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When my nephew Cayle was born, it changed all our lives.  He (rightfully) became the center of the family, the axis around which all of our plans rotated.  I’m happy to say it was a joy for me, too – at the time I wasnt even in a relationship, much less married;  and even if I did marry, I wasn’t sure at the time that I wanted kids. 

Then my sweet second nephew, Andon, was born.  His arrival was much different for us – my brother and his wife were going through a painful divorce due to repeated infidelity (on her part), and his paternity was very much a question in everyone’s minds.  Happily, paternity tests determined that he was indeed Cayle’s full brother, but I watched my mother struggle over the past few years to overcome the circumstances surrounding his birth.  Although my folks have come to love Andon deeply, it took them a lot longer to bond to him, instead of instantly like they did with Cayle.  It’s been so good to see them come to enjoy close relationships with both the boys over time.

Although mercifully it wasn’t hard for me when either nephew was born, it was harder for me when my brother remarried a year and a half ago.  I love my sister-in-law and I’m so glad they’re married, so the jealousy was quite a surprise to me.  But I have to admit, I was completely jealous at the thought that they might want to have a child of their own before I could have a child.  I don’t know why – Chris had already beat me to the punch with his two little boys.  So why would another one matter?  I think the difference was, now Troy and I were actually trying.  Selfishly, I wanted to have the next one!  Turns out, Joann’s not even sure she wants to have kids, although she is starting to catch the baby bug these days. 

We’ve decided not to find out if our baby’s gender.  This may be our only baby, and I want the whole big surprise, the complete experience.  Troy and I will both be thrilled either way, of course.  But I have to admit, there’s a tiny part of me that would love to have a little girl – partly because I love the relationship my mother and I have, and partly because I selfishly want to be the first to bring a girl into my side of the family.  And Troy would have to admit, there’s a tiny part of him that would love to have a little boy – partly because his dad died when he was young, and he wants to be a good dad like his was, and partly because there are no male Harlans left and ours would be the first Harlan boy born into the family since Troy and his cousins.  But we both know that from the first moment we hear our baby cry, we will be completely and totally in love, no matter what the gender.  I know this absolutely, without a doubt.

I also know Troy’s family will be excited either way.  Because Troy is an only child, our baby will be the first grandchild on that side.  It’s kind of fun to know that we’ll get to experience all the “firsts” along with his family.

But lately, I’ve been worried about how my folks will feel towards our baby if it’s a boy.  My folks want a girl so badly.  Although they love both the boys, it’s not hard to see their favoritism of Cayle.  If we have a boy, it will be ” just another boy” in the family.  They keep telling me they wish I’d have a girl so that it can be my “first” – Chris got married first, had kids first, etc – so having a girl would be my own special first.  But it feels like there’s more than that to it.

After this weeks’ ultrasound I told mom I thought I saw a penis flash by on the screen.  Of course I’m not sure – I honestly have no idea what I’m seeing.  Since I told her that, she has blurted out, “well if you thought you saw a penis, why didn’t you just ask them to confirm it?”  That might just be her frustration at not knowing one way or the other, but I still want the surprise!  I don’t really know what I’m seeing!  She also said,” well, I got out a tub of the boys’ clothes I saved.  I guess I’ll just pack away the little girls’ outfits I bought because I just couldn’t resist them.  I guess maybe we’ll get to use them for Joann.”  Who’s to say we might not get lucky again?  We may have a girl now or we may have one later!  And my dad made a joke about when “our little girl gets here,” and I reminded him it might be a boy, he said, “well, if that happens, we’ll send it back and ask for a re-draw!”

I know they’re just joking.  But the comments and “jokes” just keep coming.  The disappointment at the thought of the baby being a boy is palpable.  I hate it that it’s starting to take some of my joy.  I feel so much pressure to provide them with what they want.  But I just want to be happy, no matter what!  I don’t want to see the disappoinment in their eyes when/if I give birth to a boy.

I know I need to get past this.  I need to stop thinking about them and just think about Troy and my baby.  But it’s hard.  I see their absolute joy in Cayle, and I want them to feel that for my baby.  I don’t want my baby to have to struggle for attention and devotion like little Andon has.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m making to much of it.  I just want them to want my baby – whatever the gender – the way they want to be with Cayle. 

The irony is, I was my grandmothers’ favorite.  Maybe our side of the family has always had a thing for girls.  I guess I had this coming.

