“Trying for a (fill in the blank with the gender baby the couple hasn’t had yet)?” I have talked to other Moms about this…it really is not an ok thing to say.
Number one it implies that our only purpose for having children is to make sure we each have a mini-me. This may be true for some couples but not for most and it is insulting to those of us who are having children to have children and not fulfill some gender quota society thinks is important. It seriously implies that if we had one of each already we wouldn’t be pregnant a third (or more) time. Just not cool.
Number two it is insulting to the children already in existence. I heard one mom talk about how right in front of her two existing daughters (who were certainly old enough to understand) people would ask “hoping for that boy?” or “finally getting that boy?” To which she would respond…”We love girls! We’ll be happy no matter what.” Now, I know some of you are reading this and thinking “harmless” but I submit that it is not harmless. What are you (most of the time stranger) saying to those little girls (or little boys)? That Mommy and Daddy aren’t content with your gender…they really want something different…you all being girls or boys is a disappointment to Mommy and Daddy? Oh heck no, we both come from a family of “onlys” and I just KNOW if I have the happy blessing of getting pregnant a third time ALL I am going to hear about is the possibility of it being a girl or that we are “trying for a girl”.
Number three (oh you got me going now) YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS COUPLE HAS BEEN THROUGH. You may not know about miscarriages or other heartbreaking complications from earlier pregnancies. I read a post once by the mother of 4 boys and she had a daughter that lived only a few hours. People in restaurants and at theme parks would say things like “you only make boys, I guess” or “no girls?” How painful. How hurtful.
Alternative: “Are you going to find out if it’s a boy or a girl?” Let them tell you if they already know the gender, let them guide the conversation about what they are hoping for if they don’t already know…especially if their lovely existing children are in earshot. Just be sensitive…these are children and families we are talking about not collect-them-all drive through toys.