Monday, 17 January 2011

Pink Or Blue – Which One Are You?

When I discovered I was pregnant back in July 2008, my husband and I were thrilled. We decided to keep it secret until we had the all clear at the 12-week scan – it was the hardest couple of months of my life but it was also lovely to be carrying such an amazing secret.

As soon as we announced the pregnancy, I was immediately hit with a question I hadn’t even thought of.  “Would you like a girl or boy?”.  I hadn’t even given it a thought, to me just carrying a healthy baby was all I cared about, the sex was just one of those things we’d wait until the birth to discover but have fun guessing along the way.  But then I heard those fateful words “Well, I hope it’s a girl, I never had a girl so it would be lovely for me”.  For you?  For You? Errr, excuse me, this is OUR baby, NOT yours!  I dismissed it.

However, as my pregnancy progressed I felt more and more pressure from a couple of members of our family to deliver them a baby girl.  I remember those words down the phone the morning of my 20-week scan “Have a word to him upstairs please, I want a girl”.  These words still make me so angry.  To the point where I actually started to think I would like a boy just to p**s them all off!  Harsh I know, but when your hormones are raging during pregnancy it can make you a tad crazy.

Our beautiful baby girl was born in March 2009 and she was perfect.  We were so happy.  I thought that would be the end of the whole ‘gender preference’ but no.  It still continues now.  I face regular battles over present buying, amongst other things, hearing the words “Well, I never had a girl so I haven’t experienced this or this so I want to do this, buy this blah blah blah”.

All the while I sit and suffer in silence.  I’ve tried to politely get my point across but it’s getting to a stage now I’m about to snap.  I’m not a ‘girly’ girl myself, indeed I’m no tomboy but I’m just not into the whole fluffy bunny fairy pink princess glittery stuff.  Obviously the girl obsession within the family means we are regularly showered with overly pink, frilly, fluffy hideous items that aren’t practical at all.  My husband and I want to have another baby sometime in the future and if we do have a boy he will have to make do with lots of pink hand-me-down toys because, rather than buying neutral, these family members are properly pink obsessed!  A member of that side of the family is pregnant at the moment  with her FIRST child and she actually said to me when she was trying to conceive “I don’t want a boy, I just want a girl.  All my friends have boys” and then she topped it by making a “Bleurgh” noise and screwing up her face in disgust.  I was horrified. 

So, the regular battles with the gender preference from the family will no doubt continue. Only yesterday I faced such hurdles, which is the catalyst for this post.

The thing is, I’m honestly not bothered in the slightest what sex our children are.  All that matters to me is they are healthy.  Surely that’s the real wish that any parent should have?  I read somewhere that some parents become so obsessed with wanting a particular sex that they suffer depression and bonding issues with the child.  There’s even a proper term for it - ‘gender disappointment'. Google it.  You’ll even discover one woman who has admitted that she would have terminated her little boy if she could have done so without anyone knowing.

A member of my family can’t have children and I have many friends who've experienced miscarriages at various stages of pregnancy but yet there are people who want to be so fussy as to choose the sex of their baby.  Maybe I’m extremely naïve but I just don’t understand it.  Maybe if we are lucky to be blessed with another child and we have another girl, maybe I’ll start to get the longing for a boy.  Who knows?

So, my question is, what are your thoughts?  Do you think it’s right, wrong or are you impartial?  Do you have a gender preference yourself?  Have you any experience of this that can help me?


Added to the BMB January Blog Hop.  Hop along and check out some great posts:


Davinia said...

I completely agree! I didn't find out the sex when I was pregnanct didn't matter and I too got a lot of the oh I wish you have a....comments. I think it is adding more pressure on an already pressured woman!

Having had a boy already I often think that it would be nice to have a girl to have experienced having both sexes but I can't say that I am overly bothered by it. I would be more than happy to have another boy, so long as they are happy and healthy that it what ultimately matters.

Great subject babe, carry on with the great blogging :) xxx

@jencull (jen) said...

The gender preference really makes me cross. We came in for a lot of comments when I was pregnant on my third as I had two sons already. Everyone kept saying 'oohh, I suppose you are hoping it is a girl' when I really didn't care whether it was a boy or a girl, I just wanted another child. She turned out to be a girl and I was nearly sorry I couldn't say 'up yours' to all those people, but she is great only we now have pink in the house which I can't cope with at all lol. Great post, I think it is a line that a lot of people step over far too often! Jen

Michelle Twin Mum said...

Hiya, I have tagged you for a meme/ award at my blog -

Mich x

showandtellideas said...

We were only able to have one child, a daughter, so would have felt equally blessed either way.

I think a lot of people create all the pink girlie things around having a girl.....or playing footy with a boy. Of course the reality is that you could have a girl who loves footy and a boy who loves that doesn't really work out anyway. Every child is unique regardless of gender.

Some people well and truly cross the line...and technology is making this more and more possible every day (unfortunately).

Great topic.

