A House Full of Boys
Often, when I first meet someone and introduce my three boys, the question immediately following, "How old are they?" is, "Are you going to have another?" or "Are you going to try for a girl?" I wonder why this is. Are my baby-making plans up for public discussion? Why such intense interest in what should be an intimate process between my husband and me? I mean, sure, if I were already pregnant with another, asking if I'm hoping for a girl would be understandable, but to ask if we're "planning" to have another, or "trying" to have another? One person even went so far as to offer advice on how to increase our chances of conceiving a girl!
I don't know if the fact that we have three in relatively quick succession (26 months and 32 months apart) makes people assume that we're not planning to stop at three, or if the fact that they're all boys make people assume that we had a third because we were trying for a girl, or if the fact that we're still relatively young (and I apparently look younger than I am) makes people assume that we'll just keep on letting them come until they stop on their own. We have used birth control in the past, our kids were planned (yes, all three), and we didn't keep going because we were "hoping" for a girl.
Full disclosure, until the 20-week ultrasound with each of the three pregnancies, I was sure I was having a girl, and I admit to slight disappointment at first upon finding out they were boys. Well, with GI, it wasn't so much disappointment as genuine surprise and a bit of relief. At least, by then, I knew what to do with a boy and had all the requisite clothing and gear. I do want a daughter. I've always fantasized about raising a girl. On the other hand, now that I have boys, the idea of having a girl terrifies me, because it seems like girls are way harder to raise.
Though it isn't really anyone's business, my husband and I have always talked about having four kids. Now that we have three, a fourth seems inevitable. But as for when, well, isn't that kind of a personal question? Do you need to know whether I'm using birth control or what kind? Do you need to know how often we're "doing the BD," as they say in trying-to-conceive parlance? Do you need to know if we've yet had success? I don't really think so. I promise, when and if I get pregnant, you will know about it as soon as it's appropriate to say so. Or until I can't hide it.
As for "are you going to try for a girl?", that isn't exactly fair to my boys, is it? There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not grateful to have my boys. I've never once wished that any of them was a girl. I've never tried to imagine how life would be different if we had a girl or two or three. In fact, in some ways, I feel like the fact that we've been blessed with boys is a sort of tap on the shoulder from G-d. "You are meant to mother boys," He tells me. "You will raise your sons to be men who respect women, love Judaism, and be sensitive and gentle fathers." They have their father as an excellent example of what a man should be and how a man should act. They have both of us to teach them to love Judaism and want a Jewish home when they grow up. If we end up as a house with four sons, then at least by now I know what to do with a boy. And if I've proven myself a worthy mother of boys and G-d chooses to bless us with a daughter, I will be even more grateful for her, and she will be lucky to have three older brothers to protect her. What could be better than that? And what mother could be luckier than I, that one day I could potentially have four excellent daughters-in-law, to love and cherish and to bring her beautiful grandchildren?
When confronted, then, with the questions, "Are you going to have more?" and, "Are you trying for a girl?", I really don't know what to say, except, "We'll see what happens," and "It's not up to me." Because it isn't. Not really.