Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 21: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy...oh boy!

I went for my comprehensive fetal anatomy scan last week and we found out we are having another BOY! That makes four little men in our home!

I hope all of my exclamation marks adequately convey my excitement about having four sons! This fact of my enthusiasm, however, is sometimes as much of a surprise to me as it is to many of the people I talk to about this matter.

By the time you have your fourth child, people are occasionally confused by your seemingly odd behavior. Four...what? Why would you do that? Some assume you come from a big family and are just continuing the family tradition. I was the fourth of four, so I suppose this is true in my case. Some joke that you must not have a TV, and therefore you lack other ways to entertain yourselves. We do have one, we just don't watch it...Some recognize that you are Catholic, and kind of get it. Although I would add the caveat that Catholics are not required to have lots of kids, only forbidden to use contraception. This very often has the same result.

Another common assumption people have is that, if you have three boys and you are pregnant for a fourth time, you were probably trying for a girl. But this was definitely not true for me and my husband. This has never really played into our considerations for conception. We are always and only ever just trying for a baby. In fact, I have been so completely ambivalent about whether we were having a boy or girl this time around that I had a very hard time explaining it to myself or other people. With all my other pregnancies, I at least had a slight preference one way or the other. But this one, I simply could not decide which I wanted.

When I became pregnant with my first child, I was actually fairly desperate for a girl. I was a tad bit terrified to become a parent in the first place, in spite of the fact that conception was carefully planned. I thought it would help me be a good parent if I had a girl to raise: someone like me, someone whose personality and struggles I could identify with. I had experienced teenage girl angst. I had body image issues. I had a little bit of clinical depression and anxiety in my past. I could help someone through that. But anger? Withdrawal? Perhaps violent tendencies? Extreme behaviors like sky-diving, rock-climbing, and military pursuits? I just didn't think I would know what to do with those!

But three adorable little boys later, I am beginning to understand the destructive, loud, physical tendencies of these little creatures running around our house. They break stuff to figure out how it works. They push themselves into each other to see when and if and who will break. They are loud because they enjoy life. I'm not sure how different they are than girls, but I don't worry (as much, anymore) about the hitting and the damage done to property and the seeming desire to do these things over, and over, and over again. They are testing themselves against...themselves, each other, and the world.

In fact, I have gotten so used to being around little boys that I began to have the opposite fear with this pregnancy. Would I really know how to raise a girl? Would I really not be driven crazy by the challenges of parenting a female child? It could be fun...but what if I wasn't fit for it? I'm still not sure of the answer to the questions about my ability to raise a daughter, but we are thrilled to have a fourth man-child to add to our crew.

We are also quite certain and hopeful that this child will not be our last. I am only 29, and still very Catholic, after all. A girl, or a few!, may yet be in our future.  For now, we're just aiming for a baby.