“Do you wish you had a girl?”

There are two things that people usually ask me when I tell them that I have two sons: Am I going to try for a girl and, if not, do I wish that I had a girl. These are not questions with basic yes/no responses, and they’re not getting any easier to answer.

“Are you going to try for a girl?”

The simple answer, when you strip it right back to its most basic form, is no. No, we are not going to try for a girl.

The slightly more complicated answer is this: Having another child would change our lives completely. The very least of things is that neither of our cars could comfortably accommodate a third child seat. But then there’s the other stuff. The big, less easily fixed stuff. Our house isn’t big enough for five humans and two cats to co-exist without constant privacy issues. The sums don’t add up. The far-reaching financial implications of a third child are, without exaggeration, insurmountable. Also, my second pregnancy almost physically broke me, and F’s first six months of life took such a toll on me emotionally that it was almost a year before I started feeling mentally stable again.

And.

Even if we did try again, there’s no guarantee that we would get a girl. In fact, there’s a very good chance we would end up with another boy. And I would love him; of course I would. But I am already incredibly outnumbered by males and I already have three other people in the house who think I’m having a psychotic break whenever my menstrual mood swings get the better of me. I also don’t have a clue what I would call him, having exhausted my very limited resources of names for boys.

“Do you wish you had a girl?”

Firstly: Rude. Unintentionally, I’m sure, but that question never fails to poke the defensive Mama Bear in me. Because what I really feel like I am being asked is whether or not I wish that one of my existing children was a girl.

And the answer is: No.

No, I don’t wish that. I cannot imagine what my life would be without, specifically, them. Exactly as they are. It makes me feel as though I’m somehow expected to look at their being boys as an unfortunate side-effect of their existence. I know that’s not the intention behind the question. I know that. But they are my boys. My brilliant, clever, funny, beautiful boys, and I love every little bit of them. I love how O is so extroverted and sassy and brimming over with excitement about life. I love how F is sensitive and empathetic and mischievous. I love who they are together and how they interact with each other and adore each other.

Here’s the thing: I grew up naively assuming that one day I would have a daughter. I’ve known since I was 14 what I would call her. In my head she is witty and smart, she loves to run and jump and climb, she reads for hours in her room and she wears whatever the hell she likes. And when she grows up, she is my best friend and most trusted confidant. When we found out that F was another boy, I mourned that imagined daughter. Because I knew that she was never to be and I very quickly had to re-write the future I had expected for myself. At the time, I hated myself for that feeling of bitter disappointment, but I’ve since realised that it’s something I had to experience. And I honestly never, ever look at F and think “I wish you were a girl.”

What I think when I look at both of my children is simply this:

“Thank God that you are YOU.”

It’s true that I am sometimes uncertain about how motherhood will look 15 years from now when my boys are grown-up. I don’t know if they will call me once they’ve moved out and started creating their lives away from home. I don’t know if they will ask my advice when they’re trying to make big decisions. I don’t know if they will ever give me a hug or tell me that they love me.

I know that I love them to a degree that I cannot easily express in words. I know that I am excited to see who they turn out to be. And, above all these things, I know that I wouldn’t trade either of my sons for a daughter.

Mum of boys

What more could I want than this?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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51 comments

  1. theokayestmum · June 17

    I could have written this exact thing myself, 100% get where you’re coming from! I have two boys and am often asked if I’m going to try for a girl. Completely happy with my family unit as it is 🙂 Great post! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 17

      Thank you! So great to know that it’s not just me. I often wonder if mums with daughters get asked if they wish they had sons? Or is it the dads who have to field that one instead? X

      Like

      • theokayestmum · June 17

        Exactly! It almost seems as if we’re at the opposite end of the spectrum as other countries who wish for sons; it’s as though over here you’re not quite complete until you have a little girl to dress up. Even my own family ask me this from time to time! I don’t think I could see myself living with anything other than my two loud, wild boys!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · June 17

        I can’t imagine having a daughter now. I mean, I can imagine the future of it, but not the NOW. And if we did have a third child and it was a girl, would she feel lonely and left out? My boys are so close and I don’t really know how their relationship would look if I added another child. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a daughter, but I am more than happy with having sons. They’re more than I could ever have wished for!

        Like

      • theokayestmum · June 17

        Totally, we’re stopping at 2 children since after almost 7 years of me being a stay-at-home mum, my youngest starts school in August and I’m finally going to college and then on to (hopefully) a TWO WAGE HOUSEHOLD HOORAAAAY, haha.

