I have made no secret that in my first two pregnancies, I very much wanted daughters. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a boy, I just really, really wanted a girl. And when I had Madeline, and then Annabel, I was happy…and not surprised. I’d quietly felt very certain that they were both girls, and I had a feeling that I’d only know what it was like to parent the fairer sex.

Enter this pregnancy. This time, I have no certainty at all…if anything, maybe a vague leaning towards boy for absolutely no discernible reason. But most importantly, I’m really excited about the possibility of either sex. If it’s a girl, great! I am totally set. I can reuse all the clothes we already have! I am familiar with a girl’s anatomy! I’ll get to braid another head of hair!

If it’s a boy, awesome! And a little terrifying because I know nothing about boys! But it would be amazing to have a son and do…son-type things with him! I can buy new baby clothes without guilt! I will be able to inflict my absurd love of bowl-haircuts on him! Exclamation points!

A boy would also create the type of sibling relationship for Annie that Mike and I both enjoyed. We both grew up with a sibling of the opposite sex. Their age difference might prevent them from being in the same classes or playing on the same sports teams like Kyle and I did, but it won’t prevent them from creating pretend lands, or staying up late into the night whispering. I get excited thinking about Annie growing up with a brother.

But sometimes, if I’m honest…sometimes I get sad when I think about her growing up without a sister experience. You certainly don’t need one to grow up happily – I didn’t have a sister and my childhood was great. But she does have a sister, and in fleeting moments I wonder if having a younger sister would somehow take a bit of the sting out of not growing up with her older one. That somehow she’d be able to imagine what it would be like to have Madeline around because she’d have this other sister relationship.

There are two things I know for certain: she is going to love her younger sibling, boy or girl; and she’s always going to wonder what life would have been like with an older sister. Maybe she won’t mourn the missing relationship the way I, an adult, think I would in that position. Maybe for her it will be more of an abstract general curiosity. I guess in the end, I just want to wrap her in a cocoon and prevent her from ever being sad or hurt, even though I know that’s impossible. There will be so many things in her life that will be out of my control.

Like if she has a brother, or another sister.