Why You Shouldn't Prefer a Specific Gender When You're Having a Baby

I never really imagined myself as a “boy mom.” Sure, I thought I would have a boy, but I never actually thought that at this point in my life, I would have two boys. I imagined motherhood as having a boy and a girl, just what everyone sees as “perfect” these days (or so it seems).

Imagining it meant it would happen that way, right? Well, I was wrong.

Here’s the thing: I am extremely close with my mother (don’t worry, dad; I love you, too) and I desperately yearned to be able to have that with my own daughter someday. After I had my first child, a boy, although my heart was full of love and excitement for the beginning of my journey as a parent, I knew I would eventually try again. I would try for a girl.

I researched methods to try to conceive a girl. And, good Lord, there are many, many methods. I didn’t go nuts about it. I wasn’t sad when the ultrasound tech pointed to the very obvious parts of a little boy. I wasn’t sad when I announced he was a boy. I was never, ever sad that I was having a second boy.

But, I was sad that I wasn’t going to have a girl. Does that make sense?

Some women experience serious gender disappointment. Literally, hysterics during the ultrasound, anger, tears, you name it. That wasn’t me (no judgment if it was you). If you have your heart set on a specific gender, I’ve listed out seven reasons why you shouldn’t.

7 It’s Truly Out of Your Control

Science is a cool thing, isn’t it? Well, if you didn’t think so before, you might after reading this.

Did you take biology at any point in time? If you did, maybe you loved it and you couldn’t get enough of learning about life. On the other hand, it might not have been your favorite subject and, perhaps, you have some unpleasant dissection memories; I sure didn’t enjoy dissecting a pig fetus (yes, that happened). 

When it comes to making a baby, outside of what we know about how babies are made – a la “when a man and woman love each other” – a whole lot of science comes into play. This is also true for what determines the sex of your baby, too.

Did you know that millions of sperm are released upon one ejaculation, but only one of those special little swimmers is required to make it to the egg, fertilize it, and poof! There’s a zygote, which already has 23 of the father’s chromosomes, and 23 of the mom’s chromosomes. These chromosomes determine your baby’s hair color, eye color and ultimately if it will be a boy or a girl.

Biology Is Amazing

How is it determined that the baby is a boy or a girl? Well, it depends on the sperm that fertilizes the egg, my friends. If the sperm is an X chromosome, baby will be a little lady and, if the sperm is a Y, you’ll have a little man. Male sperm are supposed to be weaker, but faster, and female sperm are supposed to be stronger, but slower.

According to the Shettles Method, you can try for a specific gender by timing when you conceive. Some folks believe in theories about timing playing a part in whether you conceive a girl or a boy and, maybe some of you reading this right now utilized this method and either a) it worked or b) it didn’t. It’s a 50/50 shot, right? The idea is to:

  • Have sex closer to the time you ovulate to conceive a boy, as the faster sperm will make it to the egg and fertilize it before a female sperm has a chance to.
  • Have sex prior to ovulation to conceive a girl, so that the faster sperm die, as they are weaker, and give the girl sperm a chance to get to the egg when it is released.

Are these methods factual? Some of may be nodding your heads “yes,” while others, similar to myself, chuckle and shake your head thinking, “nope!”

My overall thought on this: just go with it, and enjoy the process! 

6 Being Sensitive to Women with Fertility Issues

I know a few very strong, kind-hearted women who have yearned to be mothers for years; women who have felt their calling in life was to be a mother. Miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and even multiple rounds of IVF later, some of them were never able to carry a baby to term. I cannot imagine the pain of being so incredibly hopeful month after month, just to be disappointed in a negative pregnancy test. 

I also can’t even fathom losing a child, the idea of it makes me nauseous.

All that these women want is to get pregnant. They do literally everything within their power to make it happen and, if it does, it doesn’t always last. Do you think, for one second, that those women (and their significant others, for that matter) really care whether they have a boy or a girl?

As a sideline-sitter on a lot of social media platforms (okay, sometimes I jump in on days when I am feeling particularly feisty), I have witnessed more times than I can count on my fingers and toes women who complain about finding out they were having a boy after they have already had a boy, or a girl after they have multiple girls. 

The Big Picture Is What Matters in the Long Run

You are certainly entitled to your feelings, but, before you go on a tirade about your disappointment, stop and think of who else might be reading what you have to say. There might be a woman, like those I mentioned above, who just wants a baby, regardless of the gender.

