After the birth of our son, when close friends and family came to meet him for the first time (knowing no details other than our newest addition had arrived) we introduced him something like this ..
“Here she is, isn’t she beautiful!”
“Her name is Harper”
You may be thinking why on earth would we do this? Well, It was a little experiment my Husband and I decided to do and the results.. and the results were a little disappointing to say the least.
But lets start at the beginning..
Hubby and I were already blessed to be the proud parents of three gorgeous children, all daughters. We had always wanted a bigger family, so when we found out we were pregnant, we were ecstatic! We decided because it was more than likely to be our last, we would find out the gender but tell everyone we didn’t know. The thought process behind this was, we like surprises and the suspense behind not knowing the gender, but we also wanted to know so we could be organised and prepare ourselves for what our future held, be it four daughters or welcoming a son.
When our obstetrician told us it was a boy.. it felt so surreal, I think it took the whole pregnancy to sink in, actually.. it is still sinking in every time I change his bum and see a penis! (WTF) So of course we were super happy to know we would experience what life would be like to raise a son, to enjoy buying boys clothes and all that jazz. But mainly our happiness laid in the relief at each appointment and ultrasound that there was a heart beat and all was well ( I am such a paranoid pregnant person, you know.. ignorance is bliss and all that … which is what I don’t have).
So of course when we finally announced our pregnancy to the world, the majority of the comments and congratulatory remarks were received were along the lines of
“Trying for a boy?”
“Going for that son?”
“Bet you hope it’s a boy?”
“Hopefully a boy this time”
and they continued throughout the pregnancy…
Each comment really urked me, we made it soo clear to everyone that we were not hoping for a particular sex, but still the remarks rolled in. Yes I know, they were meant with no malice and just excitement for us (I would hope) but why did it matter so much to everyone? It wasn’t their child.. Why did everyone presume we wanted/needed/tried for a boy? That we would be disappointed if we had another daughter?
It wasn’t the first pregnancy this happened, to be honest everyone has said this since the first, it just got worse and more emphasized with each pregnancy.
Are we really living in a world where boys are more dominant and superior, that we needed to have one? And do you think after the birth of each of our daughters we were disappointed? That we would ever change them or who they are to have a child of the opposite sex? Well, we wouldn’t, not in a million years would I change having three daughters, and if I had four I would still be the luckiest Mamma in the world.
FYI people; daughters can do anything sons can.. our girls are wild, play in the mud, climb trees, go fishing, camping, play sport, follow their Daddy and Pop around helping them build and mimic their every move. But they also love to dance, wear a tutu, dream of being a princess and nuture their dolls.
Just as boys can do and be anything a girl can.
Why does gender matter so much? Does it?
So, what were the results?
Well when we brought our son home and introduced him to family and friends as our daughter we had mix remarks and reactions.. Of course everyone was happy to meet her and doted in her beauty and newborn freshness but there were still some remarks such as “oh” “another girl…” “what?” “Harper?” And then for some came the over whelming joy and excitement when we finally said “she” was a “he”.
Yes, we know everyone was just happy for us that we “finally” got a boy but that was never the intention, only a healthy child.
But how is it that the gender of our child provokes such reactions in people? It saddens me that there is still such a focus on gender in a world where equality is fought so hard for and a world where people pay tens of thousands of dollars to just fall pregnant or would give their life to have a healthy child… So please, before you make a thoughtless remark about the gender of someone elses child I urge you to reconsider and just bask in the joy and happiness that in the impending arrival of a fresh new babe to dote over end enjoy.
And to our family and friends – we honestly took it all with a grain of salt and know that only good intentions were implied but we really do just want everyone to know that gender is not and was not ever a factor in us choosing to have a child. We do love and appreciate you all.
I hope everyone who is expecting a child or knows someone who is takes the time to think about whether or not gender really matters? Yes its nice to have ” xxx ” but will it really impact on your love of the child?
Food for thought.
An altered version of this article was first published on Essential Baby click here to read it.