Let’s talk about sex! (Of the baby) by Teresa Palmer
Not actual passionate adventures between the sheets (that article is in the making!) but a discussion on gender.
Gender disappointment is a real thing. My friend wrote a piece on how she had her second boy and she was really mourning the loss of the daughter she would never have. I have another friend who tried all the natural techniques to have a son after having two daughters and it didn’t work, she welcomed a beautiful third girl but not without asking me my thoughts on sperm spinning to get a boy fourth time round. It’s so important to acknowledge that for some people there is a deep desire to have a child of the opposite sex to what they already have. I have so much respect for those really challenging emotions and I hold the space for it whenever I hear about it. I too have been subject to thinking about what I’ll be missing out on if I don’t have a girl. My thoughts have recently evolved and here is why;
Between Mark and I we have 3 boys. I have my bonus didn’t-have-to-push-him-out son Isaac and then my two did-have-to-push-them-out little boys 3.5 year old Bodhi and 8 month old Forest. I really wanted two boys, one after the other. It was a desire of mine to have two of the same gender in a row as it was how I always envisioned my family. When I was a little girl and all through my teen years I always thought I’d have 2 boys then 2 girls (oh the sweet naivety!) When Forest came along I was thrilled as I was excited to have a second little boy close in age to Bodhi. Gender labeling was just apart of what I’d learned and heard people doing, so I formed many similar and baseless beliefs such as; same sex siblings will “play better together”, “have more in common”, “be built in best friends”, “share clothes and toys” etc. How unevolved and simplistic in thinking hey? Of course if Forest had been a girl all of these things could be true too.
I soon realized that society’s built in stereotypes were without merit and started wondering where did all these assumptions come from? As I worked on unlearning them, I noted how far we have come in terms of recognizing that our culture has fundamental issues when it comes to how we think about and and how we discuss gender, but we still have a ways to go.
Since the birth of Forest I’ve been met with weekly, if not daily comments because he was born male “you’ll get your girl”, “oh wow all boys! What a handful”, “will you keep trying for a girl?”, it’s sad to think these people don’t realize that by saying these things they are diminishing the healthy and perfect as they are (penises and all!) children that I have at home. Yes they aren’t girls but that doesn’t mean they’re disappointments because of it or that they fit in to the pre-conceived idea of what boys are like. I find the judgements all very backwards.
Bodhi is often called a girl, maybe it’s the long hair, the gender fluid outfits he chooses, his long eyelashes and gorgeous big blue eyes or maybe it’s his spirit and his divine feminine energy? Bodhi will very quickly correct someone and tell them he is in fact “a big brother not a big sister” and often declares “I have a PENIS!” Bodhi loves his long hair and won’t let anyone cut it, he loves wearing pink and blue, he loves playing with trucks and applying makeup on me, he loves to sing and dance and race cars, shoot lasers/guns/blasters (despite my instance on calling them rainbow shooters, candy blasters and bubble guns!) he also loves dolls houses and playing princess dress ups (to which an unnamed older-than-I family member asked if he might be gay because of it!? WTF who knows/who cares?) I don’t define Bodhi or my other sons by their gender, I just love them as the beautiful soulful and adventurous children that they are.
We live in a time now where we have people who identify with being genderless, transgender, bigender and others. What a beautifully progressive and loving world we live in these days that we can both fight for gender equality AND embrace the idea of not being defined by our sexual organs. This is the reason why I remind myself that the commentary on the gender of my children is outdated, silly and can be disregarded.
Our children’s sexual organs don’t necessarily determine what they’re interested in, how close they’ll be to their mothers, how close we’ll be to our grandchildren, if we get to be apart of planning a wedding, being at our grandchilds birth, if our kids will go shopping with us, how rough/dirty/loud they will be, if they’ll be a daddy’s girl or a mummy’s boy. Let’s not put gender stereotypes on our kids and liberate ourselves from the angst surrounding what we might be missing out on if we don’t have a child of the opposite sex.
The focus shouldn’t be on whether our kids are a boy or girl but what kind of person they are. What they’re like in their heart, how they love themselves, how they help others and what they believe in. All I really desire is having a healthy and thriving baby, their sex doesn’t have anything to do with it. Next time I longingly look at a little girl wearing the cutest damn romper I ever did see, I’ll remind myself of all of the above.