I remember being pregnant with our fourth daughter and walking the streets of a quaint beach town two years ago with the rest of our crew in tow. Oh, my poor husband. “God bless you,” they’d say, extending a glance that bled commiseration and pity. Even before she entered the world, our precious fourth daughter was drawing condolences from one of every five passerby.
Four girls. Four GIRLS?? All GIRLS?????! Are they ALL your’s?????!
And with a polite smile, as if I’m reading from the most monotonous script the universe ever wrote for mothers of all one gender, I nod my head and give the well-rehearsed responses.
Yes, they are all mine. Yep! All girls! I know, my husband really needs a man cave. You’re right, weddings will be expensive. Okay, have a nice day! (Turn and run.)
And, as I’m sure you know if you are also in the “all girls/boys” club, the question that surely follows, if you haven’t run away quickly enough is the…
So, are you going to try for that boy/girl?????
Eager eyes await your answer, and I can’t help but wonder what they expect to hear? Why do they keep asking this question? If I say yes, will they clap? Cheer me on for “going for it”? Will they look shocked and act like my response is scandalous in some way, even though they seem to think I need another chance, right? I mean, I already have four, blonde daughters bubbling out of my shopping cart and dancing through the aisles. How could I possibly need more of them, right? More females… I need that boy, don’t I? Why else would they ask if I didn’t? There must be something I’m lacking. Four, beautiful, healthy little girls (or boys, if you’re an all-boy mom), must certainly not be a satisfying crew in the eyes of the world.
I have a question for them, though… Why? Why are you wired this way? Why do you think we need everything we don’t have? And why do you equate one of each sex as the complete package when it comes to building a family?
Here’s what I, a mother of all one gender, would like the world to know…
No, I’m not trying for a boy. Or a girl. I was trying for a baby.
What you don’t know is that I lost a baby in between these first two. My miscarriage taught me that every life is a miracle, and having babies is often taken for granted.
I thought for a long time that that baby was a boy, and it wrecked me. For months, it haunted me – the thought that I lost the chance to give my very outdoorsy and sports-loving husband a son.
I look at other moms who have boys, and I sometimes wonder what our house would be like with a little more blue. Maybe that “Boy Mom” over there wonders what her laundry pile would look like if it had a sprinkle of pink.
You didn’t have to watch the tears roll down my husband’s face after the final ultrasound as he was grieving the hope of having a son, just like I would’ve grieved at some point never having a daughter.
You don’t know that I wanted another baby, but my husband didn’t. You don’t know that when you ask me that question, you’re taking me back to the nights of pleading for us to not “be done”.
You don’t know that your innocent question is causing great pain.
You also don’t realize that, even though I longed for more, we have it all. We have everyone we need, and I have peace with that now.
The next time you feel that question tickling the edge of your tongue, before you let it go, consider saying these things instead…
You have a beautiful family.
Wow, what a blessing.
God bless you. (In the nice way. ;))
And that’s it! It’s that simple to interact us with us in public. None of those require you to acknowledge my parenting, our family size, or our sanity. They simply say to me, and all other moms of one gender, that you are a considerate human being, and we will want to kiss you for it. Especially if we are in the grocery store with nerves hanging by a thread, we just may kiss you for real.
The most important consideration of all…
When you ask me right in front of my little girls if I’m going to try for a boy, you are telling them a few things:
You’re not enough.
Mom and dad didn’t get it right; they need to try again.
Your family needs a boy. Something’s missing.
Your dad would be better off if he had a son.
Little girls are more stressful for their fathers.
You are expensive.
Your dad can’t do “boy things” with you, like hunt, fish, camp, or play sports.
Children are comparable to lottery tickets, and you try until you get the ones you want.
My older girls, who enjoy talking about their heaven sibling, EJ, will often say to me (sometimes while the person is still in mid-conversation), “Mom, tell them about EJ. Tell them we HAVE a brother in heaven. Tell them! Tell them!” I personally think EJ is another daughter, but the girls believe EJ is a brother, and I don’t try to persuade them otherwise. I am just thankful that they care and acknowledge their sibling, as if they know and love EJ the same as the sister sitting next to them. There’s something so freeing and rewarding about that for our family. What I don’t like is that a six- and a four-year-old are trying to reassure a perfect stranger that our family has everyone you think we need.
So, is it sinking in yet? Are you hearing my heart? Can you please just be happy for us? For all of us “Girl Mamas” and “Boy Mamas”? Can you offer a friendly smile, complement my daughter on her princess costume in the cereal aisle and move along? We would love talking with you more, if you could just refrain from that one question.
Let’s be the change. Let’s be intentional. Let’s start spreading the new mentality that “your family is just great the way that it is.” Let’s do that. The “Moms of All…”, and their families, will thank you.
A “Mom of All…”