Would you be offended if a friend told you that she only wanted girls?
I know many parents who've been angry and hurt because I've said that I only want to have girls. It's as if my preference implies something negative about their sons. The thing is, my personal choice doesn't mean that I don't like boys, or that I don't like their children, I just don't want one myself.
When I first fell pregnant I desperately wanted it to be a little girl, and I was over the moon when I found out that I was expecting my daughter.
Then one day, while breastfeeding in a local café, two women sat beside me. One had three boys and the other had three girls. I couldn't help but say something about the poetry of it all.
The mother with three girls said to me, "I only wanted girls, so I followed the advice of this book, How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby and only had girls. My friend only wanted boys and did the same thing."
The chord was struck right there and then. I was captivated. I could exercise some influence over the gender of my second child! I could have a home with lots of little girls. It was perfect. Today, as I stand ready to conceive a second child, I am actively working towards it being another little girl.
For me, girls are where it's at. I prefer being around them, I love their quirks and their natures. I don't think that they are "better" than boys; I have no internal measuring system that assesses them and gives them marks. It isn't about which gender can do more or be more, it's about which gender I can relate to on a personal level.
When I told some friends about this decision, their reactions took me completely by surprise. One mum told me that she thought I was very rude, another looked at her son, looked at me and said, "Oh, thanks", in a flat voice. Another said that I was an idiot – a word that was about to be repeated a lot as I investigated this issue further.
Only three of my mum friends were completely fine with my decision and didn't think anything of it. The rest had very intense opinions, and this inspired me to ask other parents what they would think of a woman who only wanted girls.
"I am rather offended by someone who said they didn't want boys, offended on behalf of my boys," said Ellen Arnison, mum to three boys. "I think this woman's probably not just a bit foolish, but actually a big fat idiot. If she doesn't want a child flawed by his gender, how will she cope with other unexpected imperfections like red hair, asthma, autism or freckles - all of which my sons have. It's ludicrous."
Lisa Jackson, author of Moaning Mummy, said, "I think it is okay for a woman to say that they would prefer a boy or a girl, but I think that we have to accept that a baby itself is a miracle and be happy with whichever we are given. I don't think I would be offended if someone said they were desperate for a boy or a girl, as long as they weren't disappointed if they got the opposite."
"If she said she couldn't bear the thought of a boy while my son was playing in front of her, I'd be offended! I'd see her comment as a reflection on him – is he really so terrible to be around that she wouldn't want to have a child like him," said Rhian Drinkwater, mum to Harry, "And I'd think she's crazy as boys are lovely and my home is mostly pink-free!"
"I would think she was a little sick in the head," said Dan, father of two, "If she'd already had a boy and didn't want any more I'd understand a little bit, but each person is an individual and gender shouldn't prejudice you for the next one."
I really don't understand what all the fuss is about. I am not saying anything negative about boys. I don't think boys are smelly or dangerous or ugly. My personal preference is no reflection on the nature of boys, or their parents. I have no problem with women who say they only want boys, or those who say that they would like one of each. But, given a choice, I would rather that the child I held in my arms after nine long months was a girl.
It's important to add that I would never terminate if I had a boy, nor would I love and cherish him any less once he was born. That utter love a mother has for her child will surface in me, no matter what the gender. I think, however, that it is completely normal for me to have a preference and I am not ashamed of the fact that I do.
More on Parentdish: How to predict your baby's gender at 12 weeks
And for an entirely different view, read The joy of boys.
What do you think? Did you or do you still prefer girls to boys?