Friday, May 1, 2009

A Human Baby Would Be Fine, Thanks

I'm the mother of girls.  Two rosy, beautiful, hilarious girls.  And I love every ounce of it.

When I started sharing that I was pregnant with my third, the exchange usually went something like this,

"I'm having another baby!"

"Oh!  Congratulations!  Hoping for a boy?"

"We'd be excited with either," I'd say flatly.

When we found out that our third was, in fact, a boy, the chorus of "You're getting your boy!  Congratulations!" and "I bet you're so excited you're getting a boy this time!" only grew louder.

It happened every time we told someone.  It still happens when we tell someone for the first time.  And it's driving me insane. 

I read an interesting article this week by Amy Wilson. Her situation was in reverse of mine.  The mother of two boys, she becomes pregnant again and is suddenly confronted with everyone from family to strangers making comments such as the ones I received. 

She remarks on why the comments bothered her as much as they did, 
I know these people are just making conversation. But this constant assumption leaves me a little offended. What's wrong with boys? Why wouldn't I want another one? It bothers me that people assume I feel incomplete without a daughter, let alone that it's my motivation for being pregnant with a third child in the first place.
Indeed.  What's wrong with girls?  Why is it assumed that our family is not whole without the addition of a boy?

I'm comfortable as a mom of girls.  I know how to style hair.  I can effectively work pink into any outfit my pink-obsessed daughter wants to wear.  I cherish watching her love on her baby dolls.  And while I know that a boy can be or do anything a girl can and vice-versa, there's something inherently girl about well, girls. 

It's not that I don't want a boy.  I'm excited to head off into that uncharted territory.  But had the sonogram revealed that this baby was going to be a girl, I would have been bouncing off the walls in excitement just as much as I was when we heard the boy news. 

Admittedly, when I found out baby #3 was a boy, I was awash with a considerable dose of apprehension.  I was the mother of girls.  Not boys.  I have two girls with girl clothes and girl hair and girl parts.  I got that.  I mastered that.  (Heck, I was a girl once, too).  Boys?  Not so much. 

They're rough and tumble.  They're constantly on the go.  They are always into mischief.  They pee on EVERYTHING.   They have boundless energy.  They have boy bits.  They're just so... boy.

But as time goes on, I'm more and more excited about the adventure the little guy is sure to bring.  And I'm sure he'll complete our family in his own special way.  But it's not on the merit of his boy-ness. 

Wilson's closing says it best,
I've started telling strangers and basking in their excitement. Yesterday, a security guard asked if I knew what I was having. "I have two boys at home," I said. "This one's a girl."
She inhaled sharply, then smiled, ruefully: "I just had my third. All three boys. You are so lucky." "Thank you," I said, though I still don't really get it. I'm counting on all these people being right: that when I meet this daughter and look in her eyes, I will understand why everyone else so wanted this for me.
And maybe in the same way, when they place my boy on my chest minutes after he's born and I look at his chubby little face, maybe I'll understand too.  


  1. Try telling people you have only one child and do not plan to have more.

    "No child should be an only child" or
    "But you need a boy to carry on your name" (Really gets me incensed) are quickly out of the persons mouth.

    Guess what - some people want a gaggle of girls, some want a brood of boys and some want whatever they are blessed enough to have.

    I guess we just immediately judge others based on our own experience. I judge my mother for having a daughter ten years after my brother - we hardly know her but call her sister. At the age of 30 I'm trying to change that. Turns out, it's what worked for my mother and I have left it at that.

    Best to you and Shaun as you enter the new adventure - pee-all-over-the-place and all!

  2. thanks Jen. the firestorm this article raised has really, really surprised me. But at least it's gotten people talking! I appreciate what you wrote.

  3. When I found out I was pregnant with Hannah I was super nervous, I already knew BOY and I was good at BOY. What was I going to do with GIRL? But pretty quickly God put the love of Hannah in my heart and now I'm so happy for both of my children.

    What REALLY pissed me off was when people would say, "One of each, great! Now you can stop." I'm not going to even list the ten thousand reasons why that drove me up the wall (still does) but I'm sure you can imagine.

