In an elevator, in line at the grocery store, waiting for the bus, it always goes like this: Strangers' eyes zero in on my belly first. Then they dart furtively to my face, as if to make sure I'm not a mutant, just visibly pregnant.
After this, they ask, "Is this your first?" "My third," I answer. "I have two boys at home." And for the kicker, they unfailingly give me a sideways grin, and say: "Going for your girl?" "Nooo, just going for a baby," I reply, gritting my teeth a little. "Another boy would be fine with us."
I know these people are just making conversation. But this constant assumption leaves me a little offended. What's wrong with boys? Why wouldn't I want another one? It bothers me that people assume I feel incomplete without a daughter, let alone that it's my motivation for being pregnant with a third child in the first place.
One woman actually said to me, "I had two boys first also. And then I had my girl. Thank God."
To these people, I say, "I actually hope it's another boy. I like boys better."
I do this partially in defense of the two wonderful sons I have. But it's the truth. I love what I have, and I have what I love: boys. I understand them. I understand the clothes, the toys, and the Matchbox-car skids on my wallpaper. Not that having two boys is easy -- their physical interaction can be, shall we say, overwhelming. But I love even that, because when I say I am the mother of two boys less than two years apart, I get a respectful nod or even a big thumbs-up for having that much testosterone in my daily life.
The night we found out I was pregnant again, my husband, David, said, "Odds are it's another boy. How do you feel about that?"
I thought for a moment, and answered honestly, "I feel good about that." He patted my hand. "That's how I feel, too," he replied, and we both drifted off to sleep. It was more than good; we were relieved.
Several weeks later, I had an amnio, but we told the doctor and technicians that we wanted the baby's sex to be a secret. Keeping it a surprise has always been more fun, and there seemed no reason to spoil the anticipation. Our doctor agreed to keep mum.
Then, two weeks later, I called to schedule my next appointment. "Hi, Amy! Your amnio looked great, and it's a girl! How nice for you," the receptionist blurted.
For a moment I didn't know what she was talking about. Then I realized what she had just revealed and I almost dropped the phone. "Wha-what? " I said. The receptionist heard the bewilderment in my voice. "You knew, right?" she said. "The doctor told me you knew."
"I didn't know," I said, my head spinning. "I'm sorry...I'll have to call back."
I sat there in a daze. This child I was just starting to feel stir inside me was a girl? I waited for the excitement to wash over me. It didn't come. Not only was I not thrilled -- I was disappointed. I'm still not sure whether I was more bummed by how I found out or what I found out. Either way, I was shaken.