When you’re having a baby, even the most casual and seemingly harmless comments can cut like a knife. When you’re having a second baby boy, the words “when will you try for a girl” seem to fly out of left field way too often. I can’t help but feel a need to lay some things to rest when it comes to talking about having another baby of the same gender. Thank you all for encouraging me to post this post when I talked about it on Instagram. Here we go…
When you have a baby, your personal life becomes open to public opinion in a way you never thought possible.
“Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?”
“It’s a boy!”
“Oh! That’s great. Will you try for a girl?”
There. That, right there.
Those words slip out of more people’s mouths than you could ever guess. Or, not the words, but the look in their eyes. That look that says… “no girl?”
It sounds like an innocent enough question, but what it’s riddled with for a vulnerable pregnant woman is: you failed. We’re all women, so we should want little girls. And wanting it didn’t make it happen this time, so you need to want it more and make it happen the next time. Try again.
I have a myriad of responses, but nothing like the storm of talk that swirls in my head after encounters like that.
I don’t want anymore children. I wanted two. I’m having my second. I get two babies!
Trying for a girl doesn’t give you a girl the third time, just like it doesn’t give you a girl the first time. That’s how you get three boys. Or a final pregnancy of twin boys. You get what you get, every single time.
You have a third baby because you want three kids, not because you want a girl. And I don’t think I want three kids. Period.
I’m giving my baby boy the gift of the BEST friend a boy could ask for: a brother.
I get to spend all the money on ME! This is a joke, maybe…but truly, I get to go get my hair done and not think “I should stop highlighting my hair because my girl will start wanting hers done soon and we can really only afford that upkeep for one person in the family…” and “I’m going to Sephora…but I should probably spend 90% of that budget on my daughter’s Sephora list…” OR How about the almighty prom dress and wedding extravaganza? Besides sports team gear, boys really are cheaper, and I’m going to enjoy that. Hello yoga, SoulCycle, Frye boots, hair highlighting, girls’ weekends and a future boob lift!
There was nothing in my genetics that said I was bound to have a girl. My family is riddled with boys, as is my husband’s, and that’s just the facts. An occasional girl pops up here and there (my only girl cousin got all the girl-having genes), but we are definitely a boy baby family.
But I already have THIS handbook. I know what’s going on down in diaper land. I’ve got this one figured out for the most part! Not to mention, I don’t have to stay up at night worrying if I’m going to have the right goddess talk in 12 years, if clothing is too skimpy or negotiating when ear piercing is appropriate (there’s something to be said for those being taken off the table for me).
When you’re told which gender you’re having, I think either way there is a bittersweet moment. You let go of 50% of the hypotheticals you had running through your head. You delete 50% of the clothes you had in online shopping carts. You mourn the STUFF (the clothing, the accessories, the details you thought would be in your house, the mental photos of what you’d look like in family portraits), and then you move on. It’s ok to be sad, but then you get to be excited and get ready for the reality, whatever it may be.
It’s hard to explain to people who have children of both genders or who think you wanted a girl more than anything that you’re more than happy with what you were given.
I don’t like to tell everyone my story start-to-finish, because it isn’t really all of their business. But when you struggle with fertility and you are shocked that you were lucky enough to have a child, you treasure that baby with all of your being. And when you go through the ringer with that pregnancy to the point that you’re terrified to get pregnant again (throwing up for five months straight is nothing to balk at), and yet you DO…you thank your lucky stars and bow out.
I can’t even begin to tell you the things I look forward to as my boys grow up. Them being best friends, sharing sports teams, beating each other up, eating me out of house and home, being my fiercest protectors, telling me I’m the prettiest mama ever, growing up to be gentlemen, looking out for each other at school, always having a buddy to play with and a confidant when they need it, playing golf with their dad and learning “man stuff” from him…
These are the things I hold closest to the surface of my heart when I think about having my second boy. These are the things that make comments about “trying again” feel like a swift punch in the gut.
I think other moms-of-boys feel these things too. Because when you tell a mom-of-boys that you’re having another boy, they tell you “that’s awesome! It’s going to be so fun!” And they let you know that they’re just as happy for you as you’d hoped they’d be.
I feel a need to say something, because it has been eating at me. When we first found out we were having a second boy, I think the hardest comments to stomach came from well-meaning family.
I remember texting my husband, in tears soon after we found out we were having our second baby boy. I told him, “if their first response is ‘so will you try for a girl?’ please tell them NO. I don’t want to feel like I failed. I don’t want to feel like I should want something I’m not getting. I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out on something and I should always be searching for it. I want to be happy about this because this is the life we are lucky enough to get to live.”
I was able to forgive comments from family because I don’t think they were aware of the way their words affected me. I don’t think they even remember letting words like those slip from their lips. And I’ve chosen to let that lie.
I don’t say any of this in slight to those who have girls. You have your babies and I have mine. They have their own laundry list of reasons why they can find bliss in the cards they were dealt. We all are in the mommy tribe and should be supportive of each other. High-fives to surviving being a mom, period.
I only say these things, hopefully in comfort to other moms. And maybe to shed a light on a reaction you may have had once and hope that you think twice before making assumptions about anybody’s procreation.
And last but not least, THANK YOU to my own mother. The things I worried about the most with potentially having a girl, you tackled like a champion when it came to raising me. All of these worries in my mind that I laid to rest when I found out I was having boys, I know are a direct reflection of how gracefully you stepped aside and made sure I had nothing but the best. Thank you for spoiling me at Sephora and in clothing stores, for buying me a not-so-terrifying book as I became a goddess too, for paying for my highlights until I was well into my twenties and for everything in between.