Children Are Not a Gift

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Recently friends of mine had their third child. After two sons, this is their first girl. I was happy they were having a girl because I thought it might be nice for them to experience the other gender. I felt that way because they didn't have a third child to try for a girl. In fact, they weren't trying at all, they just weren't not trying hard enough. 

I always get uncomfortable when I hear someone talking about having an additional child because they're trying for a specific gender. It makes me more uncomfortable 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 failed in some way as a wife and mother. 

A few days ago, I found myself thinking of that conversation again. I also thought about other similar comments I've heard, often around women not being able to "give" their husbands a son. This time I wasn't sad. I was angry. As women, why are some of us acting like having a baby WITH a man is a gift we give TO a man? The gender of a baby is not under our control. Actually, it's the sperm and its X and Y chromosomes that determine whether a baby is a boy or a girl, and even men don't have control over that. So certainly no woman should blame herself (or praise herself for that matter) for the gender of a baby and if it's what her male partner might want. If you're a woman and you want to think of your child as a gift, think of him or her as a gift from God, nature or good fertility specialists.