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23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pie
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 10:40:34

    Ufff, it was like a kick in the gut to read your dad’s “joke” of sending the boy back. That hurts. I don’t know your family’s dynamics (and we all got them!) but maybe a remark to your mom or dad, nothing big, but just a “it hurts when you say the stuff about sending the boy back” or something like that. I’m sure they think they are joking, but it is hurtful.

    And maybe, just maybe, if you have an u/s coming up, you and Troy could find out the sex together – and decide what to do about telling family. It’s still a big surprise, just on a different day. It may ease your mind to at least know, given how much is riding on this with your family. But I was also the kid that sneaked a peek at my Xmas presents early, so I could never wait!!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:40:25

      lol! I thought I saw it early in the u/s, and Troy thought he saw it at the end. We didn’t talk about it ’til we were in the car, though. I think if we’d both realized we both thought we saw something while we were in there, we might’ve gone ahead and found out in the moment of weakness. 😉
      I’m glad we’re still waiting, though. If we never do get pregnant again, I’d be sad I let the opportunity to be surprised go by.

      Reply

  2. Katie
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 12:19:49

    A big reason I wanted to find out the sex prior to giving birth was because I didn’t want any form of disappointment or even the jokes (like your dad’s) on the day of my baby’s birth. I must admit that there was the teensiest bit (and I mean microscopic) of disappointment for me when we found out in April that we were having a boy. But it only lasted a nanosecond! And the day he was born was perfect! We still got to surprise everyone with his name!

    I like the idea of finding out together like the previous commenter suggested…and it still will be a surprise to you and Troy. Then you two can bond with your little boy or girl before he/she is born. I think it makes a big difference knowing what you are having…you can stop calling the baby “it”!!!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:41:50

      I DO hate calling “it” and “it”! 🙂 That’s too funny. But if we find out, everyone will find out. Troy can’t keep a secret to save his life! I don’t think I’ll try to keep it a surprise if we’re lucky enough to get pregnant with a second one, though.

      Reply

  3. Kari
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 13:22:34

    I’m sorry you’re feeling that others may have some disappointment if you have a baby of a certain sex. That must be very difficult, especially after dealing with IF and knowing either way as long as you have a healthy baby you and Troy will be thrilled. I have to tell you as a boy mama he’s just too awesome not to be absolutely smitten with him, hopefully if your little one turns out to be a boy your family will embrace him just as they did Cayle. He will be your FIRST and that’s still a first on your side of the family. 🙂 Having said that I’ve heard of more than one person who thought they saw a penis during the ultrasound and turns out it was just the umbilical cord. 😉 Either way baby will be very, very loved!!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:43:57

      Little Liam is just too beautiful to not fall in love with! I love the pic of him on the left side of the screen where he’s looking up from a lap with those big eyes. He’s so adorable! 🙂

      I think you’re right, no matter whether it’s a boy or girl, it will be loved! I think from now on if my folks bring up gender, I’m just going to change the subject or shut down the conversation.

      Reply

  4. sunflowerchilde
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 14:45:46

    Ugh, I’m sorry. I know how you feel – my mom has always been really biased towards boys, and I fought hard to protect my daughter’s place in her eyes while she preferred my son. Then when my daughter broke her leg, she became my mom’s favorite (or at least they’re equal now). It’s terrible when grandparents behave this way, but I have a feeling that when you meet your baby for the first time, you won’t care anymore – and you’ll also become fiercely protective if your parents don’t behave themselves!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:45:52

      I’m beginning to realize the “first favoritism” is much more common than I thought. I thought it was just the sad circumstances going on when Andon was born, but I think maybe the grandparents are often really smitten with the “first.”

      Reply

  5. Jenny
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 16:56:14

    Hey Stacey…my heart goes out to you. While I agree with the other raters that finding out the gender might help the situation, I don’t feel like you should give up on your wish to keep the gender a secret until birth. If it were me, I would definately talk to your parents about it…and tell them that you just want them to love this child as much as you do, no matter what the gender. I would also tell them that if they wanted to really love their grandchild, they should do so with no concerns of gender. I know that’s harsh and I’m sure there’s a more tactful way to say it! But it seems to me that if you are a true grandparent, you love your grandchild unconditionally! No matter how you say it, you need to talk to them about it, especially if you feel close with your mom, you should be able to have a heart to heart about it with her.