PS. Heather, when I try to post on your blog using my Blogger account, it is going into your SPAM folder (I posted one on Silent Sunday). Mich from Mummy from the Heart and Mummy@Bod for Tea kindly check their SPAM folder every day or two for my posts and take me out. I will publish as Open ID today, but will try to post again using my Blogger account in future:
Trish@Show and Tell

Tina said...

I'll be the odd one out here, I always wanted boys... mainly because I know how bad I was and I didn't want a little girl repeating my mistakes! Yeah, I know, they aren't me....but you get the point.

I currently have two girls. I really thought #2 was a boy, but my internal gut feeling was wrong. I didn't even consider waiting to find out the gender for either....must be the project manager in me.

If we do decide to have #3, I would hope for a boy to carry on my husbands name. If it is another girl, I will be just as happy. Oh, and I can't stand all the pink either!!! My MIL didn't have girls, so I was SWAMPED in pink when my first daughter was born!

Tina @ Tech Tools 4 Mom

helloitsgemma said...

I never had any gender preferences - not experienced any either. I have had some raised eyebrow about the buggy and baby I brought for our son, and is dolls house - but I'm like..... common, wanna discuss it??? they never do! love your 7 things by the way - can't believe you ate the worm. wow.

Kathryn said...

We had a similar experience to you, in that my OH's family were desperate for us to have a girl. With 2 grandsons already, his mum would say things like 'Liam's my favourite big boy, Archie's my favourite little boy, all I can say is thank goodness Gemma was a girl!' as if she wouldn't have known how to pick her favourites otherwise. And don't get me started on the pink fluffy stuff. This Christmas and 2nd birthday alone we must have had about 6 pink dolls, all hideous and all predictably loved to death by Gemma already :(
It is quite odd though as while I was determined to be as gender neutral as possible with her, I do find myself thinking how nice it would be to have another girl, though this is more about the practicalities of hand-me-down clothes, and having the heebie-jeebies about changing a little boy's nappy... but like you whatever flavour the next one might be as long as he or she is healthy that's the main thing.

Vickie Ford said...

Well you knew my feelings on the matter, and I am and think I will forever will be a blue in both aspects of my life,tehe!!!

SAHMlovingit said...

It's great to hear all your stories and experiences. Apparently from a maternal point of view the gender disappointment is more common with women who have boys and long for a girl and not often the other way around so it's interesting to read a couple of people who have or would have been happy with just boys.

Gemma - I have a friend of a friend who has a little boy who's 5 and he loves pink, dresses up in dresses. He even got a Barbie castle for Christmas the year before last!

Emma said...

I can't believe that people say things like that, when I got pregnant I did kind of secretly want a girl but I didn't even say that to my hubby as I thought it sounded so bad.
When I found out I was having a boy I was still over the moon, because he was healthy and I was having a baby!!! Never gave it another thought after that.

My problem in pregnancy was the grief I got because I wanted to find out, and that wasn't because I wanted one or the other - I'm just not good with suspense! I have ranted about it before...

Beadzoid said...

I also have strong feelings on this but they are quite the opposite to many here.

I wanted to know the gender, and I wanted a girl. I'll also say that I don't care if people judge me for it, I can't control my feelings about this any more than I can control the length of my legs. If people do have a preference, then they do, and I don't think they should feel like they care any less about the health of their baby.

What is a shame though is mothers who experience this gender disappointment and let it interfere with their relationship, especially if they deal with this by continually reproducing to finally get the 'right' gender. But like I say, only if this means they can't bond with their child. In short, if you know you won't love your baby as much if the gender turns out to be a disappointment, then don't have kids.

I think other people who force their preferences onto the parents, like parents or inlaws, are the ones to be deplored, not the parents. It sounds like you've had your fair share of that. But a lot of people can't help not being neutral in their preferences, it's the nature of some folk and is it really so terrible? I'd much rather stand in judgment for someone smoking in their car while the kids are in it, or endangering their health in some other way. But not something which the parent cannot control, no matter how much they feel they ought. Live and let live, I say.

Ps: I'm not taking or meaning any offense at the article or other views here but I wanted to give my straight opinion x

SAHMlovingit said...

Mummy Beadzoid - Not at all, I relish this kind of open discussion that's why I asked the question. I have a very open mind and was interested to hear if some people had gender preference - hence my questions at the end.

I don't judge people for gender preference, I just struggle to live with it in my life and it pisses me off the way some people in my family have made me feel. I can't tell how I would feel in the future. Perhaps if I have another girl I'd be longing for a boy. Who knows? That's why I wrote the article originally back in January. I just don't like people having a preference about my children, maybe it is in their nature but it hurts and impacts on my life.

If we have another child, we may find out the sex at the 20 week scan...not because we have a preference, just because we didn't last time and it may be easier to know. Again, this is in the future so I really don't know what we'd decide.

Thank you SO much for your open and honest post. This is what these posts are all about. All view points so I'm glad someone has spoken out :)

HonestMum said...

VItal post, thanks for letting me know about it. Insensitive comments and other people projecting their preferences is not on in my opinion. People can't help how they feel but they don't have to share them. Having a child, any child is a blessing. My child is healthy, beautiful and intelligent and he makes me proud to be his mother.  That really is all that matters.

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