As I was having breakfast this morning, I was intrigued by a newspaper article about expectant parents. Specifically, the article focused on the letdown some feel when they discover that the baby they have been eagerly awaiting is not the gender they had hoped for. In fact, this devastation even has a name – gender disappointment. I had to stop for a moment to take that in. I immediately went back a century or two, in mind, and imagined moms- and dads-to be, who had no earthly idea whether their babies would be alive, or have deformities when they were born, let alone what the gender would be. Somehow, they muddled through. Of course, I know even back then, expectant parents had visions of little girls to dress up in pink frills or to help Mom around the house and dreams of little boys to help work the land or to wrestle with (gender roles were practically codified in those days!). But how much time did these parents spend wallowing in disappointment when things turned out the other way?
I don’t know about you, but when my husband and I wanted to start a family, I became fascinated anew at the mechanics of all that has to occur within not just one, but two human bodies, in just the right sequence, at just the right time for an embryo to even be created at all. And that’s just the beginning of the miracle. I understand preferences and I even get having a comfort level with a certain gender, but have we lost sight of the wonder it is to even create another life? Or have we just become so accustomed to ‘having it our way’?
As we have seen in recent years, women are waiting longer to have children and couples often contend with additional health issues. Consequently, the road to conception has been anything but a straight line for some. Thankfully, fertility techniques have made it easier for many to realize their dreams of parenthood, through various means. The fact still remains that when conception occurs between consenting adults, with or without help, it is a blessing! It can be fun to find out the gender, for some couples. I mean the technology is there. We have the capability, so they figure ‘why not?’ Once we know, though, let’s remember that the baby who’s coming is ultimately a blessing.
I must confess, I did find out the gender of my twins. Right or wrong, I reasoned that, since we had two babies to buy for, we should go ahead and purchase the kinds of clothing and other supplies we thought they’d need and not have to worry about it later. I didn’t have a preference, but I thought at least one girl would be ‘easier’ because I figured I had a frame of reference for that (the fact that I have an older brother notwithstanding). However, when the technician performing our sonogram told us I was carrying two boys, that was that. I imagined they’d be energetic and active, thus motivating, if not requiring, me to be as well. I envisioned myself getting out of my comfort zone and exploring pastimes that were a little different from what I had enjoyed when I was growing up with my girl friends. Parenting is a unique and transformative experience in that way. It calls upon you to reexamine beliefs, values and ideas you held as truth. Some are reinforced while others are discarded or refashioned to match your new perspective and circumstance. All of this happened for me and life with these boys has been a wondrous adventure. I imagine this to be the case for others as well.
Finally, I believe we all get the children we are uniquely assigned and equipped to raise. They don’t come with an instruction book, but they each come with a purpose. We parents are here to prepare them to fulfill it. Their gender, among other attributes, is just part of the tool kit that will enable them to be who they were created to be. You eagerly awaited your child’s arrival and society needs what your child came here to offer, no matter the gender. Why not settle down and help bring it to fruition?