    Good luck – no matter what, do your best to focus on the joy that awaits you and Troy very soon!!! The most important thing is that your baby be happy and healthy!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:47:47

      I hope I can stop paying attention to their comments and I can just start ignoring them. If the favoritism gets too obvious as the baby gets older and becomes aware, I’ll just limit our time with them. I hate to do that, but I just don’t want my child to be hurt by that! I’m hoping that all this stuff will just go out the window when the baby is born!

      Reply

  6. katery
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 22:42:19

    oh honey… they will love your baby no matter what, boy or girl. some people don’t understand that certain comments are hurtful, no matter how much we love them and they love us.

    Reply

  7. Amber
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 23:44:52

    We didn’t find out the gender of our baby either and it was an incredible surprise. Driving to the hospital that morning (in labor), I felt such excitement knowing that we’d find out the gender that day. And all of our friends and family have said how much they enjoyed that.

    With that said, most of them had criticized my decision early on. They wanted to know and stated so all the time. Plus, everyone had decided my baby was a boy and talked about it all the time like they just already knew. I felt like they all wanted a boy. And maybe they did. But when my little girl was laid on my chest, everyone else disappeared. You won’t care what anyone else thinks from then on. Boy, girl, it doesn’t matter. You’ll love them no matter what! So, I say stick in there and have the surprise you want!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:50:50

      I think I will! I’m so glad I didn’t cave after all. I REALLY want that surprise! It might be our only chance to ever get a surprise like this. It’s funny how intensely opinionated folks are about a pregnancy – especially when it’s not their own!

      Reply

  8. Hope
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 10:45:58

    I bet once the baby gets here, no one will even remember their preference for a girl. If they do, you and Troy will be so head over heels you probably won’t even notice. My sister has gorgeous children and I have kinda worried that ours won’t be cute, but then Chris reminded me we won’t even know, we’ll think she’s beautiful. You’re getting really close now!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:58:45

      I think your Chris is right! Once the baby is here, I won’t give a flip what my parents think! I’ve decided to just cut off the gender conversation from here on out.

      Reply

  9. Another Dreamer
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 22:37:21

    I’m sorry for the pressure from your family, try not to take it to heart. My family and my husband’s both want a girl so badly, and they get real disappointed when someone has a boy. They still love them, but I think I understand what you’re saying. It’s always just made me bitter about it, and drove home the whole failure to conceive even worse- it’s like, they come from a place where conception is guaranteed and therefore they can obsess about gender. I don’t really care anymore, I just want a healthy baby because I know that there is no easy part of any of this. It’s hard.

    Don’t let them steal your joy- any baby is a miracle and you are going to love that baby to pieces, they will still love it too even if they are making you feel pressured at the moment.

    I think it’s wonderful to hold out on the gender- we’re often discussed if we would, should we ever be so lucky. I argue about it, saying well we might only have that one chance, so we should be surprised. But them I use the same logic to convince myself that we would want to find out because it might be our only chance for that too lol.

    Reply

  10. Myndi
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 01:17:40

    The whole gender thing is such a challenge. When I was pregnant with SS, we invited my then husband’s parents to the ultrasound/gender reveal. His dad was so upset that we were having a girl that he pouted for several days. In the end, he loves her more than anyone else on the planet, and I know he wouldn’t have it any other way, but it sure is a kick in the teeth when they aren’t initially overjoyed. I know you know that the second they see that baby, they are going to be so in love they won’t even know what hit them. 🙂

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 12, 2011 @ 17:50:45

      I think you’re right. I hope I’m just making a big to-do about nothing, and as soon as the baby is here, they’ll be completely stoked be it boy or girl! Although I know they’d love a granddaughter, I need to give them the benefit of the doubt, I think.

      Reply

  11. babybaker
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 15:52:44

    even if you have a boy, this will be your boy that you worked so hard for. he will be special because you and troy are his parents. and if it’s a girl, then watch out your family doesn’t spoil her! 🙂

    i love that you’re not finding out. we don’t plan to either. there was no surprise in getting pregnant thanks to ART so this is the one true surprise we can have.

    don’t let your family get to you. once your lil one is here, everyone will be celebrating!

    Reply

    • iamstacey
      Jan 12, 2011 @ 17:53:40

      It has really helped talking all this out with everyone. I think I’m over it now. I can be happy even if my folks aren’t overjoyed. And really, I think they will be, no matter what. But I’m not going to let them steal my joy anymore! This may be the only one, so I’m going to revel in it!

      Reply

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