Part One of this story has been read more than 140,000 times. I have no idea what made it so popular (I’ve written much better stuff). I can only assume there are thousands of mums and dads who have been weighed down by society’s disappointment in their inability to produce at least one child of each gender. Utter failures. Commiserations.
The text messages were flying thick and fast.
Has she gone in yet?
Why is it taking so long?
My sister was having her third baby and we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl. She already has two boys so it was a tense time waiting to hear if she was destined to be a Mother Of Boys (MOB). This child is her last. This was her last chance to produce that elusive and coveted daughter.
My phone rang at about 9.30am.
“It’s a GIRL!”
Despite a fleeting moment of disappointment that I wouldn’t get to write that awesome follow-up post about all the boys, I was ecstatic. A gorgeous, perfect, teeny baby had joined our family (not gonna lie, I was also pretty happy the pressure was off me to produce the first granddaughter). I was so happy and…. relieved. Relieved she wouldn’t have to endure all the sympathy and hushed voices and concerned looks about how very disappointed she must be.
At the very least, I thought, we wouldn’t have to deal with The Comments.
People will be people – and those people will still take a disturbing interest in other people’s reproductive capabilities. It doesn’t matter what you get, you’ll still have to deal with everyone else’s opinions on how this affects their life.
So no, there wasn’t sorrow and pity.
Instead, we had JUBI-FUCKING-LATION. Borderline hysteria that my sister was so supernaturally talented as to have produced a GIRL CHILD.
Oh The Comments…
“You got your girl!”
Yes, God filled that special order we put in.
“I wept with joy”
Are you kidding me? Why are you weeping? Is this child going home with you?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a baby celebration. All babies should be welcomed with marching bands and gospel choirs. We should all be weeping for every baby that enters the world.
But what if it had been a little boy? Would the marching band have turned up for him? Well, I definitely would have been there with my trumpet, but it might have been a very tiny band. Poor little buddy (yes, I’m feeling sad for my non-existent nephew. What’s your point?).
Then I started to feel bad for her two older brothers. This is how excited people were for their arrivals:
Boy 1: Congratulations! You’re a mum! So happy for you all.
Boy 2: Oh. Another boy. Never mind, you can try for a girl next time!
My little mates have The Second Coming for a sister. Inferiority complexes coming right up! Step aside boys, there’s a doodle-less child over here. Thank Gaawwd we didn’t get another one like you. No offence.
Along with the pure and unadulterated relief, came the Fortune-Telling, Gender-Stereotyping Comments.
At 24 hours old, this little girl had been cast in the role of tutu and tiara wearing cheerleader next to the football team that is her brothers and cousins. Le sigh.
Why do we do that? She’s a baby. A perfect, clean slate. No different to any other baby (except exponentially cuter. Sorry, she just is). Let her just be a little snuggle bunny of cuteness before we hand her the pom poms, ok?
Besides…. girls can play football too you know.
And they don’t have to wear pink. Wall to wall pink. Covered in sequins and tulle and sparkles. The amount of clothes given to this child already is astonishing. All of it incredibly beautiful (girls clothes are way cuter than boys clothes. FACT) and most of it really impractical and uncomfortable looking.
I can say, without a doubt, my sister would have been happy with whatever came out. She would have been a brilliant MOB. She knows boys (example: she just sent me a text saying “Vaginas. Unchartered territory. It’s rough”). She’s not into all that princess shit and when I see her picking through the mountains of pink tulle and sequins like they might bite, I have a giggle.
This little girl is going to be awesome. She has a kick-arse mum, a doting dad and two older brothers who are as rough as guts. She also has an Aunty who will make sure she never ever thinks she’s only useful as decoration. This babe ain’t cheerleading for nobody.