Boys and girls

Isn’t it strange the reaction you get when you’re pregnant and someone asks if you’re having a boy or a girl? Everyone seems to have their own little preconceived notions about which is best, which should be preferred over the other.

I ran out with Tallulah for a quick shopping trip a while back. We had been home all day and she was wearing one of her brother’s hand-me-down outfits, a green one, I think. Not necessarily boy-exclusive, but definitely not feminine. I didn’t bother to change her before we left – why bother?

A woman in the aisles asked, “How old is he?” I was puzzled, but then realized why she made the mistake. Her reaction told me that any daughter of hers would have been dressed in something frothy and pink, regardless of their destination. She has, she told me, four boys, one of them a couple of months younger than Tallulah. And she most desperately wanted a girl.

I was flummoxed. I know lots of people who desperately want girls. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s lots more fun to shop for girl clothes than it is to shop for boy ones, but I doubt that alone influences those desires.

Maybe they long for the chance to relive their own childhoods? Maybe they want to replicate with daughters the relationships they have with their own mothers? Or maybe they want a chance to redo those things, make them better? Surely they know, though, that there are no guarantees. Their daughters may – probably will – have completely different personalities and preferences than they have or had as children.

And there’s nothing to say they couldn’t have just as close a relationship with a son as they could with a daughter. (They might have to be willing to bond over superheroes and sports instead of over Barbies and manicures, though even that isn’t guaranteed.)

Or maybe they have completely different reasons, ones I haven’t even considered.

I’m sure my attitude on this has been shaped by my experiences.

I’m not sure I felt anything but wonder when I learned my firstborn was to be a boy. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to have a baby after my miscarriage, and I truly just wanted him to be OK.

My second pregnancy was long-awaited, and after almost three years of trying to conceive I just didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl — I was thrilled to be having a baby.

I knew early on in both pregnancies what sex my children would be. By about eight weeks each time I had a deep-in-my-soul feeling I was having a son and then a daughter, but I couldn’t wait for the ultrasound that would tell me if they were OK in there — and to tell me if my hunch was right.

I understand wanting to know. I get that. I wanted to know what sex my babies were more than I wanted to know about any Christmas present under the tree. I guess I felt like it would tell me about who they would be. It didn’t, really, tell me much except what color to paint their rooms and what kinds of newborn clothes to buy.

It makes sense that some people might be initially disappointed when they learn they’re having a boy instead of a girl or vice versa. But it makes me beyond sad to hear about people who are devastated when they learn they’re not having the kind of kid they hoped for. I hope those moms can get over that and just enjoy their babies for who they are and nurture them as they grow into the people they will become.

Tallulah and I are off to the store. But don’t worry – she’s wearing purple. I might even put a ribbon in her (three) hair(s), just to stave off any doubts and to ward off these confusing (for me) conversations.

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2 Responses to Boys and girls

  1. Heidi says:

    I can’t understand why anyone would be disappointed to find out they’re having a healthy baby of the “wrong” sex. That’s nuts! I mean, I would have loved to have had at least one boy before I close up shop, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. And that’s OK! An all-girl crew will be equally as fun!

  2. Yavonda says:

    I think my folks would attest that the all-girl crew is lots of fun, Heidi. 🙂 And Kim, Alaina gets mistaken for a boy all of the time — even when she is wearing so-called girly colors.

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