Monday, April 20, 2009
It started when I was pregnant with my first child...
"What are you hoping for???"
The question kind of threw me for a loop because, in reality, since I had been trying to get pregnant for fifteen months, all I'd ever been hoping for was, well, a baby. But I got used to hearing it and I got used to answering, "Oh, just a healthy baby. That's all I could ask for." And the reply I heard most often was-
"Well, since it's your first, it doesn't really matter, right?"
And that confused me even more.
Fast-forward to a whopping six months after my son was born and I found out I was expecting again. All of a sudden, this is what I heard-
"Trying for a girl this time, eh?" or "Bet you're hoping for a girl!" or "Thinking pink, right?"
And to be blatantly honest? All I could really think was, "What changed? Why does it matter now? Do they not think I adore having a little boy?"
But I had a girl.
And so then this is what I heard-
"Oh! You're all done then, right? Since you have one of each?"
Pardon? What does that have to do with a darn thing? Why would having one boy and one girl suddenly mean that my family was complete? And why would someone assume that a family with children of all one gender is somehow INcomplete? I didn't even really have a response for that one...
And now I'm seven months pregnant with my third child. And people ask me all the time-
"Do you know what you're having?"
No. I do not. My husband and I have elected to let that announcement take place in the delivery room all three times. There are several reasons for that. The one I give people is, "I'm just so afraid that I'd be that one in a million that they get wrong and that would just mess with my head!" That is true. And people accept that answer. But the bigger, more honest reason? I don't want to hear people's take on it. I don't want to have a discussion about if I'm "happy" about it or if it's "what I wanted".
Maybe I'm the wrong person to write about this since I, admittedly, already have one child of each gender. So maybe I just don't get it. On the other hand, maybe I'm the perfect person to write about it because I've seen both sides of the coin. Take your pick. I'm writing anyway... :)
There are some statements that get under my skin when it comes to baby gender...
"Oh, you have one of each, so it doesn't matter this time!"
"Bet you're hoping for a ..."
"I'm so DESPERATE for a...."
"We'll keep trying until we have a ..."
Here's the deal...
As far as I'm concerned, gender either NEVER matters or it ALWAYS matters. How many girls or boys you already have has nothing to do it. The simple fact is that boys and girls are different. Thus, it matters. Each and every time. Because it makes a difference! At the same time, is one "better" than the other? If I already had three girls, would a boy then be so far superior to having a fourth girl? I don't think so. That fourth girl would be no less precious and individual than the first. And, under no circumstances, should those "subsesquent" girls be just filler-children on the quest to have the boy.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with thinking it would be nice to experience parenting both a girl and a boy, to have the desire to see both sides of it. Just as there's nothing wrong with hoping for twins or thinking it would be fun to have two little boys close in age. We all have our own ideas of what is "ideal" in terms of family size, sibling spacing, and- yes- child gender. Do I understand or know what motivates some people or shapes their ideals? Nope. And that's okay... I don't need to know that.
But here's what I do know...
God doesn't make mistakes.
It's that simple. I am blessed to be sister to one man and sister-in-law to another who are the fathers of all girls. And you know what I see? They're fantastic at it. So at ease with fathering these precious little ladies and secure in their "manliness" at the same time. They can straighten hair bows without feeling a dip in testosterone. And that makes me proud. I'm honored to witness the strength they show their daughters and the pride they take in them. Would they have enjoyed boys? No doubt. But God knew they were needed for these girls. And they're serving out that role in admirable ways.
I also have a sister with only boys. Do I think she wouldn't make a good mom to girls? Absolutely not. I believe from the bottom of my heart that she would make an excellent mother to ANY child. But what I KNOW is that she's a fantastic mom to her boys. And she's never once indicated any kind of "disappointment" about having her guys all around her. She smiled as she frosted cupcakes pink for my daughter's first birthday that she hosted. But does she complain about a "lack of pink" in her everyday life? No. She adores her boys and they are steadily growing into secure, confident young men as a result.
God knows what He's doing. Trust in that.
And so, in response to what I hear all the time...
I'm not hoping for either gender this time. Nor was I last time. Or the time before. It absolutely matters. I have different daydreams depending on which I end up having. But it's not my call. And I know my family will be perfect for me... it will be God's design.