Saturday, October 21st, 2017

I’m Having Another Boy, Get Over It: On Gender Birthing Biases

Published on March 4, 2015 by   ·   27 Comments Pin It
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I’m Having Another Boy, Get Over It: On Gender Birthing Biases:

When I was a teenager and went to see my OB/GYN for the first time, I walked into the Doctor’s office and she took one look at me and said “my 3 sons.” I, being from a family of all women – piles of girls, and being the future founder of a website entitled “GirlieGirl Army” and a lover all things sparkly and purple and pink way past adolescence, didn’t believe her for one second. Boys? I didn’t know from boys. I had only sisters. I was terrified of boys, having been brought up in a staunchly religious environment and kept separated, and I was the opposite of a tomboy. I love/d all stereotypical drag – the hair, the make up, the glamor, the leopard and gold. There’s no way I was going to end up a Mother to piles of that other gender. The other sex was mostly a mystery to me, long into my twenties. And so, when the little penis line revealed itself on  my first sonogram for my first son, I had a feeling my Doctor’s Greek-psychic abilities were correct. My first little boy was/ is pretty enough to be a girl, sure, with golden curls, tiny features, and a smile that could light up the Eiffel Tower – but he’s ALL boy in every possible stereotypical way. Tough, a daredevil, and into things 10 year olds are into by the time he was 2.  And then came my second little boy – another beauty with massive kissable lips and eyes the size of quarters – nobody said a word to me about gender. But when I got pregnant with my third little man is when the shocking comments started.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, has something negative to say. And I’m here to call them out on their gender bias.

(Let me take a break from this piece with the disclaimer that all things I’m about to say are also true of my friends who have multiple girls – they’ve experienced the same strange societal reactions. I look forward to hearing the input of other Moms in our comments section below and hearing even more experiences in this realm)

My Three Sons, My Three Sons is an American situation comedy. The series ran from 1960-1972 and was a huge hit

My Three Sons, an American situation comedy. The series ran from 1960-1972 and was a huge hit.

Some special comments:

“I hope the Doctors were wrong and when he comes out he’s really a girl.”

“You have to try one more time to get your girl.”

“A daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life, a son is a son til he finds he a wife.”

“You must have been really disappointed.”

“Oh well, you’ll have Granddaughters.”

“This one is a girl right? I hope so!”

“I’m so sorry!”

“I had post-partum because I found out my second was a boy.”

“I always thought I was such a boy Mama, but now that my sons are teenagers, I wish I’d had a girl.”

“You could try again, but you’ll just keep having boys.”

“Don’t tell my husband you are having a third boy, he won’t let me try to have another baby.”

I know two women who did gender selection with IVF because they “only wanted girls” – both educated and otherwise smart women. I know one women who had her surrogate have 4 abortions “til she made her a girl.” I try not to judge, but I’m judging that, lady. I’m judging.

FourBoysAtFountain

These comments were crazy making to me, they made me clutch my stomach and want to protect my baby from the seeming insanity of the world at large!

I’m one lucky Mother to two gorgeous, healthy, magical little boys. I had an extreme scare this pregnancy that very thankfully ended up to be nothing (thanks medical industry for the 100 tests that become insisted upon after age 35 in pregnancy). I’ve currently got one week til my due date and my Husband and I saw #3’s beautiful little face last week for the first time on a 3d scan at the hospital.  I’m healthy, my sons are magnificent, I’m damn lucky.  Not sitting around crying that I can’t buy pink booties, a-holes.

However – full disclosure – this third time around there was one moment – when the nurse called me to tell me it was a third boy after my 10 week blood test, where there was a tinge of disappointment that I did not have with either other boy. I was furious at myself for even feeling it, but I processed the emotion thoroughly.  Perhaps it’s because, at my age another pregnancy may be unlikely (though not impossible with my fertile myrtle insides, I’m already making jokes about baby #4!)  Perhaps it’s because everyone likes to experience all of life’s offerings and try all things once. I wanted to feel that piece of that pie too, just to have experienced it. And I am the girliest girl and love to style and beautify, there was a moment where I worried that all those useless skills had semi-gone to waste. But they really aren’t. I still style my boys, and once in a blue moon my big boy even let’s me do his hair. Miracles. The point is: there’s no loss in a gain. I was told I had a healthy third baby when I have friends desperately struggling to even have one, with or without medical intervention. The moment passed, and it turned into a big baby blue pride flag.

