Thursday, July 05, 2012

Arab PregnancyWatch

The only people in my personal acquaintance who are as vigilant about their PregnancyWatch duties as Mormons, are Arabs. And with the Arab version of PregnancyWatch, the speculation and hounding could conceivably (ha ha) continue even if you have four, five, six kids - if all of those kids happen to be girls, anyway. Off the top of my head, I can think of three Arab families I know who have had girl after girl after girl (after girl...) and then a boy, and they've openly admitted that they just kept having kids until they got a boy. It's a very commonly held goal around here. Recently, at a baby shower, I sat next to a fellow guest who cradled her eighth (!!!) baby in her arms, a boy, born after years of girl after girl after girl.... She was not shy about admitting that while she enjoyed her large family, she was relieved to be done having children at last. Because, you know, now she had a boy.
Seated on my other side at that baby shower was the woman's aged mother-in-law. Since her own daughter-in-law had now fulfilled her duties, she turned to me and asked how many kids I had. In a brief conversation with her, it was quickly established that a) two was not nearly enough children, especially since b) they were both girls, and c) I was to attempt to produce a boy as soon as possible. Thanks for the family planning advice, random aged mother-in-law!

That was a while ago. This morning, I was given a lengthy lecture on the best ways to ensure conception of a boy. The context? I was half-naked on an exam table. The lecturer? My lady doctor (I was visiting her for a checkup). And no, I had not asked for this advice. It was assumed I wanted it, because I have two kids, and they are both girls. DUH.

But you know, I have come to realize that most of this gentle (or not so gentle) prodding from friends and strangers is given in the spirit of kindness, and is meant only to encourage, not shame or embarrass. At least that's how I've learned to take it. It's not hard at all to just smile and nod, thank them for their good wishes, and carry on...

...because little do they know that having all girls is AWESOME and I love it and I don't feel like a boy child is necessary for family happiness at all. So there.

12 comments:

breanne said...

At least you're married and have children! Being a single female in the Middle East is a very interesting experience. The men all think that if you aren't married you obviously want to marry them (or one of their sons) and the women want to know if you at least have a fiancee, or a boyfriend, and if you don't have any of the above they're like, "Don't worry, you'll find someone! Do you want to marry an Arab man?" It's pretty funny sometimes, and kind of annoying other times... :)

Bridget said...

Yes, excellent point. The funny/annoying mix is so true.

Liz Johnson said...

You know, I kind of wanted a boy this time so that I could make a very loud point of how I AM NOT JUST HAVING MORE KIDS IN HOPES OF HAVING A GIRL, AND I AM FINE WITH ALL BOYS THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I get "are you going to try for a girl?" all the time from the weirdest, most random people. And it drove me nuts. No, I don't feel like my family is incomplete because my children are all of the same gender. At all. Hmmph.

What is up with everybody assuming that in order to have an "satisfactory" family in which people stop hounding you about your procreation, you need to have at least 3 kids, and you need at least one of each gender? When did that become a thing?

Tia said...

Agreed. I love having all girls. I don't love all the comments. Though Manuel goes back and forth between wanting a boy (since he's an only child) and being done having kids. I'm happy with our three girls.

A friend of ours, who also has three girls, tells people that they did try for a boy three times and obviously it wasn't Heavenly Father's plan for them to have a boy.

Amber said...

On the flip side, when we found out that our second would be a girl (our first is a boy), several family members made the comment "oh good, you have one of each, now you don't need to have any more", again, making the assumption that number of children in a family is determined by how many tries it takes to get a "complete set". When I mention that we will probably have at least one, if not two more, people look at me like I'm crazy, and have even said, "But why? You already have a boy and a girl."

Glenda The Good said...

Yeah we got Amber's comment as well. Personally I'm just going to go out there and say I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAVE DAUGHTERS. I grew up with three sisters and then two little brothers were born, when I was almost old enough to be having kids. While I love my brothers I always wanted to have daughters. I prefer daughters to sons. I'm sorry, it just is the truth for me. If I had a row of boys I would have just kept going until I got one girl...and then probably would have kept going until I had a sister for her...or just adopted because it was that important to me. Yes I am that crazy :) Being as I have both children though now we've reached the point where 95% chance we are done, and when we mention this around our Mormon friends a lot of them seem concerned we haven't given this enough thought. When we mention this around our non member friends they seem relieved we are going to finally stop popping them out :)

Glenda The Good said...

I should add I love all my children regardless of gender. I just always knew I'd rock being a girl mom...so sue me :)

Susanne said...

Great post. It's also bad when you are married and have no children. You're made to feel like half a woman or something. I'm not sure what the Syrians thought of that, but I believe I detected pity that I (mostly likely) couldn't have children. And maybe it's too bad for Andrew that he's not a Muslim so he could just get another wife to produce children for him. Little did they know we chose not to have kids. And it's AWESOME and I don't feel like having a boy or girl or half a dozen of each is necessary. So there!

I have an Iraqi friend on Facebook who said he'd pray I'd have a dozen. I told him I wish he wouldn't. God, no.

I'm fine with my nephews.

Sarah Familia said...

In France, you're supposed to have a boy, then a girl. It's called "le choix du roi," because you have a boy to inherit the kingdom, and then a girl to marry off and extend it. We did the opposite, so I guess our daughter is inheriting the kingdom. And we'll have to try to find a suitable princess so we can marry off our son . . .

Steven said...

I'll be honest - whenever you write a post relating to pregnancy/babies/kids, I first scroll to the bottom just to see if you're going to announce something...

Teresa Jane said...

Haha, Steven, that is so funny. I cried a little bit in the ultrasound room (ever so briefly) when I found out I was having a girl, both times. For some reason, I really wanted boys. I am so glad I have two girls now! It didn't take long to get over because I really only needed a healthy baby either way. Now I am convinced that I never want boys at all. I would love to have more girls!

Alanna said...

I am #3 of five girls, and it always makes me angry when people offer sympathy to my father. I coldly tell them that he loves his daughters and wouldn't know what to do with a son anyway. And then I feel like I've learned a lot more about them than they probably ever realized.

My Dad never once suggested that he was less than thrilled with his five girls. In fact, when my Mom was pregnant with the youngest and everyone asked if this was their last try for a boy, he told them that if it was a boy, the poor kid would be stuck wearing dresses and playing with dolls, because he wasn't going to buy all new stuff for the 5th kid! That usually shut them up.

Yay for girls!

Only slightly off topic-- my first was the first boy born to our family, and everyone was pretty shocked when we found out he was a boy. Each sister's reaction was the same, "A BOY??? What will you do with a boy???" It was pretty hilarious!

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