Nor did I not want them.
When Jason and I got married, we had some premarital counseling through our church. During the premarital counseling, we had to do a couple compatibility tests. One of the tests asked us how many children we wanted. We were supposed to answer without talking to each other. When we revealed our answers to each other, we found that we had both written that we wanted to have four children. Over the years, I obsessed over when to start having children and how far apart our children should be. I think I attributed more control of the situation to myself than I deserved.
When I was pregnant with Kael, we did not find out his gender at the ultrasound. The Monday before he was born, I sent Jason an email. The subject line said, “boy.” The email said, “I’m calling it.” When I was pregnant with Asa, we also did not find out his gender at the ultrasound. This time, I had a general feeling that he might be a boy, but I wasn’t as confident. After he was born, I told Jason that we were going to have a family of boys.
With the first two boys, we had not found out the gender at the ultrasound because that was my preference. Jason preferred to know the gender. So, with the other two boys we found out the gender. It wasn’t because we had hoped for one gender or the other. We simply wanted to know.
Over the years, people have come to the assumption that Jason and I wanted to have girls or that we were disappointed to have our family of four boys. That’s not true. It’s not that I preferred boys over girls, but I also didn’t prefer girls over boys. We didn’t have a preference. I know that some people have a preference for gender. I didn’t. I really didn’t.
At one ultrasound, the doctor said to us, “I’m sorry I can’t give you your girl.” One friend said to me, “Every time I ran into you, and asked you about the new baby, you said, ‘it’s *another* boy!’” (This was not said in a positive tone.) Lately, many people have asked us if we are “done.” Yes. I am done having babies.
However, I am not done having children because of the likelihood of having five boys. I am done because continuing would lead to the certainty of having five (or more!) children.
Would I be happy with some other gender variation in our family? One girl, three boys. Two girls, two boys. Three girls, one boy. Four girls. I’m sure I would be. I’m sure that raising girls is wonderful. I’m sure they are fabulous. I’m sure that parents of girls think they are the most wonderful kids on the face of the planet. I’m sure that if we had daughters, I would love them with all my heart and soul.
But, I don’t. I have four sons, and I am happy, pleased, content, thrilled, and satisfied with our family just the way it is.
It might seem funny to some people that I wrote those post. If I’m so happy, why bother, right? If what I’m saying here is that gender doesn’t matter, isn’t it a little too much protesting to write and write and write about it? I’m writing this post for four reasons. Kael, Asa, Jonas, and Kellen. While friends, family, and doctors might think that they understand how I feel, and they might think they are reassuring me that they know just what I’m thinking, I’ve got four sensitive souls also listening to the conversation. Kael has asked me a few times about having a sister. He has wondered about why his friends have girls in their families and he doesn’t. All it takes is one well meaning comment misunderstood by one sensitive child.
It’s possible that over the years, I’ve heard some of these comments about wanting or needing a girl in the family and not corrected the person saying them. Though, as they seem to be coming a bit more frequently now as talk of us being “done” also comes up, I feel as though I should get this out and make it clear. Girls are great. Daughters are wonderful. Maybe somewhere down the road I’ll have daughters-in-law or granddaughters. That would be fantastic. I don’t wish for them now, and I don’t want my kids to think that I did.