On Mothers and Sons

March 15, 2006

Today’s Berkeley Parents Network newsletter had a sweet item about mothers and sons. Apparently, an advice-seeker worried aloud whether she would have a close relationship with her son since he is not a girl. For those of you who are like me and don’t care what gender your baby is, you’d be surprised what a big deal “gender selection” is.

CBS News, among other media outlets, reported on a Virginia mom who selected the sex of her daughter. After bearing two boys, she thought it was high time she got the girl she’d always wanted.

“I wanted to have someone to play Barbies with and to go shopping with; I wanted the little girl with long hair and pink and doing fingernails,” said Monique Collins.

Reading Collins’ “plight” reminded me of an expectant mother I saw in a waiting room three years ago. She was crying and I overheard her tell a man I am assuming was the baby’s father, “You can’t take boys shopping for prom dresses!” I had had one miscarriage some months earlier and was nervously awaiting news of whether I was carrying a healthy baby. (I was pregnant with Ari!) So I felt bitter towards this woman because all I cared about was that my baby was alive and well.

But, you’d be surprised — maybe not — on how often people have told me I would regret not having a daughter. Shortly after my son was born, my mother-in-law told me, “You can’t take boys shopping with you!” True. My son hates to shop. But, seriously, I’ll deal with it. She also asked me, “Who will inherit your jewelry?” Except for a family heirloom, my jewelry consists of mainly cheap sterling silver from Target and flea markets. Really, anyone can have it!

I’ve known at least two women who kept having babies to “only” have more boys. Many strangers have asked me if I will “try again for a girl?” Is my boy not good enough?? He is everything to me!

Anyways, I really appreciated the book Raising Cain, which taught me about the behavior and life stages of boys. (I have so much to look forward to!) I also liked the responses of the Berkeley parents, including this letter:

Looking at it honestly, I’d have to say that my husband has a better relationsip with his mother than I have with mine. They really like each other, and are terrific supports for one another in most aspects of their lives. They have a healthy, enviable relationship…I guess where I’m going with this is that it’s not really the gender of the child that determines the relationship, but rather the give and take, repect for privacy balanced with a willingness to be open that makes for a good relationship with a parent. Adult sons most certainly have them with their moms.
-Got a Boy Too

Yes, the Monica Collinses of the world need to get a grip!