Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Boy Crazy

A while back, I was chatting with a mom who was visiting our preschool class to see if our program would be a good fit for her family.  I told her I have really enjoyed attending with my three boys.

"Do you know what you are having next?" she asked, nodding at my obvious baby belly.

"Another boy," I responded with a smile.

A deep, genuine look of pity immediately crossed her face, and she put a hand gently on my arm in comfort.  "Aww. Did you think it was going to be a girl?"

A couple of weeks later, I took Bean to our beloved pediatrician for his 4-year well-child check-up.  The doctor had three girls and then a boy, and actually promised me early in the pregnancy I would be having a girl.

When I told her that we were team blue once again, she exclaimed, "OH NO!  That's the worst news I've heard all day!"

Sure, it was only 10:30 in the morning.  But still.

As a parent, you have to develop a thick skin because everyone and their dog groomer has an opinion about the decisions you make.  And usually?  You are doing it wrong.  But I must admit these kind of comments about the sex of my children (which I get fairly often) do sting.

Am I being oversensitive?  Definitely.  First, let's not forget that I have pregnancy hormones coursing through my body every minute, so I'm "oversensitive" like Mount Everest is "tall-ish."  But it hits a cord deep in me. I spent painful years and months fighting to create this family.  I did things I never dreamed I'd have to do, like give myself shots and remain on complete bedrest for nearly three months.  The implication that I would be anything other than 100% satisfied with these children, being oversensitive or not, quite frankly makes me want to cry.

I know it's not intended like that, I really do.  And I understand how pregnant women (fertile or otherwise) have hopes that they will have a child of a certain sex, at the same time as they are grateful for the baby and more concerned about his or her health.  I own that this reaction is mine.

But is it that hard to believe that I am actually completely content to be the only uterus in my household?  (Evey the dog has been... ummm... fixed.)

Even before infertility reared its ugly head, I knew from the moment I said "I Do" that I would only be producing male children.  My father-in-law is one of five boys.  My husband has two brothers and one sister -- a sister who currently plays ice hockey at her college and who only reached for dolls as a child when she needed to fill the stands for an imagined sporting event.  But gender stereotypes aside, I remarked years ago to a friend who has two boys that I would surely be joining her in that club.  I never had visions of tutus and glitter for my future, and I can't say that it really bothered me.

And enter infertility.  I'm not saying that every woman who has struggled to conceive automatically lets go of any dreams she had of specifically raising a girl or a boy, nor that she should let them go.  But I will say for me personally, staring down the reality that I would quite possibly never get and stay pregnant did make me more appreciative of the miracle when it happened than I would have been otherwise, and even less concerned with the sex of the baby.

Am I missing out on certain experiences because I will never have a daughter?  Certainly.  I will never take her shopping for a prom dress, and I won't well-up with proud tears when DH walks her down the aisle at her wedding.  But there are plenty of other experiences that I will miss out on in life for many reasons -- like visiting the Moai head statues on Easter Island or performing stand-up comedy to a packed audience at the Apollo -- and I try not to dwell on those.  Instead, I am excited about the four little men that I get to raise.  I will never have to mow the lawn. I will never have to lift a heavy box or struggle to open the pickle jar.  And can I get a giant "woo hoo!" for hand-me-down toys and clothing?  Six people on one income is scary enough without needing an entirely new wardrobe for one of them.  For another 10 years or so, I will be the main woman in their lives, and maybe it's selfish, but I think that's kinda cool.  As DH said when we found out it was all blue for us, "These boys come from a long line of sons adoring their mothers."  And the feeling is absolutely mutual.

So just to settle any question in your mind: I am not crying in the corner because I will (God willing!) have four sons.  I accept that I will not own nice things and the things I do own will be broken, scratched, and chipped.  When I feel the urge, I will buy adorable fluffy pink headbands for my friends' daughters.  And no, we will not continue trying to have children until we get a girl.  Ha!  That question actually just makes me laugh -- I take it as a compliment that I look like I have any amount of sanity and money left for another baby.

Whew!  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Now on to bigger things, like my belly.  On Friday I will be 34 weeks, the point at which my doctor would not try to stop labor should it begin.  And according to the mass opinion of strangers, it could begin at any moment.  It's not an exaggeration to say that almost every time I leave my house, at least one person looks me over and says something like, "Wow! That baby will be coming any day, huh?"  No, my offspring are just abnormally huge, thank you though.  If I wasn't wearing DH's sweats, I would take a belly shot for you right now.  I'll try to get one soon, on the rare occasion that I am actually wearing presentable clothes.  According to my doctor, I have gained 32 pounds so far.  She said she's not overly concerned about it at this point, as my starting weight was healthy (remember I had just finished that diet), but she did warn me to keep an eye on the gain.  Yep, I'm definitely keeping an eye on it, thanks!

And finally, a few pictures...

Linda, a long-time close family friend, came to visit from Michigan --
she's about to be a Grandma of twins herself!  We tried not to scare her...
...too much.  Muahahaha.

"You distract her while I go through her purse!"

Gax shows off his new "Smile!" face.

Yes, he really does consider that a smile. And apparently so does Bean.



Stef said...

the unthought out comments make me so sad.
I tell myself its just that person's insecurity and/or life expectations that they're placing on me.
Don't take it personally. You're an amazing Mom and there's a reason God is giving you 4 boys. I think you're beyond blessed.
And someday, you might have 4 daughter-in-laws!
And maybe Granddaughters :)

When I was pregnant with Kara, we got asked ALL the time "why are you having a third? You already got a boy and a girl." - made me cry a couple times.

