Friday, 17 September 2010

Boy/Girl? Who cares?

Well, I do, actually. I've been inspired to write this blogpost as I thought my comment on Garry from the BlogUpNorth's post might go on a little too long.

I made no secret when I first got pregnant that I really wanted a girl. Really really wanted a girl. At my 20-week scan, when they showed me what looked rather distinctly like male genitalia on the screen, I cried. They also informed me that my ovarian cyst was not only still there, but also, no smaller, which was bad news and slightly scary. This may have had a small impact on my crying, but I know it wasn't wholly responsible.

At my 20-week scan this time around, I yet again saw what was clearly male genitalia. Having told myself and anyone who cared to listen, that I didn't mind what sex baby we had this time (as we wanted 3 anyway), I was surprised to find my eyes fill up with water once more and my heart sink a little. I had obviously been harbouring a secret desire which I hadn't even registered myself.

We had always intended to try for a third, but now, I feel there is a little pressure as I still want a daughter so much. What will I do if I end up with three boys? Try again? I doubt it. It's not just that I want a girl... I have this notion that boys are harder work and am already nervous about how I'm going to cope with two of them. Let alone three.

Maybe I should try to explain why I feel such a strong desire for a girl.

I am one of two children. My brother is older than me. Many people say it's nice to have an older brother as he looks after you. Does he? Really? I'm sure there are many long-forgotten instances when my big brother did look out for me in some way, but he certainly didn't stand up for me at school if I needed it and I don't ever particularly remember feeling protected by him at home either. Maybe I have a selective memory as we're not very close these days.

I thought a family with an older sister would be nice, so that she could take a slightly motherly caring role as the oldest. Maybe I was still deluded and there was as much chance of this happening as an older brother protecting his younger siblings. It probably just depends on the individuals.

I also, could only ever envisage myself as a mother to a daughter. Of course, now I have a gorgeous little boy that has changed. But factors such as dealing with puberty also come into play. I've been through female puberty so can deal with explaining it. Male puberty - eek! I dearly hope that my boys will be close enough to me that they can talk to me about anything and I can deal with it. But I feel it would have been much easier with a girl. Been there, done it.

To justify that I think it's OK to have a preference let me continue: I've always been a bit concerned that I'm far too blasé about having children, full stop. Especially as I now only have one ovary. (I confess, I expected it to take a little longer to get pregnant with one ovary gone. I did NOT expect it to happen so instantly. But maybe this gives me good cause to be blasé.) I certainly don't think I, or anyone else should go around worrying about whether or not they'll be able to have children before they've even tried. Worrying for no reason does no-one any good.

I expected to be able to have children. Like I had some sort of right. Having been through the birth process (and such a good experience of it too), I do feel a little more humbled and incredibly honoured that I have been able to have children, both physically able and also finding that right moment in life and the right partner. Not everyone has that chance. So yes, I do understand it being offensive to get concerned about something so trivial as the sex of your child.

Of course, I would prioritise having a healthy baby over having one of my chosen gender. But could we not say that those of us who show a preference for gender are actually no worse than those who wish only for a 'healthy' baby. I mean, define healthy. Many people have children with disabilities or maybe just allergies. They still love their children but would they have been criticised for saying whilst pregnant "I don't mind the gender as long as it's healthy"?

I don't think we should judge people for expressing a gender preference unless it actually affects the way they feel about the child once it has arrived. I see no reason why older children should be offended by their parents wanting a 'different one' this time, if they are part of a happy, loving family. I will have no problem telling my eldest that I had wanted a girl first... but I shall be careful to explain that he was no disappointment. Just not how I would have planned it had planning been an option.

And when I am out exhibiting my two boys in the next few years, I also won't have a problem with people asking if we'll be trying again for a girl - because we will be. One day. If I'm lucky enough to have a third and it's a boy again, I will be gutted and yet still appreciate that I'm a very fortunate person. Any child of mine will be thoroughly loved, no matter how different the child is to what I had hoped.


  1. Oh you brave lady, hear hear. Of course it's OK for people to express a preferred sex when pregnant. I come from a big family with girls being in the majority. My husbands family is the opposite so he was delighted when our first was a girl. When we were having our second we asked what the sex was. It was another girl, although he tried to hide it he was slightly disappointed because we only wanted two children. But within 5 minutes he'd got over it and was looking forward to another healthy daughter. Like I said on Him UP Norths post, our third was a 'slip up'. OH was over the moon when it turned out to have 'extra bits'. But it didn't mean he felt anything less about his two other children. In fact he's closer to his daughters.

    I understand your fear of when your boys are older. I love my son, but I just don't 'get' him. My girls are very open and tell me everything, whereas my son is a closed book. However, I think this probably has more to do with personality rather than sex.

    I'll be following with interest any further comments on this.

  2. Definitely fair play to you. I'm going to share your post, it's not very often women own up to wanting a certain sex so badly and it's a very open and brave thing to do. It may just make some women feel less guilty.

    I really didn't mind when I got pregnant. I wanted a boy and I got one but I would have been happy if I'd had a girl, maybe a little gutted. But it would have been "hey, ho! Never mind."

    However, next time will be a completely different story. I totally want a girl.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya!

    Becca xx

  3. I was incredibly lucky in that I wanted a boy first and got one and a girl second and got girlie twinnies that time. I was blessed, I hope you are with a little girl too.

    Mich x

  4. I have 2 boys and to be quite frank the idea of having a girl terrifys me!

    When I was expecting number 2 all the family were convinced it was a girl, I would look at girls clothes and panic. my husband was very excited at the prospect of a little girl.I decided to find out the sex at one of my many scans - I burst into tears when they showed me his male bits. I was so relieved it was unbelievable.

    I did have to break it to my OH, he took it ok but was clearly disappointed. Thankfully we had another 13 weeks to get used to the idea and OH loves his beautiful boy.