Posted by: Ingrid | August 30, 2013

Gender Wondering: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny

Baby shoes

I am 0 to 2 when it comes to guessing our children’s gender.  With both boys, I desperately wanted them to be male and was sure that whatever component of the universe determined gender knew that and therefore would maliciously give me girls.  Terrifying thought.  Plus my nausea was worse with Jonathan and everyone said that meant a girl.  So I was positive on the girl guess and completely incorrect in reality.  But we knew with both by 20 weeks, so there wasn’t a whole lot of time spent wondering.

This time around, I was amazed to find that even early on, even with a completely surprise pregnancy that I was not a happy camper about, I really really, for the first time ever, wanted a girl.  Up until this pregnancy I really thought I would be happy, if not completely delighted, with a house full of boys.  I know what it’s like to be female and the otherness and sometimes baffling mystery that is the opposite sex appealed to me.  Boys come with their own unique sets of problems but at least I wasn’t intimately acquainted with them!  I know all too well the problems and pressures and hurts and millions of little things that make up being a girl and later a woman and I really wasn’t interested in having all of that so very in my face on a daily basis.  I didn’t want to watch my daughter deal with things I had struggled with.  It felt that any problems that she faced would feel too close.

When I was hoping for a boy when pregnant with Isaac I didn’t quite have the words  But a few years later I stumbled across Erica Rivera’s memoir Insatiable: A young mother’s struggle with anorexia and she put words to at least some of what I was thinking about when she wrote about having her first daughter.

I imagine the avalanche of My Little Ponies, Barbies, and Disney Princesses.  I imagine being forced to buy tutus and ballet shoes, endure tea parties and potty training.  I imagine the hoarding of hair products, the mess of maxi pads, the agony of prom dresses and pantyhose.

Worst of all: the diets.

If only I could inoculate her against eating disorders along with measles, mumps, and rubella.

If I had a son, there would be no restrictions.  I’d allow him spoons of peanut butter for breakfast, nachos for lunch, cupcakes at bedtime.  It wouldn’t matter if I took him into public with bed hair and mismatched clothes.

But a daughter… a daughter is different.

If I’m her role model, I’m afraid I’ll pass on the adolescent body hatred like an undesired family heirloom.

The thought of a girl was, put simply, more than I wanted to deal with.  Fast forward four years and, oddly enough, my sons’ hurts and losses and struggles are still difficult for me, even though they are the opposite gender.  Shocking, I know.

Now… well, we have a lot of cars and legos and trucks strewn around our house and it could stand for a little pink and glitter.  Also, I am getting tired of my “get your hands out of your pants” mantra and the desire to tell both my children;  “Yes, yes it IS still attached to you.  I promise you don’t have to keep checking!”  Boys!  It would be nice to have someone just a little more comprehensible, a little more like me.  Besides, I think Clint might frown on my getting pedicures with either of the boys as a fun “mother son” outing.

Since we are not going the route of the ultrasound reveal, I decided to “test” (using that word loosely!) this baby’s gender to see what I am supposedly having.  The answer from the smattering of tests I took?  5 came out girl and 4 came out boy.  It must be a hermaphrodite.

Based on a baby gender test online: Boy

The morning sickness test – I had it, therefore: Girl

Craving test – wanting salt and protein: Boy

Baking soda test: Girl

Chinese Gender Predictor: Girl

Heart rate – under 140: Boy

The ring test (Put your wedding ring on a string and dangle it over your belly.  If it swings side to side it’s a boy, if it spins in circles, it’s a girl.): Girl

The hairline test (Find your last child, look at their hairline at the nape of their neck.  If it comes to a point you’re having the opposite gender, if it goes straight across you’re having the same gender.): Boy

The penny test (Lick your thumb and rub it on a penny.  Hold the penny against the wall with the same thumb for 30 seconds.  If it sticks, you’re having a girl.): Girl

I lean pretty heavily on the heart rate test, and I think I am having another boy (Which, in all honesty will be a little disappointing.  Yes, I just want a healthy baby  and yes, we have very cute boys, but I want a healthy GIRL baby, even if it means a million ruffled baby socks and hair bands.)  I look forward to finding out in a few months!