I have a friend who had 4 girls, and then her 5th was a boy. Some people just try and try til they get the “other” gender. I know someone else whose Mom had EIGHT boys (yes, 8) and her NINTH child was a girl (in her 50’s, accidentally!)  I hear these stories, and I get it, I really do.  Some people would never be happy without a son or daughter – but is that real or is that something inside that hasn’t been healed? Outside of religious and cultural expectation – for example in Judaism if you haven’t had a son you haven’t truly performed the mitzvah of giving life. Total idiotic misogyny, but a rule nonetheless.  In half of the worlds’ countries, most famously China, you aren’t a woman til you have bore a son. Girl children are looked down on. Birthing boy children makes you a Queen in nearly every culture but ours. However it seems in the US there’s a HEAVY bias towards birthing girls. It’s nonstop hit over our heads. Women want little dolls to dress up in absurd head bands and tutus. And pregnant women make no mistake about talking about it “I wanted a girl, but I had a boy” is a comment I hear almost always. I find it ludicrous, but also understand and appreciate honesty.

A friend (a Mom of 2 boys) told me “You have a second child of the alternate gender for yourself, but the same gender for your child.” In other words, my second son came for him – not for my curiosity of gender experimentation.  And Mom friend was right, I can’t imagine my boys not having each other. My boys are best friends, madly in love, play wildly together 24 hours a day, truly deeply connected soul mates. Maybe not every Mom of boys has experienced this. And maybe it’s a fluke that they both came out so manly – into Transformers, Power Rangers, zapping each other with fake swords – but I think my experience is more common than not. And as a feminist and hater of gender stereotypes, I got a rude awakening when I had kids and subsequent billion playdates and sleepovers – the gender stereotypes are 98% of the time, real. I see, once in a very blue moon, the tomboy little girl or quiet mild-natured boy — but mostly play dates show me when I never wanted to believe in what I’ve seen to be typical boy and typical girl behaviors.

Here’s what awful stereotypes I’ve seen in action-  I’m sorry to say they are almost always right on:

Boys are wild and climb the walls, but are sweeter than sugar

Girls are tame and more easy going, particularly with play, but have a bitchy, pre-teen-y side that comes in young – as young as 2-3

I come from a family of not-so-nice women- I believe I’ve been karmically protected from living out any toxic dynamics all over again. I believe my boys are a badge of honor, I have three SONS, they will bring me nothing but pride because I’m a strong-ass woman who has been picked by the universe to help three men be kind, good, women-loving men.  A friend told me “only super strong women have sons.” I’ve got arms full of joy. I’ve nursed, attachment parented, gestated, co-slept, babywore, and rocked these boys – alongside my wonderful husband -for nearly 5 years now without any help from family or babysitters or nanny’s.

My BFF (a Father of only daughters) said to me “You are going to be so FLANKED!” He spun me a tale of walking down the street in 15 years flanked by 3 men, all who adore their Mother (of course, I got teary joyful.)  And let’s face it, we’ve all seen how men love their Mother’s and it’s generally pretty blindly, even if their Moms are total lunatics. Not so much with daughters and mothers who (from my 38 years of seeing) generally have tumultuous and cantankerous relationships.

Point is: Don’t make obnoxious comments next time you find out someone is having their second daughter or son (or third or fourth or fifth!) The only thing you should ever say to a pregnant woman is “How lucky you are – how wonderful! How do you feel?” Keep your own gender bias to yourself, those are your issues to contend with – not ours. Let us enjoy our world of blue trucks or pink tutus or gender neutral wooden toys without attempting to make us feel less than for not producing “one of each.”  Maybe “one of each” is a lonely equation for that other lone girl or lone boy child who always dream of a sister or brother.  Maybe for them it’s a lifetime of barbies in one room and batmen in the other. We could play this game with any and all breakdown. Oh – you had two boys and a girl – that girl would feel so alone. You have one boy and two girls, that poor boy. I’ll never know what’s it like to have five kids or one child – each separate breakdown of gender and age and time between kids entirely changes the dynamic of your household. What are you gonna do, cry over it? Reincarnate yourself 50 different ways to experience all combos of gender? Who is to say what gender combo’s are ideal? And for that matter, who is to say what your child may have experienced if they’d been raised with younger or older parents/ richer or poorer parents.. you could play this game til the cows come home.  As my kids teachers say, “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”

There are a billion reasons to have only one child, or none at all, in our overpopulated world. I have plenty of friends who agonize over having a second child for years. Once you have your second child, are going to constantly think – what would life have been like if I only had one? No, you are going to be in love with your child and get on with the show.

