That time everyone told us we’d be having a baby girl

perfect family

I gave birth to our second child three weeks ago. I might be a bit more quiet on my blog and slower answering emails, but you can still catch up with me over at beijingkids. And if you’re wondering if our second child is a boy or a girl, you’ll find the answer at the end of this post on beijingkids where I reflect about what is considered the perfect family in China:

“Don’t worry, this one will be a girl,” the shopkeeper tells me after having seen my bump and learned that our first child is a boy. Walking down the street, passing one fruit vendor after the next – all of them ready to pack up their stall in seconds in the event the Chengguan (城管) will visit – buying strawberries at the first, pineapples at the next, honey melons at the last place, they all tell me the same thing: the next will be a girl.

Even though many families wish for a boy, a family with one set of parents, a son, and a daughter is considered to be the perfect family in China. Ideally, the son will be older than the daughter. During my first pregnancy, strangers on the street – quite a few of them elderly women wearing outdoor pajamas with flower patterns who were on their way to the evening’s square dancing – tell me I’d be having a son, almost as though to appease me. This time around, no one tells me I’ll be having a boy.

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Hi, I'm Ruth, welcome to China Elevator Stories! I have been living in Kunming and Shenzhen in the past and am now staying in Northeast China with my Chinese husband and our baby and toddler son. Join us on our journey bridging worlds!


  1. So cool to see you’re still writing for Beijing Kids! That’s a wonderful gig! And congratulations on your new baby!

    I had no idea about this idea of the perfect family being a son and a daughter like that until you and others had mentioned it. Ultimately, though, as you said there’s no such thing as perfection in a family.

  2. Anonymous

    The perfect family is the one where you all love each other and develop from each other. Nothing to do with the sex of the children.

  3. Congratulations Ruth!
    Well, in the end what is a perfect family…seems some people have some strange views towards it. Sure it would be perhaps nice to have a girl instead of facing now three boys!!! in the family but we all are sure it will be perfectly fine. My mother-in-law also wants us to have a girl next time but now that my wife is pregnant (don’t tell anyone!) and MIL got to hear around what date it probably happened her only comment was “Can’t be a girl, does not fit the schedule”…how wonderful 😀

  4. Congratulations, Ruth.

    When I was pregnant the first time, I also thought it would be nice to have a boy first and then a girl. After having three girls, though, I decided that three daughters was the best thing in the world. Whatever life sends our way always seems to be the very best thing for us.

  5. I’m SUPER LATE! Congratulations Ruth!!! I hope everything’s going great with your new two baby household. What a happy family you have 🙂

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