When I found out I was pregnant I immediately hoped for a daughter. So when the ultrasound tech said she saw a vulva, I was overjoyed. Then the tech said, "Get ready to lock her up," and I felt my joy deflate. Who says that? Turns out, a lot of people. Nearly every time I told someone I was having a girl they said something snarky or rude. In my conversations with other moms, I've learned I'm not alone. More than a few mothers have heard rude comments when they said they were having a girl and holy hell you guys, this is all just pretty damn exhausting.
In our culture, people seem obsessed with gender. From the time you announce your pregnancy people can't wait to find out "what you're having." And in my experience, if you tell people you're having a girl they're ready with their comments and "hot takes," either implying you should unhappy or worried about bringing another girl into the world. And if people don't go that route, they usually end up reinforcing bullsh*t stereotypes about gender. I, for one, am so done with jokes about protecting my daughter's virtue from future male suitors. It's not only heteronormative (because who's to say my daughter won't fall in love with another woman one day?), but it perpetuates the idea that my daughter's entire existence (and happiness) is for someone else to control.
I am not saying that gender disappointment isn't real or being bummed isn't a valid way to feel after you find out the sex of your still-growing fetus, but it would be so nice if people didn't try to tell you how your kids will behave based on the sex they're assigned at birth, or imply that your family is only complete if you have a child of a particular gender or "one of each." As a mom to daughters and sons, I know that gender roles are pretty much for the birds, and we shouldn't buy into harmful stereotypes about who are kids are, or who they'll become, based solely on their assigned gender. Kids are difficult to parent, regardless.
Which is why hurtful comments like the ones the following moms heard when they announced they were expecting a daughter need to be a thing of the past. Seriously, you guys. Enough with the following sentiments, OK?
"She's gonna be a heartbreaker."
Her daddy better get his shotgun ready."
"From my dad (who has no sons and was meeting his son-in-law for the first time) to my very sweet, young ex-husband who showed him the ultrasound picture:
'Whah? Is that all the better you could do? I got so many girls.'
My husband tried to laugh, thinking it was a joke and extended his hand introducing himself. My dad just sneered and walked away. I felt like I had been sucker punched."
"Oh, a second girl? The teenage years will be absolute hell for you with two girls."
"I could tell. That's why you're face is round, you're carrying low, and you have been so sick."
"Boys are easier because you only have to worry about one dick. With girls you have to worry about all of them."
"'Shame she's a girl, who's going to carry on the family name?'
My kids' father was the last male with his last name, so of course I had to have a boy to carry on the name. We did, two years later, but that comment irked me to no end. Who's going to carry on my last name? Nobody cares about that. it's all about keeping the traditionally male parts of families alive."
"Oh, your poor son. In a household full of girls. He needs a brother."
"Another girl? At least you already got your boy out of the way!"
"It's so great you had a boy first to protect her!"
"You can finally be done now."
"I bet you're glad you aren't stuck with all boys."
"It's good for you to have a child to connect with now."
"Her brothers are gonna be so protective, and they can help put bars on her windows so she can't date."
"I had a boy first and a girl second. We didn't cut my son's hair until he asked us to, at 5. When people heard we were having a girl, they asked if we were going to cut my son's hair now that we were having a girl since it is obvious that was what we wanted all along."
“Your husband must be so disappointed. You guys spent all that money on infertility treatments, and you’re both so old now. This is probably his only chance to be a father, and he just had to want a son.”
"My mom said she hoped she got my husbands thighs instead of mine."
"Well now you have to pay for a wedding.”
"Hope your husband has a gun to fight all the boys off."
"Hope you like pink."
"Your clothing bill will be enormous."
"Don’t bother buying any toys except dolls."
"Your husband will need earplugs with all the hen chatter."
"Too bad you didn’t have a boy first to protect her."
"After I got pregnant with my son, after I'd already had my daughter: 'Pray that god blesses you with a boy this time.'"
I literally had a female friend pull me to the side to say:
'Are you OK? I'm so sorry. You must be so disappointed about this. I couldn't cope if I had a girl.'
I was furious."
"Oh no, she's going to be just like you. The world won't survive two of you. You're screwed when she starts dating."
"Ooh, that's why you look like that. Baby girls steal your beauty."
"I have four daughters. Ages 14, 14 (twins), 4, and 3 months. I've heard it all:
'Were you trying for another boy and just kept striking out?'
'Your poor son. All those sisters! So much estrogen!' (These comments infuriate me, as if having a bunch of sisters is the worst thing that could ever happen to my son. Also, we had a stillborn son in 2016 so when people tell me my son needs a brother it is insensitive as hell because he does have a brother.)
'I hope Daddy has a shotgun ready for when the boys come around.'
'I'm so thankful mine are boys. Girls are too much trouble.'
'I feel bad for your husband when that time of the month comes once all of you girls are all synced up.'
'Man, those girls are gonna put you in the poor house. Girls are so expensive.'
'Be ready for all of the attitude coming your way because teenage girls are crazy emotional thanks to all of those hormones.'
And my favorite:
'Poor Daddy.' (As if having four daughters is somehow a curse upon my husband.)"
"Don't let her get fat like you."
"After girl number two, I heard so many comments about trying again and 'getting a boy.' Also, 'girls are so much harder, so much more work.' After the third was a girl? People expressed actual sadness and mourning for my husband that he'd never have a boy. I mean, everyone told us we were bonkers to have a third anyway and her girl status was the sh*t icing on the sh*t cake we had built for ourselves. The assumption that my husband would be devastated and be missing out was on everyone's lips."
"I was waiting to go into a class at the gym, while seven months pregnant. A complete stranger walked up, put his hand in my stomach, and asked, 'girl or boy?' I was somewhat flummoxed and trying to figure out if I'd met him before, and I stammered out 'girl.' He then bent over and pretended to listen to my belly and said, 'All right, see you in 18 years then.' Total. Stranger."
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