the child I had destroyed.
Every year, on March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, the Catholic Church celebrates the Day of the Unborn to mourn the deaths of innocent children at the hands of those who reject them. Mother Mary said a resounding “Yes” even though she was unmarried and a virgin. Her courage and obedience are virtues all mothers need to emulate especially when faced with the difficult choice of abortion. People abort for various reasons. I do not judge them but rather ask them to choose wisely, for the sake of the baby and their own mental health. Research has shown that women, and even men, suffer psychologically when confronted with their guilt. It takes inner healing to gain freedom from that great burden.
The whole of humanity loses out too because each child brings new hope into this world; each has a destiny to fulfill. I would hate to think what this world would be without Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein and You.
So let us always welcome little children no matter what the sex, as Jesus did -“Let the children come to me and do not stop them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Let us also become like little children - simple, pure of heart, forgiving, courageous and full of joy and laughter, for Jesus also said “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
Our little princess is our joy; a diamond in our crown. She’s a blessing to her brothers, and a constant reminder that God did not send her right at the beginning because, like at the Wedding feast at Cana, He always keeps the best for the last!


NEW DELHI: Given the frantic preference for a male child in India, every year about four million women risk their lives and get illegal abortions done.
Many pregnant women die in the process but their deaths are never reported by the family members or by those who carry out these sex-selective abortions.
According to the World Health Organisation, in a year about 15 million illegitimate abortions take place in the world. Most of these happen in Asian countries. Consequently, more deaths take place in these parts of the world. In India, most of these abortions are done in unhygienic conditions, thereby risking the lives of women to a host of infections which may turn fatal.
The Capital too witnesses a large number of illegal abortions. With the high rate of population growth—an increase of about 50% over the last decade—illegal clinics promising secret abortions have mushroomed all over. This is despite the fact that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act says that abortions can take place only in government institutions or medical establishments approved by the government.
In a survey conducted under the Union government’s family welfare programme, in Delhi more than 25,000 abortions were conducted. But these are only those carried out in approved centers. Of these 94% were conducted on women who were within the first 12 weeks of their pregnancies. The rest were between 12 and 20 weeks. It is important to note that by the 10th or 11th week, it is possible to make out the sex of the foetus.
According to the survey, almost 66% women sought an abortion due to the failure of contraceptive devices. About 18% of the abortions were justified saying “ pregnancy may cause grave injury to the mental health of the mother” and for another 12% the reason read “ grave injury to physical health of the mother”.
But there is another reason too. Parivar Sewa Sansthan, a voluntary organization which runs four health clinics in Delhi, conducts about 12,000 legal abortions in a year. The organisation’s deputy general manager (clinic division), Poonam Arora, points out: “ We get a number of women who come to us for abortion after having found out they were carrying female fetuses. We counsel them and send them back home. But I am sure a large number of them go to private clinics and eventually get rid of the foetus.”