Mama Love Junkie and Mothertougher: How Do I Deal With People Asking Me If I’m Having A Girl?

shutterstock_103890038-640x5471Dear Mama Love Junkie and Mothertougher,

I have two perfect sons.  What do you think the best way to respond is when someone presumes that I will have a third child because of course I need or should want to have a daughter?  Should I continue to grin and bear it, should I explain to them why their presumption implies that my blessings are insufficient or not ideal (what happens if I have a third boy??), or should I tell them to go fuck themselves?

Dear Single Gender Mama,

The way I see it, you have three options:

1. Ask the person if they are volunteering their uterus to grow said child

2. Tell them you are perfectly happy with the two you have since you plan to force one to have gender reassignment surgery, anyway

3. Start to cry. Yell, “If only my husband allowed me to keep the girls….” and then sob uncontrollably.

Or you could just tell them to go fuck themselves, but I think my three are more fun.

In all seriousness, though, I can see why you’d be assumptions about your family planning. And I actually do think it’s a good idea to explain to people why you find it offensive, mostly because I doubt they mean it that way. But hey, I also don’t think the lady in the grocery store who asks if you’re breastfeeding is intentionally being an asshole, either. People are just nosy, and for some reason when we have babies, our lives, our bodies and our decisions become everybody else’s business. Except these things aren’t their business, obviously, and until we start speaking up about it, it’s not gonna stop. So for all the single-gender moms out there, say it, and say it loud.

You know what I find weirdest about all of this? If people see a dad with two daughters, they give him sympathy. Same for moms with two boys. As if everyone only covets a child of the same gender. I don’t think anyone is trying to imply that individual kids aren’t worthwhile beings, but it’s the concept of a mother and daughter/ father and son that have remained glossy societal fantasies. Yet in that same society, gender rules are getting bendier by the day. There’s no reason a dad with two daughters is going to feel like Barbie threw up on him – or maybe he’d even like it if she did. Mom might have a maternal son who covets dolls, when maybe all she wanted was someone to watch the NBA championships with her.

On the one hand, it’s likely that most people really do just mean well and are products of an environment that is conducive to these antiquated gender ideals, so you don’t need to get volatile with them. But on the other hand, if they don’t know how insulting these comments can be, then they’ll keep making them to other parents, and nothing will change. I’m a big believer in standing up for yourself and being honest – if its done in a non-combative way, it can be productive. And as a bonus, since you aren’t squashing your anger, you won’t have to take it out later on your husband when he innocently asks where the ketchup is. Since you aren’t fighting, maybe you’ll end up having a little sexy time later on. And maybe you’ll conceive that little precious daughter you’ve always wanted.

Kidding. Geesh.


Dear Single Gender Mama,

There is no doubt that the people who ask you this question do not know how deeply it offends you. There are people – may of them from other generations and cultures, who do find a girl better or a boy better, depending. This might not be right, but it is true.

But I have to wonder, why does this comment strike you so intensely? You have to know it doesn’t matter at all, so why does it matter so much?

OK, I’m going to take a stab here. Do you feel that – even though, as you say, you have two perfect boys – you actually might be missing something by not having a daughter?

I ask because I felt that way too.

When I was pregnant with my second, I had an eighteen month old son. I loved him with every once of my being, of course, and I loved that he was a boy. No real reason, except I didn’t know much about boys before him, and there was something about the discovery that was fascinating and fulfilling.

But in the ultrasound room, when the nurse asked us if we wanted to know the gender, and my husband and I nodded, and she pointed, and I thought I saw a little penis, I was disappointed. Just for a second, but I was. And then she said, see that? That cheeseburger looking thing? It’s a girl!

I was so excited for a girl. For a calmer version of my son, for a different relationship than the one I had already.  But as soon as she came screaming into the world, it became clear to me something that is surely already clear to you – she wasn’t different because she was a girl, she was different because she was a different child. A different son would have stunned me the same.

I learned, very quickly, that my desire for a different gender was seeped in my own societal understanding of what having a girl, or a boy, meant – and very little of that meant anything real. It still doesn’t.

So I guess my advice then would be this: You already know how complete your family feels, and you already feel satisfied with what you have. So when people say this to you, either smile and nod (and internally roll your eyes,) or explain to them that you are both of these things, and that you need nothing more. And believe that yourself.

Yours in love,
Mama Love Junkie

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