Being pregnant in general invites a host of unwelcome comments (no, it’s not twins), tidbits of conflicting advice (sleep train! co-sleep!) and requests to “have the baby already – but not right here!” (yes, because I wanted to give birth in the middle of Target).
Being pregnant with a boy? I’ve learned over the past 55 months (okay, 9), that this particular blessing inspires an additional set of random, silly, unwanted remarks that say a lot about where we are with gender equality.
First of all, people act relieved. I have had people exhale loudly and say, “oh wonderful!” in a tone that indicates they really mean “thank goodness!” It’s like now they don’t have to bother beheading me because I’m finally producing a male heir. A variant of this since I have a daughter already, I’m also subject to everyone’s unmasked relief that I can stop because I have one of each. So, if I had two girls, I’d have to keep going? But now maybe I’m not allowed to have more? What?
Second, I hear a lot of “your husband must be happy.” Um…I guess? I mean, he’s happy we’re having a baby and that everything seems to be going well so far (which is also how he felt when I was pregnant with our daughter). Oh, I see what you mean…because OBVIOUSLY he would prefer a boy (especially since we have a girl already). Well, no, but thank you for assuming my daughter has less worth in my family than my son…and for reminding me that is definitely true in society.
Let’s see…oh, the third set of comments I get has to do with the fact that boys are supposedly easier to raise than girls. You know, because “girls are so mean” and “emotional” whereas “boys just break stuff.” UGH. Yes, I was a teenage girl once and I remember what it was like, but maybe it’s not a girl thing as much as a society thing. You know, we teach girls their worth is defined by how they look and what they wear, so maybe that is why they end up being mean about it sometimes? And maybe it’s our job as parents to help girls – and boys! – manage their emotions in a healthy way. Also, why are emotions worse than broken bones? That is pretty subjective! (And also a tacit approval of violence and destruction.)
Finally, a special mention to the remarks about my firstborn being a girl. People say I’m “lucky” because she’ll be able to “help” with the baby – “girls are more nurturing,” after all. My child is not yet two. I think she’ll “help” because she’s a toddler and she likes to be involved in (in control of) everything we do – from cleaning floors to changing brakes. I also think she will be less than thrilled about sharing her mom and dad and will probably act out a lot. Because she’s two. It all seems a little crazy written out here like this, but I promise you I have experienced these exact comments regularly. Now if this little guy would just COME OUT ALREADY, I could probably write a follow-up post on the ridiculous things people assume about my son even though he’s just a baby…