Ever since I returned to China a couple of months ago, baby Z has drawn a lot of attention. Every time we go out we get all sorts of people engaging with us, which is doing wonders for my Chinese. The consensus is that he’s cute, good looking, white, big, chubby, and will be clever. All true 😀 The consensus is also that we should have another baby and that it should be a girl.
We are not considering that yet, but I thought I’d write this post now before I’m actually emotionally involved.
As is widely acknowledged, the pressure to have a baby boy in China is big. Things may have moved on in the last decade or so, but it’s still there. But I also think it’s balanced with an obligatory ‘but if you have a girl, that’s wonderful too’ (with varying degrees of sincerity). I didn’t write about this during my pregnancy with baby Z. We sensed he was a boy from the 3D ultrasound face picture, but I was still verging on anxious about it. My husband may be open-minded about many things, how else would we get on so well, but society had this one ingrained in him. He would have a son. He couldn’t even picture the alternative. Frankly, I was relieved (and thrilled to pieces about my scrumptious baby boy).
Therefore, I think the pressure to have a girl may be bigger, and I can feel it already. From the in-laws, who would now like to have a granddaughter, from neighbours and family friends. And if the 老百姓 on the street are to believed, it should be easy. Because now I’ve got my life’s goal of having a boy out the way, I am now free to have a girl. No worries, have a girl second.
So how to respond to these comments? To most people, including the paediatrician (!) ‘you know we can’t control it, right?’ To my husband, who may sometimes believe things too easily ‘we may one day have two sons’, something he hadn’t imagined. To my mother-in-law, who thought I should have had a girl first because a girl could look after her little brother ‘baby Z may be able to look after a younger sibling someday, who knows what kind of people they will turn out to be’. And to myself ‘I don’t mind, I just hope it’s healthy’.