Pragmatic Mom

December 14, 2009

The Gender Dilemma: Is it a Girl or Is it a Boy?

Filed under: Age: Infant & Toddler,Parenting — Pragmatic Mom @ 2:23 pm
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 This is a great article written by my mom friend and neighbor.  It also appeared in Parents and Kids Magazine 2003.

By Roberta Martone Pavia

When we received the call confirming my pregnancy, our initial reaction was one of disbelief, followed by feelings of unbridled joy. This jumble of emotions, normal for many parents-to-be, surprised not only myself and my husband, but also our friends, who, for the past four years, had shared with us the rollercoaster ride that defines infertility. During much of that time my husband and I were plagued with doubts and indecision: Are we doing the right thing? Will we make good parents? Can we adapt our carefree double income, no kids lifestyle? And, most importantly, do we want to?

But when I finally heard the news, all those doubts and indecisions were erased in a flash. After years of trying and turmoil, the miracle had finally happened. We were ecstatic. However, the euphoria was short lived. Just a few weeks after we heard the news, I also heard a voice inside my head began to nag: what if the baby is a boy?

I hadn’t admitted to anyone, except my husband, how much I coveted a girl. At first my husband tried to brush off my obsession. But as he watched me become more obsessed with the idea of a girl baby, he panicked, fearing I wouldn’t know how to love a boy child. I tried to explain that love was not the issue. I could love a stone. It’s just that, although the logic escaped me, I craved a little girl.

Please understand it’s not that I dislike the male species. On the contrary, I adore men and little boys, as well as most of the stages in between. It’s just that I never really warmed to the idea of raising a boy. All those stereotypes of roughneck kids punching and kicking and sweating were foreign to me. Growing up with two sisters and no brothers had definitely colored my world toward the pink end of the spectrum. I was a girly-girl eschewing little league for ballet classes and soccer games for mud-pie making. I loved dolls and dress up and china dishes.

Now, as I looked ahead to the future it held a decidedly rosy hue. I pictured my daughter and her little girlfriends hosting dainty tea parties with their dolls. I daydreamed about dance recitals and pink tutus. I remembered with poignancy those mother-daughter shopping excursions I so loved as a teenager. What did I know of fire engines and racecars? Baseball and battlefields? And, more importantly, what did I want to know of them?

Yet, why did this obsession with the feminine gender continue to grow? Did I subconsciously want to live my life over through a daughter? Was it because I never had my fill of dolls and frilly dresses as a child? The answer eluded me, and, as I struggled with my guilt, I fervently hoped this obsession would be supplanted by the anticipation of the birth I so longed for. Happily, for the next few months, it was.

As I focused on my progressing pregnancy and the health of this unborn child, with each passing week I breathed a sign of relief that all was well. As the months passed and my knowledge of the process grew, I realized how truly fragile and precarious this tiny being was. Fact: with my statistics — 40-plus, no previous pregnancies, fertility drugs – I had a 50 percent chance of losing the baby during the first three months. Luckily, that percentage dropped to a low two percent once I passed the first trimester.

Yet, even as I grew more secure in my pregnancy, that other concern began to resurface. Evidently it wasn’t enough that I was healthy and pregnant. I wanted more. I wanted a girl. I wrestled with my guilt. How could I even think these thoughts? I should be and was thankful to be pregnant while older friends all around me were struggling with adoption and infertility.

I began to take it as an omen that strangers and friends alike looked me over and pronounced authoritatively: It’s a boy. I would argue – sometimes vehemently – to the contrary. But with each passing day, I became less sure. And, finally, I resolved to prepare for a boy. Just in case.

As the birth date approached, we scoured books for likeable boys’ names. Needless to say, we had first, second, and third choices for the female nomenclature. But after a relatively short research period, to our surprise, we found a likeable boy’s name. As I pondered the masculine name and all it implied, slowly, tentatively I began to embrace the idea of a baby boy. Maybe it would be fun to experience all of the things I had never experienced as a little girl.

Finally D-day, or rather in my case, delivery week arrived. I was in the throes of labor, which consisted of one week of hospital rest, four days of inducement, four hours of active labor, and ultimately, an emergency Cesarean section. Having made it this far, I found myself, like countless others before me, just praying for a healthy baby. Boy, girl, blond, brunette, redhead. Suddenly none of that mattered and what was most important was the health of the baby. So, when the attending physician said those magic words, I truly could have cared less. My only question was whether or not the baby was OK. Today, the baby and I are doing just fine. And, oh, by the way, it’s a girl. Now we’re pining for a little brother to keep her company.

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