Dont be sad for me: babies and their gender

Recently somebody asked me if I knew the sex of my unborn child. “Yes we do” I replied proudly, “we are having another little boy”. Ready for the “oh how lovely” or the “wow that’s great but wont you be busy”, I was somewhat taken aback by the look of pity and dismay that accompanied the “but you already have 4 boys, Oh my God you poor thing”….“Will you try again for a girl?” As I mumbled a rather pathetic, “Oh no we are really excited and love our other boys so why wouldn’t we love this one”, I decided then to give in and smile politely and respond resolutely that, ‘no this was to be our last’. Is it because I have so many boys that it is deemed I should need a daughter, or worse still that I should not even want another son? Should I be already thinking about moving this one along so as I can get to work on making way for another “shot” at a little girl?  Would they have said that if they knew that we did in fact have a daughter who tragically passed away at 5 months of age? I guess not, as most who know me and know of our situation are more than elated when we inform them of the prospect of a new baby boy. They know the pain we endured and still do at the loss of a child. They know that whilst the child we have had and the subsequent child we will have following the death of our daughter have filled an enormous hole for us and provided myself and my family with untold joy. And they know these precious babies will never go near to replacing her, regardless of their gender. I am not so naïve to say that there are not people out there who are desperate for a certain gender and who are genuinely disappointed when they find out the sex of their unborn baby. I know that those who have had a boy or 2 may think a girl would be a nice change, and equally that those with a daughter or more may need some testosterone to even up the hormones. But not all of us feel this way. I have had my daughter, and I loved her with all my heart. I thankfully have 4 beautiful boys whom I also love with all my heart. And I have another little precious baby boy practising his drop punt kicks inside me as I write, who I too will love with all my heart.  So please by all means be sad for me that I lost my daughter. Be sad that my boys lost their little sister who they doted on so proudly. Be sad that everyday parents are tragically losing their beloved children. But please don’t be sad for me as I hopefully welcome the safe arrival of another beautiful boy into our world.

Share this post

Like this article? Sign up to our email newsletter and never miss a post.

This Post Has 68 Comments

  1. Clare

    Well said Marty, beautiful words as always xxxx

  2. People have no idea. I remember when I found out I was having a boy (after two girls), I cried because I wanted another girl. I was TERRIFIED of boys. It didn’t take me long (about an hour) to get over it and be elated, and now, of course, I just adore him. But people had no idea, and of course assumed we were trying for a boy.
    Does it really matter what you have? You wouldnt ever swap them.

    1. Martine

      Very true Jess, and I think it is ok if you do want a certain gender, but others shouldn’t always assume you are having another child purely to have one of a certain sex. And like you said it doesn’t take long before you are totally in love with them regardless.

  3. Julie

    Thanks for this post.

    I get similar comments from people when they find out I have had 3 children very close together (currently 3, 2 and 7 months). For some reason, I feel compelled to tell them what they “want” to hear – I am busy, it is hard, we won’t be having anymore for a while…

    Though these things are all true, I also feel truly blessed to have 3 healthy beautiful children.

    I’m sure you appreciate that much more that I ever could. Looking forward to the news of your little boy’s arrival.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Julie…. I guess it is true that I and others who have been in similar circumstances may have a different appreciation. Thanks for your comment. I am off to read your latest post….the title has me intrigued!

  4. Linda Anderson

    thank you for sharing so eloquently and honestly. My heart feels deeply sad to learn you have lost a child xx I look forward to hearing the happy news of your baby boy arriving in the world!! Isn’t it interesting how others project their own desires, opinions and perspectives … surely it would be more sensitive to ask “how do you feel about having another boy?” and leave you free to express whatever it might be you feel.
    I currently have 2 girls, we plan (for now) to have one more baby. My husband has been quite explicit in sharing with me he really wants a boy … as much as he loves his 2 daughters. I don’t feel attached to the sex of a third child, but then I wonder if I would feel differently if I had 2 sons … I don’t know the answer to that.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Linda, and absolutely there is nothing wrong with desiring a certain sex, I think it is more the assumptions of others that annoys me most.

  5. I am sad for your loss. And happy for you for another boy. What lucky children to have and have had a wonderful mum like you who just loves with all her heart. Wishing you all the best with the pregnancy.

    1. Martine

      Thank you for your kind words 🙂

  6. Cherie

    I am pregnant with my third boy and I am so surprised when people try to console me or say ‘oh no’ . To me the gender is not relevant, we tried for another baby not a little girl. I even had a colleague of mine announce to the table over a dinner that I had been hoping for a little princess but looks like it’s another boy. Perhaps if that was the way I felt I wouldn’t have been so annoyed, if she was going to put words in my mouth at least put the correct ones in!!! What can I say, people are strange!

