With 12 days until our anatomy scan and likelihood of discovering Falco’s sex, topics related to sex, gender and parenting have been swirling through my head. In conversations with friends last night and throughout the previous weeks, I have disclosed what I am about to tell you: raising a child with a penis terrifies me. My goal is to unpack some of that here.
I feel that raising a feminist son is one of the hardest and most important jobs in the world. I have no doubt that if our child ends up being a boy, K and I are equipped and motivated to raise him with respect for women. This job, however, feels really daunting at times. K and I have spent the majority of our lives experiencing gender privilege from the side of the have-not’s. I understand what it’s like to experience white privilege and I feel confident in my ability to parent our children as intentional, thoughtful allies to people of color, but some of my internalized gender oppression creeps into my confidence to parent a feminist son and translates into self-doubt.
I know that surrounding ourselves with like-minded parents will help me to express and address some of these issues, and that our collective consciousness will help us all to better raise feminist children. That’s why I am super grateful to have feminist parents in our lives that we respect, admire and trust. Some of them even write really phenomenal blog posts on the issue, and I highly suggest that our readers who want to parent feminist sons check out this link. I hope you find it as motivating and thought-provoking as I do.
Beyond the topic of feminism as it relates to raising a son, and I feel silly admitting this, I truly fear having a child that is born with a penis. Neither K nor I have penises, and our past experiences with people who were born penises have all involved circumcised ones (our decision would be to not circumcise our child), so there are some large limitations to our real-life experiences with this anatomy. Starting from early on, this presents some challenges, though not insurmountable ones, such as making sure we don’t hurt what I’ve heard can be a rather sensitive part of one’s flesh. As a child grows older, we’ll then address some awkward yet critical topics like sex drive, consent, safer sex, etc., and I really only know first-hand how these topics relate to having a vagina.
I’m sure that as parents, regardless of Falco’s sex, we will have moments of humor, doubt, hesitation, joy, outrage and more. It’s wonderful to know that we have this healing and cathartic space in which we can openly air and process it all so that we can be the very best parents we possibly can be.