Yes, My Family is Complete – An Open Letter

I’m checking out at the grocery store, slowly piling a cart full of food onto the belt when the woman behind me comments on my “adorable sons.” I thank her and make small talk about the challenges of raising babies and toddlers, when it comes out with surprising ease.

“Well are you going to try for a girl? I mean, you HAVE to have a girl,”

I half-heartedly laugh and give a cheap retort about enjoying my sleep too much. Its not the first time a stranger has offered commentary on the gender dynamics of my family, and I’m fairly certain for the next few years I’ll be told repeatedly by bystanders how to render it “complete.” I know I’m not alone in this bewilderment, as I’ve shared experiences with other boy-moms and girl-moms alike who receive the same unsolicited “advice” when it comes to having children: If you don’t have both genders then you just aren’t finished yet.

Now, I’m sure Mary at the Supermarket meant well and was mostly making small talk, and not meaning to project some societal standard of what the nuclear family looks like on to mine. But it had me pondering on the way home- is there something I’m missing? Will my life be less fulfilling without a daughter? Perhaps these questions are always there, and this conversation just brought them to the surface.

And while sure, on occasion, I pass the little girls section and drool over the adorable dresses and matching bows & imagine our world with a third child and possibly a girl. I picture two older brothers fawning over a baby sis and feel a sense of wonder sneaking in. But the truth is, I love having two children. I adore these silly, wild and often times dirty little boys. So much so, that I don’t feel the desire to “try” for a girl. Which brings me to the question, and one I’ve analyzed a lot lately: What can I not accomplish in my relationships with my sons, that I could with a daughter? The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing.

“Their gender doesn’t determine the depth of our relationships,”

My kids will get all of me. Not some version of myself catered to the idea of them being boys. I get to cultivate the loving bond I want with my children, and their gender doesn’t determine the depth of our relationships. The happiness we share is the result of the love we give to the ones we have, and our family is assuredly whole in its current configuration. And the next time I meet another Mary at the Supermarket, I’ll remember to take the comments with a grain of salt, confident that my family is fulfilled, and that we alone get to decide when it is complete.

If you found yourself in this story and want to read more, try another open letter: Keep Giving


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  • Leanne

    Thank you for writing this!! As a mom of three girls I get this all the time. People assume I had my third because I was trying for a boy. Nope, just wanted three kids. I’m sure most mean well but I start to feel like I’m explaining myself to strangers on something I had no control over. Great post!

    February 7, 2019 at 3:35 pm Reply
  • Samantha

    The comments I always received were, “Ahh you kept going till you got a girl!” No, I wanted 4 children. As you said Mary was just making small talk, just smile and nod.

    February 7, 2019 at 10:39 pm Reply
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