14 In LIFE/ Vent Sesh

Vent Sesh: What Makes a Complete Family

sisters

I’ve learned over time that a family is only complete when it has one boy and one girl.

I mean, how can a family be happy with three girls or four boys or just one child, right? The horror.

(JOKING).

Even nearly two years after we’ve had our son (our daughter is now nearly six), I still get strangers, friends and those in the middle say, “You’re so lucky, your family is now complete, you have one of each!” The expression gets me every time. It’s an innocent comment, said with good intentions, yet it’s so off the mark to think that every family is made complete by this one of each thing. How do they know that’s what I wanted, or that maybe, I’m crying on the inside wishing I had two boys right now?

I loved recently that two pregnant girl friends due in early 2016 each confided that beyond their in utero babies being healthy, they both really wanted girls. Like really, really wanted a girl. They each already had one child each, both a girl, and wanted them to have a sister. Their honesty was refreshing, and also made me want to scream from the rooftops that we’re not all made complete by the same thing.

It was beautiful. And, yet, it took me by surprise. After our troubles related to pregnancy and babies, I’m hyper aware of making any baby/family-related comments, yet the stereotypical worldview of what makes a complete family even had me thrown off with their responses.

Not another boy to “complete” their family, another girl for sisters to have tea parties, dance recitals (or t-ball tournaments!) and shopping trips. A sister to confide in, to share secrets, heartbreaks and their biggest dreams with each other. This is the dream each of these women were secretly hoping for when they got the gender results, and lucky enough, it’s going to become a reality.

As a society we get so hung up on supposed norms and what others want for us that we often innocently push it on someone else. It’s typically subconscious. Yet, I always feel awkward when someone makes that comment which must happen at least a few times per month. <insert shrug here>

Imagine the face that the mom with three boys must always get (that must also come with, “oh, are you trying for a girl?!”), or the one with just one child has (which, by the way, we don’t know if that’s because they wanted one or because heartbreakingly, they couldn’t conceive). There are so many moms and dads in this “other” category, and as evidenced by my tiniest sample size study ever of two — though in one week! — not everyone wants to be.

All these questions and comments are said so innocently yet they are really deeply personal dialogue. A good reminder that beautiful, fulfilled families come in so many packages and there’s always an opportunity for each of us to be a little more open minded.

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  • Reply
    Alison
    September 30, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    YESSSSS! Emerson is almost 7 and I still have people ask me when I plan on giving her a sibling. LOVE when they say it’s mean/unfair/selfish for me NOT to give her one. They don’t know my situation, they don’t know WHY she doesn’t have a sibling and truly its none of their business. I have a friend going through infertility and even though her family knows, they still do ridiculous things like hand her babies to hold “to get the baby juices flowing,” and joke that she’s depriving her parents of being grandparents. FLOORS ME. I’m over trying to justify these comments; if it’s great granny who is oblivious that’s one thing, but when its peers who have access to social media and news and know the struggles so many deal with regarding families, it’s them who are selfish by making such comments.

  • Reply
    Angelina
    September 29, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    I really enjoyed reading this post, although that comment isn’t something I’ve heard frequently, I completely understand how irritating it must be.

    I’m an only child, but I’m not sure whether I would rather have a sister or a brother. It seems like a bond with a sister would be much closer, especially to confide in and share secrets like you said, but there would be no fighting over clothes or other things with a brother!

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin’

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    September 29, 2015 at 7:13 PM

    I get the “so you going to try for a girl next? ” question a lot. Or the it is selfish to leave my little one as an only child Comments.Smh. wonderful post. 🙂

  • Reply
    Heidi
    September 29, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    There has never been a time when this has been more true. Families come in all variations and its so important to teach are children that all that matters is that children feel loved and supported no matter who their family consists of!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    September 29, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    This is SO true! I have a boy and a girl (which is what I ‘wanted’ if we are being honest here!) but I know lots of my friends who wanted all girls or all boys or genuinely did not care either way. People say to me all the time.. oh a boy and a girl, how perfect, now you dont need to have any more. It is so strange when you think about it…

    • Reply
      Alyson
      September 29, 2015 at 12:11 PM

      Exactly — same here! How do they not know I want 4 or 5 kids (which, by the way, 2 is definitely my personal limit!)? It’s interesting to think how people really push their opinions on you, even when they don’t really realize it.

  • Reply
    Dianna
    September 29, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    With Cole approaching 1 year, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about having a second. As of right now, I’m perfectly happy with one sweet little boy. When I tell people that we may stick with having just one, they pretty much tell me that it’s too early for me to really know what I want and that I’ll probably want another at some point. Maybe. But maybe not. I don’t know what I will feel tomorrow or an hour from now, but for now, I’d like to think that my feelings are valid and that I know myself. I know not to take it personally, but I do find the social commentary very intriguing.

    • Reply
      Alyson
      September 29, 2015 at 12:13 PM

      So crazy, right? I wrote a post about this a few years ago called “Stop asking questions” because it felt like immediately after Sarah was born I’d get that question. In my instance, and many others, I didn’t even know if we could have another and the question each time was heartbreaking. But there are also plenty of women who don’t want a second. It’s a lot of work. I’ll say it. There’s not way I could imagine 3 or 4 but others can’t imagine their life without. That’s what makes the world go ’round. 🙂 You have to go with what your heart and gut say, and at the end of the day, Cole is loved. That’s all that matters. (thanks for commenting!)

  • Reply
    Red Tag Chic Los Angeles
    September 29, 2015 at 10:36 AM

    I grew up in an all-girl trio and I never felt incomplete – always fun & endearing!

    Rebecca
    http://www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

  • Reply
    Andi
    September 29, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Really loved this post, very poignant!

  • Reply
    Emily
    September 29, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    My sister has 2 boys and gets the question “don’t you want a girl.”
    Her response is “I don’t want a girl bad enough to possibly end up with 3 boys.” 🙂
    She did want a girl but is complete with her 2 boys.

    • Reply
      Alyson
      September 29, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      Her response is hysterical — love that (and I know I’d feel absolutely the same). — Alyson

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    September 29, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    My brother & his wife have three boys and she gets inappropriate comments all the time about this very thing. It’s amazing how people feel it’s okay to comment without considering the ramifications!

    • Reply
      Alyson
      September 29, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      Exactly. It’s actually a deeply personal question/conversation that is said without any thought.

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