It wasn’t more than a few minutes after sharing the news that the baby in my belly was going to be a boy, our second boy, that we started to hear the comments.
“Well, then it’s official. You’ll have to go for a third to get a girl!”
“I guess the third time will be the charm then, right?”
Um, excuse me?
And it hasn’t stopped since. A few months after finding out our second baby’s gender, I gave birth to an absolutely beautiful boy, and he is now almost a year old. He and his older brother play with trucks, wrestle with each other, and laugh day in, day out, and I watch myself grow into this role as a “boy mom” more and more, complete with everything that comes with the territory (bugs, bruises, mud, and messes). I have embraced this role of mine wholeheartedly, finding it to be pure joy.
But all through the ups and downs of this crazy first year of life with our second son, the gender of my two children has been referenced, more often than I’d prefer, usually with a subtle negative connotation. And I say that it is negative because by suggesting that I need to have another child in order to fulfill some assumed desire for a girl, it’s disrespecting the gender of my two already born children. It takes away the beauty of my two baby boys, the special-ness of them, the importance of them.
I’m well aware that the majority of these comments are not mean spirited at their core; that they are usually off-handed remarks, people trying to share a sentiment they find funny. But honestly, I don’t find them funny anymore; I’m over it. I look at my family and think we are just perfect the way we are. It doesn’t matter if we plan to have another baby or not, we aren’t lacking in any way because the males outnumber the females in our home.
I don’t think anyone has the right to ask a woman “When will you have a baby?” or even worse “Are you trying for a baby yet?” To ask those types of questions invades into a very private part of another person’s life and not knowing if they are struggling with anything (infertility, the decision to have children in the first place, etc.) forces them into a potentially awkward and uncomfortable situation that they should not have to answer to, unless, of course, they want to.
I consider comments about my children’s gender — and any future children’s gender — to be in a similar realm. Plain and simple: keep those questions and thoughts to yourself, they are unwarranted here.
When deciding to have children, the gender of those children, was never a deciding factor for my husband and me, so as we build our family, the gender does not matter. I did not get pregnant to have a boy or to have a girl; I got pregnant to have a baby.
If you wish for a specific gender for your future child, that is fine, I do believe “to each their own” and that there is nothing wrong with having a wish or a hope. But for me, and for many women out there, that simply was not, and is not, the priority. And I truly believe if you asked women who did express a certain preference for a certain gender, at the end of the day, they would agree that a healthy baby was their main mission as well.
I am extremely grateful that my pregnancies happened quite easily and that those nine months had pretty much none of the nasty symptoms so many women deal with (throwing up, nausea, swelling, etc.). But if I had struggled to get pregnant or been sick for months, I can only think that my annoyance with these gender comments would be even more intense.
But besides all of my feelings with these “Will you finally have a girl?” comments, let’s not forget the risk of my boys’ feelings. While they may be young now and more likely oblivious, we all know that little kiddos hear and soak up everything and anything and it pains me to think that they may hear someone’s comment, a comment that tells mommy that she needs to have another baby because what she really needs is a baby girl, not her two baby boys right in front of her.
I’m finding myself responding a bit snarky lately to these remarks. I know it’s probably not the kindest way to respond, that I could choose to ignore and move on, but after hearing them so often, it wears on you.
“Finger’s crossed for a girl next time?”
“Actually, hoping and praying for boy #3!” And then I walk away.
But in truth, if my husband and I have a third child, I’m leaning more and more towards not finding out the gender until that magical moment in the delivery room. I will pray not for that hypothetical girl; but for a healthy baby. If it’s a girl, I’ll cheers. And if it’s a third beautiful boy, I’ll cheers to that just as passionately, because both options are completely and utterly perfect.