Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why We're Not "Trying For A Boy"

The questions are inevitable. We should all be used to them by now.

When you're single everyone wants to know why you're not dating. When you're dating they want to know why you're not married yet. As soon as you tie the knot, they want to know when babies are coming, and look out if this takes longer than people find reasonable. As soon as you have the first baby, and especially after he or she starts having birthdays, they want to know when the sibling will arrive. And so on...

I vividly remember the young anesthesiologist in the operating room when Anna was about to be born. It wasn't the guy who couldn't successfully administer the spinal block, nor the guy who came to relieve him and give me the epidural. It was the guy who was up near my head during the whole surgery, watching my blood pressure and vitals. Needless to say, after all the (painful) drama surrounding the failed spinal block I was not exactly in a relaxed state! But bless his heart, he was trying to make conversation and trying to take my mind off of things. He asked if this would be my first baby and I told him I had a 2-year-old daughter. Did we know the new baby's gender? Yes, another girl, I said. His immediate reaction was my new favorite question (not): Are you going to try for a boy?

I looked up at him incredulously and managed a chuckle, telling him I was pretty positive this was it for me. It was such a ridiculous time to ask such a question that I even heard my doctor laughing from the other side of the drape.

That wasn't the only time we've heard the question. Really, I do know that most of the time people don't mean to offend or be rude or nosy. But I can't help but wonder sometimes whether people actually think about these questions or what they may imply? To me, whether the following things are all intentional or not, the "try for a boy" question implies:

1. That we aren't satisfied with two girls.
Sometimes I want to shout it from the rooftops -- We are completely satisfied with two daughters! Both my husband and I are extremely grateful that God gave us children at all. We think parenting two daughters is an honor and a privilege. Their relationship with each other as sisters delights us on a daily basis. Even though we long ago imagined ourselves with girls, this does not mean we wouldn't have been equally grateful for or satisfied with boys. Children are a blessing! When you've been through the valley to get to your children, you don't sit around wishing that God had given you a different kind. You thank him daily for remembering you, for answering your heartfelt prayers, and for giving you your heart's desire. Our girls are precious and silly and hilarious and beautiful and fun! They are full of joy and full of life, and sometimes when I look at them I see a lifetime of sharing special moments with them as my daughters and my friends. And oh, when I see the sweet and special relationship they have with their daddy, it melts my heart.

2. That we're missing out on the ideal family by not having children of both genders.
I think there are some people out there who really think every man should have a son. That if he doesn't, he's missing out on a special bond. I personally think that's ridiculous. One family member who likes to joke around even suggested that my husband wasn't "manly" enough to produce boys. WOW. That may be the dumbest "joke" I've ever heard. Long before we ever had children, my husband and I had conversations about all the fun things he'd love to do with his daughter or son. And guess what? They were the exact same things. Who cares if you're playing with tea sets or trucks? The memories we've made as a family watching movies together, going to the zoo or the park, playing outside, having tickle fights, and going for ice cream would look much the same if we had girls, boys, or both. Those are the things that matter, not whether their rooms have pink curtains or blue ones. It makes my heart soar that I have a husband who cherishes his girls. Friends, there is nothing in the world more "manly" to me than a man who is secure enough in his masculinity to have a tea party and play with dolls with his daughters.
We've all heard that singsong response that people give sometimes when they have a boy and a girl: "One of each! Now our family is complete!" I'm here to tell you that MINE IS TOO. God completed his plan for our family when he gave us our two daughters.

3. That having children is easy or that it's all about getting the children we want.
I don't mind one bit when a friend asks whether or not we might try to have another baby. Someone who cares about me and my family, who knows a little (or a lot) about what we've been through, is certainly welcome to ask me about my family's future plans. But I have a hard time when it comes from an acquaintance who just wants to be nosy, or if it's phrased like having another child is just a walk in the park. I understand that it is, for some. But for so many it's not, and not only is it difficult, it's also painful to talk about sometimes. We don't all have the privilege of deciding exactly how many children we want and then going on with our lives, sitting back and watching it all fall into place with relative ease and convenience. I'm always tempted to respond to the question with either "None of your business" or giving the whole, long story of our struggle with infertility and miscarriage and everything it took to get to where we are. We fought hard to get here.
I'll admit, it gets under my skin when I hear others go on and on about their preferences when it comes to having children. Is that really what it's all about? I understand having a dream of one day having a daughter or son, specifically. I totally get that. But I believe that the decision rests with our Creator and that he alone designs each and every family as he sees fit. It's up to us to be the best parents we can be to the children he gives us (and in whatever way, by adoption or biologically). Each family is different and unique and special, and that's what makes it all so great. Of course, during the twelve years that my husband and I were married without children, we considered ourselves a family then, too. Families without children are just as special.

Believe me, I love little boys! I have nephews who are so dear to my heart that it feels like they came from my own body. Little boys are wonderful and I'm so glad to have some really special ones in my life. But God gave us wonderful, special girls. We love them with all of our hearts. We feel no need to "try for a boy." We are done, but even if we decided to have a third child, we'd be perfectly happy with a boy OR another girl.

We are content and satisfied. We have two girls. And we are complete.