Why is a pigeon pair seen as the pinnacle of parenthood by so many?

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 Photo: Getty Images

I've been told I've reached the pinnacle of reproduction. I might need to get some business cards made up or something. I definitely need to advertise my skills in some way.

Lauren Dubois, journalist, writer, pigeon pair producer.

It's a talent I didn't realise I had, but I'm assured that I'm "so very clever" for conceiving a daughter when I already have a two-year-old son.

When I announced I was having a girl, people were THRILLED.

I knew people wanted me to have a girl. I knew if I announced I was having another son, the reactions would be quite different. There'd be a slight tone of commiseration. I'd get the consolation prize comment of "at least your son will have fun with his little brother!" with a faint whiff of "never mind, you can try for a girl next time".

But instead, I got pure excitement and repeated commendations on my 'cleverness'. People have assumed I must be extra happy that this one is a girl.

You see, having one of each is the ultimate goal (apparently). Two of a kind is sort of okay, but obviously not as satisfying as a pigeon pair. Three of a kind is a disaster and the parents must be living a half-life of disappointment and deprivation because they've failed to produce an even distribution of children.

It's a bizarre thing when people are so invested in the make-up of your family. Even strangers in the supermarket queue have opinions about the genders of your kids, like it affects them in some way.

People actually turn up to visit mothers in hospital and pass on their condolences over the third son or daughter. "I'm so sorry" or "maybe next time" or even "you must be so disappointed". Don't even get me started on the reactions to the fourth or fifth of a kind.

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Too many boys means too much dirt, noise and OH MY GOD the food bills. Too many girls means bitching and fighting and dad needs to get a shotgun etc, etc, cliché, cliché. It's all just SO HILARIOUS.

Gender disappointment is a real thing. Some mums and dads will have a preference, especially if they've already got a few of one kind. It's completely understandable, because it does affect the dynamic of their family. It's what might drive some people to look into gender selection.

But the disappointment, acceptance and eventual joy in welcoming a new baby boy or girl belongs to the parents and the parents alone. It has zero impact on anyone else. And it doesn't make it easier for them when everyone else has something to say about it.

Us 'clever' pigeon pair mums aren't immune to the comments either.

It appears I must be done with the child bearing - once you've got a pigeon pair, you simply mustn't produce any further children, some people seem to think.

Even my obstetrician said "Well done! You don't need to do this again!" even though she's technically doing herself out of some future business.

Just so we're clear, I had no say about what I'm getting. There's no skill involved in the gender of child you produce.

It's one of the great levellers in society: you get what you get and you don't get upset. It doesn't matter who you are or how talented you may be, it's a total lucky dip.

I am, of course, thrilled to be having a little girl. The thing is, I would have been thrilled to be having a little boy.

GASP! She lies!

Nope, I'm serious. I wanted to have another baby to have another BABY. Not a girl, not a boy, just another human being we could love and cherish and raise as part of our family.

Most of all, I wanted a sibling for my son. Part of me is a tiny bit sad he's not getting a brother. I worry he won't be as close to his sister as he would have been to a brother.

But you never know - I might really piss some people off and go for a third.

Lauren Dubois blogs at The-thud.com. You can also follow her on Facebook