Once upon a decade or so ago, a friend of mine who had already been through lots of infertility issues and sadness and pain in trying to conceive, became pregnant. It was a magical moment and she cried when she told us that her dreams of having a baby girl were finally coming true. Except that the baby didn't end up being a girl. She found out early her pregnancy and I'll fast forward a bit to reassure you that she got OK with this slight change in plans, birthed a beautiful baby boy, became a wonderful mother, and eventually said that it had all turned out as it was meant to be. But for one very raw, honest moment in time, she was really upset.
"I dreamed of baking cookies and dressing up fancy," she told me over tears. "This will likely be my only child."
"Perhaps he will like these things, too," I offered in what was clearly not the proper sentiment for her in that situation.
I felt for my friend. I appreciated the real feelings she opened up in a way that many moms back then seemed to say aloud. It made me sad that a pregnancy sought after with such commitment and love would carry disappointment, too. It made me wonder (maybe even worry) that one day I would find myself in a similar state of distress.
Before you judge her momentary disappointment or my (thankfully unsubstantiated) worries, consider the new Gallup poll that shows that most Americans have a gender preference if they would only have one child.
Of the poll of 1,020 adults, 40% of the respondents said they'd prefer a boy and 28% reported they'd like a girl.
Gunning for a male child isn't a new phenomenon, according to these Gallup polls. Of the ten they've conducted since 1941, all of the results have indicated a preference for boys. This time around, however, men drove that inclination, with just under half of them favoring a boy. Women answered the poll equally in favor of boy and girl babies.
Also more likely to prefer a boy? Respondents under the age of 30, those with a high school education or lower, and those who identify as Republican.
Without judging or adding any unnecessary parenting guilt to the equation, what if we got really honest about whether (or not) we had a strong gender preference when we brought a child into the world.
Did you cross your fingers (or even say out loud or have a good cry) for a boy or girl?
More on Shine:
- One challenge of raising a girl
- Do you really need pregnancy announcement cards?
- Pregnant and suddenly single