Friday, August 28, 2009

Looks and Desires

Garry’s mom, Sandy, recently asked a question that completely caught me off guard. She inquired whether I had wondered about what the baby would look like – it’s hair color, eye color, complexion. I suppose Sandy’s question took me by surprise because honestly I haven’t thought that much about the baby’s physical attributes.

Parent’s expressing their desires for their children’s looks is something I hadn’t noticed before Sandy’s comments, but now I hear them all the time. For example, at our most recent birthing class, the instructor’s assistant, who brings her 5-month old daughter to class, was talking with another student in the class about how she hoped her daughter would be tall, but feared she would not. [An aside: I found her fear interesting in itself as this woman is fairly tall, taller than I, and she stated her husband was over 6 feet tall. It seems likely her daughter’s adult height will be above average, and if not she was unclear what perceived disadvantage she saw in her daughter’s putatively decreased stature.] Desire for specific genitalia seems to be the most common and most often stated parental wish. I have noticed that several expectant parents when sharing the sex of their unborn, state that’s the sex that they had hoped to have. Are the others disappointed?

I do not believe or mean to imply that I am less superficial than other parents, but while I have been preparing a great deal for the birth, thinking about the changes to my relationship and my life with Garry, trying to develop at least the beginnings of a parenting philosophy, and preparing for having a baby in my life, I have not had much time to think about how the baby will look. I guess I don’t care so much because we have no way of knowing. I do have desires, of course, and I hope that we have a child who is thoughtful, empathetic and happy and we will do all we can to teach it to think, to ponder ideas, to consider their emotions and the emotions of others.

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