At a recent party, many people asked me if I knew the sex of the baby. I was very happy to say, “Yes! It’s a boy!” Almost everyone congratulated me and made a comment about having 3 boys, which is fine – I know people want to know, but then don’t know what to say when you tell them.
But two people’s responses irritated me.
The first person (a woman younger than me) said, “Oh no! Are you disappointed?” I said to her, “No. Are you disappointed that you have two girls?”
And the other person (also a woman younger than me) said, “Oh no! I’m so sorry! You know they say the family isn’t complete unless you have a boy and a girl.” Apart from the fact that she was spitting all over me while speaking, I really was at a loss for words. Finally, I said to her, “We didn’t choose to have a baby because we decided to try for a girl. We chose to have a baby because we wanted to have another child.”
A family being complete with one boy and one girl (or more than two children, but having both sexes) is a conversation that I’ve had with my mother-in-law (and some of her friends) time and time again. And time and time again, I’ve tried to make her (them) understand – that the idea of a ‘complete’ family is what the parents want it to be! Whether it’s one child, two boys, 5 girls – WHATEVER. And that it’s a choice (and sometimes not a choice) made between partners and has nothing to do with anyone else, and why would anyone even feel the need to comment on it?
This backward, archaic way of thinking really bothers me, and gets me really worked up. I mean… We’re in 2022, for God’s sake.
So for the last two weeks when I’ve thought about these comments from these two young women, I’ve been trying to put my finger on why it’s been bothering me this much. And I think I’ve realized. I’ve spent so many years battling with my mother-in-law, trying to make her (and her friends) see sense, to make them understand that we’ve moved on, and that they should move on, from this old-fashioned, traditional way of thinking – only to realize… We haven’t. What hope do we have of changing how our parents’ generation think if our own generation thinks the same way?
Anyway – rant over.