“I swear,” my husband texted, “I’m being so rude to people about the ‘girl thing.’ This isn’t Game of Thrones. I don’t have a kingdom to bequeath that I can only give to a male child. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have a son!”
His text made me smile, but this is a subject that has irked me since the day our second child was born. It seems like everyone in the world is obsessed with the gender of our children, especially with the fact that they are all girls. When I announced I was pregnant with our third, everyone and their brother jabbed, “Going for that boy, huh?”
In reality, I hadn’t planned on getting pregnant at all. Now there is pressure for me to bring forth a boy from people who will neither financially nor emotionally be investing in the child’s upbringing. It’s making me feel as though our family is inferior if all the children are the same gender.
I know many mothers of all boys, and they get the same story — pity or comments about how bummed they must be to have “only boys” and no girl.
When a friend or loved one has or finds out that they are having a family of all the same gender, one should not assume to know how they feel about it. And the parents’ feelings are THEIR business. Full disclosure: before I had kids and I was picturing my ideal family, I wanted three boys. Yet the moment we found out I was pregnant with our first, something inside me shouted to me it was a girl, and I loved her instantly. I was always meant to be her mom and her sisters’ mom. I would never want it any other way.
Our family is perfect because it is ours, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
It can be hard to know what to say when someone announces a new baby. Well-meaning comments are sometimes unintentionally hurtful or rude. Here are some things that people have said to us that I absolutely love that have been congratulatory, encouraging and free of judgment or assumption:
You must be so happy.
All the best!
Hooray for hand-me-downs!
How are the siblings reacting to the new baby?
How are you feeling?
(Note: just ask the question, don’t project any emotion onto the parents. If they need to unload, or feel comfortable doing so, they will. They will probably just be happy. Alternatively, expect the answer to be “tired.”)
I wanted to wait until our third was born to know the gender, as we had done with our first two. But after 10,000 people expressed our apparent need for a son, I decided I wanted to know and announce ahead of time. That way, after Baby was born, the overwhelming majority of the “Your poor husband!” comments would hopefully be out of the way, and the whole world could simply share in our joy over a new, hopefully healthy baby.