If there's one thing I've learned in 34 trips around the sun, it's this: people are weird and I don't understand them. I like people (usually), I respect people (at least on a basic human level), but I'm often confronted by things that make me fold my arms, cock my head to the side, and think, "WTF is up with that?" Take, for example, anything to do with pregnancy and parenthood, because people say some truly bizarre sh*t. So I asked some parents to share the rude comments they heard after announcing their baby's sex and, once again, my belief that people are weird AF did not fail me.
Here's a little hint for any parents or would-be parents: once you have one, people will put pressure you to have a second child of "the opposite" gender. So if you have a boy, everyone will tell you that you need to have a girl. If you have a girl, you need a boy. This is all bonkers for a few reasons, including but certainly not limited to: most people have zero to no control over this, it absolutely doesn't matter, and even if it did matter, it's no one's damn business.
My first child was a boy, and my second a girl, and the number of people acting as though I had done something right in having "one of each" is perplexing and, honestly, sort of off-putting. Praising my cleverness for having had a boy and a girl (which I literally had nothing to do with) is at best annoying and at worst feels like my love for them is somehow based on the gender dynamic they bring to our family, rather than the fact that they're amazing individuals who complete our family. Still, in the grand scheme of things, the people around me have been cool.
Many of my comrades, however, haven't been so lucky:
"Our first was a boy and our second was a girl, and to this day we hear a lot of, 'Oh, perfect! One of each! So you can be done now!' I know nobody means harm, but as a non-binary parent, it is maddening that 1) people assume it's an either/or situation, and 2) people assume because my kids have been assigned male and female at birth, they will necessarily continue to identify with those labels or adhere to everything those people are throwing into the boy/girl baskets. I'm sure there are a lot of eye rolls reading this, but I don't feel bad about wanting to make sure my kid is comfortable if they want to express themselves in a way other than what's expected of them."
[Writer's note: No eyerolls here, Charlie. Preach.]
"With a kindly pat on the hand and compassionate misery in her eyes, an old Italian lady said to me, 'Maybe next time, you'll get a boy,' after [my daughter] was born."
[Writer's note: Terri is my mother and the daughter in question is me and the joke's on that old lady because my mom did have a boy the next time but I'm way cooler and more macho than he is.]
"My first two were girls, so when we found out number three was a boy, we got, 'Oh, you finally got your boy. Now you can be done!'"
"We had two boys, and the minute we announced we were pregnant again, I got so many comments about how I must have been trying for a girl or worse, how much I must be hoping this one would be a girl. Makes me super angry, as though my life or family couldn't be complete with only boy babies. I'm not at all ready for the comments that are going to come now that we know this one is a girl."
"Our families were getting together for a BBQ at our house, so we decided to have cupcakes with blue or pink frosting inside. Not even the point of the get-together, super low-key. My sister-in-law, who was also pregnant, started sobbing when she found out we, too, were having a girl, because it made the birth of her own daughter (about a month before me) 'less special.' She made the rest of the day all about her. She apparently told another family member that I really should have considered her feelings. And for anyone who would try to excuse it because of pregnancy hormones, she's like this all the time."
[Writer's note: I asked "Evelyn" what her sister-in-law meant by "considered her feelings." Consider her feelings before she had cupcakes made? Before she got pregnant? "Evelyn" replied, "I have no idea and neither did the family member. Fortunately everyone knows she's completely nuts and a drama queen."]
"After our first (boy) we were asked if we would try for a girl. After much infertility and conception trials, we were blessed with a second child, another boy. We are over the moon to have a second baby period. We are still asked if we will try for a girl."
"When I found out I was having my son, my aunt, who only had boys, said 'Oh good. I hate girls.' Last I checked both my aunt and I were girls."
"Several people gave me some variation of, 'Are you disappointed?' or, 'You must be disappointed' when I told them I was having another boy. Why would I be disappointed?! It's not even like we had ever said we were specifically trying for a girl."
"We got pregnant through IVF and people who knew would often ask if we were choosing the sex. Whether or not someone does that is totally fine, but maybe don't ask about something so personal."
"My father-in-law became completely uninterested in my pregnancy when he found out I was having a girl. When we found out my second was a son he was suddenly the world's proudest grandpa. My husband basically threatened to cut him out of our lives if he continued to show that kind of sexist favoritism. He's gotten better but we keep him at arm's length, to be honest. Fortunately it's not hard since he lives out of state."
"I was told, 'Oh well, maybe next time'.' From my husband. That was a fight."