“Are you going to try for a girl?”


Jeez. That’s an interesting question to come out with oh so casually. Do you assume I’ve never thought about it? That’s sweet. 

Hmmm. What can I tell you? Let’s see…

Shall I start with the notion that you can’t try for a girl, you can only try for a child?

Shall I tell you that I have, in fact, tried for a girl before. Several times, in fact. I got boys. It’s cool. I love them fiercely. 

Do you want to know about my hormonal condition that makes it more likely that I will conceive boys? You thought it was all down to the man, didn’t you? Because you’ve never had to delve into the science and the research like I have. 

Please, do go ahead and tell me the theories about timing, about diet, about intricacies to do with the act of conception. You clearly think I must not know these theories, because I have all boys don’t I, so I can’t possibly have known. Perhaps you want me to reciprocate and ask you in return which position you used to conceive your children, what you eat, and how frequently your other half ejaculates. 

Do you want to know just how realistic the idea of a daughter has been to me at times?

That we’ve had names picked? That I imagined all my boys were girls at one point or another during my pregnancies with them? 

Do you want me to tell you that gender is a construct?

That I don’t even like pink or frills and don’t care one bit about doing girly activities with my perceived construct of a daughter. 

Do you want me to tell you that despite this, I still do have silly preconceived notions of how awesome I’d be as a mum to a teenage girl. That I just wanted to know her, whoever she is and turned out to be. 

Do you really want to know why we “keep making boys”?

Or are you just trying to remind me of my miscarriages. Of the fact that we have as many living children as we do pregnancies that didn’t make it.

Do you want to hear about the restrictive and sometimes crazy diets I’ve put myself on

For months at a time, in the hopes of giving myself the best chances of conceiving a girl?

Or how about the hormonal pills I take to keep me fertile? Because I’m not, without them. I can’t conceive with a click of a finger. It takes time, and preparation, and the right hormonal balance. 

Do you want to know more about my medication? About how it sometimes has me up sick in the night?

Do you want to know that I’ve done these things long term, even though my husband has categorically said no more children, just in case he changes his mind one day?

Do you want to know about the world of extreme gender ‘swaying’ tactics?

I bet you thought it was simple, didn’t you? You didn’t have to try this hard. 

You know what’s especially fun?

When people tell me that little quote about how a son is yours until he finds a wife but a daughter is yours for life. Cute. 

It’s also brilliant when strangers stop me in a supermarket to tell me I MUST have a daughter because they are the ones who will look after me in my old age. Not my good for nothing sons. Not them. 

Do you want to know how volatile a subject this has proved between me and my partner?

Bonus points if you ask me this question in his presence, by the way. It’s always fun to have to casually play down the very in depth, extremely personal, soul searching conversations (arguments) we’ve had on this very subject. The at times near-desperate pleading to see the other person’s side. The literal years that we’ve been having this to and fro. 

If you have the time, maybe I’ll tell you about the guilt I’ve felt for pushing him, and the guilt he’s felt for not giving in to what I want, for sticking to his guns for what he feels is the best thing for our family as a whole. 

What’s one more child, eh?

It’s no big deal. You thought we were mad when we announced we were having a third, but of course you are totally on board with us trying and trying and trying until we get a girl. That makes total sense. 

Do you want a breakdown of our financial situation?

Could you afford four kids? Would you like to donate to our crowdfunding page? We’d have enough money if I got a donation for every comment I’ve ever received. 

Do you have any advice for me if number four turns out to be a boy?

What’s the bet that you’ll be the person making the disappointed comments that I’ve found so damaging and hard to deal with in the past? You want me to go through that again like it’s water off a duck’s back?

Perhaps you want the gory details of the gender disappointment if the gamble doesn’t go the way you’d hope? Would you understand then, that it’s not a frivolous game to pay? 

Do you want some admission that I’m not happy with my lot?

Don’t for one second think that us parents of all boys can’t immediately read between the lines of this question to the truth of the matter: You think our family set up isn’t perfect. 

Go on, ask me this question in the presence of my sons for good measure.

