Last Night’s TV – Cutting Edge: 8 Boys and Wanting a Girl

by Lynn Connolly

As with so many other things in life, this documentary highlighted the fact that, as a race, we’re rarely happy with what we have and often yearn for something we can’t have.

In this case, though the mothers featured all had gorgeous, healthy and happy sons – in large quantities – what they wanted, as of course the title spelled out, was a daughter.

Nicola, one of the yearning mums, got off on the wrong foot with me when she said, “I would liken not being able to have a daughter to somebody who can’t have a child at all.”

And I’m afraid I had to disagree, as I suspect childless women up and down the country will too. The pain of being unable to have children at all is one that someone who can have them should not intimate they understand, because they can’t.

However, what I suppose I can’t know or comprehend is how this craving for a certain gender of child affects a person. In some cultures of course, having a girl is the biggest disaster that could befall a family, and boys are highly prized, but for the women featured in this film, they’d have done anything but anything to have a baby girl.

But throughout, I couldn’t help but wonder how all those little boys are going to feel in later life when they realise that they were not what their mother wanted. Take for example Michelle, who was having her fifth baby and who waited with bated breath for the result of her scan, praying it was to be good news and she was having a girl. It was not, she was having another boy, and she broke down in floods of tears at the news.

How on earth will that child feel if he ever watches this documentary and sees what a massive disappointment he was to his mum?

The odd thing was, all the women realised that to the majority of us, their plight was unfathomable and a thing that existed only in their minds. And they were self-aware enough to feel bad about feeling bad about having boys and not girls.

But no matter that they understood they should want nothing more than happy, healthy children, irrespective of gender, they couldn’t get past the ‘wanting’. And for Nicola, this meant that she sought out a procedure called Pre-implantation Gender Diagnosis (PGD) which basically screens embryos to determine their gender.

It’s illegal in this country so, given she could as she had the physical resources and means to do so, she sought the treatment abroad and sure enough, it resulted in adorable twin girls. But again, how are her four sons going to feel knowing they were only ever second best? Granted none of the boys featured were treated like they were reserves on the bench, but in all honesty, that’s what it came down to, and I found that hard to forgive.

What did you think of this film?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.