Archives for July 2013

I Didn’t Want Girls

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.