‘Trying for a boy’: Why our daughters aren’t a rehearsal

When our second daughter was born in August this year we had lots of wonderful messages of love and congratulations. A couple of people added speculation to their well-wishes as they wondered about our future plans to ‘try for a boy’. Our new daughter was just a few hours old and people were already trying to figure out if we wouldn’t quite feel ‘complete’ without a son. 

Firstly, unless you have a gazillion pounds to spend (or waste), ‘trying for a boy’ (or indeed trying for a girl) isn’t a real option. And secondly, our family is complete, perfect for us, and exactly how it was meant to be and I count myself lucky every single day that I’ve been able to have children. I had always pictured us with two girls and Daddy T assures me he is delighted to be surrounded by beautiful women for the rest of his life (although he might not feel the same way when they introduce us to their first boyfriends, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it – hopefully minus any weaponry). We know we are truly blessed to have two gorgeous, happy, healthy daughters to adore.  
We didn’t find out Willow’s gender when I was pregnant with her as it was my choice to find out with our first daughter, Rose, and at the time I had bargained with Daddy T that if we found out the first time we would have a surprise if we were lucky enough to have any more children – plus, after a difficult labour with Rose I thought a surprise might be the added motivation I would need to puuuuuuuush our next baby out (I was right).

During the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy with Rose (our first daughter), I convinced myself we were having a boy – because I secretly wanted a girl and wanted to prepare myself for the less favourable result (Don’t get me wrong, I would still have been totally overjoyed with a baby boy, but deep down I wanted a baby girl – I always had done). So when the ultrasound technician announced “It’s a girl!” I felt an overwhelming sense of joy – our daughter was on her way and I could not have been any happier (I didn’t have piles at that point, clearly). 
When I was pregnant with Willow I lost count of the number of times I was asked if I had a gender preference and my answer was always along the same lines: “I honestly don’t mind”. I wondered if it might be nicer for Rose to have a little sister as I am so close to both of mine, or if I would enjoy the experience of parenting a boy as much as I was loving raising Rose. I was thankful we didn’t have a choice, if truth be told. 

Following our 20 week scan with Willow when we declined the option of finding out her gender (turns out she had her legs crossed anyway – a trait Daddy T hopes will continue well into her twenties at least) we bought a selection of super cute unisex outfits and decided on a woodland theme for our soft lime nursery. We’d been sensible and had chosen a gender neutral travel system, Moses basket, play gym and baby carrier when we had our pre-Rose shopping spree two years earlier, so we felt like we were all set for any outcome – except for one minor issue – we couldn’t agree on a boy’s name. We had Willow picked out as our girl’s name very early on and never wavered – we loved it just as much as ‘Rose’ and didn’t come across anything which could compete. Our boys name list fluctuated and as our due date approached we settled on ‘Archie’ – although neither of us were 100% happy with it. 

When Willow was born, Tom lifted her up and announced to me “It’s a girl! Willow’s here!” and a hurricane of emotion consumed me – it occurred to me in that moment that I had really wanted another girl, and it was very likely that’s why I didn’t like any boy’s names. I felt like I’d been missing the last piece of a puzzle and Willow’s arrival completed the picture I held in my heart. 

We’ve had a few conversations about whether Daddy T might change his mind about having a third child if Rose and Willow both grow into ‘girly girls’ and refuse to go to the Moto GP with him, but he’s certain we won’t have to buy any bunk beds for our three bedroom bungalow and there won’t be any need for a people carrier, thank goodness (I’m terrible at parking…) 

I like to remind him that I enjoy the Moto GP, and I’m a girl, and that I played football as a child, and still enjoy watching it now. With that in mind I’ve always felt there are merits to ‘gender neutral’ parenting – Rose has a selection of toys which are marketed at both sexes – I want her to be who she wants to be, not who she thinks she must be just because she’s female. That might be all well and good, but with Rose it turns out it doesn’t matter how many cars you push around the living room, how many times you dress your daughter in blue and whether you choose a dragon outfit for her first fancy dress party (she was a lone dragon in a sea of princesses) – she’s become a dolly-loving Frozen fanatic anyway – but at least she did that all by herself and we haven’t forced her to live in a bubblegum pink Barbie palace for the last 28 months.

Conveniently for us, a recent Bounty UK study put two daughters at the top of their list for the most harmonious household… 

…Now I don’t know much about the science behind it, but we are chuffed to bits and thankful for the wonderful hand we have been dealt, the added bonus of a potentially happy household is just the cherry on top of the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted. For me, it’s enough to know my handmade dresses will get a second outing and that Rose & Willow have each other to grow up beside – and that we love our incredible girls fiercely and wholeheartedly. 

So just in case I haven’t been clear enough – No, we won’t be ‘trying for a boy’ – we’ll probably be far too busy wrestling the TV remote out of our girls’ pink manicured mitts to put the football on, but thanks very much for asking anyway.



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