In the 60s, a young woman got married and soon after that, she was happy to learn that she was expecting a child for she would be looked down upon if she was barren. After 9 months, she was disappointed when she gave birth to a baby girl for as a Chinese, she was expected to bear a son to carry on the family's name. Never mind, she told herself, I will have another child and she did, the very next year.
She was fortunate that her next child was a son, the much needed child. With her main responsibility fulfilled, she concentrated fully on her job as a clerk, letting her mother-in-law take care of both her children. She was satisfied with her life.
After 6 years, her mother-in-law took her aside and told her sternly to have another child. One boy was not enough. There must be a spare. And being the dutiful daughter-in-law that she was, she conceived again and was lucky to give birth to a baby boy. Now my family is complete, she thought and she turned her attention back to her job, now as the chief clerk in the same company that she has worked for since she left school.
Another 9 years went by and this time it was her own mother who asked her to have another child. It had to be a girl, to take care of her during her old age for daughters take better care of mothers than sons, she was told. Being an obedient daughter, she conceived again and her prayers were answered, a baby girl was born and she resumed working, still as a chief clerk.
The day finally came when she retired as chief clerk after working in the same company for 35 years. For a few years after that she enjoyed herself by travelling around the world a bit.
Then her body failed her and she took to her bed. Her first child has her own family and children so she was too busy to take care of her. Her second child gave her two grandsons to carry on the family name but only visits once a year.
Lucky for her that she listened to her elders because although her two younger children were married but they chose to remain child free so the youngest daughter cooked for her and visited her as much as she could and her younger "spare" son moved back to live with her to look after her full time.
Now who would have thought that having a spare and a designated-to-be-her-old-age-carer baby girl would work out so well. Neither did she. She just had them to keep the two old ladies from pestering her. But in the end, it really did work out well. She was really pleased.