18 December 2014, by Tan Yi Lin

Much Ado About Gender

When people came to know that I was carrying a girl during my pregnancy with Coco, some would inevitably quip, “First baby – doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl.” Inherent in that statement was that gender would matter when it came to subsequent children.

Worse, some would say outright, “Never mind. Can try again for a boy next time.” One of my colleagues even insisted on dispensing advice on when to have sex so as to guarantee that we’d have a boy. “Sure work one,” she affirmed, “that’s what I did with my husband.” Mmmkaaaay. Ugh. Enough info already.


When I was pregnant with Claire, people continued telling me that I should have a son. Behind forced smiles, I joked that children were not MacDonald’s Happy Meal collectibles – we didn’t need to collect the full set of different characters in the series.

The most memorable (not in a good way) dig came from a stranger who at first glance, appeared to be making friendly conversation about my bump. “We’re having a girl!” I proudly beamed.

“Never mind. Hope for a miracle okay? Maybe the scan was wrong. Maybe next time you scan, it will be a boy,” came the response.

Wha…t? I was so taken aback that I had no come back for her.

Hope for a miracle? As if the growing foetus inside was nothing short of one?

Poor Claire. To be dismissed as a disappointment before she was even born.


With the birth of our second daughter, the comments on gender kept on coming.

“So how? Going for no.3? A boy?”

“Are you going to try for a boy?”

“Have one more lah – a boy!”

When we shared the happy news of our third pregnancy, it was a question begging to be asked, “Congratulations! So, are you hoping for a boy?”

I didn’t mind if people were genuinely curious and if they asked politely. I replied that I would be equally happy to have a boy or a girl. Honestly, I would.

But yet, people would insist on me wanting a boy.

“I HOPE for you that this baby will be A BOY.”

“I WISH for you that you will have A BOY.”

“You don’t mind another girl?! No, no, no! You MUST have A BOY!”

“Your pregnancy symptoms are different this time round? You MUST be having A BOY!”

I finally blew up over the last statement and retorted rather forcibly, “NO. IT. DOES. NOT. MEAN. THAT. I’M. HAVING. A. BOY! STOP SAYING THAT I’M HAVING A BOY!”

The commenter beat a hasty retreat. For good. Never to speak a word on the gender of my baby again.


I’m into my 14th week of this pregnancy. Normally, the earliest that we would be able get any hint of the baby’s gender during a scan would be between the 15th and 20th weeks.

This time around, we opted to do the Harmony Prenatal Test – a blood test that can detect Down’s Syndrome and other major birth defects as early as 10 weeks into the pregnancy. Some people have questioned why even do the test if you know you’re going to keep the baby – no matter what. Well, unlike the first two pregnancies where we had a wide bandwidth of resources to handle any birth complications, with two young children to care for now, we just want to be more prepared – both in terms of caregiving arrangements and finances.

Health-wise, 2014 has been a disappointing year for us. That said, we are thankful that the girls have emerged unscathed and that CoughSexTM delivered us with a surprise third pregnancy. We are also glad that the results from the Harmony Test are clear.

The thing about the Harmony Test is that the health of the foetus isn’t the only thing that the results can tell. You can also tell its gender.

Come June 2015, we will be parents to a total of three little girls.

Dan's so good with girls that he's being given another one.

Dan’s so good with girls that he’s being given another one.

Dannie’s so blessed to be loved and taken care of by four beautiful women for the rest of his life!

Recently, I jokingly told a colleague that see, this is what happens because Dannie wished to be always surrounded by beautiful, young, girls. The grandfather of two admonished me, “No need to make excuses! Every child is a gift. Girl or boy. They are all blessings.” Wise words indeed.

May the New Year bring all of you the joys and blessings that you deserve. Thank you, always, for following our stories and sharing our lives through this blog. May 2015 be a wonderfully happy and healthy year for all.

Celebrating our 18 Dec wedding anniversary with char bee hoon... for breakfast part 2 of 3 (this is one very hungry mama of 3!)

Celebrating our 18 Dec wedding anniversary with char bee hoon… for breakfast part 2 of 3 (this is one very hungry mama of 3!)



July 12th, 2017 at 12:51 pm    

I know this post has been a while but when i read this, memories kept flooding back.
I’m currently 39 weeks + 4 days, and when i first knew i was carrying a girl, my mother in law was being difficult.

She said if i stopped eating beef, it will become a boy.
When she saw the ultrasound photos, she said she can see a penis.
Again, after the fact that i am carrying a girl, she commented that boys bring luck to the family.
She takes online quizzes to ascertain that it’s a girl (like she doesnt trust the ultrasound and the gynae)
Even to date at 30+ weeks, she comments that my stomach looks like it’s a boy.

In spite, i told her i hope all my babies are girls and if it’s a boy i will abort
At this point i’m just laughing about it but 10 weeks earlier i was sobbing my eyes out.