So before you let this cause you any kind of angst in life, take a breath, and think about these ladies. Put yourself in their shoes. As yourself:

  • If I had a hard time getting pregnant, would it really matter to me if my baby were a boy or a girl?
  • If I found out my baby was the gender I wasn’t hoping for, and God forbid miscarried, would the gender matter then?
  • If I decided to adopt a baby, would I really care if the baby were a boy or a girl?

I know, these are hard-hitting questions, but they are worth asking yourself. A little empathy goes a long way. 

5 Sometimes, Things Happen for a Reason

In my life, I really think that things panned out the way they have as a result of unexpected twists and turns. Some of you might even feel the same way. Think about it; are there things in your life that have happened that, in turn, have shaped who you are today

In the moment of those things happening, you might have wondered why in the hell life dealt out a really crappy hand, only to realize years later that if that hadn’t happened, you might not have gotten to learn things about yourself that you never knew. For example, after a break-up in college, I was devastated. I lost weight; I just couldn’t understand why it happened.

That break-up led to my gaining a new friendship. A friend I have now had in my life for 10 years. A friend who, if I hadn’t begun talking to her, I would have never met my husband. You see – her then boyfriend, now husband, was very good friends with my husband. Meeting up at a bar changed my life (for the better).

Enjoy the Ride and Have Fun on Your Journey

What in the world does that have to do with babies? I’ll tell you how it relates, right here:

  • Having two boys has taught me more patience (this could probably said for anyone with two kids, I get that).
  • Having two boys has taught me much more about how the male mind works (at least for a child, so far).
  • Having two boys has shown me that, even though this isn’t what I expected, sometimes the things you don’t expect much further surpass those things that you did expect.
  • Having two boys has given me a new view as life as a mother-in-law someday. I know I need to cut mine some slack sometimes, as she is a mom of three boys, herself.
  • I feel proud that I have an opportunity to raise kind, smart, classy men (the world needs more of these).

Along with the above, I know that there will be plenty more life lessons learned from raising sons and, honestly, I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

4 People Will Get on Your Nerves

Pregnancy hormones are no joke. You’re short-tempered, annoyed easily, cry at the drop of a chocolate-chip cookie and freaking hot all moments of all the days. Guess what? When something that is already stressing you out comes up in conversation, you’re probably going to feel the need to go batsh*t crazy on them. Easy, tiger. Let’s keep our heads in the game, ok?

Even if you are Miss Manners 99.9999 percent of the time, you are going to face situations that will test you, such as:

Social gatherings: What may be someone’s attempt to be friendly and make small talk with you at your friend’s bridal shower will make you want to take the Pinterest-found décor and throw it in their face. “Oh, you’re totally having a girl!” they’ll say, sizing up the shape of your belly and, let’s be real, your rear-end, too. Your best bet? Smile and walk away. No need to cause a scene.

Let It Slide and Plan Your Revenge Later

While at work: Coworkers can become sort of like an extended family. You probably see them more than your actual extended family and, in some cases, you might even spend more time with them than you do your actual family members who live with you. Hypothetically, let’s say you already have birthed a wonderful, healthy, sweet boy. Now, you are pregnant again. And then you find out you are going to have a second boy. Up until this point, you were maybe, sort of, kind of secretly hoping to have a girl. But, having a second boy is fine. Boys are fun and sweet and you’ve already justified why you will be happy with two boys. Sound familiar? And then:

“Oh, you must be so disappointed.”

“Well, I guess you’re going to have to have a third!”

“It’s okay; you’ll get your girl some time.”

They mean well, they really do, so try your best to not explode in a pregnant rage on them. The best thing to do here is to just let them know how happy you are that the baby is doing well. If you don’t want to indulge them, don’t. 

3 Save Yourself the Embarrassment

Yes, I did originally hope to have a little girl someday, but I kept that information very, very quiet. Outside of saying, “it would be nice to have one of each,” I didn’t think it was anyone’s business, really, and I also was worried about people thinking I would be disappointed (apparently some people did) if I found out I was having another boy. Let me reiterate: I most certainly was NOT disappointed. I actually kind of expected a second boy. ESP, I guess.

Let’s take a walk down Hypothetical Lane, here, shall we?

  • Let’s pretend I was broadcasting to the world that I wanted a girl. I posted my ideas for names to Facebook. I shared pins of nursery ideas covered in pink flowers and happy birds. Let’s imagine, for a minute, that I convinced myself that baby number 2 was a girl. That, there was NO WAY it could be a boy.
  • (No offense if this is you, but I have to be honest here. You’re setting yourself up to look a bit silly.)

