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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Boy or girl? When the pot boils the plot thickens...

I once wrote a feature for a glossy women's magazine entitled 'Why Some women can't bear the thought of having a son.'  Ok, so it was a long winded title for the subject but the story was close to my heart. I'd recently met up with a distant friend who'd just given birth to her third son. He was perfect and I said so. But she didn't see it that way.

'I couldn't bear to look at him in the beginning,' she told me. 'I so much wanted a daughter.'

The child was beautifully  cared for along with his two adorable brothers, but the mother was inconsolable. So, six months and a great deal of research later, my feature was accepted for publication. The sub editor stuck to my original copy almost word for word but there was just one significant change: the headline ran - Why some women don't want daughters...

It sounded better, didn't it?  It was pithy and to the point. There was just one problem: I had two much-loved and much wanted daughters of my own.

'I read your article at the weekend,' my younger girl's teacher said with a knowing look as I picked her up from school. 'I had no idea you felt that way.'

I opened my mouth to explain but there seemed little point. She'd already made up her mind. On the plus side, my two girls were too young to understand the significance of my words or to take offence. But the guilt stayed with me for a very long time.

Today parents-to-be are privileged to know the sex of their child before the birth, though I can't help wondering if this takes some of the magic away. And what if the information is wrong?

'How's your new sister?' a teacher friend asked one of her pupils the other day, the oldest of three brothers.

'She's a boy,' he replied matter-of-factly, 'and me mum's not 'appy.'

No-one can yet choose the sex of their baby (with the exception, perhaps, of Posh and Becks) and I really believe things should stay that way.

'Is it a girl or a boy?' I asked the midwife as my first child entered the world. 'I don't know - it hasn't told us yet,' came the quick reply.

It's a bit like writing a novel really, or making a gourmet meal. Whatever the outcome you know it will be worth it in the end.



Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

We were blessed with a daughter and a son but i think i would have been happy no matter what they were. Too many can't have any so each one a blessing for sure !
Funny how people think they know us when they know nothing at all.

Elaineyross said...

Being the youngest of three girls, I think it's great to have siblings, no matter whether they are blue or pink! However, as the recipient of many a hand me down, perhaps I should be grateful that I am a girl, just in case mum had recycled the frilly knicks, irrespective of my gender - oooooh errrr!

Linda Mitchelmore said...

A dear friend became a grandmother for the first time last Friday. She already knew it was going to be a boy, and the name the parents had chosen for him. The baby had to be born by elective caesarian for medical reasons and they had a date and even time for the procedure. 'He's wonderful,' she said,'But oh, I did miss the magic of surprise I had with my two'.
Good post in every way....especially the journo hard to strike a balance sometimes.

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks Elaine, and Linda. I have a feeling this debate could go on for a long time and, of course, change with each generation. How sad if 'It's a boy and 'It's a girl' have to change into 'Here's Sophie' or 'Here's Ben.'

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks for stopping by to comment, Francie. I thought I'd replied but my words must have gone astray... A child is a gift and, as you say, not all of us are blessed. I am looking forward to the birth of my second grandchild in October - and I can't wait :)

Nikki-ann said...

I haven't got kids (My niece & nephew take enough energy out of me as it is!), but I can't imagine not being utterley delighted about having a baby, whether it be a girl or a boy!

Barbara said...

I do feel some of the magic is removed when the sex of a baby is known weeks in advance – but it does make buying presents easier!!