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A Slightly Irate PSA About Boy vs Girl

Dear World,

Believe it or not, it is totally okay to prefer one or the other. This does not make someone a bad parent, this does not mean they will be disappointed with their child, this does not mean they will treat it any differently, and it does not mean they have their priorities off-track and need a lecture.

No, really!



You know what? I wanted a girl first. Ever since I was a little girl myself, I wanted a daughter first. More than anything. I got it! I was so grateful. So, so grateful. Prayers of gratitude. Much love.

With Ivy, it didn't matter. I honestly didn't care one way or another. Not because I loved her less, or because she didn't matter, or because my moral system is skewed. I just wasn't invested either way.

I love her just as much as I love Eden.

Yes, I am really wanting a boy this time. I know I'm all, "We don't instill gender stereotypes or division in our children." I stand by that. But you know what? Josh wants this to be the last one. And I can't help it that deep down inside, I would really love to have a son.

If it's not, I will love her just as much as I love my others!

I'm getting a little tired of the almost-daily lectures I've gotten. Not by those who know me best, which is reassuring. This makes me believe that those who love me either don't think I'm a bad parent, divisive douche-monster, or, hey, maybe they do and they've just come to terms with it. However, the unsolicited lectures are really starting to bother me.

"Well, you know, when it comes down to it, all that REALLY matters is a healthy baby."

Hey, dude, you've got a point there! That totally never, in all 97 weeks of my life that I have spent pregnant, ever occurred to me.

Who the hell goes around saying, "You know, all I really want is a traumatically unhealthy child!" That's right...nobody. So stop snarling at me like that's exactly what I said. Stop lecturing me on what I should be thinking. No, seriously. And this goes triple for those of you who say this to me after asking if we know what the sex is or if we have a preference. Of course I damn well want a healthy child! I also would like a boy this time. Especially if it ends up being the last time.

And. That. Is. Okay.

If I don't get one, That. Is. Also. Okay.

But, yes, this time I do have a preference. And if you ask, I will tell you about it. And I don't need those looks and reminders that "Well, you know, when it comes down to it, all that really matters is it's healthy." Over and over and over. And over.

I also don't need to be treated like I'm going to not love my child if it's another girl. Because, when it comes down to it, I want THIS baby that I am carrying. If, when she's born, God appears before me and says, "Damn, got your order wrong. Would you like me to take it back and fix that for you, free of charge?", I'm going to clutch her to me with tears in my eyes and beg, "No, Lord, please don't take my baby from me! She is perfect!"

I don't need to be lectured about ~what matters~. I am a mother; I know what matters. I don't need folks acting like I'm a bad activist, woman, or parent. I don't need my friends or family hiding behind anonymity to ask if I am going to treat the new one or the older ones any differently, or if I'm going to love it any less if it's not, or if this means I really don't buy into gender equality. I don't need strangers at work giving me nasty looks &/or lectures for admitting that I have a preference.

I am human.

I have a half-brother, but I never grew up with him. I grew up around all girls. I am curious. And I love my husband, and I would love to see what kind of son we produce together. We have great girls! I just wonder. If Josh didn't want this one to be the last, I wouldn't care. But, yes, I would like to have a son one day. That's all.

And it's not really a bad thing. It's a human thing. For me, anyway. It's part and parcel of this particular experience, and I simply acknowledge it. I have always answered every question honestly. The main question people ask is "Do you know what you're having?" So if we get into a discussion about why I like the surprise, and yes, I have kids, two other daughters, and yeah, we're hoping this one's a boy this time...

Smile and say, "Oh, that'd be nice!" or "Hope you get one!" or "Good luck!" or just plain smile and nod. But drop the looks of disdain. And if you can't, then stop freaking asking those questions! Because I'm not going to give some trite PC answer that doesn't at all reflect this particular experience. I'm owning it. It's fine. Really.




Boy, she'll have a fit if she ever goes back and reads this post.

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
aimingforpeace
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I hoped every single day that Sophia would be a girl. David hoped for a boy. Even after the sonogram, I was still worried until the day that she was born that she would be a boy, and david hoped.

I don't think that made either of us bad people. It definitely hasn't made David a bad dad that he didn't get his little boy - he adores her.

And it doesn't make you a bad person at all. It makes you human and honest that you have a preference. I'm rooting for an XY for you :-)
ahavah
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! You know, I think most parents have a preference, whether they admit it or not. Not all, but I do think most. Maybe they squash it down after ultrasounds. I don't know. I just know that I don't think there's anything wrong with hoping one way or another. I think, in the vast majority of cases, it would not affect the parents' love or behavior at all. It just gets tiring watching people react like they're astounded I'd admit it and then lecture me about ~what really matters~. Especially after asking. That just seems kind of silly.
(no subject) - aimingforpeace - Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
sidelong
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
I have to admit, this post made me giggle. It was so snarky and SO JUSTIFIED, it made me want to find the people who'd given you shit about expressing a preference and email it to them. Not that I know who they are. But still. Hilarious.

