When it comes to having babies, one of my pet peeves is people assuming you will base the number of children you have purely on the sex of the babies you are already blessed with. I understand this is probably true to some extent with most parent’s decisions to have more kids, but that is entirely their business, nobody else’s. I also really can’t handle when people presume to know how you feel about the sex of your baby and aren’t afraid to tell you.
I was sitting outside my house on the front lawn having a picnic with my two boys two days after giving birth, when a stranger walking his dog came up and said “what did you get?”(meaning what sex was the baby), to which I proudly replied “a boy!” and as he turned to walk off with his dogs he said “better luck next time”. My blood boiled… It is still boiling. The hide of someone to presume that I had “bad luck” to have two boys. No consideration whatsoever was given to the fact that I had been blessed with two beautiful, healthy, lovely children or to the fact that he had absolutely no idea what I felt about the matter. What if I WAS upset? Grieving even. How does saying such a rude remark help? Let’s just rub some salt in that wound, shall we? What if I was ecstatic that I had two boys? What if that’s what I’d always wanted and planned?
It is hard enough being a new parent (regardless of whether you have other kids), without careless comments being sprouted, about when you’ll have more, or that you’re lucky or unlucky depending on whether you have a “pigeon pair” or not. People should only ever say uplifting, positive, non-judgmental things to parents.
One of my friends, after she had just given birth to a baby boy and already had a two year old girl, was hit with the comment, “so you won’t need to be having anymore children then”. The GALL!!! Who is that person, to declare the number and consistency of your family? What right have they to decide your future, without regard to your plans or feelings?
On the other side of the coin, another of my friends who is expecting her second baby boy has been scared to express her occasional feelings of disappointment because she is worried that people with think she is selfish or ungrateful. Is she not allowed to experience her own emotions without judgment? Can she not have an ounce of sadness for the loss of a baby girl that she had always imagined would be a part of her family?
It is normal to have a short time of mourning, when your hopes, dreams or expectations are shattered, in any situation. This is especially true with regard to baby gender, particularly if you find out the sex prior to giving birth. I’m sure there are some people who may even experience perinatal depression due to unrealised expectations of gender.
I cared for a woman in labour with her 5th baby. Her first four children were girls. She and her whole family kept referring to this child as a boy whilst she was giving birth, saying things like “he’s coming soon” and “it’ll all be worth it when we see his face”. If I recall correctly they may have even been referring to the baby with a male name already picked. When this woman pushed out a gorgeous baby girl, she went blank, she wouldn’t hold or touch the baby. She wouldn’t look at her. The baby’s grandmother started bawling. At the time I was really worried and felt sorry for the baby. I thought “how could anyone not love their baby, no matter what the sex”. What right had I to think that? An hour or so later I went back into the room and the mother was happily cooing to her baby whilst breastfeeding. It just took time for her to adjust. For some it takes no time at all, for others it may take a long while with help from professional counsellors.
What I’m saying is, everyone is different. We all have differing wants and desires. We should be allowed to experience our lives, along with any disappointed emotions and feelings, without fear of retribution or scornful glares or comments.
I have two boys whom I adore. I would not trade them for anything or anyone. They are my whole world and I take the good with the bad. I felt nothing but elation when I first laid eyes on and held my second miracle baby boy (every baby is a miracle). Since giving birth I have had many moments of longing for a girl. That does not mean I don’t love my son. I absolutely adore him. He is sunshine to me. I am fortunate that I don’t yet have to deal with the loss of mothering my own daughter as I am still planning to have more children. For my next baby (not for a few years yet) I am going to try Shettle’s Method for having a girl. But I will try to prepare myself for the very real possibility of having another boy. Whatever my family ends up looking like, I will be thankful to God for my blessings.
Loss, disappointment, grief and sadness are all feelings that are just as valid to experience as joy, elation, adoration and bliss when it comes to having babies and planning families. Let’s be understanding, loving and compassionate to all parents with new babies, especially when they are brave enough to confess feelings that differ from the normal expected emotions.