    1. Martine

      I think that is what some people just don’t get….it is having another child that most of us desire first and foremost. Congratulations to you on your pregnancy 🙂

  7. Sam

    We have four daughters, so are very used to these sorts of comments. In fact we announced the last two girls’ sexes at large before their birth so that we wouldn’t get any of those disappointed comments at birth. We only wanted love and happiness around our daughters – and us – when they were each born.

    I am sorry to hear that you lost a beloved little girl at 5 months. I hope this new babe helps heal your heart a little.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Sam, it’s hard to believe there would be anything but love and happiness surrounding the birth of healthy children. How wonderful for your girls too to grow up with all those sisters. 🙂

  8. Morgan

    Well said Marty, the assumptions can be so rude I think! Congrats on the new baby, that’s great news xx

  9. LisaW

    My dad recently retired and at the party someone was asking him about his children…two girls. Even now, people still say to him, what a shame you didn’t have a son! Its been 37 years…people just don’t get it. He happily replied “why, I love my daughters and wouldn’t have it any other way”. Bless him.

    Congrats on your new son! How lucky he will be to have four older brothers!

    1. Martine

      Thanks Lisa….and of course your dad wouldn’t have it any other way! Makes you wonder why some people think you have children in the first place!

  10. stink-b0mb

    as someone who trying for years to get pregnant and in the process lost baby after baby – THANK YOU for this post.

    if i’m honest, while people are entitled to feel disappointed if they are expecting a boy but would rather a girl and vice versa, it hurts that they just aren’t bloody grateful that they are getting to have a healthy baby when there are so many of us women who would kill for A child, sex irrelevant!

    i hope your baby boy brings a whole new level of joy into your family when he is born.

    ~x~

    1. Martine

      Thank you for you comment. As someone who has witnessed friends and family members who have had to come to terms with not having any children at all I can only imagine the devastation at hearing such comments. There are so many people who would do anything to have a child, which is also why I feel so blessed to have the beautiful children that I have.

  11. Green Mama

    I had barely finished being sutured after my younger daughter’s c-section when the comments started about trying again, for a boy this time… I love having two cherubs of the same gender, I love the dynamic, they are still very different children despite sharing a gender…

    1. Martine

      Absolutely… Even with 4 boys, their personalities are so very different, and yes the dynamics are great to watch too. (when they’re not annoying each other)! I feel so grateful too that they will always have each other.

  12. Sif

    First of all, I’m sorry you lost your child, I wish no parents ever had to experience such a tragedy.

    I have four boys and have received some truly awful comments – even in front of the children. I have suffered some strong feelings of gender disappintment – which had absolutely NOTHING to do with my actual children and everything to do with the loss of envisioned ideals. These days I love having four boys and if we had another child I couldn’t imagine having a girl now. Five boys sounds delightful to me because I know from experience that four boys are a blessing! Congratulations!

    1. Martine

      Thank you..and yes absolutely, sometimes we are forced to reassess our envisioned ideals, but as you said that should never take away from the other wonderful blessings and opportunities that come our way.

  13. Trish

    Absolutely spot on. I felt exactly the same way after we found out we were having two boys after losing our daughter to stillbirth.
    It was all joy I had two healthy babies but people said ‘ oh no little girl ? ‘ howdo you feel ?

    I know some women do struggle with gender disappointment. Congratulations on impending arrival of another blue bundle.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Trish….and what gorgeous little drummer boys they are!

  14. kirri

    We have three girls so are constantly being asked when we are going to try for a boy…I’m happy with my three girls and would be just as happy if I had three boys…It is what it is and its about loving them for who they are, not for their gender.

    Wishing you and your family the best and brightest for the impending arrival of a little bundle of loveliness 🙂

    1. Martine

      Thanks Kirri, it certainly is all about who they are and helping them grow into the best people they can be. 🙂

  15. Karla

    I am so sorry for your loss. I totally understand what you are going through. I think in general people just don’t understand what a huge blessing it is to have healthy children irrespective of gender or anything else… I had a similar experience recently. A lady who I met at a kids party asked me how old my daughter is (she is 4) and whether I was going to have any more. I was being polite and replied that I didn’t know, hoping to leave it at that. However, she responded that I should get a move on because I wouldn’t want a huge age gap between my kids. As I didn’t want to be pushed any further, I told her the truth that my other baby daughter had died 2 weeks earlier. As you can expect, she was mortifiled – I don’t think she’ll be offering her opinions so freely again… at least I hope not.

    1. Martine

      I have had that experience too and often it may come down to my mood at the time as to how much information I offer strangers in return for their comments….it certainly is one way to make them think about “offering their opinions so freely” I am so sorry too for your loss.

