Stop Asking if I’m Disappointed in my Daughter

For the love of queso, stop asking me if I want a boy.

I’m serious.

From the moment we found out we were expecting our first daughter, we got questions about whether we wanted a boy, whether we were going to “try again” for a boy (as if we could’ve gotten one the first time if we had just tried a little harder, just egged on that little male sperm a little more). Honestly, I’m tired of it.

I delight in my precious first daughter. She is everything I could have dreamed of in a child, and more. She loves singing songs, reading Fancy Nancy, playing with princesses, and helping me “mix” in the kitchen. She also loves kicking around a soccer ball, playing with toy cars, watching Baylor sports with Mommy and Daddy, and working on her counting skills. She does all the stereotypical girl things and all the stereotypical boy things because we don’t put gender-associated labels on anything, and we want her to feel like she can try anything in which she has an interest.

Girls just wanna have fun. And ride dinosaurs.

When we found out we were expecting another baby, she barely had time to start forming into an actual human entity before I was asked—by the nurses at my OB/GYN’s office, no less—if we were “really hoping for a boy” since we already had a daughter. They were truly shocked when I told them that I was kind of hoping for another girl. No one wants a second girl, it seems. Several of my friends and coworkers are from overseas and they told me in their home country, it’s actually illegal to find out the gender of their baby because some people there actually try to get rid of baby girls, the preference for male offspring is so strong. Since that first conversation at the doctor’s office, I’ve answered the same question probably close to 100 times, as it’s inevitably part of almost every conversation with friends, coworkers, grocery store checkers, people I meet at parties, and random strangers who just happen to feel like discussing the state of my uterus and the sex of its contents.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I would have been just as happy with a little boy as I am with a second little girl. I’m sure I would have enjoyed the process of picking out his outfits and decorating his room. But the point is, my family is not lacking because we found out we have a little girl on the way instead of a baby boy. My husband is not to be pitied for “being outnumbered.” He’s an amazing “girl dad” (or as I would call it, just a dad), someone who will agree to drink tea or hit a ball from a tee, whatever happens to strike his daughter’s fancy that day.

I grew up in a family of girls, with parents who definitely wanted a son to add to their entourage. My dad was a star athlete and earned a college scholarship for football. My mom grew up surrounded by sisters, with just one prized and highly favored brother in the mix. They expected to have a boy, to raise a little quarterback who’d also excel at track and be the most popular, easygoing young man in our small town, just like my dad was when he was growing up. Instead they ended up with all daughters—four of us, to be exact—and raised girls who didn’t earn letters on the football field but did stack up honors like pageant crowns, state championships in theatre and cheer, class presidencies, sorority leadership roles, community service awards, and valedictorian honors. (OK, most of those were my sisters. They’re all amazing.) And, if the “don’t you want a boy?” question falls heavily on women, it’s doubly charged with men. However, even with all the pitying comments my dad received about paying for four weddings or just trying one more time for that boy, he never made us feel like we were anything other than exactly what he wanted. He wasn’t embarrassed of having four daughters, and he dedicated equally as much time to cultivating us, coaching our sports teams, and lugging around pageant and cheer gear as he would have spent of the extracurriculars of any number of sons. In fact, I think we were lucky not to have a brother because it made my dad a better feminist, the kind of man who wanted to see his daughters succeed and do anything they wanted in life, excel in athletics and academics, earn degrees in useful fields, and have meaningful careers.

For me, the biggest reason why I was happy, rather than dismayed, to hear I was having another girl? My own sisters.

I have the best built-in support group and network of anyone I know. I met my three best friends in the world when I was three, seven, and 14, respectively, and I am a better person because of them. They’re the first people I text when something great or terrible happens, the only people who understand a thousand inside jokes (some stretching back more than 25 years). I was ecstatic for my daughter to have a sister because I wanted her to have what I had: that companionship and best friend relationship I have taken for granted almost my entire life. Could she have achieved that with a brother? Probably, but I don’t know because I didn’t experience it. Having amazing sister relationships is all that I know, and I was thrilled beyond measure to be able to give both my girls this precious, irreplaceable gift.

So, no, I’m not disappointed that I’m having another girl. I’m not skipping right past this pregnancy and hoping for the next one, or feeling like my family is incomplete because I’m not currently incubating a son. Nope. If we have a baby boy one day, or if one of my girls had been born with a different set of chromosomes, I would be just fine, even happy and joyful, over that. But for now, I couldn’t be happier that I’ll (hopefully) be raising two perfect and amazing daughters and future best friends.

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