Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why you shouldn't have a baby just to get a particular gender

A family in Michigan just had their 12th boy, after of course hoping for a girl. Both my three-sons-also sister and I have been asked if we are going to try again for a girl. (NO!) We know a couple who was so desperate to have a boy (after having a daughter) that they tried all sorts of wacky sexual  positions, landing the woman in the ER. (No joke!) By the way, the acrobatic positions didn't work. More girls.

I always imagined I would have a daughter myself--my husband used to tease me that I'd be giving her Ms. magazines, but she'd be hiding her Glamour and Seventeen magazines under the mattress. (This was all before the Internet, of course!) When our first son was born extremely prematurely, we didn't know if he would be a boy or girl--we wanted to be surprised (and boy, were we, in less-pleasant ways in the NICU!). With the next two babies, we decided to find out the gender in advance. 

My grandma and her son who died. Teddy
With the rest of the boys--
doesn't she look happy? ;)
(My dad is the one hiding behind his brother)
My maternal grandmother had six sons (one of whom died in childhood), and the family lore is that when she had her fourth son, she cried. I didn't want any of my children to feel that they were not totally, completely wanted. I wanted to greet each baby with joy, not shock that I was having another boy (because, I confess, I was hoping for a girl and during the last two pregnancies, I was convinced I would have a girl).

Although my boys are extremely high energy and loud, they are renaissance men like their dad. They love theater, music, and stories, and not just sports and video games. They are all affectionate and effusive, not stereotypical, testosterone-fueled boys (and neither are any of my five nephews), for which I'm truly thankful.

And now? I wouldn't change any of them for a girl. I've never been a girly-girl anyway. When I read Jeanne Sager's piece in The Stir on "7 Ridiculous Reasons Women Give for Wanting a Daughter," I was squirming. Daughters do not always turn out the way moms expect them to! You won't necessarily have a "mini-me," someone who loves to go shopping with you, a dressing-up buddy, or a best friend...but perhaps you might have a son who likes to do some of these things. I know two boys who love to paint their nails, and my younger kids always want to go shopping with me. In some cases, sons can be sweeter to their moms than daughters are.

Living in a house of males, I do need my female time more than I ever imagined. But I'm lucky to have amazing close female friends, in addition to a wonderful mom, sister, mother-in-law, and two sisters-in-law. (I have fun shopping for my two nieces, too!)

I also relish spending time with young, bright, and spirited female friends (twin girls in Boise, ID, who are coming to visit this weekend, who both wrote me back when I sent them letters; a close friend's 14-year-old daughter; another close friend's 20-year-old daughter headed back to college this month and who I get to see this evening; and two wonderful young women from church who are in college)...I am getting my daughter fix that way! Perhaps someday I will have some daughters-in-law or granddaughters...but I'm in no hurry.

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