As a pregnant mom, being asked what I’m having is a question I hear daily. Second only to “wow, when are you due?” because I’m carrying twins and let’s just say I don’t exactly carry small. These seemingly innocuous six words have really started to rub me the wrong way. Not because I don’t want to share the genders of my unborn babies with curious friends, co-workers, and random old women in Safeway, but because of the reaction I get when I do. No one seems to believe that I could be happy with boys!
Upon announcing that the two current inhabitants of my womb are both boys, I am often met with pitying looks and sympathy. It’s usually worse if the person knows that our older child is also of the male variety. Because then the conversation goes one of two ways:
Them: “Wow, 3 boys! That’s, uh, that’s a lot to handle…”
Me: “Yep, and we’re thrilled! I love being a boy mom.”
Them: *confused look*
Them: “So you’ll try for a girl after the twins?”
Me: *chokes on my tea*
I’m sorry, what? I am still gestating! As in, currently pregnant with two whole babies inside my body, and I’m being quizzed about my plans for future children, simply because this person thinks my progeny’s genders aren’t diverse enough?! Give me a chance to, I dunno, deliver said babies before you start suggesting I work on having more.
But really, more than how silly (and invasive) it is to start talking about my plans to carry additional children in the future, why on earth should I “try for a girl” when I’m completely happy with boys? My success and contentment as a mother is not dependent on what genitalia is between the legs of my children. My life will not be any more complete by adding a girl to the family, nor will my husband’s experience as a father mean more if there’s a daughter running around our home.
How to Raise a Boy
In 2008, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was youngish (23), the pregnancy was unexpected, and my boyfriend was not pleased. We split up right around the time of that positive pregnancy test, and I went on to be a single mother for the next several years. Figuring I’d had enough surprises to last a lifetime, I requested to know the baby’s gender at my twenty week ultrasound. As soon as the ultrasound tech put the wand on my belly, it was clear: I was definitely having a boy.
I wept. For an entire week. If I couldn’t even find a decent man, how on earth was I supposed to raise one? I didn’t know a thing about boys.
Turns out, raising a boy is just like raising any other child. I changed his diapers when they were dirty. I feed him when he is hungry, sing to him, read to him, talk to him. I comfort him when he is sad, or sick, or just needs his mom. I taught him to say please, and thank you, and I’m sorry. I hold his hand when he crosses the street, and make him eat his vegetables before he can have dessert. Most of all, I love him.
He Made Me a Mother
Now that little boy is a big seven year old, anxiously awaiting the birth of his two little brothers. He is wild and sassy and considerate and exasperating. He loves to snuggle with mom and kisses my belly twice every time he says goodbye. He roughhouses and loves weapons (sigh) and wears pink and tells me he loves me every single day. He has proven that it’s basically impossible to not be happy with boys.
My first son made me a mother and teaches me daily that, no matter who you are or what your gender, the most important thing in the world is to be kind and generous and compassionate. I grinned when the ultrasound tech told me I was having two more boys. I can’t wait to meet these new little humans and see the love and depth they add to our family.
So when someone asks me what I’m having, chances are I will tell them “two boys!” with a smile on my face. And inside I’ll be thinking, “two humans!” Because, I’m happy with boys, and really, boy or girl, I just hope I can teach them to be good people.