Everyone’s Obsession With My Unborn Child’s Gender

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So You’re Pregnant Again…

I have two little girls, and I’m pregnant with my third child. I have found, strangely and annoyingly, that the first thing people ask when they find out I’m pregnant inevitably falls somewhere along the lines of: “Are you hoping for a boy this time?”

It’s a bizarre thing for people to ask, and yet I receive some variation of the question or comment nearly every day from people who see I already have two little girls. Everyone from family members to close friends to staff at my daughters’ school to complete strangers has an opinion about my unborn child’s gender (and our decision to keep the gender a surprise until birth is a whole other can of worms).

As any pregnant woman knows, once a pregnancy has been announced, seemingly all rules of etiquette go out the window. Rude and inappropriate comments abound about the size of a belly, people feel a right to touch women’s pregnant bellies without permission, and there is a never-ending flow of (typically) unsolicited advice and comments.

The First Time…

The first time I remember being appalled by a stranger’s comment was when I was was at Safeway with my 2-year-old daughter, just a few weeks before the birth of my second girl. The check-out lady looked me over and announced, “I hope for you that you have a boy. In my culture that is better than another girl.” Cultural differences aside, I couldn’t believe someone had the gall to make such a statement! And while I haven’t received such a blunt or offensive comment this time around, there is no shortage to what people think is appropriate to say regarding my child’s unknown gender.

The Comments. Oh, The Comments.

Some of the comments I’ve received from well-meaning people (whom I love!) are as follows:

“I know you will be happy with what you get, but I’m really hoping you have a boy.”

“It would be soooo nice if you had a boy this time!”

“Were you trying for a boy?” (We were trying for a baby. Period.)

“I’m crossing my fingers for you to get a boy.”

“Do you want a boy this time? I bet you do.”

“Can you do whatever is possible to just make sure that this one is a boy?” (Um, sure? I’ll just send a quick word to God and see what can be done post-conception. And yes, this was literally the first thing one extended family member said to me after we made the announcement)

What’s Wrong With Having All The Same Gender?

What is puzzling to me is that virtually no one has asked me if I’m hoping for a third girl, or expressed their own hopes that I round out my family with a trio of girls. (Trios of girls are amazing! The Crawley sisters of Downton! The Bronte sisters! The Sanderson sisters!) Why is this? I truly will be happy with whatever God gives our family, and I don’t know why so many people seem to have such strong opinions on the matter. It makes me feel as though if this baby comes out as a girl, it will somehow be a disappointment to the many people who are (clearly and weirdly) emotionally invested in the gender outcome of this child. I would love to have a boy, of course, but I’d honestly be equally happy with another girl.

And I know it goes both ways. My college boyfriend was one of seven – all boys. I have no doubt his mother faced her fair share of annoying questions each pregnancy wondering if she would ever produce a girl. My husband is the middle of three boys, and I know my mother in law dealt with lots of questions and musings whether she’d one day have a girl. It boggles my mind how we as a society seem to believe that it’s better to have a family as evenly mixed as possible. And yet – here’s the kicker – I know I am guilty of these same thoughts and even comments.

Parting Advice

So here’s my advice to you, dear reader. If you have a friend, family member, or coworker who is pregnant, please do not assume that you know what she is hoping for in terms of her child’s gender. Believe her if she says she’ll be pleased either way.

Wish her a happy and healthy pregnancy, and offer your sincere congratulations on the baby – whether it is a boy or a girl.

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It took Juliet a while to fall in love with DC but, a dozen years later, she wouldn't want to live anywhere else! Juliet and her fellow native New England husband have 2 school-aged girls and a toddler boy, and love raising them in this vibrant city. A former middle school teacher and marketing assistant, Juliet is currently a SAHM in NW DC, on a block happily filled with many other young families. She loves laundry day, visiting ALL the museums, reading historical fiction, eating sweets, theatre, and planning overseas adventures.

1 COMMENT

  1. Beautifully written and boy, can I relate (no pun intended)! When I was pregnant the third time around after having two girls, I got the same comments. Funny how bold people can be. Honestly, the thought of having a boy made me nervous… I would’ve been excited to have another girl! I know what to do with those 🙂 But it all worked out. My son’s taught me a lot. Wishing you a healthy pregnancy, baby and beyond!

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