It took me a loooong time to get pregnant. Two and a half years the first time, to be exact. So when I discovered the baby I was improbably carrying was a healthy baby girl, I was overwhelmed with my good fortune. I'd wanted to raise a girl as long as I'd wanted kids. I remember standing in the skywalk of the hospital where I had my ultrasound, staring at her shadowy image, with tears of gratitude and amazement leaking from my eyes.
So that might make me as much of a douchebag as Rachel Coyne ... but I kind of doubt it (I may be a raging douchebag for other reasons, but this is not one of them). Coyne wrote a post for her Open Salon blog that ended up being published in Salon's Broadsheet column about her deep, crushing disappointment that neither of her (seemingly delightful) children was a girl, and her belief that "the universe still owed me a girl after two brilliant sons."
My response to that is unprintable even by our fairly relaxed standards here on The Stir, and would be followed by "and the horse you rode in on" and/or "eight ways to Sunday." Look, I understand that not getting what you want isn't fun. I also get that it's easy for me to shake my finger at her because I got my longed-for daughter. But after my own history of infertility and after knowing too many mothers who buried much-loved children who were stillborn or sick, her overdeveloped sense of entitlement and lack of perspective is simply breathtaking.
I'll admit to a brief moment of disappointment when I found out my second child would be a boy. I liked my daughter so much that the idea of having another girl was really appealing. As a matter of fact, the major reason I wanted to find out the sex before birth with both kids was to spare them that moment of "but I wanted a ..." and not have my relationship with them start out on a negative note. And, I should note, once he arrived, I thought, What did I want with another girl? I wanted a boy! This boy, to be exact.
The fact is, the universe owes nothing to any of us. Having a child is the ultimate roll of the dice. You might get a kid who has physical or mental disabilities, or who just doesn't click with you for some reason. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that for better or worse (and usually both), they'll be quite different from your fuzzy soft-focus fantasies. When you choose to be a parent, you take on the responsibility to accept and love that child for who they are, not who you wish they were. You learn to live the life that is, and while you might sometimes feel wistful for the other path, you don't let that blind you to the blessings that are right in front of you or waste time feeling sorry for yourself.
What do you think of Coyne's comments? Were you disappointed at your child's gender? How did you handle it?
Image via Heather_F/Cafe Mom