Yesterday, after Mass, an elderly woman from our parish approached us. She said she had not yet seen our newest addition and asked if we had a new baby girl or baby boy. I was mildly amused as Felicity was wearing a pink dress, but I politely answered her that she was a little girl.
She replied, “Oh. Well, that’s alright. Maybe next time.”
Uh. Excuse me? “Maybe next time,” what? Maybe next time a boy? Well, maybe. But so what? I am not disappointed in the gender of my daughter. Why should she be? Why would she assume I was?
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve heard this. Our parish secretary said something similar when she heard Felicity was a girl. What is this mentality that couples must want 1 girl and 1 boy? Do I look like Donna Reed to you? My life is not a TV sitcom or commercial. We are a living, breathing, growing family. We don’t fit in the box of a television or magazine ad. Or is it some sort of patriarchal mentality that we need a boy to carry on the family name as though the name was what was most important in a family? Boy would the feminists be ticked.
Personally I think it comes down to atheism.
No, I don’t think the women at my parish are atheists in the definitive sense. But there is a common mentality that we as people can, and maybe should, control everything from the wrinkles on our skin to the genetic makeup of our children. About 90% of women who are told their unborn baby has Down Syndrome opt to end that baby’s life before he or she is even born through abortion. Americans can easily be, and often are, obsessed with controlling things. If you asked a couple 100 years ago how many children they wanted, they might well have looked quite puzzled or laughed having never seriously thought about a number and just hoping they would have healthy children that would live long, happy lives. Where does this sense of control come from? From lacking trust in an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving God and making themselves the authority in everything, including those decisions that should be left to God.
Many people don’t realize that they are falling into this category. They don’t wake up in the morning declaring that God is unreliable and so they must take these decisions upon themselves. But if they truly did trust God, they would simply rejoice at every pregnancy and every baby since every single one is willed by God. Every single conception receives God’s blessing to be conceived.
God willed for me not to have 1 girl and 1 boy but 2 girls. You won’t hear anyone in this house complaining – just loving all the cute curls and pink bows. Who is anyone to decide that a pink bow should have been a blue one? It is not a far cry from deciding that an extra 21st chromosome is not worth living.