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If You've Got One Shot at Baby, Does Gender Matter More?


a blog by mikki morrissette, Feb. 18, 2010

A recent question from a newly expectant mom on our Choice Moms discussion board erupted into a three-headed monster. A generally friendly monster, but a nerve-wracking one nonetheless.

The controversial issue? A woman learned that her soon-to-be-delivered child was a boy, not the girl she'd always imagined. She felt disappointment about the gender of her child. As a single woman with waning fertility, she knows this will potentially be her only child, and she was mourning the baby girl she might never have.

Not an uncommon reaction. Even though we work so hard to become parents, some of us envision bringing up a boy or a girl.

Women replied with their own stories of brief mourning about the gender of their children (interestingly, I think this tends to happen when we learn gender in advance of the actual delivery, not after birth when the baby is actually OURS).

I always was more of a tomboy with guy friends, so I was worried when I learned that my first child would be a girl. Four years later, after I'd gotten so used to what an attentive, fun-loving daughter she turned out to be, I worried when I learned my second child would be a boy. (Of course, now that she's a more emotional 10-year-old, and he's such a peaceful 6-year-old, I feel so blessed to have both sexes to grow with.)

Then the conversation started turning into one about whether boys or girls are easier to raise, without a role model of the opposite sex in the home. Some suggested that boys might require less worry because they naturally have more opportunities. Others wrote about how much they learned from their own families about making goals happen, regardless of obstacles we might see. To have the ability today to become a parent without a partner for emotional and financial help is scary, but also an amazing choice for single women (and men) to have.

Of course we are all grateful when parenthood finally opens up to us, either through treatment or adoption. Being able to honestly talk about what we mourn, and what we are afraid of, is one of the liberating ways that our community can support each other.

What do you need to get off your chest?


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