Each one of my kids is a miracle beyond expression. I’ve never left these little doll angels,  I enjoy and savor every to-die-for precious – and many times maddening – moment. I never for a second could imagine that either of them is anything other than who they are – penis and all. I love the boyishness, the wildness, the manliness they were both born with.  It was perfect for me.  It is perfect for me in a way I never could have understood. It makes me believe in a higher power – the sheer genius of natural selection. So this morning when I woke up, belly so big it was hard to get out of bed, and my little boy said “Queen Mommy, Let me hold your hand and help you out of bed! I have to help you because you have my new brother in your tummy,” believe me, I wasn’t thinking about if he’d had a bow in his hair or his Teenage Mutant Ninja undies on.. I was just shooting hearts from eyes and smiling.

Chloé Jo Davis is the Founder of GirlieGirlArmy.com (“Your Glamazon Guide to Green Living”) and the host of About.com’s Green Living Series, as well as a media spokesperson on eco-living and plant-based parenting.

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Readers Comments (27)

  1. Rebecca says:

    I have two gorgeous, wonderful, rowdy boys. I didn’t know from boys before I had my own. I’m just so happy to be a mother. Now, if anyone is rude enough to ask if we’re having any more children, or if we want a girl, I smile and tell them that we specialize in boys, and that if we have any special news to share, we will.

  2. Rebecca says:

    ;-) Congrats and best wishes on the imminent arrival of your new baby boy!

  3. Cyn Stern says:

    I have known people who felt passionately about the gender of the next anticipated child (for example, a former boss who was adamant that if he and his wife decided on a third child that it not be a boy–it’d be a girl, or they were stopping at two). People in my father’s family were staunch ZPG folks (who all had two or fewer children, with one exception), yet there was some debate around whether or not it would be morally-acceptable to have a third child just to try for one boy within a generation that had turned out to consist solely of female sibs and cousins.

    From my own POV, you either like kids and want to create some or you don’t, and their gender should be irrelevent. And I also feel that folks who offer unsolicited opinions on the subject of the genders of other people’s children are being rude and inappropriate.

    • GirlieGirlArmy says:

      Completely agree! It’s outrageous and it’s not something you can control. People comment on it like “you must want a house with a pool” as if it’s something you can control or buy. VERY strange phenomenon!

  4. Jaishree says:

    You are indeed so blessed! And those gorgeous boys, they make my life and anyone’s life they touch a literal miracle. You go on with your proper precious pregnancy and deliver that angel with the pride and glory only a Girlie-Girl can possess. Blessings to your husband, and let’s hope your words hit home where they need to land. XOXO

  5. Veronica Trau says:

    Mazel Tov on your third boy! I was a tomboy with three brothers, and my daughter has provided me with many of the same “discoveries” you’re having with all your men (as has my son). All children should be as happy, wanted and healthy as ours. Parents like you make the world a better place, which is what it’s all about in the long-run. Thank you for such an all-encompassing article!

    • GirlieGirlArmy says:

      Such an interesting point — you needed that girl energy to balance you after years surrounding by boys, as I’m sure I needed this high level testosterone energy. Love it. Thanks for the comment VT!

  6. Dinah says:

    Wow, did I write this article and somehow not know it? This is sooo me. I have 3 sons, mine are 8,5,2. I’m 38, and could not agree more with what you’ve said! Even three details like the quote from the teacher about “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.” My 5 year olds teacher says that too and I like it. This is just so right on. I adore my boys!!! And the very thought that someone might tell me any of them should be any different hurts my heart. It is frustrating too have to defend your tiny baby against some person insisting ‘ooh, you must have wanted a girl, or well I guess you’ll have to keep trying for that girl’. What girl are they talking about? I just want my boys, they are my boys and don’t want it any other way. I would have been grateful if I had a girl as well, so don’t get me wrong. However, I think it’s awesome how they all play together and wrestle and ‘sword’fight. I’m blessed and I know it. Thank you for somehow knowing and writing all of my feelings!

