"So when are you going to try for the boy?"
This question irritates me more than any other.
I have two girls. Two adorable, sweet, amazing daughters.
Our plan was always to have two children. Of course, we knew that we didn't have total control over this plan, but our plan was two kids.
Two children. Two kids. Not necessarily one boy and one girl.
Why is there so much pressure to change our plan? Is it just so we can get the "perfect" family?
"You Get What You Get and You Don't Get Upset"
Both times I was pregnant I was teaching in elementary school. The kids were fascinated and asked all kinds of questions (thankfully, all ones I could answer). They were especially obsessed with what we would name the baby, and if the baby was a boy or a girl. They all had very strong opinions, both times, about what I "should" have. I would always laugh and tell them "It's a 'you get what you get and you don't get upset' situation".
I'm not going to lie though... when I was pregnant with my second, on my way to the gender revealing ultrasound, there was a little part of me that was hoping for a boy. Not because I feel my husband needs a son, or because I feel like we need to have a "male heir," but just because I'd love to experience parenting both genders. However, when the tech said confidently "it's a girl!" that disappointment melted away.
There are wonderful advantages to having two children of the same gender. Hand me downs are easy. Room sharing isn't an issue. Lessons can be passed down. There's an awesome bond between sisters (and brothers).
So again, why the pressure?
I polled a number of my friends who are moms, both online and off, and asked them two questions:
1) If they had two children of the same gender, did they feel any pressure, either internal or external, to "try" for the opposite?
2) If they had a boy and a girl, did they feel the pressure was off and that they could be "done"?
The answer to both was overwhelmingly "Yes."
"Trying" for the Opposite Gender
The external pressure in both situations is relentless. Upon finding out she'd be having another boy, one mom even had family tell her, "Oh well, we'll love him anyway." One mom, upon the same discovery, was told, "Well now you have to have a third!" In cases where the "perfect balance" was reached, moms felt that their desire to continue to procreate wasn't understood. Why have a third and upset that balance? They had the perfect family: a boy, and a girl!
There was internal pressure too. Several moms were already planning on third children, but felt that this time they'd really be pinning their hopes on the other gender, whatever it was (boys/girls didn't seem to make much difference). One remarked that if she had a third boy, she knew her husband would be disappointed. One admitted she longed for a son, to experience that different relationship than a mom has with her daughters. Some confessed that if they had one of each they probably wouldn't have a third child, but with two of the same they felt like they "try" for the opposite gender.
But if you're trying...can you fail? If you're pinning all your hopes on that boy, what happens when you hear the announcement "It's a girl!!"
There were times when I was teaching when I saw families that seemed to take the "try for a ____" to heart. Five children: girl, girl, girl, girl, boy. Six children: boy, boy, boy, boy, boy, girl.
If you want a big family, I feel you should continue to expand your family as long as you are able - both to "acquire" children, by whatever means, and raise them until you feel your family is complete.
But if you have hit your "magic number," I feel that pressure needs to turn off. You are given the family that is perfect for you.
The Right Fit
I'll always remember a story my dad likes to tell. My sister and I were young, and we were vacationing with another family who also had two young daughters. The four girls were playing lakeside, the moms were enjoying some rare adult only time, and the two dads were supervising. My father remarked to his friend that there were times he wished he'd had a son. His friend nodded, then pointed to the four little girls and said "which one would you have been willing to trade in?"
I've conceived four children - I've birthed two. Two of my little angels didn't make it past the 10 week mark. In my first pregnancy, I lost the baby right as we were starting to share our news, which was heartbreaking. It's not widely known, but my second child was initially a twin. At my first ultrasound, the tech told me her hunch was boy/girl fraternal twins, although we obviously will never know for sure. When we discovered that one twin no longer had a heartbeat, I was both devastated and relieved. I grieved for the child we'd lost, but at the same time, I had to celebrate the child we had.
Two losses...yet I still feel we were given the children we were supposed to have. Maybe those two were our boys... we'll never know. It doesn't matter. I do know that I feel our family is complete. And even if I didn't, I don't know that I'd have an easy time getting pregnant again, knowing that my body knows how to get pregnant, but doesn't always know how to stay that way.
If I get the itch to have another, we'll discuss it, and maybe we'll go for it if we feel it's right. We'll find out the gender at the halfway mark, because we're impatient people.
And no matter what we have, we'll know it's the right fit.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.