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There seems to be a universal misconception out there that every time each one of us has a baby we are automatically ready or wanting to have another. We have all heard the questions…
- “When are you going to have another?”
- “Are you going to get Baby X a little brother or sister?”
- “When are you going to have that boy/girl?”
I am not sure at what age or number of children people are going to stop asking that question, but I think the consensus is never during a woman’s childbearing years, whether you’ve made it clear you plan to have none, one, or if you actually have 10.
Similarly, for those of us who have multiple children of the same sex, the questions about when you are going to “try” for a baby of the opposite sex never seem to cease… as though we have ANY control over the sex of our children!
Oftentimes I am so tempted to ask if the person is aware of how the sex of a baby is determined or if they have any suggestions for getting that baby girl… but then again I’ve tried that and it has led to over sharing about spinach, acidic/alkaline vaginal conditions, and sex positions that’s quite frankly WAY too much information from a stranger.
That said, from a mom of 3 boys, each with their own attitudes and personalities, I implore you to please stop asking me when I’m going to “try for a girl” and here’s why…
I am a perfectly happy boy-mom! I love my boys, and I love the time we share. I like playing outside, going for nature walks, and hunting for bugs. I don’t mind that every stick, rock, and cardboard roll is an imaginary weapon, and I have become accustomed to the fact that I will never have nice things and will likely spend an inordinate amount of time in emergency rooms.
I was never one to play with dolls or to dress-up, so there is really no real sense of loss there, but sometimes even my boys want to dress up, it’s just as transformers or zombies rather than princesses or fairies.
Every time the question is posed about whether I wish I had a girl or will try for a girl there is a part of me that feels you just don’t think my boys are enough. Why are boys not enough? What is it that makes one need to reduce their value to less than? And although you may not mean it that way, think first, because our society has started to marginalize and devalue our males.
We cast blame, suspicion, and wrongdoing on so many of their actions because we take issue with what their predecessors or gender counterparts in power have done. I am afraid every day for my sons because of the stereotypes they have become so subjected to.
At times I do wish I had a girl… there are many times actually, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me, and I don’t need that negativity in my life. My boys are my world, and my love for them is no less based on my desire for a daughter, but sometimes it feels that way, and when you insist on asking if I want or will try for a girl, it makes me feel guilty. Like I am not appreciative for my amazing boys and all that I have been blessed with.
Honestly, I do sometimes grieve the fact I will never teach someone to put on makeup or have a best friend to take to the nail salon. I will never pick out that perfect prom dress, hear late night details of a first date, or plan a wedding… I wore my grandmother’s 60-year-old wedding dress for goodness sake; I can be a bit sentimental. I won’t get to watch my husband walk her down the aisle all the while hoping and praying she has truly found the love of her life and a man who will help her become her best self.
I won’t get to watch, share, and give advice as my daughter’s body and belly grow a new human life. I won’t get to hold her hand as she takes the largest leap in life and pushes a glorious and amazing baby out of her incredibly strong body. Will I get the joy of having grandbabies? Yes, I would hope so, but there’s a really good chance that as the Mother-In-Law I won’t be invited to be there.
I won’t have someone to watch romantic comedies with or to take shopping every weekend. One day, when my own mother passes on, I likely won’t have a best friend.
Yes, I mourn all these things already and my babies are still small.
The “innocent” questions you pose are not all so easy to answer either. There are so many reasons a woman doesn’t just “try” for that “one more baby”. There could be financial, emotional, and/or health-related reasons that simply are none of your business. She may not be trying for more babies because of the inability of her body to withstand a pregnancy and the chance of leaving her children that are here and now motherless. The disease that has turned her world on its head since her spouse became sick or the RH factor that will forever affect any further pregnancies she may have. Reasons that may not seem fair to the mother herself who is trying to come to terms with her loss and not feel ungrateful for her blessings all at the same time.
In the grand scheme of things the number of times I have been blessed with beautiful, strong, healthy babies is incredible in and of itself. There are mothers out there suffering from much, much greater loss than my desire for another baby. Women suffering from infertility, pregnancy loss, infant loss, and child loss; women who put my wanting another baby to shame. So, when you ask me why I’m not “trying” for a girl there are so many reasons, none of which are really appropriate to share with you, dear stranger. Your simple question is not so very simple, now is it?
As human beings sharing this earth we all feel interconnected and usually mean no harm with our questions about pregnancy, babies, and the circle of life, but please, stop asking ALL women when they are going to have _________ (insert baby #, gender, etc.).
If we each simply tried complimenting moms on the beautiful children she does have, or single women on the amazing careers or lives they lead, there would be no hard feelings, no feelings of sadness, shame, or anger. I mean let’s be honest, how many times do you hear random strangers ask men when they’re going to try for another baby (or girl/boy)? Follow the old adage “to each his own” – let’s move on people and leave everyone’s reproductive decisions alone.
For more insight into some of our thoughts and feelings on motherhood, check out our Mommy Moments section where we are sure you’ll find an experience you can relate to!