This past weekend we took our monthly family pilgrimage to Costco. My husband had the two older boys in the shopping cart and I was pushing the baby in the stroller so we could divide and conquer. My husband was about 10 feet ahead of me when a woman started loudly screaming and waving at me from across a large crowd of people. My heart stopped as I wondered what the hell could be wrong?! She ran over to me and craned her neck to peak inside my stroller, lifts her head with a disappointed look on her face and proceeds to say “Oh, I’m sorry, I was so hoping to see a girl in there. Poor you with three boys! You’re really going to have your hands full! I’m sure this isn’t what you were hoping for but I guess we just don’t have a choice in these things”. I grit my teeth and nodded my head and walked away, unable to even feign a smile. Unfortunately, I encounter these types of comments on a weekly basis. Almost every time I leave the house with all three boys.
I’ve had random strangers ask my sons if they’re sad to not have a sister. I had one woman tell me she prays that I tied my tubes because I’ll have enough on my hands with three boys and heaven forbid I have another. I even had one woman approach me as I was eating lunch with my youngest two and tell me that her granddaughter had IVF specifically to conceive twin daughters after being devastated by having a son first, and that I should really look into that option for myself! (I shit you not, this actually happened, and I still haven’t gotten over the shock)
I’m sorry, but this is not making friendly casual conversation. This is going out of your way to be an asshole. If i’m minding my own business and my children are being quiet and well behaved, what motivates someone to go out of their way to tell me they feel sorry for me? Or that I “must” try again for a girl? What ever happened to “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? I’m still not even sure how they expect me to respond to such questions. “Oh yeah, you’re right, we really hate our kids and are super disappointed! We’re just going to keep cranking them out until we get the girl of our dreams, then we’ll just give the others away!” Seriously, WTF?!
I’ve always been honest about wanting to have a girl. I’ll even admit that it was a little hard to take the news with each pregnancy that I was expecting a boy (and then another, and another). But that didn’t mean I was any LESS happy and excited to welcome a happy, healthy baby boy into my life. It just meant I was sad about the daughter I wasn’t going to have. It is possible to have both emotions at once. Ask any mom who’s experienced gender disappointment (look it up, it’s a thing, and a common one at that). But all new babies are something to celebrate, regardless of gender. Because my boys are amazing, and I love them. The same as I would have loved three girls or any combination of genders. My babies are my babies. Which is why I just can’t understand why so many people feel the need to go out of their way to make rude and hurtful comments about my children.
The most heartbreaking part is that kids have ears. My kids listen to everything. And they hear you. They hear you telling me I need to keep trying for a girl, as if they aren’t as desired or important as a girl would be. They hear your snide comments about my having three boys as if it’s a terrible thing, and they ask me about it. They ask why everyone wants us to have a girl. They ask me if I would have wanted to have a girl instead. They ask if I have another baby, and its a girl, if I’ll love her more than them. They hear you, and that’s not okay.
Does it really matter all that much what the genders of our children are? Why should we really care at all about anything other than having a healthy child?
Don’t lump my children into a stereotypical “boys will be boys” idea of what you believe they are like. They are each unique individuals with different personalities and behaviors, and they are all amazing and wonderful. Sure my boys can be wild and loud and messy, but they are also sweet, caring, affectionate, loving, compassionate, sensitive, funny, and creative. Plenty of little girls are also capable of being wild, loud, and messy as well by the way. There’s no guarantee if I did have a daughter that she would be any different than my boys are. Kids are kids, people are people, we are all individuals.
Don’t feel sorry for me for having boys. You should be envious of the three healthy, amazing little souls I’ve been so fortunate to be blessed with. So from now on, if you see a mom out in public with little boys (or just a mom in general! No matter how many kids or what gender they are) think of something positive and affirming to say, like how beautiful her children are or how well she’s handling having three small children in one shopping cart. Think of anything nice to say.
Or keep your fucking mouth shut.