    • GirlieGirlArmy says:

      Dinah! This comment made me cry! You are amazing and we are sisters in boy Mama hood! I love that “What girl are they talking about?!” BRILLIANT. Thank you so, so much for reading and sharing!

  7. Gina says:

    Amen Chloe! As a mom to two girls I get asked all the time if we’re going to keep trying for a boy. And then sometimes these strangers take it a step further and imply that my partner must want/need a boy and be disappointed that we had two girls. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth! And it’s magical watching their sister love develop!

    • GirlieGirlArmy says:

      Yes! It’s so true! This is something everyone with two or more of the same gender hear nonstop and it’s fn annoying and classless to bring up. The way people say things makes me want to start scolding them. In fact, from now on when someone says something I’m going to say “You are very rude!” ;) My Husband is often given that macho pat on the back like “awesome Dude, you’ve got 3 sons!” like all men dream of that. My husband would have been just as in love with girls. He didn’t give one crap about a girl over a boy – he just wanted a healthy baby! People need to join the millennium.

  8. Emily says:

    I just had my second girl. People have asked if we’d like a boy. When I hear that, it makes me want another two girls just to bug them! :P Hooray for healthy babies of whatever sex and gender–good luck as you welcome you new addition!! <3

    • GirlieGirlArmy says:

      How obnoxious — why must people ask that questions?! I agree – have 10 more girls and say “I’d NEVER want a boy” just to piss them off and throw off their gender issues! ;)

  9. Rebecca says:

    Such a delicious family!!!!

  10. LISKULA says:

    I think any person who is pregnant simply wants a healthy baby and will love any gender, if not they should reconsider having a baby all together. Being a single mother, I wanted a girl (and got a great one) because I knew nothing of boys, I don’t know how to teach a boy how to pee standing up, I don’t know all of that boyish sporty, ninja stuff that fathers would be familiar with. Of course if I had a boy I would be a quick study, or if my daughter fancies herself as a ninja! I wanted a girl because I felt I would have more to offer her naturally and hopefully be able to share her interests. Which thus far has worked out. I have wished that some of my best girl friends would have daughter (as nearly all of them have boys) but that was about me wanting our girls to be girlfriends like we have been. And of course all of our kids can still be life long friends, but the friendship between us girlie girls is something that I have always cherished and I am not sure if it can compare to my friendships with boys growing up… Anyway I am sure anyone who ever said anything to an expecting mother about being upset or wanting the opposite gender didn’t mean any harm, or mean to insult… People say things in passing without thinking it out, its part of being human… I know I have wanted to insert my foot into my mouth many times… lol…

  11. I can so relate! When I got pregnant with a boy after two girls, everyone made stupid comments like “You finally got a boy,” and “You’ll be happy you got a boy after two girls” and “Were you trying for a boy?”. They didn’t need it be negative but I kept saying “We were just trying for a healthy baby.” Boy or girl, it’s all wonderful!

  12. Joanna says:

    WOW! Can’t believe people said negative things! We didn’t find out the gender for both, and when people asked about #2 and if I had a preference, I would say: “I don’t care, I just want a baby who sleeps!”
    Children are SUCH a blessing, and who cares what they are? Girl, boy, whatever. They’re all beautiful creatures, all of them. On this note, I’m going to go kiss my sleeping baby! XOXO

  13. Gabrielle says:

    As a mother to twin boys I am so blessed to have boys. Like you I am all things sparkly and purple lol and my sons at almost 4 are into everything BOY! It’s a blast and I am learning so much about men through raising men. It is OUR responsibility as Mother’s to teach our children compassion, non-judgement, unconditional love, and total self acceptance no matter what. I am always blown away by the things witnessed and heard that would share otherwise i.e. 4 abortions until they got a girl… judging is right! That to me is despicable. Talk about selfish and all things self centered. That is NOT what having children are about. I am so freaking happy for you mama!!! Our sons will love us even with a wife because we love them unconditionally and will support their highest good in all ways possible. <3 I can just imagine the cuddle puddles at your house!!! hahaha I’ll bring my boys! <3 You’re a goddess and I love you. xoxo

