“Oh! Do you know what you’re having?”
I’m very obviously pregnant which means people ask about my family and pregnancy quite often. They always ask if I know what I’m having. I say I’m having my third boy.
More often than not, people react disappointed.
“Well I guess you’ll still have to try for a girl!”
“Maybe you’ll get daughters someday when your sons get married.”
“Oh, that’s too bad, I’ll bet you wanted a girl.”
I even had a strange encounter with a child who asked me what I’m having. I told her a boy. She responded DISGUSTED, “ANOTHER ONE? YUCK!” and then ran off. I thought to myself, she’s just a kid, she doesn’t know any better. Then I thought, that seems to be what everyone is thinking and not saying when I tell them I’m having another boy.
So let me set the record straight: I love my boys. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. When I found out I was having another boy, I was looking at the ultrasound screen and knew exactly what I was looking at. A boy. I didn’t have one shred of disappointment, I didn’t cry, I didn’t even take a minute to compose myself. I thought to myself, this is great, I KNOW how to raise boys. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
The whole ride home we were giddy with excitement for so many reasons! I have all the boy stuff! I don’t need to store 2 genders of clothes! All the toys and shoes and back packs will be handed down. I’ve got all the tractor books, construction books, and Blippi songs memorized. I imagine going mountain biking with the three of them. They can all agree on watching Ninja Turtles, Minecraft and Spongebob.
So if I’m not disappointed in having another boy, why is everyone else? Why does everyone expect me to be disappointed? Who are they to tell me I should be sad?
The comment that always gets me, “Maybe you’ll get daughters when your boys get married.” Yeah, or maybe they’ll marry a man. Or maybe they won’t get married. Should I be disappointed then too?
“You’ll have to try again for another girl!” Or maybe we will try again for another boy! Or maybe they’ll be a hermaphrodite! Or maybe my boys will change their gender! Or maybe I don’t want another child! Or maybe I want seven more with no regard to their genitalia!
The bottom line is this: Don’t force your disappointment with the gender of my children on me. Don’t assume I’m sad because I don’t have a daughter. Don’t assure me I’m going to “get a daughter” some day. Don’t tell me the things you assume I’m missing out on because of my child’s gender.
Here’s another thought, if a mother or father is struggling with gender disappointment, they probably don’t want to talk about it casually with acquaintances. It’s probably something they are struggling with and maybe they are carrying a lot of guilt about feeling that way. It’s not something to be hashed out in a casual conversation.
Here are some acceptable responses:
“Congratulations!” “That’s so exciting!” “You’ll have your hands full!” “That will be so fun!”
My personal favorite response, “There will be pee and nerf gun bullets everywhere!” (this is entirely accurate)
I was strolling through a local market and I saw this sweatshirt. I’ve never bought any “boy mom” stuff before, I’ve never really identified with being a “boy mom” but now that I’ve had to defend my stance so vehemently the past 5 months, I decided with three boys, I really am proud to be a “boy mom” and I bought this sweatshirt to let everyone know. Thanks to Alison at Hawkeye Screen Printing, I hope I can fit into it soon! HA!
All this to say, please be sensitive in your comments. There’s so much that weighs on parents as it is and I can’t carry your disappointment in my children’s gender too. There isn’t a day I wake up and wish that Carver and Gannon were a girl or anything other than who they are and I’m sure it will be the same with this next tiny human.
Check out my latest posts:
- The Friedman Fam Update – October 2022
- MANIC MONDAY!
- How did we choose the name Anders Allen?
- Anders Allen Friedman – 09/21/2022
- False Alarm