Kate said...

It's God's decision and He wants you to mother 4 boys!!! It's so sad that our society has gender expectations. I totally agree with you on the hand-me-downs. Don't forget about (hopefully) only having to drop everyone off at one activity, instead of having to drive all over down for different sports teams and dance classes. You are one lucky mother to be getting four adoring sons. I love the part about never having to mow the lawn or lift something heavy. You are going to be one lucky mother!
P.S. Congrats on no GD so far!!!
P.P.S. 5/11 is my nephew's b-day, and it is an awesome day to be born!!

Kristina P. said...

Even if you didn't struggle with infertility and had 16 children, you could still have only boys. I have a friend who is one of 7 boys. No girls.

People are dumb.

Lavender Luz said...

Sons are awesome. People are projecting their own wishes onto you.

Love this: "These boys come from a long line of sons adoring their mothers."

Thinking of you over the next few weeks -- and beyond!

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I adored your line about being oversensitive in the same way that Mt. Rainier is tall-ish. I feel that almost every second of the day these days.

I have a lot of people wishing for a boy for us, and really I will be thankful either way... (I am not-so-secretly hoping for a girl tho... just so we can use all the hand me downs!)

People are funny. They assume they know what we want just by looking at the outside.

Only another few weeks now!

St Elsewhere said...

"But is it that hard to believe that I am actually completely content to be the only uterus in my household?"

I was smiling at that.

The comments are awful...and hurting...gah, as if you chose to have only boys...I am surprised, and actually not so, that people get to say and get away with what they say.

Congrats on about-to-hit 34 weeks...

Mina said...

I got that with my first son and now I am "consoled" by people for having a SECOND boy. I am truly in awe at the vastness of human stupidity. I especially have one mum whom I wait with to pick up the kids from the crèche and I struggle every time not to take her teeth out kung fu style (with my foot) for spewing non-sense like that. And I am sure it's not the hormones, I would feel this way under any circumstances.
Hats off to you for the amazing self control. I love "the only uterus in the house" phrase - I love being that too, considering the cats are also boys. :-)

Emily said...

Thank you for your story. I don't comment often, but I really loved this post! I too struggled with IF and I have one 19 month boy. My DH has no girls on his side of the family and like you, it didn't matter to me what I was having, but I just knew in my heart I was destined for boys. I am actually afraid of having a girl! HA HA! But just from reading your blog, I know you are wonderful, loving mama with so much to offer the men in you life. Those boys sure are blessed! Take Care!

cGodby said...

I don't think you could have said it better! I am surrounded by boys and I couldn't be any happier! (Even our dogs are both boys, lol) But, you know what? It is totally ok for my boys to eat dirt, play with worms, wear hand me downs, and roll down hills. It's what they do, and I love every minute of it! I think you have held your tongue well! I can't promise that I would have been so nice ;)

By the way, your little one with the pacifier washing dishes is absolutely precious!

Much Love, Candice

Lisa said...

oh girl, i am with you on this. i have said with both #2 and #3 that i knew they were boys...even with the slew of "think pinks" i got from family and friends. I always said I thought I was going to be a "boy mom". i think more than anything for me, i have such a great relationship with my mom and love doing girly things with her, and i got a little sad about missing that. BUT, I cannot stand the sad and disappointed comments i get from people when i tell them we are having another boy. we decided to have a third because we wanted another baby, not because we hoped it would be a girl. I for one too, cannot be more happy to have another little man coming into our world and remaining the queen of the household too! :)

amelie522 said...

i have two boys, and we're currently TTC #3. i'm still breastfeeding my 15-month old which is causing issues with my luteal phase, but that's beside the point. anyway, i can't stand when people say things like, "oh, i bet you guys are hoping for a girl this time!' or "you have to try again for that baby girl!" like you, i have always had this intuitive sense that only boys would spring forth from my loins, and so far, i'm right! i think people place far too much emphasis on gender when it comes to babies, and not enough on the miracle it is to even become pregnant and carry a baby to term.

lostintranslation said...

Your boys are gorgeous! I had similar experiences when pregnant with our second son. Remarks like "it doesn't matter", "Are you disappointed" etc. all the while I was thrilled to be expecting another boy... My two IVF miracles.

Anonymous said...

Hi Christine!
Just checking in - congrats on your pregnancy! I am also having another boy, due 15th May and I get frequent commiserations from random members of the public... One doctor asked DH if he didn't know how to make girls, LOL
Corrie (tinybud) x

Ms. J said...

What a beautiful and lovely and perfectly expressed blog entry! I can't think of a single thing to offer or comment upon because it's so full and complete.

(Here by way of Katie's blog, btw)

MommaHarms said...

I am sitting here at 37 weeks with girl #3. This post is so true! People give me the same pitying stares and comments and "Just wait until they all hit puberty." lines. While I do not have infertility, per se, I had a loss in 2010 and then struggled to get pregnant this time much more than before, so I do understand how that changes your outlook. Did I want her to be a boy? In a way, yes, especially for the hubby's sake, but ultimately I am just thrilled we are having our final baby, completing our family, and all of the complications I have had are turning into nothing as we are very near delivery.