On a more serious note (and I'm not espousing this for you at all, I'm just relating a story) I had a friend who really wanted a girl and got a 2nd tri ultrasound just to find out the sex (among seeing all the healthy bits in general). She wanted to know what the sex was because if it *was* a boy, she wanted time to adjust to the idea. And hey, it turns out she was having a boy, and she loves him to pieces. I'm sure she would have loved him every bit as much *without* an ultrasound, but she got her coping and peace of mind well in advance of the birth.

Obviously, if you don't want an ultrasound, that's totally your perogative--I more wanted to say that OF COURSE you'll love your baby regardless of its sex. The haters should look at your postpartum offspring to determine whether you're a terrible mother/human being or not--and if they did, I don't think they'd have a leg to stand on. :)
ahavah
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you think so! I waffled over whether to do such a post, but I got TWO more "as long as it's healthy" lectures today (only one with the snarling look of disdain, luckily) and decided I needed to get it out.

I'll admit, because I *am* wanting one way or another, I almost wanted to get an ultrasound. But I do like the tradition of finding out at birth. And, secretly, I think I may be able to talk Josh into just one more try, if it comes to it. ;)
(no subject) - sidelong - Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
lolacat
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
I had the same issue with Holly. I really wanted another girl. I didn't feel ashamed about that, and of course if she'd been a boy it would have been perfect. But sometimes people did make me feel like I was bad for having a preference, or that I was being silly for wanting a second girl when I already have one and "don't I want one of each??" I have to say that discovering Holly was Holly at the moment of her birth was indescribably joyous. I was so happy to have my wish for two little girls. I don't feel bad about that!
ahavah
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
And I don't think we should! Why is it that random strangers/others have to pass judgment about it? It's ridiculous. Everyone is different. Everyone has different hopes and different reactions. I'd rather someone be honest about theirs that lie to either themselves or everyone else, you know? Sometimes I think, 'Well, that's just the only small-talk they know how to make', but when it gets so overtly preachy, it's no longer small-talk and has turned to unwanted & unwarranted judgment. Which sucks.
mrsgirlyduck
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
I wanted a girl, always wanted a girl, and would have been disappointed if she had turned out to be a boy. Not that I would have loved him any less or given him to the wolves or anything, but I wanted a girl.

If I knew I'd have a boy, I'd try again in a minute. But not being able to pick the sex of said un-fertilized egg... I'm not willing to risk the terrible pregnancy that would ensue without that guarantee though. That might make me a horrible person, but so what. :D
ahavah
Apr. 22nd, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
OMG, feeding her to wolves might be my new response! YES.

No, it doesn't make you a horrible person at all! Everyone's hopes and wants are perfectly valid. It's also one of the great joys of living in the days of birth control! (Assuming you get one that works, har har. This is the only baby we've actually planned. ><)

(no subject) - sidelong - Apr. 23rd, 2011 12:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ahavah - Apr. 23rd, 2011 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
ananasparachute
Apr. 23rd, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
I don't think it makes you a bad person at all. I think it makes you honest. Every time I hear a parent-to-be say the standard line "..as long as it's healthy!" when it comes to gender, I wonder how many of them REALLY mean it. I can tell that many of them have a secret preference.

I know, for me (I don't have kids yet, and can't wait.) I want my first to be a girl. I always wanted a little girl, and want my eldest to be one. Does that mean I'd love a boy any less? Absolutely not. But my hope is for a girl, and I'll be totally honest about that.
ahavah
Apr. 23rd, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
Glad to hear it! Yeah, I'm always going to be honest about it. Especially when asked! lol Maybe if we were more honest about our feelings, there would be a lot less judging when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. It seems like a pregnant belly is open season to get all up in someone's personal business. I don't generally mind - unless they then decide to snarl at my choices. I really don't do that with others, even if I have pretty passionate views for MYSELF. I don't appreciate it from others. If I thought it was *wrong*, I probably wouldn't be so honest with them. I guess that's what peeves some people. Like I should be ashamed of myself or something. Sorry, random dude in the grocery store, I'm just not.
dodging_fate
Apr. 23rd, 2011 02:34 am (UTC)
when we decided for a third (and final, for sure) child I prayed and prayed for a boy to round out my family... I totally get it! I desperately wanted Laurel to be a girl, didn't care for Anna and wanted JT to be a boy SO BAD... I got my wish, I hope you get your boy :)
ahavah
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
Sounds very much like my situation then! It would be nice if the outcome is the same. :)

lahermite
Apr. 23rd, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
you're funny when pissed. :)

(not that you don't have funny moments when not pissed, lol, but - you know... )
ahavah
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:11 am (UTC)
I'm glad you think so.
theafaye
Apr. 23rd, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
One of the reasons for finding out gender first time round was that we desperately wanted a girl and if it wasn't, I wanted my husband to have time to adjust to it if it wasn't, especially if there was a problem at the birth, which would affect his bonding. Had we not known in advance that a boy was coming out, given all the issues when he was born, it was really good that we were prepared because it still was a bit of an issue for him, but nowhere near as much as if it had been a surprise. I actually mourned the "loss" of the girl I thought we were having when we found out.

