When I first told two close friends I'm pregnant and thought I was having a girl, one said, You’re okay with that right? and another said, there’s nothing wrong with that. These reactions surprised me. Why would there be anything wrong with it?
There has been a tumble of emotion since learning I'm having a boy. Every little boy I see looks different now, as does every man. I will be responsible for raising one. But something makes me feel emotional, and after having thought about it for some time I’ve realized what it is.
Boys and girls, it takes both genders to make the world we see today and yet it is undeniable that throughout the centuries one gender has been preferred over the other across cultural, religious, and racial lines. This history of preference is wrong but its the truth, when looked at from a statistical perspectives, throughout history, males are preferred over females.
Chinese orphanages are filled with baby girls who are not in the truest sense orphans because they have parents who, because of the one-child rule, would rather send their child away while hoping for the coveted son. In India there was, and there still may be, a ban on ultrasounds that indicated gender because of the sharp uptick of abortions of female fetuses. The female infanticide rate was so extreme that today there are villages in India where there are simply no girls, and girls must be imported from neighboring villages when it is time to marry.
Close to home my own aunt had five daughters in her quest to have her son which she ultimately had on baby number six. What must it feel like to be the first five daughters who know their birth was merely a disappointment. My grandfather was pressured to marry someone else because my grandmother only gave him daughters. As ironic as life can be sometimes, his second wife gave him three sons. My FIL proudly announces from time to time “I am proud I had a girl, I don’t mind.” Why is there a need to make this proclamation if gender is not an issue?
I can’t stop thinking about this, the emphasis on boys. The desire for boys. The devaluation of mothers who could not produce sons. How people will drive themselves to a litter of children, and abortion of little girls, in their quest for their son.
And then there's us. The IF sisters who would do anything for a child, a healthy live breathing baby to hold and care for and love and raise. The very idea of wanting one gender over another seems silly when you come down to it, just being able to reproduce is something not to be taken for granted.
This overwhelms me. I'm having a boy and I wouldn't have cared either way. Yet because my baby has a penis instead of a vagina, this would matter to so many people in ways I cannot comprehend. This small detail in another place, another time, another country could be the difference between life and abortion, between adoption and raising one’s own child.
When I thought I was having a girl I felt determined to raise her to have self-confidence and pride in being who she was. I was ready to snarl like a mother bear at anyone who dare give a disappointed glance at my female child. And now I’m having a boy. I’m thrilled to pieces but it bothers me that people may smile with approval at this. That somehow because I am having a boy I may have more worth, or my child my have more worth.
Both genders are beautiful and worthy. I hope I will be able to raise him well, into a man who will be a productive member of society, and who will never consider himself the better gender simply because of the goods God put between his legs.