When I was pregnant with my first child, I realised early on that people put lots of their own agenda on pregnant women, even in the process of offering congratulations. It was annoying, of course, to receive so much unasked for feedback on everything from the size of my bump to how it would be to bring a baby home at the time of year she was due. But since she was my first, one thing no one did much of was put pressure on me for the baby to be a certain gender.
Now that I already have a daughter and am pregnant again, it’s a whole new world of nagging feedback. Almost every single person with whom my husband and I have shared the happy news has responded with some version of, “I hope it’s a boy!”
Many people have gone so far as to project the thought onto my husband, “Oh, I bet he’s praying for a boy!” It’s literally all I’ve heard since we first started telling people. And here’s the thing: Even though I know the banter is not ill-intentioned, it’s really starting to irritate me.
See, there’s no denying the fact that many people hope to someday have a child of their own sex. I still haven’t figured it out, really, why I myself wanted a little girl so badly. It can’t just be narcissism. After all, they grow into their own people and are not, usually, miniature versions of ourselves.
That said, I do love having a daughter and I’m sure my husband, like a lot of men, would love to have a son at some point, too. But are we really so obsessed with that “one of each” paradigm that so many people (our mums included!) need to wish a boy on us? And if so, why?
Plenty of families have children all of one gender and I’m sure that having multiple children that are all boys or all girls can come with its unique set of challenges at various times. (I’m thinking specifically of a mum I know with three boys under 4-years-old, and a former colleague whose three daughters are all reaching the teenage years). But, so what? Are these parents somehow unfulfilled because they never had one that broke the gender mold, so to speak? Maybe, but I’m guessing more likely than not, no.
And that’s another thing. What if we really were hoping desperately for a boy? Would it help to have the additional pressure of everyone around us making us feel like we’d be somehow letting them down if we end up with bows instead of bowties? Talk about building up for a huge letdown!
We are planning to do a gender reveal party with our family, but after careful consideration my husband and I decided we want to find out the sex first, privately, at the doctor’s office. We both know that whatever is revealed in that ultrasound will make our hearts skip a beat just like the first time, when we learned we were having a girl and we both cried with joy. And we’d like to drown out any potential noise and just enjoy the moment, no matter what.
Like I said, I love having a little girl and I’m sure my husband would adore a boy, too. But although this stereotypically masculine man I married loves footy, cars, and firing up the barbie on a summer’s night, he’s also game for wearing tutus and watching Sofia the First on repeat. He takes our daughter to the park and the bakery, mucks around with her in the play room, and pulls little pranks to tease her.
One day, they’ll go to footy games together and if she wants to attend some boy-band concert with her friends, he’ll happily chaperone. Because to him, being a girl-dad is just… being a dad.
I know it can be difficult to separate our own experiences from those of friends and family members, but I just wish everyone would lay off with the nagging about a potential boy. No matter what sex this baby is, my husband and are both just thrilled and grateful to be expecting one at all.
Children will grow into the people they are meant to be no matter what sex organs they were born with. I am excited to meet this next baby and watch my kids grow up, learning and creating who they are along the way. It isn’t actually about football or tiaras, after all, as every parent truly knows. Love is the only thing that matters.