How high is high? Craving ice cream is typical, right? Mixing baking soda (or even drain cleaner) with my urine: what? And, hanging my wedding ring over my belly? Am I even married? Do all boy babies have carved out masculine jaws?
Charming, infuriating wives tales -- we have all heard them; raising questions and sometimes hopes. They land in our HcG-pumped Google searches at a time when everything gender is up for debate. But, like it or not, the predictions will continue to roll in and the wedding ring, if you have one, will surely swing in some direction.
However, for every pseudo-science based wives tale prediction, the outcome will be correct 50% of the time. So, of course, have some fun with it and get the bets going, but aside from the supposed symptomatic differences between carrying a girl and carrying a boy, there are a few other things to mull over.
What does the mother of a little girl need to prepare for that a mommy of a growing boy doesn’t? How is mothering a little lady different now than it used to be? Could it be that my daughter doesn’t prefer all of the little pink dresses we got at our baby shower and would rather play with the trucks all of my friends surely walked past in the store? Are there really any differences at all?
Let’s explore the predicted differences between being pregnant with a girl and carrying a boy and have a little fun with them.
7 You Will Need a Bigger Closet.
While this may sound as stereotypical as my coworker guessing boy due to lack of make-up and not caring about appearance (jaw drop), hear me out. Time and time again, people will chirp “dressing a girl is so much more fun than dressing a boy!” It doesn’t take long strolling the aisles of your local baby boutique to wonder why.
My neighbourhood children’s consignment store shows two-thirds pink stock and one-third blue. Headbands, headband organizers, tights, leg warmers, dresses, tutus, fancy little hats, earrings; it is easy to spend a pretty penny on little girls.
Bigger business than boys’ clothing, girls’ apparel includes more choice and, as a result, more expense. It would be an interesting study to look at the average amount of clothes given baby boys and tiny girls pre-birth.
Over time, though, this adds up. Money sense shows that parents, over eighteen years, will spend 11% more on girls than boys and that females, in general, go through their clothing more than boys do. But, you do have choices: get a bigger closet, find a bigger wallet, or hone your no-saying skills.
6 Your Relationship With Your Mom: Revisited.
Like it or not, carrying a child is bound to bring up memories, good or bad, of your early childhood, your relationship with your parents, and beliefs around gender. These can affect your pregnancy and outlook, but are also all part of the transformation taking place. Nine months, while it may seem painstakingly long, after getting up for the third time in the night to pee, is a valuable amount of time to look at and address any issues that surface, as well as any history of early trauma you may have experienced.
With a girl, you may reflect on your relationship with your own mother or primary female caregiver: the joys, problems, what works, what doesn’t. If there were significant issues, you may renew your commitment to being present in your new relationship and desire to mend the generational divide. It may take time and a lot of work to get there, but ultimately, this will imbue this new chapter with a sense of self-knowing and understanding -- important tools when it comes to getting to know yourself through this change.
Being blessed with a nurturing, supportive relationship with your mother is also well worth reflecting upon. Recall the experiences you enjoyed and shared with your mother, what you have learned, and what you would love to pass along. Take the time to nourish your ideals; it is a good place to start.
5 Congratulations! You Are Already a Grandmother. Sorta.
Girls are unique, in that, within a baby girl’s ovaries there lie hundreds of thousands of eggs. These are the eggs she has for the rest of her life. While males continually produce sperm, changing the supply pool, the egg that will become your grandchild lies within your daughter’s womb within your own womb. Giving birth to a birth-giver.
Anita Damiant, author of the well-known book The Red Tent, reflects on her writing: “Some years prior to starting the book, I heard a lecture by a Jewish writer….who suggested rethinking a biblical law that required separation of a woman from the community for 60 days after the birth of a girl compared to 30 days after the birth of a boy…. This could be seen as a reflection of the notion that girl babies made mothers more “unclean” than boys.
The lecturer asked us to consider a different theory, which was far more interesting to me. Perhaps, he said, this was an acknowledgment that giving birth to a birth-giver was a more sacred, a more powerful experience. The extra month could be seen not as a punishment, but as a reward.” And, The Red Tent, by the way, is a great pregnancy read.
4 Hello, Information Age
While boys in the past were seen as the more lucrative offspring, tending to the fields, bringing in the money, keeping the farm going, some sources, such as the Ted Talk by Hanna Rosin, are suggesting this is the time to be a woman. Moving away from a manufacturing based society, we have entered the information age where flexibility and communication rank highly on skills needed to succeed; skills women are seen as possessing more easily.
So, instead of saving for your daughter’s dowry or eyeing up the male babies in your Mother Goose program to arrange a marriage later on, you can stand with all the feminists who have walked and worked before you knowing your daughter will enter a world where her professional work will be more valued than ever.
This (probably) doesn’t give you the right to tell mommies of little boys that their pregnancies have recently become inferior, coming dangerously close to being obsolete. Maybe we’re overcompensating with all of that attitude, but we’re just so darn happy to see how females are triumphing when compared to the ancient versions of ourselves.
3 Mini Me
Many parents talk about desiring that a part of themselves carry on in their children. In fact, this may be the reason why they chose to become parents. If we take for granted inherent differences between males and females, we can have a reasonable hope that, in our daughter, we will find a person patterned after ourselves or simply receptive to our way of knowing, being, and skills.
As daughters, we know this may not always run smoothly, but there are experiences that will unite us, like pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding; unique female experience to be shared and only fully understood by those who have been through it.
While pregnant, we may find ourselves reliving memories of growing up as a girl, our various firsts and how we might frame these to our daughter. It can be quite astonishing to think we will be her first example and reference of being a woman. What does being a woman mean to you? What do you want it mean?
Whether having a boy or girl, and with your particular symptomatic as well as meaning-based experience, the beauty is you really don’t know who this little creature is and what they will be like. We live at a time when gender is acknowledged as a spectrum. While many may dress our girls in tutus and headbands, let’s remember she is her own person and always be on the watch for who is emerging.
While most parents cringe a little at having a child without clear gender –aligning interests, this can be something to celebrate. How unique and beautiful it will be to have a little girl who paints her fingernails after sticking them in the mud and squishing unsuspecting bugs with them.
With all the marketing and hype around babies, somehow, the male/female binary bursts in with surprising force. It could be that there are so many cultural influences around pregnancy, including older relatives and parents who may not even know what the Swedish word “hen” means, as well as a lack of North American examples of doing without.
Considering the gender neutral approach can be a touchstone or even just a helpful mild muting mechanism as you navigate your way through tutus and tractors.
1 If the Wives Tales Hold True…
Pregnancy with a girl will be markedly different than with a boy. While your hair may not be as lustrous on your scalp or your legs as your boy-carrying counterparts, you can count on smooth, silky skin. Unfortunately, the verdict is still out, as some sources say your smooth silky skin will also be covered in acne. And, speaking of your epidermal reality, with a girl, you will miss out on the rich experience of watching a dark line, called Linea Nigra, grow up your belly.
Having a sweet tooth is considered a sign of a female bun in the oven, so, barring gestational diabetes, enjoy fulfilling your sweet tooth cravings. Of course, this means the classic ice cream and pickles (pickles could indicate a boy, actually), but make sure to savour the more traditional and wholesome sweets of berries (think smoothie) and maple syrup.
Since wives tales are entirely subjective (and fun!), why not make a few of your own and test them on your friends. Anything and everything can be a predictor of sex and within a few generations, they will surely be nothing but fact. Science has shown all wives tales predicting gender will be right 50% of the time.