  4. What makes me laugh and cringe about all of this is that WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER WHAT "KIND OF CHILD" WE WILL GET!!! I mean, come on people! Haven't you seen households of 5 girls or 5 boys? Yes, you can chart the time of day, your temperature, where the moon is over Antartica and plan your date with your spouse at that precise moment in hopes that the old wives tales are true and will produce the boy or girl of your dreams, but in all reality, God is in charge. He directs what the makeup of your family is, when you will have children and even how many all the way down to the number of hairs on their head.

    I think people get so wrapped up in trying to make things even in their family or think they can control their family makeup, but they can't.

    Of course, on the other hand, I DO have one of each and I love them both so much in their own boy or girl way. If I were blessed with another one, would I care what God gave us? No way! I would be elated and full of joy!

    Man, I think I should just abruptly stop there, otherwise I will take over your whole page with my rant!

  5. I also have two girls and was pregnant with my third, a boy. I can't tell you how crazy it made me when everyone would say "Oh, you're done now that you have your boy." "Had to keep trying for that boy, huh?" "Oh, you must be so relived that it's a boy." Ugh, I'm getting mad all over again just thinking about it. Well, I had my boy and he's awesome but then a year ago I had another girl :-) That'll teach 'em. Nobody said anything to me that pregnancy (except, you know what causes that don't you?)

  6. Hey there...wasn't sure if you read my blog or not, but I wrote a similar post a couple weeks ago about being a mom to three boys and getting similar comments to the ones you posted from your friends' blog...I understand how you feel, and we would have been the same way had we had a girl the third time around. God knows exactly what we need, and that's different for every family. I am so thankful for my little pack of guys, who are all completely different, except they happen to share the same gender. Besides coming from the same two parents and they love each other very much, they have very little else in common, personality-wise.

    All that to say, I understand where you're coming from...good to know I'm not alone in these feelings. Praying that the rest of your pregnancy goes great!


  7. It's all just conversation fodder, and it's what people have heard others comment for ages. It's just the common refrain. Part of the reason preggos are offended by the question of "are you hoping for (fill in the blank)" is because that there is a small secret part of them that really DOES harbor that hope, but they don't want to be seen or thought of as below the high road of "I just want a healthy baby." There's nothing wrong with hoping for one or the other. There's nothing wrong with NOT hoping for one or the other.

  8. Yeah, my dad wanted boys... and what did he get? THREE GIRLS!!!

    He loves us though, he really does.

  9. I will confess - I am guilty of saying all of the above to pregnant women. I am guilty of feeling all of that when I was pregnant with my second, a boy. I wanted a boy and wasn't ashamed of that. I had a daughter, I wanted a son. (Be careful what you wish for! :))

    I should know better. I'm a woman and know how all those "conversations" go and how they make us feel. Guess it's just begin human. But, I do appreciate you sharing those feelings in such a precise way. Makes me think about what I say. Hopefully, I'll be more sensitive in the future.

    I will tell you, Jen, that you will feel differently about your boy than you do your girls - not better or more or less, just different. It's something about a boy and his mom, just like there's something about a girl and her dad. It just is. Maybe some other moms of both genders can back me up on this. I didn't believe it either until I was living it.

    The best advice - just enjoy every minute of it all. :)

  10. I have 3 grown children. The youngest is the boy who is now 24. The difference in raising them goes far beyond sitting or standing in front of the toilet. LOL There were times I swore it was harder to raise girls and other times I claimed the opposite to be true. Having the opposite shakes things up a bit, but in the end.....when they are grown and out of the'll adore the hand you were dealt....and be able to show them the gray hairs they gave you. LOL

  11. i know how you feel. I am the same as Wilson. I have my 2 handsome boys and everyone wishes for me a girl. In a way i want a girl, would love this baby to be a girl, but i will be just as happy and please with a boy. I dont know what to do with girls. I never was a girly girl myself. I like ruff and tumble, and i dont how to do pink and bows. I hope all will come into place for us all whether we get the same or something new.

    PS...Boys are a lot of fun and there is nothing like a Son's love for his mother.


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