Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'll take one over none

China's one child policy has been around since 1979 to address social and environmental problems in the country and is still in place today. When walking around Pingyao I asked my guide what this poster was about and she explained that it listed those who received rewards from the government for not having a second child. These were specifically for people who had the opportunity to have another and chose not to. Most of the time this means women who had a daughter first and are then allowed to try for a son. Often times the policy is more relaxed in the country side. But for most other people there is no choice.

Of course from the perspective of an infertile, this situation seems so counter to what we are focused on in our lives. The idea of being rewarded for not having a second child is so far beyond my thinking as all I am is obsessed with a chance to have one child. We are paying truck loads of money to have a chance at just one, pretty please, baby. Can you imagine being financially rewarded for being infertile instead of paying out our eyeballs to get pregnant? I also tried to imagine being on the opposite side of the fence where my restriction was to not have more children. I am sure this is what secondary infertility feels like but just on different terms. But I can safely say at this point in my life that if I can manage to have just one child that is all I need. I can't possibly expect having more than one at this point in my life unless some miracle happens and I am blessed with more.

Another guide we had in Beijing was all for the one child policy as he felt that population control was still vital to the welfare of the people. He felt life was already so competitive for good jobs and resources that if the population exploded it would be very destructive. However, he did say that there are fewer women than men in China and that gap is growing. He is so eager to get married and have a family and finding it very hard to land a girlfriend. If only this was the problem in New York City. I know too many amazing single New York women who can't find someone who wants a real relationship or marriage and have to fight the ratio favoring men. But here in Beijing, he was on the hunt for a bride in hopes, as many others here, to find a partner in the lucky 8 year of 2008. Apparently many Chinese rush to get married on 8/8/08 or have a child this year because of the belief in the luckiness of the number 8. It's too bad I'm doing neither of those things this year.

P.S. I am able to post on my blog but not see my blog. The great firewall of China seems to not like me. So thanks for all your comments and sorry I can't read them until I get home. But so glad you are able to join me on my travels.


Anonymous said...

Wow ... that photo is so ... I'm at a lost for words here ... strong? I think that's what I mean to say.

I'm sure most people know about the one-child policy rule, especially those that are looking to adopt from China. But still ... the fact that they actually have posters that honor these women ... it's just so unreal. And maybe it's because of the whole IF journey we're on.

Anyway, thanks for such a thought-provoking post. Wish I could be there with you!

luna said...

it's amazing, isn't it? and so sad that society values boys over girls, men over women. the demographic gap will just continue to grow and grow... seems catastrophic anyway you look at it.

I know what you mean about just being grateful for one right now. I'd be happy if we all got to have one! ~luna

shinejil said...

I wonder what that demographic gap will eventually do to women's status. Will the long-held favoring of boys over girls evaporate, once women are relatively rare and valuable? Will the guys who struggled to find a partner then turn around and demand a son?

Society has such a stake in fertility, controlling it, encouraging it... Thanks for the great food for thought.

alicia said...

wow that is quite a different way of thinking then we are used too. I can't imagine how hard it would be for people there who desperatly want another child but can't. But I agree with you, one is enough. I would love a large family, but right now, please just let me have one!

Rita said...

I am enjoying your take on China - I just got back in March from China too. I had to take several weeks to reconcile the whole experience. They all praised me for having 1 child - a son. And I laughed and said, "but if everyone has 1 son, who is my son going to marry? You assume too much - I want more children."
Anyway - take care