When I was pregnant, the question du jour was commonly “When are you due?” or “How are you feeling?” or, for those challenged in the ways of subtlety, “How much weight have you gained!?!?” As a new mother, I sometimes got “Is it a boy or a girl?” or “How old is he?” or, you guessed it, “Have you lost any of that pregnancy weight?”
Now, as the mother of two boys, I am constantly asked, “So, are you going to try for that girl?” It’s most often a question posed by, what I call “glamorous grandmas”: older women with manicures and upswept hairdos who seem preoccupied with the gender split of my family. “Oh, two boys,” they say, their multiple gold bracelets rattling together. “Now it’s time for a girl!” And they say this with a sly grin, as if they are about to reach into their Dooney & Burke purses and pull out bottles of little girl elixir for me to drink. Increasingly frustrating is the implicit disappointment I see in these women’s eyes when I tell them that my husband and I have decided to not have any more children. At the bookstore recently, I actually had a woman in a cream-colored pantsuit say, “No more babies? But you won’t get to plan a wedding without a girl!” I should have a child so I can plan a wedding? Planning my own wedding was enough for me, lady. Why would I need to procreate purely so that I can experience tulle for a second time?
This gaggle of woman that I have repeatedly encountered have different faces…are of different races. And yet, one common thread exists: the implication that without a little girl in my life, I will be incomplete not only as a mother, but as a woman. As if in order to fully experience and understand motherhood and all its joys, I must create at least one female offspring.
It goes without saying that my two boys are the lights of my life. That I love them to the very depths of my soul and would change nothing about them. Not their sex. Nothing. (Well, maybe their collective fascination with the insides of their own noses, but that’s a different story.) And i would have loved them just as much had they been daughters. I just get furious when I come into contact with this blatant disregard for what kind of babies I was meant to have. I’m not an overly religious person, but in terms of things that are completely out of my control, I believe that God or whatever higher power you might subscribe to, gives you what is meant for you. And I was meant to have boys. I was meant to have two children who are dynamic and beautiful and powerful and vulnerable. And to insinuate that my life would be any more fulfilling with a girl in it is to undermine the wonder of what my body created.
I am an only child. My mother is an only child. My father had two sisters. We’ve definitely had our share of girls around here. Let’s hear it for the boys.