So long as it’s … a girl

EIGHT Boys and Wanting a Girl – a show on the Lifestyle channel got me thinking about the Grand Scheme of Things.

For instance, if my second child had been a boy, then we would undoubtedly had gone for a third, in the hopes of having a daughter. But since we’ve got one of each, the general presumption is that we’re done now.

The women on this show, with between five and eight boys, were still falling pregnant into their 40s chasing that illusive bundle of pink.

One was trying naturally to conceive a girl, and two used PGD. One of which was successful (with twin girls) and the other, sadly not.

The inability to conceive a girl had repercussions throughout their families. The sons spoke openly of their mum’s desire to “connect” with someone in the family. The husbands had to pull rank on their wives’ misery which was throwing their entire family’s harmony out of whack.

And the women…. the women had to confess feelings of disappointment when a) they were pregnant with another boy or b) their last gambit failed; the fear that they’d always harbour this sadness and the conflicting guilt that they couldn’t be happy with the magnificent families they had created.

I wondered how much more I could have identified with these women if I’d had two sons, instead of one of each.

But a few other – let’s call them more existential – issues raised their heads during the course of the show. It seemed that the families trying to conceive a girl naturally only did so because finances kept them out of the reproductive endocrinologist’s waiting room.

The women who could used Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)were well off and had the notion that goes hand in hand with money – I can have whatever my heart desires. The women without money and trying to conceive naturally – while heartbroken at their result – had a much better handle emotionally with it. “Oh well, what can you do?”

But the entire PGD debate – usually referenced as “designer babies” – takes the Divine out of baby-making. The women using it defended the practice, since you can’t pick an athletic or academic child or a blonde or brunette. And I highly doubt the superficial whims of women can influence the kindred spirits that God grants us, but picking your child’s sex is a fairly drastic measure. 

In this day and age, should sex really be so important? Why can’t these women “connect” with their sons? It’s not like boys still hunt with their fathers while the girls collect berries. Women can do anything (amen) and the rise of the “metrosexual” proves that men can primp and preen with the best of us without automatically being categorised as gay (though I’m not so naive to think there are no longer prejudices and hardships that confront anyone challenging their assumed roles).

The thing I like most about not knowing what your baby will be, is not knowing how that person will shape your life. By deciding what sex, you’ve already made an imprint on the dynamic of your family, of yours and their relationship – especially so, if you already buy into the idea that you can only relate to another female. What if your son was meant to change all that and open you up to the realm of possibility that you could, in fact, find incredible personal connections with a man, with your son?

When I first found out I was having a son – my first child – I was apprehensive. I was not a boy. How could I relate? Easy, it seems. Boys are great. And then when I found out I was having a girl, I was … apprehensive. I hadn’t raised a girl before. But again, girls are great.

Perhaps it’s easy to say all this, from my privileged position of mother to a boy and girl, and maybe the differences between them cannot be adequately gauged when they’re both three and under.

But I would hate to think I had let my desire become strong enough to interfere with God’s plan. I sound like a religious zealot and I’m really not. But I do think some things should be left in the hands of something greater. Our time on Earth, lucky dips, and what type of children we conceive.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marketingtomilk
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 21:01:41

    You get what your family needs. I adore my two boys and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Of course i have empathy with these women, but i still hang my head in my hands and ask – why?


    • petajo
      Dec 05, 2010 @ 05:12:17

      That’s what I was doing to the TV, especially when the boys were sort of smiling about their mum’s desire.


  2. Jodie at Mummy Mayhem
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 07:13:06

    Over from FYBF!

    Even though I can understand why sometimes people yearn for a certain sex baby, I don’t feel that way. I have 3 boys and couldn’t be happier. But then, I never had that strong desire to have a girl.

    I hope you don’t mind me adding this link, but I wrote about this some time back – so you can read all my feelings about it!

    Great post. Thanks!


    • petajo
      Dec 05, 2010 @ 05:10:52

      I like your take on it too. I have one of each and I still want more, so the old “so you’re done now” is a tad annoying too, my goal end wasn’t to have one of each, just to have awesome kids! My sis-in-law has two boys and is equally happy with her lot, she’s not “trying for a girl” either.


  3. Emma
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 09:11:41

    I had two boys then a girl, I didn’t have a preference for either, Just a healthy, happy baby. Lucky dips are half the fun


  4. Trackback: Only if you’re a genius « PetaJo

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