Parenting Perspectives: Hoping for a boy…or a girl
The number one question you’re asked when pregnant is “Do you know what you’re having?” or some version of this. While it’s tempting to give a smart-@s$ response in return – “a puppy!” – I assume most people do not literally mean “WHAT are you having,” but “Do you already know the gender of your baby?”
So far, all we know is that it’s a boy or a girl. (I stated something similar in my last column, and it seems this caused a little confusion, as some people were wondering if we were having twins. Nope. Just a one-fer.)
We have been “surprised” with each of our children, waiting to find out the gender until the baby was born. My husband and I now have two boys, expecting our third “surprise” in April. With each, the pressure has grown.
“Do you hope it’s a girl?”
Well…. yes. I will wholeheartedly confirm that our number-one wish is for a healthy pregnancy, labor, and baby; but after all of those criteria are met, it’s okay to desire a little frosting on the cake too, yes?
Honestly, there’s a part of me that has hoped for at least one girl in my mix of future children for as long as I can remember. While there certainly are some parents out there who do hope for all girls or all boys (particularly in other parts of the world, and sometimes to horrific extremes), I would be shocked to find I’m in the minority of wanting at least some kind of mix of X and Y chromosomes to rear.
With the first one, it’s not as big of a deal. If you want a mix, well, you have to start with one or the other! With the second, while health is still number one priority, you start throwing in a few extra prayers that maybe it will be a girl (even though it was decided at the moment of conception, you figure it can’t hurt). But also with the first one, from the moment you hear his or her first cry, you realize something:
Your child is exactly who he or she was meant to be. He could not have been anyone else. You wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in a million years. Your family is exactly the family you were meant to have.
You spend nine months – or maybe more! – wondering what kind of traits this little person is going to have. A boy or a girl? Athletic or more musically inclined? Tender-hearted or a tough guy? And then he is born.
You realize immediately that this he is exactly who he was meant to be. You bring that baby boy home, and you can’t imagine any other person in place of this 9 ¼ lb., splotchy-faced, excrement-spewing bundle of joy. This is the person who was meant to be in your family, at this place and time.
So do I hope for a girl? Yes, I hope that a girl is somewhere in God’s plan for our family. (He must know that I can’t survive in this house of testosterone all by myself, right???) But if it’s not, I hope that I will always remember that these short people who he has entrusted to my care are exactly the people who I am meant to hear whine and fight, smother with kisses, wipe oatmeal off, help with homework, and eventually move out and into their first apartment. I need them, and they need me.
It’s been an idyllic summertime experience. It has brought me joy and even made me love my children more, to see them running and laughing and enjoying the simplicity of childhood. When I see the viral posts saying how we need to “give our kids a 1970′s summer” again, I just shake my head. Regardless of the decade, everything we need for a perfect summer is within us.
In a book I was recently reading, the author referenced a Facebook post that was going around a few years ago. In it, Facebook users were prompted to share a list of (somewhat random) things about themselves. Things their closest online friends might not know about them, but maybe should.
The author used it as an opportunity to pull back the facade on her life and be vulnerable with experiences from her past, feelings in her present, and fears of her future that most people didn’t realize about her. It resonated with all who read it, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
It occurred to me that I could make a list for my children. 15 Things I Want My Kids to Know About Me.
When I am laughing with my daughter on the floor as she pretends I’m her baby, watching the joy unfold on my middle son’s face as I “fly” him on my feet, or feeling the comfort of my oldest son’s arms around me at bedtime, sometimes my mind will think, “I should take a picture of this.”