Memoirs of Growing up in China - A Story About My Birth // 中国回忆录—关于我出生的故事

in cn •  2 years ago

Hi, Steemit friends: thank you for the warm welcome to this wonderful community. I would like to share my experience growing up in China, starting with a story about my birth. Through my personal story, I hope you can have a glimpse of how Chinese traditional culture of valuing boys over girls played such an important role in people’s lives. As a girl born and raised in China, I have always been very sensitive to gender inequality issues. Since I started working as a China adoption coordinator for an international adoption agency in 1995, I have been aware that within about twelve years, there were over tens of thousands of infant girls adopted by American families. Most of them were abandoned by their birth parents simply because they were born female. However, China is a changing country. I am happy to learn that in recent years, especially in big cities, girls are no longer discriminated against and they are equally valued by their parents as boys.

Steemit的朋友们,你们好!非常感谢从这个友好的群体中获得热情的欢迎和接纳。我希望在此与大家分享我在中国的成长经历,先从我出生时的故事开始。我希望通过自己亲生经历的故事, 让大家了解中国文化中重男轻女的传统在人们生活中扮演多么重要的角色。作为一个生长在中国的女孩子,我一直对男女性别不平等的现象感到非常敏感。我自从1995年开始在一个国际收养服务机构工作期间,作为中国收养项目协调人,我了解到在我从事收养工作的头十二年内,中国有成千上万的女孩子被美国家庭收养。她们当中绝大数仅仅是因为她们的性别而被她们的亲生父母遗弃。然而,中国在变化。让我感到非常欣慰的是在最近十年里,尤其是在中国的大城市里,女孩子们不再受歧视,她们可以从父母那里获得像男孩子们可以得到的同等的关爱。

This was my first photo taken when I was three years old with my father, two older sisters and our nannie. My mother was away working in a labor camp. Unlike my eldest sister who had many baby photos of herself, I did not have one single baby photo.


My parents spent the Chinese New Year in 1964 with great expectation and excitement. They were soon expecting the birth of their third child. One week after the Chinese New Year celebration, I was born. Unfortunately, my very birth was a big disappointment to my parents, especially to my father. After having two daughters already, my parents desperately wanted their third child to be a son. Although both my parents were college educated and both worked for the government agencies in China, they were influenced by the deeply rooted Chinese culture of valuing boys over girls. The world I was born into was cold and bitter, like the winter in Chengdu. My mother had to go through the labor and child birth without the comfort and support from my father or other family members because during that time in China husbands or relatives were not allowed in the birthing room. After she gave birth and returned to her ward, she was not received by a loving and supportive husband. What she saw in my father’s eyes was disappointment and displeasure. She held me tightly in her arms with sadness and a deep sense of shame. For in China at that time people believed that it was the woman’s fault and incompetence if she was not able to give birth to male off-springs.


A photo of me taken at home in 1968 when I was four years old. I was standing on a small stool putting my hand on the most expensive possession of our family at that time -- a radio.


My mother reacted very defensively to whatever my father would say or do while she stayed at the hospital after my birth. One day, she accidentally spilled some water on the sleeve of her cotton coat, she asked my father to take the coat to the kitchen and dry the sleeve over the stove. She did not want to catch a cold wearing a cotton coat with a wet sleeve. My father told her that he had bought himself a movie ticket and was just getting ready to leave so she had to wait. My mothered was so shocked and enraged by my father’s insensitive and cold response that she threw her cotton coat right into his face in front of other three women who shared the same ward with her. My mother shared this story with me several times when I was older. Each time she repeated this story was when she and my father had a fight, which happened a lot during my childhood. My mother carried her resentment toward my father for many years to come. She could not forget about how she was treated by my father when she was at the weakest of her time after giving birth to me.


A photo of my mother and two older sisters taken at a photo studio in Chengdu in 1962, two years before I was born. My mother had a perm and a scarf which matched the scarfs she put on both my sisters. My sisters also had decorative ribbons on their hair.


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I have lived and worked in China and Hong Kong for 2 1/2 years now. The culture is definitely stronger in China but still prevalent in HK. I am very fascinated by Confucius thought and how it's impacted culture. As an over all influence do you like Confucius thought or do you agree more with more of the individual focus of the west?


The Confucius philosophy has the dominating influence to Chinese culture. I think Confucius thought has many positive influence on harmonious relationship within families and the society. Filial piety, for example is still highly emphasized in China. However, Confucius thought believes that men are superior to women (男尊女卑)which has been the philosophical source of women's lower status and repression in families and society as a whole. Since I was an English major as a young woman, I was more fascinated by the western philosophy of individualism. As someone who has lived in the States for 28 years, I see the strong point and weak point of both cultures. I am not in favor of rugged individualism nor social relations based on too much sacrifice of individuals.

Wow, what a story. Such oppressive sexist norms, men can be such idiots sometimes. Good thing you have such a fierce mother.

I'm curious to hear more about what it was like growing up as a woman in communist China, and to see your family's pictures. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you so much! I plan to write more post on my experience growing up in communist China.

Congratulations @xqcai!
Your post was mentioned in my hit parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 7 with $ 226,81

Thank you so much @arcange!

可爱的帖子,这么有意义... Upvoted和跟随
Kě'ài de tiězi, zhème yǒu yìyì... Upvoted hé gēnsuí
guānzhù@chuxlouis fēicháng gǎnxiè






Isn't it interesting that no matter what culture we are talking about, the human condition is always the common thread - we are all flawed and struggle to make our way in the world.


It is so true. The human condition is the common thread connecting all cultures.


Yes,and because of that there is hope that perhaps one day we can ignore the differences on the outside and see the similarities on the inside.

Very good post! Although it is sad, it also is a detailed story and very well written. People can overcome hardships and rise above. @jbcoin


Thank you!

Great family







Thank you so much for sharing your story @xqcai!


Thank you!

Hahaha very good post Chinese culture in general is quite fascinating!

Great post :)


Thank you!