kids

'Were you trying for a boy?' 7 things people say to parents of (almost) three daughters.

Michelle is the mother of two little girls, with a third due in June. 

Since sharing that her third child will be her third daughter, Michelle has received a range of common responses.

Below, Michelle shares the seven things people say to parents of (almost) three daughters.

1. 'Were you trying for a boy?'

No. Nor is it anyone's business whether we followed any special diets, used any special positions or timed copulation to coincide with the full moon. 

We were trying for a third baby. We spoke to numerous medical professionals, created budget spreadsheets, tracked ovulation and lost two babies trying to get our wanted three. 

Whether any of them had any dangly bits between their legs was not among our considerations.

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2. 'Oh, poor Dad!'

Poor Dad has always wanted to be a Dad. Poor Dad has shed more than his fair share of tears when confronted with pregnancy loss and health challenges. Poor Dad has turned down job opportunities so he could spend more time with his young family. 

Poor Dad had a smile from ear to ear when each of his daughters was born, hugged his two daughters before they took their first steps into daycare and big school, and cheered from the sidelines during his eldest’s first soccer game. 

Poor Dad takes them to the driving range, wrestles with them on the trampoline, runs through the sprinkler with them, helps them with their homework, and takes every completed Kapla-block build as iron-clad proof that his Harvey & Daughters Engineering Consultancy firm will be renowned throughout the industry in 30 years time. 

Poor Dad is a man of science, who knew his third baby was 70 to 80 per cent likely to be genetically female, and enthusiastically campaigned for that baby to become part of his family. 

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Poor Dad is pretty excited. 

3. 'Better start working on the man cave!'

I’ll just repeat that this is baby number three. What on earth would lead you to believe that we have the space for a cave of any description? 

Image: Supplied.

4. 'Gender disappointment is real!'

You’re right, it is. I used to be quite defensive about it, assuming it basically always referred to disappointment at the birth of daughters. Then a girlfriend found out she was expecting her second (and last) son, and she admitted she was crushed. 

She wasn’t crushed that she wouldn’t be getting a little girl, more that she had imagined having a very specific relationship with an adult daughter... one marked by events like picking out a formal dress, being the first to be called when her grandchild won’t sleep, helping plan a wedding. 

I acknowledge that perhaps my husband had visions of... I don’t know... teaching his son how to shave, passing on his home repair know-how, attending his son’s bucks weekend. 

I get that with some exceptions (probably the shaving...) gender has been assigned to these ideas only because there isn’t a huge selection of father-daughter models that demonstrate and celebrate this relationship using similar markers. 

But all those things that he might have imagined doing with his son one day... they really aren’t limited by sex. 

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Our eldest daughter LOVES golfing with him, gardening with him, and building elaborate things out of Kapla blocks. Our middle daughter LOVES sitting on a camping chair in the front yard with him, sippy cup in hand, posing mathematical theories. ('Does two and five make polar bear?') She loves being messy and watching his slapstick humour, and going a bit too fast. 

Who knows what his third daughter will share with him? He certainly hasn’t had his relationship with his first two limited by their gender. And he chose to have a third child knowing he’d more than likely be having a third daughter. 

5. 'There’s always number four!'

Nope, there is not. We wanted three children and we are a few short weeks away from welcoming the third. We can confidently assure you that unless there is an enormous oopsie/modern miracle in our future, there will not be a number four. Again, not that it is anyone's business. 

Image: Supplied.

6. 'Maybe he can get a FIFO job!'

Has anyone making these comments ever lived with teenagers... particularly teenage girls? The very last thing most teenage girls want to be is their mother. Dads? They tend to fulfil the role of 'angst and anger target' far less often than mums. See also point two – he likes his kids. 

7. 'I’ll lend you the rope, mate!'

You need to really think about what that means. You’re making a joke suggesting that suicide is the appropriate response to learning you’ll be a father of a girl. You need to think about why you think that is funny – there’s nothing clever about it, there’s no metaphor... not even a pun. It’s just plain misogynist bile. 

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You need to think about why if you do actually think these things, that you also think it appropriate to share those thoughts out loud in 2021, and then why you think they would be received well by a proud parent. 

And most importantly, you need to think about what message you’re sending to the school-aged girl who heard you say them about her sister, and in effect, about her, by way of her gender. 

Just, why? Really, really think about that. 

Michelle is a teacher and writer from the Hunter Valley in NSW. She is the very lucky mother of two little girls, with a third due in June. She writes (rather predictably) about pregnancy and parenting. You can read more from Michelle here.


If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24-hour support line on 1300 072 637. 


Feature Image: Supplied.

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