As a dad of two, I like to think I'd be proud of my children whatever sex they were. As it happens, they're both boys, but for both the first and second pregnancies, my thoughts were entirely on whether they'd be healthy, not whether they'd have dangly bits or not. Really.
Except people often arch an eyebrow at that statement, and suggest that a.) it's a barefaced lie, b.) that I probably spent both pregnancies doing some kind of weird manly voodoo dance in order to ensure male progeny, and c.) that my wife is presumably determined to keep having more children until she gets a girl.
To which the answers are a.) No, b.) Nope, and c.) No. Although she does sometimes sit on the garden patio rocking and weeping while clutching a My Little Pony...
I might not have minded whether I had boys or girls, but that also makes me profoundly unqualified to make fun of those for whom not having one or the other is a genuinely upsetting issue.
However, I can't help thinking that the reason people do feel passionately one way or the other often comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown, to be specific. So dads want boys because they remember being a boy, but haven't got a clue about girls. Vice versa for mums.
It's the reason my (not weeping) wife is currently reading a book about the psychology of boys, to figure out what they're really thinking.
Several times a day, she tells me why I did X or felt Y when I was a teenager – a habit made even more scary by the fact that she's usually right. I'd be doing the same thing (with probably more smugness) if we'd had girls.
Fear of the unknown. But what about fear of the known? Or to put it another way, I'd be worried about having a daughter because I don't know how girls tick. But shouldn't I be doubly worried about having boys because I know EXACTLY how they tick?
(Yes, okay, how they ticked in the 1980s, which isn't quite the same thing).
Ultimately, having children of either sex is scary enough, especially when you start thinking ahead to their teenage years. Dangly bits or no dangly bits, getting hung up on gender is just giving yourself something needlessly extra to worry about.
Do you mind what gender your child is? Would you keep going till you got the gender you wanted?
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