Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Really want to have a daughter??

Few days back I read an article by Emily, who is a mother of three boys, on wanting to have a "daughter" to take care of her and I wanted to post for Tharini & other mother of boys who really want to have a girl..

(This is the article by Emily)
Three months after my third son was born, we took our first vacation as a family of five to the Bahamas. It was then that I discovered how a mother with three sons seems to attract frequent and not always appealing comments, ranging from “God Bless you” to “No girls?” The “No girls?” one always bothered me, and by the end of the trip, I finally resorted to a quick comeback. Responding to a woman working at airport security, I said with great conviction, “Oh no, my three girls are at home!”

A friend of mine once said that anyone who says they don’t care about having children of all the same sex is lying. I have another friend who put it more gently, and I think most accurately, by saying that everyone would like the experience of raising both a boy and a girl but it really doesn’t matter what you ultimately have. I have plenty of friends that have either three boys or three girls, but it is the mothers with the three (or more) boys who inevitably get the attention from strangers as well as friends with their insensitive musings. A mother to three girls hears “Oh, how cute” while a mother to three boys gets “Oh, how do you do it?”

In my small suburban town, there is actually a club called “Mothers of Boys” and to qualify, you must be a mother to three or more boys with no girls at all. I’m not sure if it’s a support group or an excuse to socialize. Nevertheless, there is something about having that third boy that makes us stand out and garner reactions that usually border on pity. Sometimes I find them downright amusing but other times they slug me in that vulnerable spot, knowing that I may never have a daughter. The comments that sting the most come from women who have had two boys, then give birth to a girl. These mothers brag to me, “I got my girl!” Or some women say with relief, “My husband finally got it right!” When I was lamenting to one of my friends with three boys that I never cared about having a little girl to dress up in pretty pink outfits, she quickly agreed and said, “I don’t want a girl; I want a daughter.”

That was it, exactly. When I think about the close relationship I have with my own mother, it wasn’t until my late teens when our mother-daughter bond truly evolved. We got over the hump of those hideous teenager years and became best friends. Whether it was going on shopping sprees, having long phone calls discussing friendship woes, planning my wedding or obsessing about my pregnancies, my mother was and still is a constant source of stability, strength and inspiration. I can only dream of passing on that kind of love and support to my own daughter.

I should interject at this point that days after I gave birth to our sweet, third boy, I told my husband that I thought I wanted one more child. Everyone, including him, immediately assumed it was because I wanted to try for a girl. But that really wasn’t it; at least I didn’t think so. I realized that my two older sons were two years apart while my third little guy was four years younger than his middle brother. My 4 and 6 year olds appeared to be eons ahead of him and now I felt he needed a “buddy” to grow up with, trick-or-treat with, sleigh-ride with, ride the day camp bus with— activities that my two older ones now do together. By the time my third son was ready to join them and really revel in these doings, they would be done, or almost done, with that phase of their childhood. During this conversation, my husband’s face instantly went pale with fear. He probably attributed my announcement to wacky hormones so I decided not to bring up the subject again for a while.

What would make me hesitate on number four more than my husband’s panic, however, would be that if I did get pregnant, I would dread the nine months of pressure and speculation from all the onlookers on whether or not we were having a girl or another boy. It’s both stressful and annoying. My husband and I never find out the sex beforehand because frankly, we truly don’t care! However, the rest of the world not only seems to care but to make wagers, predict and relay their own anxieties about the sex of our child.

It was during this Bahamas trip that I had a chance conversation with a woman by the pool who helped me come to terms with what may or may not be my destiny of being a mother to three sons. She told me that she too had three boys and then her fourth child was a girl. I told her that I too was thinking of having a fourth because I didn’t feel “done” yet. I also told her how I loved having three boys but that I had a close relationship with my mother and before I even finished my thought about wanting a daughter, she finished it for me: “I wanted someone to brush my hair for me when I can’t do it anymore.” Yes, that was it! Not the girl, but the daughter.

The woman by the pool saw my face get this faraway, sad look but that was when she said all the right things. “Don’t worry,” she consoled. “If you never have a daughter, I can promise you that one of your sons will assume that role for you. In fact, one of my sons is more of a daughter to me than my own daughter.”

Ever since that conversation, I am comforted and enlightened by the realization that a daughter won’t necessarily sprout from giving birth to a little girl. She may be one of my sons or a future daughter-in-law or one of my nieces. I know that I would have stepped in as the “caretaker” for my mother-in-law after her knee-replacement surgery if she didn’t have her own daughter offer to fly to Arizona to help feed, dress and bathe her. When I try to imagine if my daughter will in fact be one of my sons, I assess each of their burgeoning personalities for hints. My oldest son enjoys caring for his youngest brother and sometimes demands the involvement in dressing, bathing and feeding him. My middle son is incredibly attuned to other people’s emotions, including his own. And my youngest, now 2, is so precious and cuddly: He wraps himself around my heart each time he asks me for a hug and a kiss several times a day. My three sons are all so different and thus already fulfill distinct roles within our family. For now, I still do most of the hair brushing in my house but when the time comes for someone to take care of me, I know my daughter will find me.


saakshi said...