        I don’t think if you had a daughter that she would feel left out, more than likely very protected by her brothers! But as you said, you can’t beat a life with two wee boys 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. catbf79 · June 17

    We have two daughters and yes, we do get asked if we’re going to try for a boy.
    I don’t know how many children we’re going to have because we do want more. (Question askers may not know this though) At the same time if we can’t for whatever reason we know we are so truly, truly blessed to have the two we have.
    Each and every child is a gift. If we have another we may end up with another girl, and we will love her to pieces just like we do our daughters now, but I’d imagine we’ll get asked the question again.
    I think sometimes people, even though they mean no harm, just don’t think before they speak. 🙊 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 17

      It’s interesting to know that, and thanks for giving me the insight into the other side. I’m really grateful for your comment. And I think you’re right; a lot of the time I don’t really feel like they’ve thought it through before they ask me. These days I just say “nope, we can’t have anymore children” and leave it at that. X

      Liked by 1 person

      • catbf79 · June 17

        You’re welcome, it’s a great post. And yes, I think you have to be so careful. If you’re asking someone about future children, not to mention their genders, how do you know what that person has been through with previous pregnancies and if they can even have any more?! Take each child as a blessing and accept that each family are who they are. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · June 17

        Exactly! Every child is unique; It really doesn’t matter what gender they are :). X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lara · June 17

    I love this. I was so sure I was having a girl when I was pregnant, I actually referred to the unborn child as “she”. When I found out I was having a boy I felt a bit lost. But then I went out and bought cute boy outfits and now I wouldn’t change him for the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 17

      I knew that O was a boy right from the start, but my pregnancy with F was so different that I really, really thought he was a girl. When the ultrasound tech said – after the longest and most loaded pause in history – that we were having a boy, it took every ounce of strength I had not to cry. And I absolutely hated myself in that moment. Now? I couldn’t live without him.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. themotherhub · June 18

    It’s weird people’s obsession with having one of each – that’s not how the odds work ! I have a boy and a girl – but I did always think that having two boys would be nice to be honest . But same as you – two is my limit ; physically , mentally, financially , I am done !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 18

      I was talking to N about it last night and he said “Really? No one ever asks me if I wish I had a girl.” So I said “That’s because you have two boys and people assume you’re happy with that. If we had two girls, they’d probably ask you if you wished you had a son.” It’s very strange. Sometimes I feel like I should try to understand the question better, but I honestly think it’s because everyone just assumes I should want to have one of each. As far as I’m concerned, I won the lottery with my boys!

      Like

      • themotherhub · June 18

        I guess everyone thinks you need a kind of mini-me each ! People are weird 😬

        Liked by 1 person

  5. 2travellingtots · June 18

    I agree with every single word of this….I would not change my boys for the world….I also don’t know if we will have any more or not it’s not something we’ve decided seeing as our youngest isn’t even 1 yet! I do know I have always imagined us having a girl though and I also know that to some extent it’s foolish because it’s never a certainty. I will never ever wish that either of my boys were anyone but who they are. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 18

      Thanks Laura. Your boys are wonderful, vibrant little people! I’m sure sometimes I will still wonder what a daughter would have been like, if she would have been who I always imagined her to be. But the reality of motherhood for me, having these two healthy, happy, GORGEOUS little boys is absolutely enough for me. X

      Liked by 1 person

  6. areluctantmummy · June 18

    I feel similar, although it sounds like your ‘gender disappointment’ didn’t get the better of you. I’m ashamed to say it did with me. Not to the point where anything rash or unkind was said or done, but to the point where I felt almost resentful. Because Monster Minor was a surprise, there was a chunk of me that felt like life’s turn of events had robbed me of my mythical girl.
    We had both always only wanted girls and everyone around us began having girls around that time. It’s trying to refigure your life picture and it sounds like you’ve done that well. I hope I’ll start to.
    I wouldn’t change the people that my boys are (although fewer strops, more sleep, the list could go on…). But I do have to wonder whether I’d be as vehement about gender neutral parenting if one of them was a girl. Feeling this way is against everything I believe in in terms of raising any gender, and the protectiveness I feel towards those wishing for but unable to have a child, is totally undermined by my shameful feelings about having wished for a girl. I know we can’t help how we feel, but I do wish I could be wholeheartedly content with the gender balance as it stands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 18

      Thank you so much for this comment and for being so honest. I remember the day after my scan with F, I stood in the shower hugging my bump and I cried and cried. I kept telling him over and over “I’m sorry. I’m not sad because you’re a boy; I’m just sad because I know I won’t ever have a girl. But I promise that I will never love you any less.” And I don’t. I adore him, just as I adore his brother. But still sometimes I catch myself wondering what it would be like to have a daughter.
      I really hope that it continues to improve for you, and I also hope that you don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you do. It doesn’t mean that you love your boys any less than you would love a daughter; it’s just that you are trying to navigate an outcome for which you were not quite prepared.
      Lots of love to you. X

