Friday, March 4, 2011

An open letter to Sarah's question mark

It seems my friend Sarah is in a position I found myself in not too long ago. A mother of two girls, she is pregnant for a third time and contemplating the possibility of boyhood growing inside her.

Sound familiar?

The evidence of boy-potential comes in the form of savory cravings. And I would like to tell Sarah and her cravings a story with a happy ending:

Dear Third Pregnancy,

When I had each of my daughters, I had a fierce pregnancy obsession with Whoppers malt balls. It was serious. I ate Whoppers every single day. When we found out I was pregnant for the third time, the lovely husband brought me home a surprise: a huge box of Whoppers.

They tasted disgusting.

Even though it was way too early to know anything via medical confirmation, I knew in that first malty moment that the Groundhog was a boy. The lovely husband didn't believe me and I barely dared to believe myself -- after two girls weren't we automatically going to have a third? -- but the science confirmed what my tastebuds knew: there was a little penis growing inside me.

Yeah, that freaks a girls' mama right out.

There were other things, too - different nausea levels, my skin's response. My Tree of Knowledge dropped chocolate-coated morsels. I wanted pizza. I wanted chips and guacamole. I wanted Tex-Mex every day, and there was no need to order dessert, but yes, we'll take one more basket of chips, thanks.

Oh, the chips and guacamole.

Many friends and family were excited about the possibility of a boy, but some people, I thought, were too excited, as if they believed having a boy was somehow important in a way that having a girl isn't. That was the hardest part of thinking I was having a boy before knowing I was a boy. I wanted to defend her girlness if the malt balls were wrong, because I wanted to defend the glory that was this baby's two big sisters. Girl power!

Since he's been here, his boyness hasn't been the mind-blowing thing I thought it would be. He's heavier than the girls were and my wrists hurt when I hold him too much. He sits in a pink carseat because oldest sibling wouldn't move into the pink carseat I bought on clearance that I assumed would entice her, freeing up her blue one for his comfort. And most of the handmedowns I thought he'd wear were instead passed on to other little girls we know.

Mostly, this is just how our family is: two girls and a boy. It feels natural, not foreign like when I first thought about it. He adores his sisters, and they dote on him in a way that I wonder if they wouldn't if they envisioned him competing for their dolls and hair accessories.

Then again, he's only a year old: maybe he'll love their hair accessories.

Mostly, Sarah's Third Pregnancy, I want to tell you that I know how Sarah feels. It's a strange and exhilarating place, but it opens up whole new avenues of thought and make-believe and adventure. And it's not scary, but do remind Sarah to beware the walnuts.

Your job, Third Pregnancy, is to grow a healthy baby, okay? Don't worry about the rest of it. And when she he is born safely and in good health to a happy mama, this angst and tastebud confusion you wreak will all be forgiven.

Tell Sarah again how happy I am for her. And don't be a jerk: let her get some sleep.

Love,
Robin

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