Is there anything riskier than a third pregnancy that may result in a third son? Anything!? I can’t think of one.
A friend of mine is pregnant for the third time (and when I say “friend” I mean my sister. But, you know, sensitive to her anonymity etc.)
As soon as she announced it, she started getting The Comments.
“Ooh, maybe a girl this time?”
“Are you hoping for a girl?”
“Crossing fingers for a girl!”
Because (as you’ve probably guessed) she has already been cursed with TWO BOYS.
I know. Thank you for your heartfelt condolences. My family is dealing with this as best we can.
It is, by societal standards, incredibly challenging, exhausting and rather unfortunate to have Too Many Boys.
One son is wonderful. A blessing. A miracle even! Just ask the Chinese.
Two boys are hard work. There’ll be a lot of dirt and cars and penises to deal with but it’s not insurmountable. A mother and father, if they work together, can overcome.
Three boys!? DEE-SAHSTER.
Any more than three and we’ve ventured into urban legend territory.
I know a woman with five boys (and when I say “a woman”, I mean my cousin, but again, anonymity). People speak about “She Who Must Not Be Named” in hushed, incredulous voices, for fear Lord Voldemort himself will strike them down with a terminal case of willies.
“Did you hear about the woman with FIVE boys!?”
The arrival of a third son (or fourth. Or fifth…) is met with a tinge of “Oh”. Like, “Oh my goodness THREE boys! Imagine the food bills!” or “Oh, you’re going to have your hands full!” or perhaps even “Oh, never mind, you can try for a girl next time” desperate pleading voice, please try again.
The arrival of a third daughter doesn’t get quite the same reaction of horror. It’s not a curse to have a house full of girls. It is, of course, grounds for endless jokes about Dad being “outnumbered” and how he’s going to have to get himself a shotgun etc etc. SO HILAIR. Crying/laughing emoticon.
But boys? Oh my word, you poor old duck! Are you drowning in a sea of Lego and Matchbox cars? How absolutely traumatic for you! How do you cope!?
So when my friend (sister) joyfully announced on social media that she’d soon be welcoming a third bundle of joy, it seemed like every comment slipped in a request for a girl. Like maybe if we all put together a petition, she could spontaneously change the gender of her growing foetus. The tribe has spoken.
One commenter simply said, “Congrats on a little princess for your family.”
It was like her brain flatly refused to acknowledge the possibility of a third son. Nope. Not happening. Not on my watch. A daughter it will be!
Gender disappointment is a real thing. And I get it; people grow up dreaming of special girly time, painting their nails with their daughter, or throwing a ball around with their little boy (let it be known that my little brother had his nails painted on the daily by his two older sisters. Let not gender keep you from lacquering up your child).
But the joy, disappointment and acceptance of a child’s gender belongs to the parents and no one else. Not the grandparents. Not the aunties and uncles. Certainly not the Facebook acquaintances who never even bother to give your posts the old thumbs up but suddenly feel qualified to offer their two cents on your reproductive abilities.
So let’s play a fun game. Let’s assume the mum-to-be is happy with whatever she gets. Let’s not assume she’d be disappointed to give birth to a perfectly healthy, beautiful child that just happens to be ANOTHER little boy (or girl).
And for the love of all that is good and kind in this world, don’t let her know that you yourself are disappointed with the colour of baby she’s having because it’s got zero to do with you.
When I found out the gender of my baby, I had a ‘friend’ tell me she was upset I was having a boy. She actually mentioned it three times. She told me THREE times that she wished I was having a girl. THREE times she told me the baby I was growing was not what she wanted. What she was saying was that when he finally made it into the world, she would be holding him wishing he was someone else. That my perfect little boy wouldn’t be quite good enough for her.
She never ended up meeting him. Pity for her, because he’s really rather spectacular. And that’s not being biased or anything, it’s just a general consensus that my child turned out better than most. He’s really bloody brilliant.
As is every child. No matter what colour onesie they’ll be wearing home from the hospital.
UPDATE: The baby has finally arrived! Find out what my sister had over here.