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

April 8th, 2015 at 12:10 am    

Hi Kia and K ma ma,

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experiences. I’ve since learnt that the best way to keep those “never mind” and “it’s OK” comments at bay are to RADIATE excitement at the prospect of having 3 girls, like “I’m having another girl!” *cue HUGE bright Sesame-Street-muppet smile* Then people will accept that you DON’T need comforting and won’t dare to breathe a word of negativity!

Congrats to K ma ma on your lovely girls and all the best, Kia, on your plans for a 4th 🙂


March 31st, 2015 at 7:51 am    

I know exactly how you were feeling constantly being asked about having or wanting a boy next. It was frustrating, heart breaking and pressurizing for me. My third child was finally a boy and I’m planning to have a 4th child.

K ma ma

March 27th, 2015 at 8:38 pm    

I can feel you! I am currently going to 16 weeks with my 2nd baby, me too like you chose to take the harmony test ( safest way) .
My elder is a girl but I am hoping my 2nd is a girl as I really like the idea of sisterly bonding. I always feel 1 boy 1 girl won’t end up so close to each other in future . Me too like you also heard a lot of ppl telling me 2nd one should hav a boy . Why? Why must it be of different gender ? Seriously I tell the person straight into their face I do not want a boy . My wish has came true I longing for a ” meimei” for my elder . My elder who is just 3 also prefers ” Mei Mei” when I asked her about it


February 25th, 2015 at 8:20 pm    

Oh yeah, R’s no added sugar and salt diet has gone out the window as he’s been plied with ice cream and fries already. The things adults do to buy a cheerful kid, eh? I think I’ll offer to show the in-laws how to sling baby so they can cuddle him to sleep in our absence. My biggest challenge sometimes is suppressing my ‘wtf?’ reaction so I have the head space to think rationally (and kindly). But I shall also task Andy with encouraging her to tone down the excitement a bit 🙂

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

February 23rd, 2015 at 1:05 pm    

I think that overtime, I’ve learnt to pick my battles. I don’t like how the iPhone and iPad are doled out so freely or how the TV is constantly running when the girls visit other caregivers, but I’ve recognised that these options make it easier for older adults to supervise the girls while we get some time on our own. So I just do my part to limit their time with the screen by involving them in other ways during the visit. For tricky situations with inlaws, Dan and I talk about it and agree on a way forward, then the respective spouse will step in to talk to his/her parent about it.


February 22nd, 2015 at 10:51 pm    

Hmm, you got any tips for ways to respond when a very very loud MIL (who doesn’t tend to think before she talks) declares that Ralph can’t possibly be hungry/sleepy again and tries to excite him when the poor boy is digging his fists into his eyes and looks all forlorn?

Posts about the girls brighten up my day! Needless to say, I’m looking forward to more shenanigans! Love the set of names too

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

January 19th, 2015 at 4:49 pm    

Hi Lynn and rachel,

Thank you for the comments and well wishes. Yes, this befuddling thing called Parenthood. I came across this line in an article – that embarking on parenthood is asking for trouble. But we do it anyway because the rich rewards outstrip the trouble. In any case, trouble is what makes life Life. An existence without any trouble to stretch us and make us grow and develop would be pretty boring.

Girly fun sounds fun indeed! Although given the amount of rough-housing that the girls are already subjecting their father to, I think it’s not all “sugar and spice and all things nice” with 3 girls in the house!

Take care too, you two 🙂


December 29th, 2014 at 11:50 pm    

Hi! Have been a silent reader of your blog since I was 6 months pregnant, oh, more than a year ago. Just wanna say, congratulations on your pregnancy! You truly have a miracle baby 🙂 All the best for the coming year! I’m sure it will be fun and interesting and trying, all at the same time 🙂 look forward to reading your posts as we muddle through this learning journey called parenting. I never thought it would be so hard! Good vibes to DanYilin, and Cho Colette & Claire!


December 29th, 2014 at 2:16 pm    

3 girls means it’s going to be alot of girly fun!!
take care!

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

December 27th, 2014 at 2:43 am    

Hi Eliss, LY and Celine,

Thank you. “Congratulations! I am very happy for you” is the BEST thing that anyone could say to us. We really appreciate the well wishes. May 2015 be a healthy and happy year for all of you too.


December 23rd, 2014 at 12:09 am    

Congrats!! So blessed to be parents of 3 girls 🙂 Wished I had more daughters! But my factory closed already…


December 19th, 2014 at 3:53 pm    

Congratulations! Very very happy for you and Dannie! May God bless you with a joyful pregnancy and a wonderful healthy baby 🙂


December 18th, 2014 at 12:55 pm    

Congrats Yilin & Dannie…

Like LH, Dannie is surrounded by the pretty ladies…

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