“I bet you hope your next baby is a girl!”

People have been overly interested in my uterus since Chris and I got engaged a decade ago. The longer we were married without children, the more persistent they became about our reproductive plans. We held our ground and waited until we had been married for seven years before we tried for Mason, and luckily we were able to get pregnant pretty quickly.

Nine months later, we had a healthy boy who instantly became the love of our lives. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I had wished for a healthy baby, but I secretly longed for a boy and was elated when I learned we were having one at our 20-week ultrasound.

Mason will be two in August, and there seems to be a renewed interest in my reproductive future, and not just by the people I know. I’m constantly hearing, When are you having another one? from random people: the guy at the deli while I’m paying for a cup of coffee, the taxi driver taking us into the city on a rainy morning, my friend’s nanny as I admire her new baby, and even the super lazy doorman who never actually opens the door for me (even when I’m loaded down with a stroller and six bags).

It’s a question I constantly ask myself, and couldn’t answer with any certainty until recently.

When I had my breast cancer scare in February, my doctor mentioned that depending on my tests results, she might recommend that I have additional children immediately so that I could begin a more aggressive treatment plan. I panicked and cried to Chris that I wanted another baby but just wasn’t ready yet. Luckily my doctor never had to go there, and I learned that now is not quite the time for us to add to our family.

But being more clear on where I stand with the second baby question doesn’t make it less annoying when someone pries. Yesterday a neighbor put an entirely new (and more obnoxious) spin on it. We were both waiting in the lobby of our building for the elevator and exchanging small talk about our kids. Of course she asked The Question. I shrugged and gave a non-committal, I’m sure I’ll have another one at some point! Her response? “I bet you hope your next baby is a girl!”

Wait, what? Was she kidding?

Apparently not. Despite my shock I managed to smile and say that I loved having a son and would be thrilled to have another. “Really? she asked. “You don’t want a girl? Wow, I’m surprised!”  Um, so was I, but for an entirely different reason.

I flashed back to a conversation I had with AP, the author of the blog I Love You More Than Carrots, last winter at BlissDom. She’s expecting her second boy this month and was startled when a woman at the conference asked her whether she was planning on trying for a third baby in hopes that she’d conceive a girl. I was flabbergasted when she shared that encounter with me, and now I know how she felt.

I just don’t get it. Are these people suggesting that boys are somehow inferior to girls? I’m all for girl power, but c’mon! Why is it just assumed that every woman wants a daughter? And do people actually think that if you have sons instead of daughters your family (or life?) is somehow lacking?

Photo: Baby after a bath via Artpose Adam Borkowski/Shutterstock.com

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  1. by Collette beech

    On June 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I dont think its just about the having boys thing, because after having my second girl i too was asked many times if i was goin to try for another to get a boy! This made me really angry as i was over the moon with my two girls and just thankful that they were healthy. Also i hate the term ‘the perfect family’ used when a couple has a boy and a girl ! I consider myself to have the perfect family with my two girls ! As does my friend with her two boys! People can be totally obnoxious sometimes and we have to grit our teeth and carry on!

  2. by Tiffany

    On June 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I have 4 girls. Ive been tring for a boy since number 2!

  3. by Ashley

    On June 6, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Perhaps it’s a reflection of their feelings? Maybe they want a girl? I don’t really think those questions/statements are horribly offensive. Trust me, she could have said something much worse.

  4. by Amanda Norris

    On June 6, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I am sure that is not how she mean it at all. She probably just meant you already experienced a boy that you probably wanna try a girl now. You’re kind of blowing this out of proportion.

  5. by Jill

    On June 6, 2012 at 10:36 am

    My first baby was a girl, and I admit I was dissapointed (not NOW…but when I was pregnant. I was first and I was a girl and I was afraid of raising a headstrong first born girl. We have our moments, but she’s a joy. She’s 11 now and the drama is here, but I love her. I had two boys after her and they were harder babies and toddlers (my third and last is still a toddler). However, I fear for teenage girls. I taught high school, so that’s why I think I originally didn’t want girls. Plus, girls can get pregnant and not only do you have to deal with the fact that she had sex, but the emotions and her health tied to it. With the boy, if he screws up and gets someone pregnant, I can see myself being a big b*tch mom and making sure he is responsible until the day he dies. However, with a girl, you have to deal with her health, most likely the baby, and when she’s crying that he dumped her. That SCARES me.

  6. by Mama2011

    On June 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I ask that question alot, I have a daughter and almost everyone around me has boys. I would like both. Someday. Maybe. We will see lol

  7. by Tina

    On June 7, 2012 at 7:44 am

    It’s the “American Dream” to have children of different genders I think. I’m expecting now and have been asked often (daily) if we know what we are having and if we have a preference. Granted, a little more tactful approach than your neighbor’s but after I answer we’d be happy with either, I sometimes get the look of shock, and for some reason feel like I need to explain myself. I, too, have a boy whom I adore!! He wanted a brother. Unfortunately, as we told him a bunch of times “you can’t choose” and he is having a baby sister. We are excited (my hubby wanted a girl, I was honest when I said I had no preference and now am excited to know so I can SHOP!). Big brother will come around, and I know I’ll hear all kinds of comments about “1 of each” and “so are you guys done now”. Pregnancy is a funny thing… Brings out a weird side of ppl and their own desires. I wouldn’t be too mad… It goes both ways, boy or girl (though typically I’ve heard the question more focused at dad about a boy”. It’s like strangers touching your belly… Babies/pregnancies bring out the best and the worst of ppl. I think your response was spot-on!!

  8. by Angela

    On June 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I don’t think that was the intention of the comment. I think that, yes, a lot of people assume that you want to experience having both a boy and a girl. I am sure that if your first was a girl then the same comment would be made about you wanting your next to be a boy. I, personally, really did want a boy and a girl from the time I was little and played house. I am thankful to have my son and daughter, but even if I ended up with 3 sons or 3 daughters I would be happy because they are mine.

  9. by Jaime

    On June 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I’m going to agree with Amanda and Angela. Most people do want both and assuming you do too and there’s nothing wrong with that. No one is saying you wouldn’t love a second child less if it wasn’t the opposite gender. But I know I would be a little sad if only had boys and didn’t get to share my favorite girl-centric things with my daughter. If I had only daughters, well I think I might go a little crazy.

  10. by Lisa Marie

    On June 9, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I have to admit – as a mom of 3 boys, this question is big on my annoyance list. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it not that long ago myself!

    Why, Yes. I Do Have Boys.

  11. by gweenwood

    On June 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

    We had a boy, then a girl. People always say “oh you have one of each so you’re done!” Like we have a complete set. Since when does the perfect family include “one of each”?? It bothers me.

  12. by Hayley

    On June 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    It’s not a preference for girls it’s a thing about wanting one of each, and yes it is rude and annoying. I’m pregnant with our second girl and a church friend actually told my husband how sorry she was as if we had somehow been dealt a crushing blow instead of being given a wonderful new baby girl.

  13. by Katie Willis

    On June 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    When I was pregnant with our second girl, actually had one co worker ask ‘Don’t you know how to make boys?’. I said we were happy with two girls, they can share a room, play more easily together etc.