By Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
This adorable three-week-old baby girl is “Jiao” (her name has been changed to protect her identity) – and she will never know how hard her brave mother fought to keep her alive. Jiao’s mother wept as she told our undercover fieldworker her story.
When Jiao’s mother was six months pregnant, she and Jiao’s paternal grandmother went to the hospital together for an ultrasound to determine the baby’s gender. Jiao’s mother told us that as soon as the doctor announced the baby was a girl, her mother-in-law’s expression changed from expectation to disappointment.
Her paternal grandparents wanted a grandson intensely. They felt they had lost this grandson when they received the news that Jiao is a girl. Jiao’s paternal grandmother began pressuring Jiao’s mother to abort Jiao, just because she is a girl. Jiao’s mother courageously refused to abort her daughter.
After Jiao’s birth, without her mother’s consent, the grandmother even found a childless couple who wanted to adopt Jiao. Jiao’s mother refused to give her daughter up for adoption. She loves Jiao and is determined to raise her.
Our fieldworker stepped into this heartbreaking situation with a message of hope and support. We told Jiao’s mother that of course, girls are as valuable as boys – something women rarely or never hear in rural China. We also offered her a monthly stipend for a year, to empower her to keep her daughter. Our encouragement and support are a light in the darkness for Jiao’s mother. It is our joy and privilege to extend hope and a helping hand to brave women like Jiao’s mother, who are fighting for the lives of their daughters in situations that seem hopeless.