  16. Lucinda

    Hey Teeny,

    I loved your post- I am less forgiving than you though, and I think that desiring one sex over another reveals a disappointing lack of insight and maturity into what really matters- a healthy child. Parenting, like life, isn’t about getting what we want, and articulating such a superficial and thoughtless (and let’s face it, stupid) comment about wanting one sex over another just indicates someone’s shallowness. Having a child isn’t about having a ‘pigeon pair’ or ‘one of each’ or ‘one for Mum, and one for Dad’- this is all just a reflection of a selfish society and individuals. While historically and culturally having sons or daughters was often necessary for daily life; patra-lineal land ownership and labour made this optimal- but one would hope that people have evolved along with the changes to our social frameworks. Superficiality or a lack of personal evolution is at the heart of these comments- the outcome of any pregnancy should be a healthy child, not a fulfillment of individual want.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Lucinda, I guess some have evolved better than others! I would have been all the rage had I been bearing children in the times of Henry VIII!

  17. Heidi

    Well written and gorgeous Marty!!! It is quite astounding how people feel the need to comment on gender even my own mother when I tell her that a friend has one of each sex will comment ” how clever”. I am quite positive that having a child of each gender is certainly not based upon intelligence!! Which leaves me thinking my mother must be questioning my intelligence being that I am the very proud mother of three gorgeous little guys – but then she can question hers as well as she produced 2 girls!!!!

    Hx
    P.S I can promise you this next little man of yours is already surrounded by love and was since the day he was conceived as shall any more be!!!!

    1. Martine

      Thanks Heidi, and yes you are right, it doesnt take a lot of intelligence to conceive them..regardless of gender! And this will be the last one Heid!

  18. Vanessa

    All I can say is Amen sister! I am really tired of people projecting their desires on to others, particularly in relation to the gender of their children. Having just had our third baby (and third son) and finding out at our 20 week scan, I was intrigued by all the people who “knew” we were having a girl. Our third son is much wanted and adored and part of our finding out (and not telling) was to spare him and us another 20 weeks of people’s comments and speculations. When will people realise that some people are having babies because they want a baby; not a specific gender!!!

    1. Martine

      That is also why we found out the gender of our last 2 children, and this time we decided to tell everyone so we didnt have to listen to the speculation of all those who “know” what the baby will be.

  19. Lauren

    Yes, we’ve been on the receiving end of people’s pity lots. We lost a baby boy mid way through pregnancy a couple of years ago. It was an amazing, life changing experience, full of sadness and other things. We’ve since gone on to have our third girl and people often say “oh well, keep trying” and “you poor man” to my husband. Our gorgeous bub has brought so much joy into our lives. Her birth was full of joy. She exudes it. Such a happy, treasured little person. Thanks for this post. I completely relate. Congratulations and lots of love to you as you prepare to meet your much loved wee man. xx

    1. Martine

      No-one can ever know just how precious those children are after a loss, and they do seem to ‘exude’ such joy. 🙂

    1. Martine

      Thanks Darren, and thanks for sharing

  20. Sam-O

    This is one of those things that I as a Mum of 2 boys find infuriating! “Oh you are trying for number 3, trying for a girl?” No I just want another healthy child, the sex is not that important and in fact I know it would be easier financially at least, if I have another boy…

    Great post!

    1. Martine

      There are certainly some great practical and financial reasons for having same sex siblings!

  21. Jackie

    Although we’ve been at a few events together, we haven’t yet spoken in person so I wasn’t aware that you’d lost a daughter. I’m truly sorry to hear that.

    My daughter is only two and in just two years I can’t believe how many times I’ve gone home in tears because of something someone’s said to me, unaware of the background story or reason for my choices. I think it’s probably happened to all mums and the comments don’t just relate to gender but pregnancy, style of birth, pain relief, breastfeeding, post-natal depression, parenting styles, gaps between children, infertility….Oh the list goes on doesn’t it?

    I just think people don’t stop to think about what might be happening/have happened for the family. They make judgements based on their own feelings and experiences. You would think mums would know better. I’m sure I’ve said the ‘wrong’ thing on occasions. I do believe that since becoming a mother I’m more aware though.

    Good luck with the birth of your son.

    1. Martine

      Yes as mums we are still quick to judge despite knowing all we do about the difficulties many face with parenting. Look forward to catching up at the next event 🙂

  22. Jane

    What a beautiful post! Some people just don’t ‘get’ that the most important thing is a healthy baby. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy xxx

    1. Martine

      Thanks Jane 🙂 off to look at your photos, which I have previously enjoyed.

