In our first series on Pregnancy and Motherhood, we present Dutch mom, Kari van der Heide, who shares her journey exclusively with the readers of theParentVoice, Magazine. Get to know Kari and her family as they prepare to welcome Baby # 2.
In case you missed them, read Part 1 Baby Bellies on Bikes: I’m Pregnant in the Netherlands and Part II Baby Bellies on Bikes: I’m Missing the Caribbean.
Kari is a thirty-year-old mama, who grew up in the Caribbean, but now lives in the Netherlands with her family. Her family consists of her wife, with whom she’s been married for 3.5 years, their daughter, Isaya (2.5 years), and their grumpy cat, John Irving. This summer they hope to welcome a fifth member to the clan. Kari is pregnant with baby number two and will share her journey of being pregnant and giving birth, in Dutchieland, on theParentVoice,. You can also get to know Kari and her family better by reading her blog, Columns by Kari and following her on Instagram.
As I mentioned in my first post, we decided to book an extra ultrasound to find out the sex of our baby. We had one for Isaya and we wanted to do one for baby number two as well. For me, finding out is part of the excitement and fun. If I know, then I can really start imagining what things will be like and who this baby may be. I can start decorating, buying clothes, and just look forward to holding my little…
Another girl. And to be honest, I couldn’t be more excited about this news. Of course, I would have been thrilled if it was a boy and I would have loved him to the moon and back. But I am so excited that it’s another girl. We have an all-girls house now and not only do I love that, it’s also what I know.
I know girls. I am one, I understand them (most of the time), I know what to do with them.
I know girls. I am one, I understand them (most of the time), I know what to do with them. But boys… That’s a whole other story. I feel like I need a completely new skill set for a boy. One, I of course, would have happily acquired, over the next few months (years?). But for now, I feel very happy and content with this little baby girl growing inside my belly and the big closet full of adorable, pink clothes that is growing in her room.
Gender Neutral Parenting
A hot parenting discussions that has been buzzing in the Netherlands over the past few months is “gender neutral parenting”. If you follow us on Instagram you know I don’t parent gender neutral. Don’t get me wrong, Aya loves walking around in her princess dress whilst “fixing things” around the house with her toolbox. And she loves her dolls like crazy, but when she sees a construction site, the next fifteen minutes will be spent at said construction site with me desperately trying to (correctly) name all the machines and tools. And she adores my makeup collection just as much as she is fascinated by police cars.
I don’t think my parenting style had a lot to do with this broad spectrum of interests. I just follow her passions, while still buying a lot of pink stuff along the way. She loves pink, so that helps, but I can’t deny my relief when it turned out she really loved ballet. I love that she walks around in princess dresses and has more handbags than I do and I am very excited to paint even more furniture pink, now that we are expecting another girl.
The idea is that by not putting a “typically boyish” or “typically girly” label on your child, he or she can develop her or his own ideas on sexuality and preference. In a world where homosexuality, pansexuality and transsexuality are on the daily menu, I think the idea behind gender neutral parenting is very wise.
However, this is not a very popular thing to say right now in the Netherlands. Raising your child gender neutral is the way to go. It’s progressive, open minded and it allows your child to become who they want to be. One of the biggest warehouses has even started selling “gender neutral baby clothes”. The idea is that by not putting a “typically boyish” or “typically girly” label on your child, he or she can develop her or his own ideas on sexuality and preference. In a world where homosexuality, pansexuality and transsexuality are on the daily menu, I think the idea behind gender neutral parenting is very wise.
Why It May Be Different For My Daughters
My daughters will grow up with two moms. One is a “lipstick lesbian” (that would be me) and the other, a cool, tomboy mama. (Don’t miss one of Kari’s most popular posts – Two Mothers and a Baby: Is My Daughter Going to Miss a Father?) . I feel like we are in a bit of a luxury position when it comes to the whole gender parenting thing. When you grow up with two moms, who are also completely different people, with different qualities and passions, you grow up with a notion you can be whoever you want to be.
Going from Aya’s current favorite activities, she can become a nail stylist or a doctor, an artist or a construction worker, a ballerina or a stay at home mom, a mathematician or a fairy princess. The possibilities are endless and I don’t feel like giving her gray to wear, instead of pink, will limit these possibilities. Just like I think all of her callings can be answered whether she is female/male/gender neutral/gay/straight/whatever. Your sexuality doesn’t have to be a limitation: a lack of imagination will definitely be.