  14. B says:

    Thank you for writing this and calling out the ignorant people who say these things to us. Just today I had someone say to me “aww, I’m sorry..” and nervous giggle because I am pregnant with my second boy. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it, did she really just show me sympathy as if my child is sick or developmentally delayed, because I’m not getting a girl the second time around? What is this obsession with the “perfect family” of one boy and one girl? This comment came from a woman who has a daughter and is about to find out the sex of her second.
    I just wish people wouldn’t regard one thing as better than the other. Mommy competition has gotten so bad that we don’t support each other wherever we can, so bad that some women find little ways to belittle other moms?
    Ignorance runs rampant. I told her I wasn’t sorry. Little boys love their mommies and I could have a house full of boys and be very happy. Don’t need that sort of negative energy around me!

  15. Ayaka says:

    When we were trying to get pregnant and when I got pregnant until we knew the gender, I slightly wanted a girl more than a boy. However, the second the doctor told us we were having a boy, that thought I had completely disappeared! I just wanted to meet that boy!!

    I think having a boy was just meant to be and my boy is just perfect for us, and makes us a perfect family all together :)

  16. Helena Payne says:

    This was the most beautiful piece I have read for some time!Thank you! Boys are fantastic, girls are fantastic and they are fantastic whatever they turn out to be!

  17. […] loving/easier to take care of/harder to get along with than boys, after reading blog posts that cheerfully assert that almost all girl toddlers are “bitchy,” I’ve witnessed […]

  18. Chelsea says:

    Love this! I grew up with 3 brothers and now have 4 daughters… and 1 son -ha! But I was surprised each time I was told it was going to be a girl!! It’s so true though – it doesn’t matter – just so great to have another person to love!! XOXO

  19. Molly WK says:

    I don’t get why people have to comment on gender anyway. So obnoxious. It’s not something you can control, unless you can afford and want to do IVF.

    I get similar comments, having a daughter and now a baby boy. “You have one of each, now you can stop!” Um, what if I don’t want to? What if I wanted 4 more? I don’t, but that’s irrelevant.

    Gender disappointment is a real thing for some people and I don’t want to discount it, but why can’t people who have absolutely nothing to do with the pregnancies keep their opinions to themselves? What are they trying to accomplish saying these things to expectant parents? Like it’s not stressful enough gestating and preparing to bring another child into this world…

    Thanks for writing, Chlo xo

  20. Salisha Keller says:

    When I was having my first child, I hoped secretly for a girl. But fell in love with my little hunk. 9 months after he was born, I became pregnant again. I was not trying. But although I’d love my next child regardless of gender, I vehemently hoped for another boy. Just the sheer convenience of already having EVERYTHING for a baby boy and the fact that I love my son so much that providing him with a little brother to play and bond with… I am beyond thrilled. Plus, if I decide to have another child, I can always use the “Well were trying for a girl” excuse. But seriously, it doesn’t matter what you have. Love your children. The love you or others have for them should not be conditional based on anatomy. I googled thrilled to have a second boy and a bunch of gender disappointment bullcrap showed up. I want to share my excitement for mothers in my situation. I am furthest away from mourning the fact that another bouncing baby boy is in my future. I’m gonna be a hockey mom and that means I need my team. haha!!!

  21. Marta says:

    Hi Chloe! I must agree with all you wrote!!! You have 3 awesome and handsome boys. I was blessed with 3 gorgeous girls. All the comments and pity from strangers and friends during my pregnancy were quite unpleasant. I had to come up with “defense phrase” to stop them from feeling sorry for me when I did not needed. I was so happy to have another girl. The phrase I used was-“We make them TOO beautiful that is why God gave us another one.”
    Of course there was slight disappointment on my husband part (he is strong Italian man). But he also had to endure all those comments and “compassion discussions” from people!!
    You should see him now. Proud daddy and “sucker” for our girls.
    And for all of you out there, keep your “Too bad, another wedding you will have to pay for” to yourself!!!




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