If you’re a parent, did you get the gender you wanted?

vOne hundred years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, I asked for a baby, any ol’ baby, just a baby. I don’t even remember asking for a “healthy” baby, though that is what I got, a healthy baby of the boy-child variety.

I don’t remember being disappointed or elated either one, just ecstatic that he’d arrived.

Not this woman or other women like her. They desperately wanted a boy. Or a girl, and were — to say the least — disappointed when things didn’t work out the way they’d expected, and now they suffer from the (newly named and unofficial diagnosis of) Gender Disappointment.

This is yet again something about which I can’t wrap my mind.  And thanks, Sister Letha, for the link.

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25 responses to “If you’re a parent, did you get the gender you wanted?

  1. With our first baby we both kinda wanted a boy. After the ultrasound we got on the elevator and the husband was all, “I was kinda hoping for a boy” I said, “yeah, me too. Now that’s the last we’ll say about it.”
    Then we had our girl and laughed at how silly we were to think we’d want a BOY instead!
    I kinda hoped the last one would be a boy just to change things up and I always wanted to mother a boy but we have three girls and I guess we’re done. Which isn’t to say I’m disappointed in having girls, I’m just a little bummed I didn’t get any boys!

    • At any moment, I will happily wrap up one of mine — though both are now men — and ship him on over so that you can get a taste. I only ever raised boys and have no perspective on what a houseful of girls would be like.

  2. The “kinda hoping for a boy” seems age-old and not a bad thing for itself (I guess), but it sure has done a lot of damage. And why is it? To have someone who can carry on the family name? To have someone with the same equipment as the father? To (in some weird way) prove the virility of the father? Because it’s supposed to be easier (“you have to be a father to a girl” from Carousel)?

    Look at the generations of unborn Chinese girls (and the now of-age Chinese boys who are desperate for wives); look at the girls given boys’ or boyish names because they’re supposed to be stand-ins for sons; look at David R’s daughter who hesitated to jump a distance and was told by her father “a BOY wouldn’t be afraid to do that!” Look at the girls in so many cultures who don’t have a chance at a real life because they’re unvalued girls……..

    • I wanted at least one of each and that’s what I got. I wanted to experience being a Mom to both genders. It was one of the few times in my life that I got exactly what I wanted.

    • I think I understand what you’re saying, but if I’d been completely honest with myself, maybe I preferred a boy, because I grew up around brothers and figured I could do that again, just as the parent. But then, I think if my son had been a girl, I’d have been equally thrilled to boldly go, you know?

      • I love that you, as a woman, feared having a girl.

        • If that’s directed at my statement, you overstate what I said. There was no fear, just a sense of comfort in how boys think and the interest in repeating myself. I grew up in Boy World.

  3. In my case, I was a tomboy who grew up with 3 sisters. My desire for a son was fueled in part by my desire for a brother and in part by the relatioship my aunt has with her sons. Of course, having three girls we’ve heard our share of crap. My father was not pleased to have all girls, now that I think of it, why on earth would my mom tell me that? For him it was partly the passing down of the name and partly the whole, “it’s a sign of weakness to only produce girls” plus he just doesn’t like females in general. I was always secretly happy that the baby my mom gave up for adoption before she met my dad was a boy, it meant it wasn’t her fault he didn’t have a boy.

  4. For the bajillionth time SEX AND GENDER AREN’T THE SAME THING.

    Anatomy: SEX. How you label yourself/how you act/blahblah: GENDER.

    So, if you’re wanting a baby to come out with a little weewee, you want a child of certain SEX, and, presumably, to also behave as a certain GENDER.

    • And here I read the exact opposite. Thank you, Kick. I guess we could argue that if your child comes out with one kind of anatomy and identifies with the other gender, then you may have gotten what you want in one way or another, but oh-well.

      • Yeah, I was gonna say that before my stupid computer decided “oh, let’s send this NOW.”

        At any rate, I have friends with vaginas and tits who identify as male.

        • Which opens up a whole new world, doesn’t it? I don’t mean that in a snotty way, either.

          • Thanks, Kick, for reminding us of that. Although I didn’t think of it when I first answered your question, it puts another twist on your question. My son is, so far, identifying himself as male and my daughter is, so far, identifying herself as female. Honestly, I hadn’t considered it as possibly being different than that before giving birth. But, I know I would have loved any kind of baby that I’d get regardless of anatomy and identity.

    • Easy there, Kick, some of us will remember this and some of us won’t. We all have areas that we want everyone to get just right: I hate it when people confuse “further” and “farther,” or when people say “anyways,” or say “none of them are,” or spell it “her’s” when it should be “hers” and “it’s” when it should be “its”…..

      • I hate anyways and I don’t know why. And even though I correct the same three people in my life who insist on using it, they ignore me. Why, I ask you. Why? Why do I give a rat’s patootie, and why do they resist my wisdom?

      • “Why do I give a rat’s patootie, and why do they resist my wisdom?”

        Just think about how much happier we’d all be if we didn’t and they didn’t…….

      • I’m in big trouble because I’m sure I’ve written all of the above. Sometimes, after entering a post, I’ll read it and see my errors, too. Oh well. It’s the intent that matters, right? Anyways…oh crap!

        • ARGGGH!! No, no. I think about what an insufferable snot I’ve been over “anyways,” and I realize I really need to learn to shut my pie-hole.

      • I say “anyways”
        I notice prepositions at the end of sentences but I use them anyway. I will use them in my writing and follow it in parentheses with “Yes, a preposition” or something like that. I don’t mind doing it but I don’t want people thinking that I don’t know about the rule!
        Some shortened words get on my nerves a little (whatevs, obvi, convo) but these kinds of things don’t generally bother me enough to…be bothered.

        • Which makes you a much nicer person than I am, but we knew that already. I remember ripping into a really good friend of mine over her use of “anyways,” and I stopped myself about halfway through because 1. she’d stopped listening, and 2. I sounded like an ass.

      • Well, I promise no one will be shot over using variations in language. There are those who argue that language is constantly changing anyway, so why fight the different usages. It’s now considered okay to split infinitives, for example, what a relief! (My lawyer and friend Steve said, after William Safire died, that now there were only two of us who cared about correct usage!)

        Another thing that is a small annoyance is the inaccurate use of the variations on alumn(a, us, ae, i). In the Jon Stewart video about Al Franken’s bill, Stewart called Franken an “alumni” of SNL — that would mean he’s more than one alumnus! I’ve seen that same mistake in some ads for Camp Courant. Oh well.

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