People make a lot of assumptions about Jessica Martin-Weber’s family. That’s because she and her partner, Jeremy Martin-Weber, are parents to six girls, with another on the way.
Ever since they were expecting their second daughter 17 years ago, Martin-Weber says, people have assumed that their girls would be “catty,” “super-needy” and “high-maintenance,” and that the parents would go broke on pedicures, weddings and clothes.
“The biggest things though are assuming that their dad must be ‘outnumbered’ and disappointed he doesn’t have a boy to carry on his name or a penis-wielding child to bond with over manly things and that I must be missing out on the mother-son connection that is supposedly so much stronger than the mother-daughter connection,” she adds.
So it wasn’t exactly a surprise that when the Martin-Webers began to share the sex of baby Lucky, due in the fall, they received hurtful and sexist comments about welcoming another girl to the family.
“The worst we’ve heard was that daddy was going to run away because he was outnumbered by so many girls and yes, that was said in front of our children,” said Martin-Weber.
Other responses included things like “Your poor dad, all those girls;” “Hope your parents get a boy this time, boys are so much easier than girls;” “How horrible that there’s no one to carry on the dad’s name;” and “I feel so bad for your dad, all those girls,” and others referenced sexist tropes such as the length of the line for the bathroom, dad needing a shotgun and having nobody to help work on the yard.
While Martin-Weber knows that people don’t mean to be rude, she feels that many of these comments are hurtful to her children, and imply that their parents are disappointed in them.
“Tell you what, have a 5-year-old look at you with confusion in her face as she asks, ‘Why is daddy poor daddy that he has girls?’ just after someone has commented on the sex of your child is enough to break your heart,” she says.
Fed up with the insensitive comments, Martin-Weber took to their Facebook page, Beyond Moi, to explain the problem with reacting this way to a baby’s sex.
“Though we know people mean well and aren’t intentionally being insensitive, our children in particular (6 girls) are worn out, frustrated, and hurt by the constant pressure that somehow we must be disappointed to not have a child with a penis in the family,” she wrote.
As a play on the traditional “gender reveal,” the family accompanied their post with “chromosome reveal” photos in which each member of the family posed with their X or Y chromosomes drawn on their hands.
“Lucky’s sex is just one little piece of information as to who they are, something that gives us a glimpse into their personhood but isn’t a huge determining factor in their personality, interests, and who they will grow to be,” Martin-Weber wrote.
The post, which has received over 2,500 reactions since September 19th, is resonating with commenters who have had similar experiences.
“I’ve been called a poor thing right in front of my 3 boys,” one commenter wrote. “This was immediately AFTER the same woman had complimented their behavior! Perfectly happy with my 3 XY’s.”
Another wrote, “I was in the Denver airport the other day with my husband and our three daughters. A man decided to get in my business and said, “Wow couldn’t give him a boy, huh?” I was so upset, it put a damper on the rest of my day.”
And another wrote, “My son gets condolences all the time because he is getting a third sister and will have no brothers. It drives me CRAZY. He never thought for a second it was a negative thing until people everywhere starts telling him it was. All babies are blessings no matter the gender, and families come in all dynamics!”
Ultimately, Martin-Weber says how you should react when learning the sex of a baby is relatively simple.
“Be happy! Congratulate them. All babies are exciting and should be celebrated, if we celebrated all people genuinely maybe there’d be more love and hope and peace in the world and less angst and pain.”