Mourn the Loss for Cattle Over a Human Baby?


One thing I don’t understand: People feel pain for the loss or miscarriage of their cattle while do not feel the least of the pain when their daughters-in-law miscarriage a baby girl/fetus for thinking, “She can have a baby again.”

I am not raising the issue whether a fetus is a baby or not here. Neither am I trying to contest that people should not mourn the loss of their cattle. These can be debated. Let’s leave it for some other time. The matter in question here is, if it would be more rational to mourn the loss of  cattle but show indifference to the loss of someone’s baby!

I have witnessed people grieve for the loss of a calf or a kid, i.e. a baby goat. I have come across people bemoaning for the stillbirth of their lamb, a puppy or kitty. Coming from a place where abortion is not a big deal but a mere “scrapping or a cleansing of a uterus,” I find it nothing enigmatic to understand why they lament on their cattle’s miscarriage over a stillborn girl. Maybe their loss of cattle had something to do with the finance. So their grievance might be more for the financial loss than the lost life of a lovely animal. Yet, it is puzzling and beyond comprehension for a mother who just lost her child even before she got to hold her was told “Do not grieve; you can have a baby again” by another woman who would have become a grandma had the baby girl survived.

The reasoning behind feeling not so sorry for the miscarriage of a female baby lies in the societal affirmation and acceptance of a boy over a girl. There is something even more to it, though. From their religious and cultural point of view in a patriarchal society in Nepal, a male gender is a privileged specimen as he guarantees the continuation of the family lineage. A son is also an auxiliary redeemer who can help parents cross the gateway arch to the next world. On the other hand, a female gender does not get to enjoy the same kind of privilege as her counterpart. The purpose of her birth is to give continuity to someone’s bloodline. The religious significance and a cultural normative narration of a boy seal the fate of a girl. She is not as much worthy of preservation as a boy.

Therefore, the root causes for their little or no grievance over the miscarriage of a baby girl has to do with  their religious conviction as well as a cultural and societal bias toward the female gender. Even though the mother never got to see, hold her tender hands, hug, or kiss her, she is still something more than a lump of body tissue. She is a piece of her flesh and blood that deserves more respect and dignity than cattle. Above all, she was created in the image of her Maker. A human being- whether a boy or a girl- is more valuable than an animal. Make no mistake that the stillborn girl had the same flesh and blood from her “would be” family bloodline. Let the mom GRIEVE for her lost child.

Photo source: http://michaboyett.com/

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