And then when he was born, I wondered why on earth I'd ever wanted a girl, particularly since all the girls I knew were such little madams and he was so cool. Whatever comes out, you love it.

Second time around, I had no preference. Two brothers close in age would have been just as cool as one of each. And then when we had one of each, I REALLY had no preference third time around. Fourth time, my husband said no more unless I could guarantee a girl, which we got. Fifth time, I didn't realise just how much I wanted a boy until we saw his balls on the scan and I was unbelieveably happy. Each time is different and however you feel is how you feel. Nobody should have to defend their feelings, especially since it's all theoretical and will make NO DIFFERENCE to you once the baby's here.
ahavah
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
I totally understand the want to find out. Part of me wanted to with this one, as at first I was slightly afraid that any of us might be 'disappointed' if it's a girl, and I didn't want the family feeling disappointed upon first meeting. But I know that we'll all just be happy to meet it, no matter what. With Eden, even as much as I begged for a girl, after the birth, I just completely forgot to even check what we had! I was just so glad to see my baby. I needed to be reminded to even look at the sex.

Each time is different and however you feel is how you feel. Nobody should have to defend their feelings, especially since it's all theoretical and will make NO DIFFERENCE to you once the baby's here.

I really, really like that. You worded it so much better than I did!
butterfly_bbw
Apr. 23rd, 2011 12:14 pm (UTC)
I remember the as long as the baby is healthy comments, when I was expecting the arrival of my third child. In my case that staement made me irate. My first child was born with a rare birth defect and until about five minutes after she was born, I thought I was having a boy. Did I love her less because for the 5 months prior to her birth I called her Alexander? NO!! Absolutely not!! Was I disappointed ? I admit I was, a little. Then when my second girl was born, I still wanted a boy. For me number three is my baby girl. And I love all of my girls with a love I never thought possible.

With all that being said, I hope you get your son.
(Thanks for allowing me an oppurtunity to vent!)
ahavah
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
It's really starting to make me irate too! Thank God! I was afraid I was the only one. 0_o

I imagine I would be a whole lot more hurt and upset if one of my girls *did* have a birth defect. How insensitive of people! I would have snarked the hell out of them right to their face instead of let off steam here. And, really, even if the baby does have a defect, it's not like you'd love it any less then anyway! Of course, I don't think anyone around here really realizes how smacking of ableism that is.

Anyway, you're always welcome to vent around here! Obviously it is something I encourage. lol
kali_kali
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
I'm hoping for lots of baby girls when I get around to having kids. My boyfriend may want a boy in there though, but whatever happens, happens. He also only wants two kids, but I think I've talked him up to three. My ideal would be four.

I think I should start soon though, whenever families with lots of little girls come into the cafe I work at I can't help but wish they were mine :-)
ahavah
Apr. 23rd, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
I hope you get them! Girls are really special. I've managed to talk Josh into three, but I think I would be happiest with at least five! I know we probably can't afford it, but I've *always* wanted a big family. Maybe one day we will be able to afford it. I can keep hoping.
maiabee8
Apr. 24th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
This is why I do not talk to people about things that matter to me unless they are people I like/trust. Other people are idiots.
ahavah
Apr. 24th, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC)
Probably a good policy! I probably wouldn't, but working at a store in a small town means people get chatty. And, it would seem, preachy. :/
catku
Apr. 27th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
People are so stupid when it comes to making statements about names and gender choice and birth styles to expectant mothers. Like what they think is gonna change what you feel and want.
What.. like what they say matters? Bunch of BS I say. How you could you be any less than yourself and honest in your fervent hope for a son. Not like you're going to love a child less. And it's ok to be disappointed if it isn't a boy.

It's like all these plastic perfect mom's these days who want to be BFF's with their kids instead of being a PARENT. People can be so dumb.

And as for the people who have to respond with platitudes about "blessings of a healthy child is all you should desire" all well and good when it's not their emotions.

fuck em I say!
ahavah
May. 7th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
Yikes, I missed this comment somehow! Sorry about that. But I am glad to know you agree. I don't think there's anything wrong with wishing. I'll admit, I'm very scared that I might be disappointed when it's born if it's a girl, but logically I know that it will be my beautiful baby and I'll be very happy either way. I would just hate to feel guilty if my first thought is, "Aw, damn." :/
(Deleted comment)
ahavah
May. 7th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
I think most people have a preference deep down, too. Maybe not everyone. I know I wished for a girl, then didn't care, then wished for a boy. Just going through the full spectrum, I guess. There's nothing wrong with wishing one way or the other, IMO, and I don't think anyone actually acts any differently if they don't get what they wished for.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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