HI Mommy of 2,
This is in regard to ur question about using basmathi rice for preparing bisibelebath. Well...traditionally we south indians do not use basmathi for our dishes because it gives a flavor to the dish which changes the flavor of the whole original dish. Hey, but there's no hard and fast rule not to try it....go on try and let me know....I might even give it a try some day. Cheers and have a nice day. Thanks for looking into my blog.

Alan said...

Nicely written post. We raised one of each. The daughter was the easiest, but only by comparison. Every day is a drama during the teenage years.

Jayashree said...

I have a daughter and honestly, I feel that if I have another child I want it to be a daughter too.

White Forest said...

its here ... :)

Ekta said...

awww...firstly i think its adorable to have three lovely boys..and i do agree that its a different experience to raise both but its not that one is better than the other...i think its imp that u thank god for having blessed u with three healthy and lovely children who love u so much...touchwood!

Tharini said...

Thanks Mo2 for posting this. I was really touched to read the words of this mother. Especially the last line.

I haven't looked back on that post of mine where I expressed my disappointment, because now its well past me and do not harbor those feelings anymore....but this was really sweet.

Asha said...

Hi MO2! Nice reading that article,it's so true.I am glad I have a girl and a boy:))I love my girl who s all heart and that boy cares so much.I am lucky.(never mind abt husband:D)

Has to be me said...

Hi there! Cool article! I remember how I was also desparate to have a daughter & thank God got one! :)

My daughter is also taklu now! :)

And loved the panty pics of ur daughter! Guess what my son tries stuff like that with my bra once in a while!!!!

Nee said...

This was so sweet!
Something did hit me though - about how a lot of Indians used to pray for boys...there are still older people who bless pregnant women with healthy *boys*, rather than with just a healthy baby! If you had three girls, the reaction wouldn't be "How cute", it would be "Oh, poor you!" You would see families with 5 kids with the last one being a boy, and you know that if that hadn't happened, they wouldn't have stopped at 5.

Kalpana said...

I can't say having whom is the best. But in my case, when my mother had a surgery, it was me who took care of her that I feel proud of. Might be having a daughter is good. Because a woman might understand a woman's feelings more easily than a man. 1 more thing important to note, 4 what I personally feel to everyone. Do raise a guy n a gal in equal manner. A guy should even be able to do household work. Then things will work out to be good automatically. Aren't gals doing everything that's possible out there? Then half of our world's problem is solved.

Orchid said...

i was hoping my first one would be a daughter precisely because of the relation I share with my parents but now that I have a son..i think little boys are so adorable, but still a daughter is not replacable (is that even a word??)

Ardra said...

I'm a regular reader of u'r blog. Being the mother of two sons I can relate to the post well.I was inspired to share my feelings on this issue and that has become a post. Please do visit:

:-) My MIL too is the mother of two sons and years ago ( before the sons got married) when she had surgery and had to take complete bed rest, her two sons - my husband and BIL took care of her - dressing her wound, cooking and cleaning the house along with my FIL.

warm rgds

mommyof2 said...

Alan: Same here but my daughter is the real terror in my case;-) Actually she is the one who is putting new ideas in my son’s head, to make my life more hectic;-) Don’t want to think of their teen years yet;-)

Jayshree: Good Luck;-) I think having one son & 1 daughter is the best cuz I know all guys want to have a son;-)

Ekta: yeah, She is lucky to have so loving sons..:-) I think it has alot to do with her parenting style too, which made them this way:-)

tharini: Im glad u feel that way:-)


HTBM:Me too:-) wanted dau so badly:-) My son does similar with my bra.. One day he was trying to wear it saying “its my bag pack” lol

Nee: you are right.. few days back I wrote a similar respond on tharini’s blog where she was a bit disappointed knowing that she is going to have another boy:-)

mommyof2 said...

Kalpana: things are changing these days.. guys can do everything what a girls can do for their parents but we always feel closer to our daughters.. This isn’t the only reason why people wish for girls though.. I think a girl brings a son home but DIL takes away our son.. lol

orchid:yup, not replicable at all;-) during my first pregnancy I used to think I was having a daughter too:-) Now my son is more caring & loving than my daughter:-)

andra: I think boys can manage everything a girl can but our old way of thinking don’t let them:-) Im glad time is changing now and so does people’s thinking.. Few months ago I remember reading a post on ur blog about a girl’s death (involved in-laws).. Maybe that’s the reason why people used to feel that way about having girls.. an unknown fear..

Kalpana said...

Why don't u think even this way. A woman brings daughter too home but Son-In-Law takes away our daughter. Hahaha......If we feel either way it's the same, then there are no problems at all. It's just in our mindset.

LullabiesAndAlibis said...

Very interesting and well written post! I'm a mother of lots of boys who has written a novel about a woman strongly and desperately yearning for a daughter but who also begins to accept what life intends for her. It's called Lullabies & Alibis (Amazon) and after it was published, I've heard from lots of other woman. I'm glad people are beginning to explore and talk about this subject without feeling ashamed or guilty. Again, great posting!

mom23boys said...

I loved reading emily's story and many of your own. I just found out I am having a third boy, and am thrilled. I agree that a girl wouldn't have been unwelcome, but to have three healthy boys! I am also trying to come to grips with the impending chaos that will reign inside my home!

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