Hard to imagine that with all these fantastic tests they bothered to invent the ultrasound. :-)

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Responses

  1. wow. I could have written parts of this post though I never was quite able to phrase my discomfort with having a girl as succinctly as you did … amazing, I just knew it felt uncomfortable but there, in your post, clear as day you expressed what i was feeling but could not dissect (so actually what I am saying is that I could NOT have written this post and thanks for doing so!). As you know I have two girls. With the second, I was sure based on the highly scientific heart rate test that baby was a boy (let’s face it, it’s the most “scientific” of all the non-ultrasound, non-amnio tests!). In fact, when I delivered the doctor declared Thing 2 to be a boy based on the hair colour being the same as her dad’s (speaking of scientific!). It’s striking to me that as burning as the curiosity feels as the pregnancy progresses, 12 hours after baby is born, you just can’t imagine it any other way.

    • Yes, I felt the same way when I thought about having a girl. Thanks for putting it into words :)

      I’ve been reading and lurking, and not commented in a while, so: hi, and I always enjoy your honest, funny posts. Great work on that half a few weeks back!!

      • Thanks! I’ve been missing seeing posts from you. It’s like you’re busy with life and a kid or something. :-)

    • Thank you! And you definitely made me laugh with the doctor’s comment – gender based on hair color. I love it!

  2. I so enjoyed reading your thoughts, Ingrid! It so reminded me of our journey of pregnancies and ultrasounds. I got really honest with myself during pregnancy #4 about how I really wanted a girl at the end of my string of 3 boys. The thought of the guys going to do their own thing together and me and my daughter would do our own thing together was very attractive. Everyone in the family wanted a girl except Austin. He wanted another brother. We all went in to the ultrasound together and learned that indeed we were having a 4th boy. I left the office feeling a heaviness of disappointment all the while Austin was jumping up and down celebrating the coming of his choice of gender. I had a good cry for most of the afternoon and allowed myself to grieve not having a girl as we knew this was our last pregnancy. The next day, I got on board with a 4th boy coming and being a one gender household along with being outnumbered and started claiming all the positives of the arrival of another son. Gideon is now 11 and the greatest kid. I love his spunk and creativity. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Do I miss not having a daughter? Yes, of course, but I can’t wait to see what blessings are ahead. I love the boys who are now one by one turning into such great men of God. Someday, there are bound to be granddaughters and I will enjoy pink and lace.

    • Good to hear from someone who has had all boys, Lisa! I know that an all boy house hold can definitely have it’s charms. And since this baby is due on Jonathan’s birthday we will hopefully be able to hand down all the clothes if he/she turns out to be male. :-)

  3. Just so you know, I have to tell my girl to keep her hands out of her pants more than my boy :)

    • Well, I guess it’s good to know that both genders are prone to this. I’m SO tired of saying it all the time!

  4. This will be my first surprise baby and I imagine I will have initial mixed feelings either way. And I’m sure that will pass quickly once the gender/sex thing becomes moot and it’s more that I have a new PERSON.

    Here is one piece of information that might bring you some comfort – the mothers/fathers who are very much aware of their own struggles with eating/body image can and do generally parent very thoughtfully and effectively in the face of eating disorders. I observed that many times as a E.D. dietitian. It’s when a parent denies they have those struggles or are so naive about what to do/not to do that their kid might have more to deal with. So in your awareness I bet you parent more mindfully to not be focused on appearance/watch what you say about others appearances (whether positive or negative), etc.

    Since I had a borderline eating disorder when I was young and had two first cousins who also struggled (plus who knows how many other relatives) I am aware that my kids, by mere genetics and not just social pressure, are at a higher risk of suffering. If they happen to fall into that path I think I would catch it sooner and be far more aggressive in my treatment (i.e. get both the kiddo and the family into counseling STAT).

    • True words. I have sort of assumed that that is the case in terms of parents who are willing to acknowledge their own struggles being better at being aware of the messages that they are sending their kids. And I agree with you, I would be quick to jump on anything that looked like a problem before it (hopefully)went too far.


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