Recently friends of mine had their third child. After two sons, this is their first girl. They weren't trying for a girl, in fact, they weren't trying at all. Like both of my children (and many of my friends' kids) their baby was a bit of a surprise. I was happy to hear they were having a girl because even though I knew they would be happy either way, I thought it might be nice for them to experience the other gender. I felt that way especially because they didn't intentionally try to have a girl. I am always uncomfortable when I hear someone talk about having an additional child because they are trying for a specific gender. It makes me at least as uncomfortable, if not more, when women seem to feel bad when they can't deliver (pun intended) the desired gender.
Last month I ran into an old friend and we spent some time catching up. He told me about his family, and specifically about his two sons. He went on to share how his wife had told him she wished she could have "given" him a daughter so that he could experience the special father-daughter bond. Hearing that made me feel a pang of sadness for her. It sounded like she felt like she had failed in some way as a wife and mother. As a fellow wife and mother I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone.
A few days ago, I found myself thinking of that conversation again. I also thought about other similar comments I have heard, often around women not being able to "give" their husbands a son. This time I wasn't sad. I was angry and frustrated. As women, why are some of us acting like having a baby WITH our husbands is a gift we give TO our husbands? The gender of a baby is not under our control. Actually, it is the man and his X and Y chromosomes that determine the gender of a baby, and even men don't have control over the outcome. It is time for women to stop blaming ourselves and thinking our children are something we give to our husbands. If you want to think of your child as a gift, think of him or her as a gift from God, nature or really good fertility specialists.