  23. Fern

    You are far kinder than me. I am pregnant with our fourth child, and people see the bump, look at the two little boys walking beside me and tell me that I must be wishing and praying for a daughter.

    It usually depends on my mood, but generally any comment with even a hint of sadness for “all that testosterone” gets met with “I have a daughter. She’s dead.”

    I quickly dropped a friend when she announced her pregnancy but told everyone there was no need for congratulations, as it was yet another boy – her third. I don’t keep up with her now but I truly hope she’s come to terms with her brood and isn’t still overwhelmed by disappointment.

    1. Martine

      Yes…the mood often has a bit to do with the response! Best wishes to you throughout your pregnancy and on the arrival of your precious baby 🙂

  24. Renee

    LOL, I laugh because I can so relate, I have 2 girls and people often are quite shocked that we aren’t “normal” but we are all different. All the best for all of you

    Rx

  25. Kathy

    People can be very insensitive about this. When pregnant with my third daughter, husband & I were besieged with people expressing their sorrow that we wouldn’t “get our boy” … or certainty that we’d have to try again to do so. It got super old with me, especially when people said it in front our our daughters.

    Wishing you all the very best for a happy delivery of your fifth little guy!

    1. Martine

      Ummm hard to believe people could say those things in front of your other children.

  26. Claireyhewitt

    This topic annoys me so much.

    I am not as understanding as you and can’t really see why people desperately desire a certain sex, unless it was for genetic illness reasons, etc.

    When we sent out the big text to family and friends of the arrival of our second daughter so many replied with comments about “now you have to go back for the boy” I was so annoyed, what about great to hear you have a healthy baby?

    There will be no more, and if there was, I would consider myself truly lucky if it was healthy.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Claire, it s certainly one of the truest cliches…..a healthy baby is by far the most important outcome

  27. jen

    Martine, I just stumbled across your site via twitter. Thank you for your refreshing perspective. Children are, regardless of gender such a blessing. I hope that you stay well and are able to enjoy this pregnancy whilst balancing being a mummy to your four boys. J

    1. Martine

      Thanks for visiting Jen, and yes they really are a blessing regardless of gender 🙂

  28. Jacquie

    Hi Martine, This is one thing that has always annoyed me. I have 3 boys and when I got pregnant with my third, the amount of people that asked if I was hoping for a girl or maybe I’d be lucky this time was ridiculous. And now I get asked all the time if we will try again for a girl. It’s so irritating. I have had no desire for a specific gender and I LOVE my boys (and I’m happy with just 3 kids!). I’m really sorry for the loss of your little girl though – I can’t even imagine how sad that would be, but congratulations on the pending arrival of your little boy – how lovely.

  29. Ciara

    Fantastic article Teenie, and its true, only people who dont know you and your busy but fabulous family would make such silly comments. I love with all my heart the 4 gorgeous nephews you have already given me, I will always love and miss my beautiful niece, and I’m already desperalty in love the my newest nephew who I can’t wait to meet.
    Oxox

  30. Belinda

    Well I’m sooo jealous! I wanted to have 3 boys but have settled on 2 due to our ages and finances among other things. When I was preganant with my second I had the same thing happen to me, however I was relieved to have another boy (weird I know!) When people asked me if I would try again for a girl I would answer with “what? put a cat amongst the pigeons!”
    Good luck with all the boys and I am sure they will in time bring home plenty of girls!

  31. Shayne

    Hi martine,

    Great post. this is something that annoys me. I have a Girl 12, boy 6. I tried for 5 years to have #2 and honestly all I wanted was a child. So I find it offensive when people say “oh you must want a boy next” “Pigeon Pair”. When I did actually have a little boy, that was healthy, I was in love. CHildren are not collectors items. Just sayin’.

  32. Emily

    Well written. Thanks for sharing! Visiting via The Modern Family.

  33. Jackie K

    You know what I think? If you already have 4 boys then you already love boys, so one more is just great!
    I have two girls and love having girls.
    If I had boys I know I would love having boys.
    Congratulations to you.

    1. Martine

      Thankyou…have since had my beautiful 5th boy and all is going great 🙂

  34. This is just beautiful. Congratulations on your pregnancy with another gorgeous little boy. I don’t know how people can say things like that, it’s so thoughtless.
    Little boys are particularly delicious. Thank you for sharing x

    1. Martine

      Thanks Becky, I am just loving my 5 boys now x

  35. People can be so insensitive! Good on you for resisting the urge to punch them! People always ask when we are having a second child to which I’ve recently started responding “We’ve tried for 2 years and it hasn’t happened and the doctors don’t know why” that usually shuts them up or changes the topic and I think they get the point!

    1. Martine

      Thanks, and I think you are right in just stating the truth about trying as it saves any further questions!

Leave a Reply