In situations where getting pregnant has been a big struggle, the sex of a baby (or babies) takes on even more meaning. Did she want a girl? She already had one boy, and this may well be her last pregnancy, so surely she must be disappointed.
People always act like “one of each” is best. That way, they say, you get to have the experience of parenting both a boy and a girl. Somebody to play catch with, and somebody to dress up cute. And assuming a hetero male-female parent scenario, you each get somebody to love you without the complications of same sex competition—be it Oedipal drama or just plain old evolutionary impulse to outpace the elders.
But there is stuff you don’t get, too, stuff that’s worth missing. Fewer expenses, via hand me downs and an easier setup for sharing rooms. Stronger sibling connections, or a higher likelihood of them. The thing I’m most jealous of in parents of two kids of the same sex is a sense of one’s kids as real individuals, free from gender stereotypes. I find myself lumping my kids’ personality traits into gender buckets all the time: “Boys need to run around.” “Girls are better at playing alone.” But really, I have no idea whether those things have anything to do with my kids’ sexes, or just who they are as people.
When you tell people the sex of the baby before birth, you’re opening yourself up to other people’s projections, as well as your own. I didn’t find out beforehand for exactly that reason. I didn’t want to get too bogged down in what other people thought. I figured it would be easier to deal with any disappointment when I was staring a tiny person in the face, rather than a huge concept that was really all in my head. But a lot of people feel just the opposite. They want plenty of time to process before the idea becomes a reality.
Is Celine a bit disappointed? Who knows. But I wouldn’t feel too sorry for her. She’s probably thrilled, especially considering the huge effort that went into making this pregnancy happen. There are great things about every kid combination. And if Celine wants to play dress up, there’s always Vegas!
photo: Jay Kravetz / PR Photos