My husband used to work with a father of 7 boys. At the time my husband worked with him, the co-worker and his wife were contemplating "trying for a girl".
The thought of having 7 children, all big, burly boys, is somewhat terrifying to me. Maybe it is because I only ever wanted 2 children, or because 7 pregnancies and births would have been absolute hell for me. Fortunately my husband and I agreed we only wanted 2 children, and now that we have 2 lovely, healthy little girls, we have zero desire to have anymore.
But we do often get asked, “are you trying for a boy?” or are simply told, “You need a boy.”
A fellow school mum I know, who has a girl and a boy, told me she never gets asked if she is having another child now. I, on the other hand, having two girls, get asked on a regular basis. It is as if having one child of each gender will somehow complete our family, even though we already feel whole and life is good.
Mums of boys have told me things would be different if I had 2 boys. That I would want to 'try for a girl', and that the desire to have a girl would outweigh my initial decision to only have 2 children. But I disagree.
Although there are many people who dream of having a 'pigeon pair', I think there are also lots of others like myself who have strong reasons for not wanting to have any more children, no matter what gender they get.
When my first daughter was born, I never felt like I could relax. There was always the feeling that I had to go through pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding again. I became pregnant unexpectedly when my daughter was 7 months old, but sadly, I miscarried. This added a new level of anxiety about having a second child, and if I would even be able to carry another baby to term.
I was so grateful that I did fall pregnant again and we didn't find out the gender until she was born. Did I feel that sense of gender disappointment that so many parents experience at having a second child the same gender? Not at all. I felt relieved. She had arrived, and she was healthy, and that was it for my pregnancy journey.
As someone who has struggled with fatigue since I was in my early 20s, as well as anxiety and depression, another baby is just unfeasible. I can barely keep up with my preschoolers, plus work, deal with all the joys of housework and maintain a barely-there social life.
I’m not saying I would be disappointed with another girl. I’m saying no more babies. My eldest is almost 3 and has finally started sleeping through the night. We are getting a puppy soon and the thought of waking up during the night for her makes me tired.
“But wouldn’t your husband love a boy?” This is another line I hear, and yes, he probably would, but we are not guaranteed to get one if we try. We often joke that if we did "try for a boy" until we got one, we would probably end up with 7 girls.
So no, we are not trying for a boy. Even our new puppy will be a girl. The desire for a boy just isn’t strong enough to sway me to try for another child. I wonder when everyone will stop asking us?