      Like

  7. Lucy · June 19

    I completely get where you are coming from. I had always imagined having a daughter, so when I was pregnant I wanted to find out the sex of the baby in case it was a boy, so that when the time came I wouldnt be ‘disappointed’. Not that I am, I love him to bits and wouldnt change him, as you say, but you have to get used to things not being how you had planned. I think we will have one more (if we can), but if that is a boy then I cant see us trying again for a girl for the same reasons you mention above.
    I hope they still give you hugs when they are older! x
    #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 19

      I was really happy when we found out that O was a boy because I thought “well, we always said we wanted two children, so we’ll just try again”, and I didn’t really let myself consider the possibility that the next one might be a boy too. It’s taken me a while to get used to things not being quite how I expected, but I think I was guilty of thinking that if I had two kids of the same sex, they would be the same as people too. And they couldn’t be more different. I don’t know why I expected that, but I’m glad that I’ve learnt something! X

      Like

  8. jollymommyblog · June 20

    Cried 😦 Hormones. SO sweet. I have 3 boys. I feel you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 20

      Boys are brilliant. I wouldn’t change mine for the world, and I dare say you wouldn’t either. But just every now and again, particularly when people ask me those questions, I still think wistfully of that daydream daughter and wonder what she would have been like.

      Like

  9. I have the other side of this, I have a son and a daughter and the attitude seems to be, well you’ve got one of each now so you don’t need to have any more! I think if you do have all boys you do go through a process of letting go of the girl you always imagined having, but that doesn’t take anything at all away from the love you have for your sons. x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 21

      Yes! And that’s fine if you WANT to stop at two, but why should anyone assume that? Plenty of families consist of more than one child! I blame that whole “family ticket” rhetoric; two adults and two children… X

      Like

  10. I get asked the same thing about if i’m going to try for a boy (i have two girls). My answer is the same as yours. Financially, mentally and the size of our home all say no. I am happy with my girls and blessed that my children are happy and healthy 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 21

      It’s nice to know that it’s not just me. Why do people have to ask such intrusive questions?!

      Like

  11. beccaweatherall · June 21

    Great post. It’s strange how society make assumptions. Just like when people ask when you’ll have the next one when you only have one child. They can’t understand that you might have chose to have one. Beautiful photo! 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 21

      Yes! So true! I’ve been asked that too; “oh, is it time for another one yet?”
      Thank you :). I love that photo!

      Like

  12. Jenni - Odd Socks and Lollipops · June 21

    It’s so strange that people want things to be tidy – like one of each etc. Though I think no matter what the situation people seem to find rude questions to ask – I have a daughter and i keep getting asked by random people when I am having another baby… which, for a variety of reasons isn’t going to happen and I don’t want to have that painful conversation with someone who I barely know. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 21

      And I bet that makes you feel really crap some days. I wish people would just think before they speak. If I could have guaranteed a daughter with a third baby, would I have had one? I really don’t know. But it’s not as if it’s anyone else’s business anyway!

      Like

  13. goodness people are never content are they! Not you I mean haha but people around us – reading your post and then some of the comments. it seems as parents we cant do anything without people then thinking we need more or stgh else in life boy/boy = do you want a girl girl/girl – don’t you want a boy. one of each -well you’re done now! sigh. lovely post – well written! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 21

      Thank you! I think everyone just makes assumptions around motherhood and parenting and they expect us all to subscribe to the same ideas and aspire to a certain family dynamic. It’s very odd!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. lauracharlie1988 · June 21

    Love this post. People are so intrusive sometimes. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I completely get this. I always pictured myself with a daughter – I grew up in a family of pretty much all girls and I just always saw myself as a mum of girls. Guess what, I have a boy and I love him to bits and have never once wished he was a girl. You’ve hit the nail on the head when you say that it would be wishing that the son you have was a girl – there’s nothing that I would want to change about him, he’s just brilliant! If I have a second child I’m much more laid back about the whole gender thing as I’ve realised that it just doesn’t matter a bit, you’ll love them to bits whatever. Like you, there’s no way I’ll be having a third! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 22

      It just makes me feel so sad when people phrase it like “wouldn’t it have been nice if F had been a girl?” without saying the actual words, because it’s like, NO! Because then he wouldn’t be F and I couldn’t live without him!

