Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do you know what you're having?

An interesting conversation came up at my book club the other night regarding the sex of your baby. Even though we live in America and women's rights have come a long way in the past hundred years, people in general tend to have a more positive reaction when you announce you are having a baby boy than a baby girl. It almost feels like we're in China and just screwed the whole family out of a male heir when we announce it's a girl. Clearly not to the same extent, but there are some people who still feel that way and aren't afraid to say so.

Alone, we might not have ever realized how differently people react to the sex of your baby, but once we sat down and shared our experiences it was pretty clear. Now that I am having a boy, I'm getting a lot of comments about how we can be finished now that we have one of each. Everyone is so happy for us to have the perfect pair --a boy and a girl. Like that is the ideal and everybody's dream for their family. But is it?

Another mom in book club just had a second baby girl. Someone actually told her they were sorry to hear that she was having another girl. Here I am thinking about how fun it would be for Ada to have a little sister that she could be close to and then I hear about someone apologizing to this mom for having a second girl. Seriously? What happened to just congratulating the mom on having a baby and hoping it's healthy?

I'm guilty of making comments like, "Wow, that's a lot of testosterone for one house." when I meet a mom with three boys. Not because I don't like little boys but because I think women tend to have it easier when the have a little girl to balance out the chaos and energy that tends to come with boys (read: little devils). It's stereotyping, I know. I admit it. But I'm not about to go telling someone that I'm sorry they didn't get a boy out of the deal. That's crap.

I'm really amazed at how excited everyone is for me to have a baby boy. And even more so because I have a little girl. The checkout woman at the grocery store was so excited and congratulated me profusely. An elderly man at the pharmacy congratulated me and then suggested it was time to "shut down the factory" since "babies are expensive". It's the American dream and I don't even know how lucky I am, apparently. Now I have someone to carry on the family name. I've never even thought of it that way. I'm just thankful to be able to have kids.

With Ada, I found a lot of people asked me what sex I wanted. It didn't really matter to me but I thought she was a boy. When we found out she was a girl, I had to mentally transition to having a girl. Then with BB, I though he was a girl and was excited that Ada might get a little sister since the idea of a sister appeals to me since I had a brother and the grass is always greener on the other side(sharing clothes, having that sister bond). Since he's a boy, I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I'm really just hoping he is as easy as she was even though I doubt we can be that lucky.

And then there is the whole debate of "if he was a little girl, would you have a third to try for a boy?" I'm not sure how I feel about this logic. I think a lot of parents use the fact that they want one of each sex to determine how many kids they have up to a certain point and then they give up. I can honestly say I don't think it would have encouraged me to have a third child, but I can see how it might for some people. It's just interesting to me to think about how the sex of your baby can have so much influence on if you have another or how the success of a pregnancy is perceived. You can always want a girl, but be happy if you get a boy, and vice versa. I can't imagine that some people aren't happy if they get the opposite of what they wanted. My mom taught me to be happy with either as long as they were healthy. I think that is some solid advice.

Moral of the story: Be prepared for a wide range of reactions when announcing the sex of your baby. You never know what some people will say.

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