”It’s a boy!” the sonographer exclaimed as I lay on a table with globs of cold, clear jelly on my expanding belly. My husband was relieved. I was heartbroken. I already had one boy so I was hoping for that magical equation where baby number two was a girl. Sure, I lied to everyone who asked and said I would love either. I’m like everyone else and just assumed the odds would be in my favor for that perfect set of children. My husband would have our first child to go to races and play video games with; I would have a girl to craft and shop with. By the time my due date came (and went… my second son was 10 days past his due date…. boys) I had come to terms with the gender. I loved him of course! He was my baby. Still, a part of me wasn’t as connected to him during my pregnancy as I had been to Fletcher. I worried that I would never be able to love him as much as I loved Fletcher. How could I? I loved Fletcher an overwhelming amount, I would cry sometimes just thinking about how much I loved him. I didn’t think I had any more love than that to give. I wasn’t anxious for him to come, in fact, I enjoyed his tardiness because the later he was the longer I had with my beloved Fletcher. We cuddled for weeks before my due date because I knew life was changing in a big way. Everett entered the world peacefully in the comfort of my bedroom after a quick 4 hours, 45 minutes of labor. I fell in love all over again and he was instantly as much a part of my family as I or my husband or Fletcher. What everyone said about your heart expanding and your love growing with each child was right. I didn’t love Fletcher any less than before his brother was born but I loved his new brother just as much. I had no reason to worry at all!
These days I find myself grateful that life dealt us two boys. Each day I watch their bond grow stronger and see them both growing into little boys with distinct personalities. Fletcher is my goofball, my comedian, my social butterfly, my cuddle obsessed young man. Everett is the “baby,” he is brave and fearless, a little mini-me of his brother, and a sensitive soul. He also sucks at sharing. Before Everett came into our lives I knew already that Fletcher was meant to be an older brother- he needed someone as a playmate and partner and he was a nurturing little boy. It is clear that I was right. He thrives as a big brother. Since Everett is no longer a baby he has taken to accosting babies in public to coddle and I catch him helping them in public play areas. It make my mommy heart proud. The older the boys get the closer they become. I tell my boys that “having a brother is like having a built in best friend for life.” and often remind them to stick together. I want their friendship to last a lifetime. Lately I’ve noticed that they choose to spend time together, that they miss one another when one is gone, and that they are teaming up to create elaborate games and adventures. Everett asks when “bro bro” will be home from school. Fletcher translates his brother’s fragmented words and gestures for us “Mom he SAID he wants a SANDWICH!” They are concocting obstacle courses from pillows and will hang out in a fort for long stretches of time just laughing about who knows what or playing Angry Birds. Each time I witness them offer up affection unprovoked I can’t help but be in awe of their relationship and kick myself for ever being disappointed in having a second son. Who decides what makes up a perfect family? I’m ashamed to admit that I bought into the tripe being fed to me by family and even passing strangers about the baby yet to be born. Having two boys is the most fun, most amazing, most perfect family I could have. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So to anyone reading this right now who might have those same feelings of disappointment over gender, or the fear that you can’t love your second baby as much as you love your first I’m here to tell you that those feelings will pass. It is magical and powerful and indescribable how much you fall in love all over again when a new baby is born. It saddens me how often I’ve heard strangers and family push their gender expectations onto pregnant women- if you have done it, even innocently, think again before you say “Oh I just know this baby has to be a boy, you already have two girls!” It might not sound malicious but you are fueling the hopes a mother might be having, you are putting an expectation on them that is in no way something that have control over, and if that mother ends up with a third girl, you are part of the voice in their head that makes them wonder what is wrong with them? Why weren’t the odds in their favor? Every mother deserves to be overjoyed about their pregnancy. Families are dynamic and not a recipe with the ingredients of “One Mom, One Dad, One Baby Boy, One Baby Girl.” There is no such thing as a one size fits all perfect family. There can be your perfect family and that is all that matters.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the “Are you gonna try for a girl” question….