lifestyle

My message to those considering gender selection? Be grateful for the baby you do have.

So apparently there are people in the world – the first world –  who are depressed about the fact they have several healthy children.

Tragically, these children are all of the same gender and this makes their parents very sad. Depressed even.

Some simply live with this thing called “gender depression”. Others take more drastic and expensive action, subjecting their bodies and bank accounts to incredibly intrusive procedures in order to get a baby with a particular set of genitals.

Because……well, I’m not sure.

We’re talking about this because in an interview published last week, one Sydney mother suffering from ‘gender depression’ spoke of paying $50,000 to have a girl an an overseas clinic because the process of gender selection for non-medical reasons is illegal in Australia.

She  describes sobbing in the ultrasound room when pregnant with her second and then her third son after she was told she was having a healthy baby boy and how she became determined to have a girl at any price. Literally. She spoke about feeling taunted by pink clothes in baby shops.

I am broadly supportive of women telling their stories and expressing their feelings about taboo subjects. There are no ‘wrong’ feelings and you can’t help the way you feel about something.

But – and this is a big but – just because one or 100 people feel a certain way, that doesn’t necessarily mean we should encourage it as a society or change our laws to support it.

If anyone should understand this “gender depression” (I have to keep putting it in quote marks because I’m sorry but it just sounds so absurd and makes a mockery of actual depression in my opinion), it’s me.

What’s so wrong with 3 boys, anyway?

I am the mother of three daughters and yes, hand on heart, at various times I did want to have a son. But there are lots of other things I wanted too. I wanted a tall husband but the man I fell madly in love with is shorter than me. I wanted to live in a house near the beach but we cannot afford that. I wanted the novel I wrote to become a best-seller but it never did.

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That’s not to say I am depressed about any of those things – I just changed my expectations for my life. My husband’s height is not something I even notice anymore. I could have been with a taller guy but he wouldn’t have been this guy and this guy is the one who has brought me untold happiness.

The fascinating story of Calfornian doctor Dr Daniel Potter, who treats many Australian families who are desperate for a girl baby. [Post continues after video]

We could have lived by the beach but instead we live in an apartment with wonderful neighbours who have become lifelong friends to our family. My novel didn’t become a best-seller but that doesn’t lessen the joy I got from writing it and getting it published.

I have a girlfriend who has four boys and she’s never found out her babies’ sex during pregnancy because she insists “when a baby is born healthy you are never disappointed in the delivery room”. To me, that says it all.

An obsession with having a child of a particular gender is about your pre-conceptions for what that child will be. But in reality, you never know what you’re getting. Genitals are the least of it!

You don’t know if your kid will like sports like his Dad or be out-going like his Mum…..every baby is a total surprise package. To fixate on your child’s gender is in my opinion the ultimate in pampered privilege and entitlement.

Of course, if you’re rich enough, you will always find a way to do whatever you want. However I am massively uncomfortable with any push to legalise a technology that could be used in unethical ways. So many cultures favour boys over girls for example, just look at the gender imbalance in China where aborting female foetuses is so rife that the ration of men to women in that country has blown out wildly.

My message to those considering gender selection due to wanting to dress up a little girl in pink or having a boy to kick around the footy with Dad, is that you should not be so arrogant as to assume your baby will turn out in a certain way.

You should be grateful for every healthy baby you are lucky enough to have. Surely.

Have you experienced ‘gender disappointment’? 

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