Roll With the Punches, You Know You'll Love Your Baby No Matter What

  • Then the day comes for my ultrasound and, hypothetical me is sitting there looking at the tech like, “please, spare me the small talk and get to the money shot and show me [insert girl name].”
  • And THEN, the tech shows me a little, biddy, baby penis. A boy. It’s a boy.
  • Hypothetical me would have thrown a hissy fit, had I set myself up like I explained above.

Back to reality now. My tech asked me during my ultrasound, after she said it was a boy, how I felt. I told her I was happy, because I sincerely was. Do you know what she said to me?

“You’d be surprised how many people flip out on me for telling them the wrong gender.”

Ladies. It is not the tech’s fault that you and hubs or boyfriend or your one night stand (no judgment) conceived the sex you didn’t prefer. There is no need to lose your cool on a woman you barely know and probably will never see again.

Basically, stay classy. You’re your own PR manager. Remember that. 

2 Save Yourself From Being Let Down

I really hate to even refer something like this as being let down, specifically with all of the other topics listed within this article that are a little hard-hitting, but it can happen.

I mentioned before that I felt sad that I wasn’t going to have a girl. Let me explain a little further, so if someday my sons read this, they understand that they were not disappointments.

When I imagined having a daughter, I thought of doing with her all of the things my mother and I did together, and more. I would teach her how to put on make-up, maybe let her try ballet; show her how to paint her nails and explain the ins and outs of getting your period. We’d prom dress shop and someday wedding dress shop and get our nails done together. 

Sometimes Your Dreams Don't Meet with Reality

I just had so many ideas in my mind that, when I realized I will likely always be a boy mom, I had to mourn the loss of those ideas. I had to accept that I won’t have those experiences (yes, boys can take ballet). Here’s the thing, though – as I am raising my boys, I am learning how awesome life can be as a boy mom.

While all of these things could also apply to life with a little girl, I have to say:

I have a new found appreciation for Lego, super heroes and Transformers.

I have learned more about bugs than I ever thought I would want to know.

The love and appreciation I have felt compares to nothing else in this world.

Do I worry that someday they will be “too cool” to give mom a hug in public? Sure, I do. Do I know I am raising kind, caring, fun-loving men? Absolutely.

So, before you set yourself up for being let down and before you cry your eyes out because you’ll never cut open a cake to see the color icing you were expecting, think about how much better it would feel to bask in the excitement of your child. Go into a pregnancy knowing very well that even if you “tried” for a specific gender, you might wind up with the complete opposite of what you expected.

And know that sometimes, those unexpected twists can turn out to be the best experiences for you. 

1 A Healthy Baby REALLY is Most Important

When people ask you if you want a boy or a girl, even if you know you have a preference, you might likely respond with, “I don’t care, as long as the baby is healthy!”

Well, of course you want your baby to be healthy. We all want to have a healthy child; who in the world would wish for anything other than that? Unfortunately, this is seen as a cop-out answer to some, and I definitely encountered the, “everyone says that,” reply when I would state my wishes. Honestly, I really did want a healthy baby. I knew a handful of people at the time who were dealing with some frightening issues with their kids, including the following:

  • My old coworker/friend was handling (with great class and strength, I might add) her son awaiting a heart transplant. He was in a hospital more than four hours from their hometown. After spending months on a Berlin Heart, he received his transplant all before the age of 1. She had an older child at home, too, and she and her husband would take turns spending time with their son out of town. Luckily, now, he's doing wonderfully and living the life of a (somewhat) normal toddler.

Put It All in Perspective

  • A friend of a friend’s son was born with a very rare blood disease that required him to receive regular blood transfusions. They needed to uproot their entire family to live near a hospital capable of handling his health needs. Unfortunately, the little guy did not make it to see his first birthday, and the parents had to handle every parent’s worst fear of planning a funeral for their own child. Horrifying.

When you take into consideration all of the possible scenarios that could happen to your child, it really puts things into perspective. At least, it does for me. I know I said I would have liked to have had a daughter someday and, hey, I guess it is still possible. Everyone can have a preference, but when it truly comes down to the life-changing, scary situations that you could face with your child, what matters the most is not that you got “your boy” or “your girl,” but that your child is safe, healthy and thriving. 

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