When I found out I was expecting a little girl at my 20-week scan, I was over the moon. However, as I started to share my happy news with the wider world, it seemed more people were keen to express sympathy than congratulations. You see, I already have three gorgeous little girls; ages seven, five, and two. Apparently, this should mean that I am desperately pining for a boy to complete my family.
Everyone, from good friends to random strangers at the supermarket, has been keen to express their disappointment and reassure me that I could always try for another. When I respond that four children will be enough for me, the conversation tends to stray into sending condolences to my husband, warning me about the dangers of synchronized periods when they hit adolescence or urging me to start saving up for their weddings now.
I know people mean well and are just making small talk but their comments definitely fall wide of the mark. My fourth little girl isn’t a consolation prize or a second choice, I couldn’t be happier with the news.
When the sonographer was carrying out my scan, I wasn’t silently praying that the baby would have a little extra between its legs. For me, the cliché "so long as it’s healthy" was definitely true. If this baby had been a boy, then the news would have been wonderful and exciting, but it would also have sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I will admit to feeling a rush of relief along with my joy when the sonographer confirmed what I already suspected and told me my unborn child was another little girl.
I know what I am doing with girls, and I have a good idea of what to expect. Our house is stuffed full of girls' clothes and toys, and I can imagine another girl fitting into our family seamlessly, whereas a boy would have taken a little more work.
My three daughters are also delighted to be getting a little sister to join their rowdy gang.
I do question where this idea that the perfect family has to include a child from both genders has come from. We no longer need a son and heir to protect our financial future, and girls now generally outperform boys when it comes to academic achievement at school.
Friends with one boy and one girl tell me that people clamored to tell them how lucky they were. They’d hit the fertility jackpot and could consider their family complete with just two.
Others with two children of the same gender report that the questions about when they will try for another start before the youngest is even out of diapers. And the Victoria Beckhams of this world who get a different flavor of child the fourth time around are congratulated and celebrated for finally getting their girl or boy.
Personally, I think the whole thing is bonkers. I can’t think of anything nicer than four little girls to fill my home with laughter, glitter, and fancy princess dresses. I am the youngest of four girls myself and having three older sisters has been a total gift both growing up and as an adult.
But it seems that our obsession with dodging the single gender bullet is nothing new. When I was born 37 years ago, everyone imagined I was my parents’ final failed attempt at having a boy. The reality couldn’t have been more different, and my mom sometimes admits she isn’t sure she would have handled four boys half as well.
Parenting happily doesn’t need to include babies of both genders. I’ve seen a glimpse of my future and it is definitely pink.
This post was written by Catherine Ball. For more, check out our sister site Closer.
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