A couple of days ago, this post by Mommyfriend on the Babble.com website hit my email box, and it struck a nerve. As the mother of two boys, I’m sure I’ve heard every one of those lines at least once. I’m pretty sure that all of us 4mothers, being members of of the Club of MOB (that’s Moms of Boys, naturally), have heard these once or twice.
Of all of them, I think the one that rankles the most is the first comment: You need to have a girl. It’s a sentiment that can be expressed in a number of different ways (my favourite is the direct ask: “So, when are you having that girl already!?!) and which results in all manner of advice about how to achieve that end (hint: it’s all about flexibility) all of which amounts to the same thing: while it’s nice that you’ve got a couple of boys, you would be better/calmer/happier/more fulfilled /more blessed/more socially accepted / more complete if you just had a girl.
I remember very well the ultrasound at which we found out that Sebastian was a boy. Uncertain whether we would have any more children after him, I admit that I felt a sharp pinch of disappointment, like a mosquito bite, that I would likely never be the mother of a girl. As it turns out, we were never able to have more children; still, I no longer feel that sting. Rather, I feel incredibly blessed that some how, some way, I became the mother to these tremendous creatures who just happen to be male. To the extent that I have any residual wistfulness about not having any more children (celebrities may be able to pull off pregnancies in their 40s, but I am a mere mortal) I can tell you with certainty you that it’s not because I will never have a daughter but because I will never again have another child.
So here’s why the idea that family fulfillment comes only from at least “one of each” seems so absurd and people who make comments like “it would be so nice for you to have a girl to make your family complete” seem so insensitive. First of all, it’s not anyone’s business how many children you have, and of what flavour, anyway. Beyond that, it’s not until you can’t have something that you so deeply appreciate what you have, and only then that the superficial and irrelevant fall away, so that you can see clearly what good things you have in front of you. For me: it’s two boys, tucked into their beds as I type.