      Like

  16. babybykaybee · June 22

    This is beautiful. I feel like two years i will be in the same situation. There hasnt been a girl born in my husbands family in 5 generations. I just had my son four months ago and ill probably have another one. My mom and i are best friends and it does make me sad that i probably wont have the same relationship. But i wouldnt change my son or my future songs. i already love all my little boys ❤ #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 22

      That’s the only thing I ever really feel sad about; the knowledge that I won’t have the relationship with my sons that I do with my mom. But it doesn’t mean I love them any less, because I absolutely adore both of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. practicalbydefault · June 23

    I LOVE this! For the record, I have a girl and a boy, and neither is the way I pictured them in my head. They are themselves and I am so glad they are 🙂 there are complications of having one of each and a reason that it is called “The million dollar family” because that is how much it costs to feed/cloth them. (!!) #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 23

      That’s so true; we have saved a fortune by being able to pass down clothes. Of course I would have still kept some of O’s stuff to pass on if F had turned out to be a girl, but I would have wanted to get one or two “girly” pieces too. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Nursery Whines · June 23

    You are right, that question is just so rude! I can’t even imagine asking it of someone. I really wanted a son. I babysat a lot of boys and love the games they play. I think the relationship between mother and son can be so special and I know teenage girls can be horrible because I was one. We didn’t find out the sex and I was sure I was having a boy. I imagined what he would be like and how our life would be. When I gave birth there was even a confusing second where the umbilical cord was in the way and I thought I had had a boy. But now I have a daughter and I just love her because she is who she is. #Stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 23

      Gender disappointment really is a hard pill to swallow. But it’s not about loving them any less, it’s just that there’s an adjustment period where you have to get used to things being different than you imagined. And it’s not easy at all.

      Like

  19. ljdove23 · June 23

    I remember all of these comments when I was pregnant with my second son. I remember my (now ex) mother in law saying, “Never mind, you can always try again” as though we had someone got the consolation prize with a second son. When our second son died we were met with equally insensitive comments, “At least you have Lewis.”, “You can always have another.” which again, so thoughtless, so utterly inappropriate and actually, I just wanted the child that I had. You absolutely sum it up when you say, you look at your children and say, “Thank God that you are YOU”. Why would anyone ever want something else? #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 23

      I remember someone saying to me when N had his vasectomy, “But what if something happens to one of them? You won’t be able to have any more.” I was genuinely speechless. I couldn’t believe that anyone would think I see my children as being replaceable. As if they’re commodities. It hurt my heart at the time and it still hurts every time I think about it.
      And, for what it’s worth, I think you are so, so brave.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ljdove23 · June 24

        Thank you so much. And I agree, I could have ten more children and not one of them would replace the son we lost. xxx

        Like

  20. Emilie · June 25

    I only have one son at the moment so i’m bracing myself for these kinds of comments when we’re expecting our 2nd! I would love to have a daughter but equally I think it would be so lovely to have 2 boys and see the brotherly love. Whatever happens, each child is a blessing and I will obviously adore them either way! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  21. The Mum Project · June 29

    Love your honesty. So true! What if you had another boy?! Can’t even imagine a house with four boys, yikes. Also who are these people that ask this question, as you’ve said, it’s like asking if you’d want one of your boys as a girl. Wtf. Maybe it’s just a conversation starter? Oh well. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Silly Mummy · June 30

    Lovely, interesting post! Funnily enough it just occurred to me for the first time the other day that if you had 3 kids (or more) who were all young the car seat logistics must be a nightmare now car seats are all so huge & complex!

    I have two girls & I don’t get asked if I wish I had or will try for a boy. But I think that relates to my gender, not theirs – I think my partner gets asked the question instead!

    I didn’t hugely mind either way, but before my first had a slight preference for a boy actually. I had never really had that image of having a girl to be my princess & do girly things. But then of course, I adore my girls, so now I couldn’t imagine not having girls or not wanting girls! I think it always works that way, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t change what you have & couldn’t imagine it any other way once you have it. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  23. mumzilla · July 1

    I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over my gender dosappointment, but that doesn’t reflect in the slightest on how I feel about my boy. I wouldn’t change him for anything. #KCACOLS

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · July 1

      I’m with you. I think I’ll always wonder and always think about the daughter I’ll never have. But I am so, so grateful for and in love with my boys.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. nsalama1 · July 1

    I get you. We have one son and can’t really consider having another child since I’m fighting cancer but I wouldn’t change my little guy for the world. #KCACOLS

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 1

      I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. I’m sending you only the most positive thoughts.

      I wouldn’t change my boys either. They are the centre of my universe and I couldn’t live without either of them.

      Liked by 1 person

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