Like many mothers, my ideal preference is to have a pigeon pair: a boy and a girl. The pinnacle of parenthood, if you will.
If you know anything about biology, then you know life doesn’t work that way.
You cannot “try” for a gender. There is no skill involved in the gender of the child you produce. Old wives’ tales tell us to stand on our heads, eat more bananas, or plan sex at a certain point during our fertile peaks, but there is no guarantee that you’ll get the gender you want. Some moms end up with three boys, some with five girls, and yet somehow, it all works out. In fact, most of the families I know with children of one gender are the happiest families around. There may be initial disappointment when you realize that your dream of having a little boy to carry on your name or a little girl to be walked down the aisle won’t be realized, but you quickly get over it when that perfect, beautiful blessing is placed in your arms.
Yes, a blessing. That’s what all babies are. We sometimes take for granted that having a child is a precious, elusive miracle that some women don’t get to experience.
When I was pregnant I would hear things like “What are you hoping for?” and I’d cringe. What am I hoping for? A healthy baby to term, if I’m being honest. Sure, I had visions of the gender I thought I was going to have – and had fun with the old wives’ tales – but those thoughts came second to the health and vitality of my unborn child. Now that my daughter is ten months old, we’re being harassed about the plans for baby number two. Interestingly enough, the same question revolving gender comes up: “Are you going to try for a boy? Isn’t that what you’re hoping for?”
If I have a boy next, my family and friends will be over the moon for me. If I have another girl, I’ll probably get the sympathetic remark of, “At least Stella will have someone to share her clothes with,” or “Maybe you can try for a boy next time.” The latter seems much more somber, like I somehow lost the game of life.
Will I be upset if I have another girl? Absolutely not. What about another? Nope. I want to have another baby to have another baby – be it boy or girl. Might I have slight gender disappointment when I produce only girls and we’re done having children? Maybe. Or maybe I’ll be so elated that all of my daughters share a sisterly bond and will be lifelong friends – something I never got to experience as I only had a brother.
Societal stereotypes say too many boys means dirt, noise, rough housing, and constant mess, and too many girls means fighting, gossip, and drama – clichés that I think are bologna.
“All girls? That must be rough! I wouldn’t want a daughter because I hate pink, like sports, and am not a sensitive person. Ugh, what do you do with a girl? I guess you’ll have to try again.”
“All boys? Yikes! They probably run you ragged, swear, fling their boogers, pick fights, destroy the house, and seriously increase the food bill. You poor mom. I guess you’ll have to try again.”
Why is everyone so invested in my family’s make-up? Why does it matter what the gender of my child(ren) is? It’s so bizarre to me that people feel the need to comment, like it somehow affects them in some way.
To me, the only difference between boys and girls are their parts. Girls can play sports, like TMNT, and the color blue. Boys can play hopscotch, have a tea party, and wear nail polish. In my opinion, gender stereotypes do not exist. My younger girl cousin grew up wearing Superman jammies, hating anything frilly, and was obsessed with Bob the Builder, while her boy buddy wore dress up clothes, painted his toenails, and hated getting dirty. Gender didn’t define them, and it doesn’t define my child(ren).
While I’d still love to parent one of each, I’ve come to the fact that it’s OK if I don’t get that opportunity. I’m not trying for a boy or a girl, just another human being that we are going to love, cherish, and raise as part of our family.