Put the thought into their beautiful little heads that perhaps I didn’t want them, or that I’m unhappy that they are boys and not girls (they’ve actually asked me this, you know). That’s always really helpful, no really, thank you so much for that. 

Do you want to know that it’s been a long, LONG old process to get to a place where I’m genuinely happy with the idea of not having any more children. 

It’s taken literal years for me to stop planning and pondering, and adopt a “What will be will be” thinking. And sometimes even now, my emotions on the subject change direction as abruptly as a strong wind. It knocks me down out of the blue, and can take weeks to get back up again. 

So go on, ask me that question some more, so I have to confront those conflicting feelings yet again.

When you see my troop of boys, tell me jokingly not to look so sad, tell me teasingly that I could have tried harder for a girl. Ask me that leading question: “No more, really? It would be nice to have a girl though wouldn’t it?”

Ask me in front of my wonderful children. Always in front of my children.

Ask me for the rest of my life. Because I know you will. 

And here is my question for you: Why is what I DON’T have, more interesting than what I DO have?

Gender disappointment re-adjustment is a huge subject. This video I made a few years ago currently has over 20,000 views and 150 comments:



  1. A great read as a fellow mum of three wonderful boys. Just celebrated my youngest 2nd birthday (my first 2nd birthday not pregnant with another!) and knowing my family is done and wonderful but still processing the finality of not having a daughter. Such an emotive subject which people don’t understand including my pre parent self who I’m ashamed to say most definitely made judgemental comments in my youth. When the boys ask me if I had wanted a girl I have such a wonderfully honest answer of ‘well no as I’d always wanted three kids and if I’d had a girl I wouldn’t have had one of you guys which would have been AWFUL but it would have been fun to see what a girl was like’ it’s a 100% honest response but one in which they still hopefully feel 100% wanted (which they most definitely are!)

  2. Oh Chloe,
    I have heard all of these things so many times, I remember the way a stranger looked at me with horror during my fourth pregnancy and said ‘but what would you DO if it was another boy’. Everyone seems to have an opinion on my womb and they just don’t think about what they say. xx

  3. Year ago, when I was expecting my first child and still working , a vice president of the company came to visit and, on seeing I was pregnant, asked me what I wanted. I replied, ‘well a child would be good.’ I didn’t find out until either of my children were born what gender they were. I had a son followed by a daughter 15 months after, when she was born the nurses told me how lucky I was to have one of each .I think I’m lucky to have had 2 children whatever their gender ( I also miscarried before my son was born). Neither of my siblings managed to have children despite fruitless years of trying so I count myself truly blessed to have them at all.

    1. An antenatal midwife, during my pregnancy with my second son (after 3 miscarriages and a period of difficulty conceiving) said, within minutes of meeting me and my family, “Let’s hope this one’s a girl then”.

  4. Wow this has been so therapeutic to me. I happened upon your gender disappointment video on you tube last night and then now this morning went on to find this blog post. The video was so very helpful to me. I am 23 weeks pregnant with my 3rd boy. I did the blood screening at 11 weeks to find out the gender. I just knew he was a she and what her name was. This pregnancy was so different I was so sick I had prayed and prayed for a daughter. When I got the call saying “looks like a boy” the grief for this daughter who I believed was living inside of me for 10 weeks and longer in my heart was unbelievable. The comments we got right after announcing were daggers to the mu heart. Now 13 weeks later I’m still struggling I have a few good days where I feel so excited for this new little boy and other days where I’m in a dark place mourning the little girl we won’t have. It’s crazy both my husband and I always wanted a little boy and when we got pregnant for the first time we were ecstatic to learn our little boy was coming. But I always imagined there would be a girl along the way too somewhere. I don’t think we could handle 4 children but I desperately want to try once more but then how could I go through this again. I’m rambling but just wanted to think you for this post and the video being so open and raw. It has helped me so much to not feel alone.

    1. You will love your boy when he arrives. It’s just this awkward emotional period before then to get through. My third boy is just so wonderful, I’m still sometimes sad about not having the daughter experience, but I can’t ever imagine him not being here and I’ve really enjoyed every second with him.

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