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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yes, it's "another" girl. No, we aren't disappointed. REALLY PEOPLE?

Apparently, when you find out you're having a second child the same sex as the first child, it's a free for all for people to comment on how 'that's too bad,' and ask 'will you be trying for a third to get that [opposite sex child]?', and say 'tsk, tsk, I feel sorry for you/your husband [depending on if you are having two boys or two girls]'.  (Minor aside and biology lesson for people who bring up the "is Chris disappointed?" line: it's his sperm that are determining this, so...) I know people with two boys get the same response and they are equally frustrated.

It's a bit shameful to reflect upon, but when I was pregnant with Carys, I talked about how I had hoped she would be a boy before I found out she was a she.  I admit it, and I regret it now. I had my reasons, as shallow as they might be: I wanted any girls I had to have a big brother (something I'd ALWAYS wanted growing up), and I wanted a boy because of my history with loss.  In an oft-used analogy, I'd been on the boy train with Caleb, and that train got derailed so suddenly and unexpectedly that there were still fantasies of the life I would have had with a boy swimming in my head: the nursery I would have designed, the little plaid shirts, the post-bath faux-hawks.  I somehow felt like the spirit of the boy we'd lost would come back in the next, living boy and that I'd be able to get right back on that train and continue the journey I'd been on previously. 

Of course, life doesn't work like that, and we didn't have a boy. We had a girl. And when I found out while pregnant that we were indeed having a girl, I quickly adjusted to the idea and never looked back.  In reality, having a girl was probably the best thing that could have happened: she was a completely separate child from Caleb and not a replacement or reincarnation.  It was unfair to the baby I was carrying to expect it to be a new Caleb, and it probably would have taken a while to get over that idea had it indeed been a boy. I could never imagine Carys not being Carys: she was exactly what we needed, the exact perfect first baby for us, the best child I could ever have hoped for, boy or girl. And she's a rough-and-tumble little girl who is obsessed with golf, loves mud, dirt, dinos, zombies, farts, and motorcycles AND love babies, dresses, nail polish, and helping me cook, so (not to brag) (totally bragging) but we completely got the best of both worlds.

[Super Side Note: this is why those "#allboy and #allgirl tags all over Instagram drive me nuts, even though I know they're meant innocently. Loving to play in the dirt isn't "all boy" - it's "all toddler."  Climbing and running and jumping and being daring isn't reserved for just little boys. Dressing up or playing with a doll isn't something just little girls do - I know plenty of little boys who enjoy a good tiara now and then. I don't want Carys to ever stop enjoying the things she loves because she thinks they're for boys, and on the flip side would never want to insinuate a boy shouldn't love something typically considered girly.]

Though I thought I had a sex preference with Carys, with Baby Squish, I truly did not care. There are incredible things to be had either way. So when I found out it was a girl, I was ecstatic. I was (and am) absolutely in love with the idea of sisters, and think that the bond between two sisters can be like nothing else in the world.  My sisters are some of my best friends, and my mom has the same bond with her sisters.  And, you know, BONUS: I'd get to re-use all Carys's clothes. And damnit, she has cute clothes!  Plus, I love saying "my girls" and "the girls."  I truly could not be more excited to have welcomed our second little girl into the world. Although it'd be JUST LOVELY if the comments expressing disappointment on Chris's and sometimes my behalf would stop, since, you know, we're not disappointed. A family is not a perfect family only if it contains two parents and at least one child of each gender.

Will we ever have a third (or fourth or tenth)? I have no idea. I mean, holy cow, let me see how I do with two first. I might fall apart completely; who knows? Two might be my limit.  But if I can handle two like I picture myself handling two (please let me handle two?!?!), then I could see trying to convince Chris to go for a third. Right now he's good with two, but maybe with enough, ahem, spirited debate I could get another one out of him. But right now? Two is perfect.

If we do go for three, I cannot even begin to imagine the comments that would happen should we find out that we were having another girl.  I don't know yet if I'll have a preference, though I'm sure there would be some external pressure for a boy.  But I wouldn't be having a third child to try for a boy, I'd be having a third child to have a third child.  Novel idea, right??  If it was a girl, my first thought, I think, would be OMG THREE SISTERS HOW FUN!  There might be a twinge of disappointment in realizing that I'd never get to raise a boy and that the door would be closed on that opportunity since I sincerely doubt we'd ever have four kids.  So I would be sad at first about that, perhaps.  And that's okay, I think - it's okay to mourn the closing of any door, as long as you don't do it at the expense of the other door behind you that DID open.  It's complicated for me, I think, because I buried a son, but have never raised one.  A re-do there, with a chance to finish what I once started, would be nice.  But importantly, I understand now that it doesn't matter - your kid is going to be absolutely perfect either way and you'll love them completely. So if we decide to have a third, wayyyyyy into the future, we wouldn't be trying to have a boy; it'd be to have a third kid regardless of the sex. It's a 50/50 shot, after all.

But yeah. Don't feel the need to express sympathy that we have two amazing, gorgeous girls and are thrilled beyond belief with our family. We're pretty fricking happy. (Note: no one has done that on this blog, since blog readers are a sophisticated bunch, right? It's only happened in real life, to my face - which is almost worse!)


  1. I love your blog a lot and could not agree with this post more! I have three boys and get that disappointed look from a lot of people, that my life must not be complete because I don't have a girl. Did I want the third (or first of second) to be a girl? I really did. I really wanted a girl but now I can't imagine my life any different. It never ever stops people from asking if we are having a fourth to "try" for that girl. My response is always "I am sure if we tried for a fourth it would be another boy". I feel like I get these comments on a regular basis and it really does blow my mind. If we could pick the sex of our baby we would have. But when people feel sorry for me for not having a girl, I just don't get it. I seriously wouldn't trade my life right now. Well, I might ask for a few more vacations without the kids, an uninterrupted nap, and eating a hot meal, but I wouldn't change the gender of my kids. Thanks for posting this!

  2. I am a complete blog-stalker of yours and I love this. I know *exactly* what you are talking about. We have a girl, then a boy, then a girl...then another girl. Believe it or not, WE get those comments. People feel sorry for my husband (i.e. 3 weddings!!!), but they're mostly sympathetic to our little boy. I assure people constantly that my husband is perfectly okay with the situation and that our son doesn't know any difference at all - and that he loves his sisters! I will admit that we initially wanted a boy to balance things out, but having two little girls together who are close in age is amazing. They are the best of friends (at ages 4 and 2) and I love the bond that they have. I also adore calling them the "little girls".
    On a related note, after we had our son I was shocked at all of the people who mentioned having the "perfect family" to us. (We knew we wanted 4 kids, so we didn't even find out the genders until our 4th.) It caught me off-guard and my husband and I talked about how sad it was that these people who were dumb enough to make these comments to us might say something differently to those who didn't have both genders. Such a shame! Sorry you are having to deal with this.

    And please keep blogging!

  3. I could have written this post almost exactly.

    After losing our firstborn son, and having a rainbow girl, I felt EXACTLY the same way about just wanting a baby. I was thrilled with a daughter because it helped me keep him and her separate in my heart and in my mind. I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed that our third baby is a girl. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled now at the idea of "the girls" and "sisters", but I also very much wish I had the opportunity to raise a boy the way I dreamed of raising one for 9 months. And I have so many adorable boy things I was looking forward to him wearing.

    But yet, if we go for baby number four, it will be a few years from now and with an open mind. I'm sure we'll end up with three girls, which i also love the idea of. So much. <3