Opinion: CBB Reader S. wants moms of girls to be happy with what they have
CBB Reader S. had a strong reaction to the recent posts about celebrity moms of girls who have made statements about wanting a son and sent us this editorial:
I’ve noticed lately that there are a lot of articles about celebs who "want a boy!" (Brooke Shields) or are "we have waited all our lives for a son" (Brooke Burke). I find this slightly annoying, in the sense that it implies that having daughters and no sons is something regrettable. Why is this? I also feel compelled to say: we seldom, if ever, hear the opposite — mothers of sons wishing they had a daughter.
Throughout the ages, sons have been more valued than daughters for various reasons, some practical, some not-so-practical. However, we are in the eighth year of the second millennium. Why the continued, "We need a son to complete the family" sentiment, without any corresponding, "We need a daughter to complete the family" sentiment? Why is it that mothers of daughters feel compelled to say they want a son, whereas mothers of sons, even if they actually do want a daughter (and I know many of them do), feel compelled to stay silent?
I suppose you could say I have a personal stake in this. I don’t have any children myself, but I was born a second daughter to my parents. I wondered for a long time if my parents were disappointed that I was not a boy, until I learned that they actually expected me to be a girl, because I was their second child. It was my older sister that they expected to be a boy, and they were disappointed that she wasn’t. Although that made me feel good on one level, it made me feel bad on another level. Why were they disappointed that my older sister was a girl? What is so bad about having a girl as your first child? What is so bad about having only girls?
Would it have been so bad if Brooke Burke’s fourth child was a girl? Some of the people who replied to her, "I’m having a son!" announcement sure seemed to think so: "I have a friend who was stuck with four daughters." Stuck with four daughters? Is having four daughters some kind of a curse?
In any case, I think that any birth, regardless of the gender of the baby, is a blessing. Daughters are just as precious as sons, as any infertile couple who would give anything for a baby of either gender would tell you.
What is your reaction to what Shelley wrote? Do you think moms of all girls are more likely to talk about wanting a boy than moms of all boys and if so, why? If you’re the mom of all girls or all boys, do you want to try to have one of the opposite sex?