The world of the celebrity gossip mongers has gone into overdrive this week with the news that Victoria Beckham is expecting her fourth baby.
The Beckhams, who have three boys already, are expecting bambino number four in the summer.
Already chat forums and Facebook status updates the world over have declared their delight for the Beckham family and the hope is that Victoria finally gets the baby girl she has always longed for.
Even though she is clearly devoted to and besotted with her three sons Posh has often spoken about her desire for a daughter and it is one that I can understand. Before I had my little girl I felt as if there was a part of me not yet complete. Such a view is controversial and there are many out there who would beat their chests and shout that every child is a blessing and you should always be grateful for what you are given.
To an extent they are right. I would not swap my boy for the world - and if the stork had delivered a second blue bundle two years ago instead of my pink one I would have loved that baby with every fibre of my being.
But there was a part of me which always longed for a daughter and that part of me which occasionally feels completely overwhelmed with joy at the realisation that I have a gorgeous wee girl all of my own. (I am assured that may well change once she hits her teenage years... but for now I’ll enjoy it.)
Shallow as it may sound I will fully admit I love visiting the girls’ section of Next and chosing outfits with matching tights and hair accessories for Cara. When it comes to choosing shoes for her I’m in seventh heaven and when we can sit together occasionally in my bedroom and play dress up - with her pretending to plaster on my make up like a true pro I am at my happiest. When we played together with her Tiny Tears on Christmas day I was almost delirious with joy (that could have been the flu, right enough...)
Having a particularly close relationship with my own mammy, I look forward to seeing how our relationship will grow over the years and hope that, as her her names suggests, she will always be my friend as well as my daughter.
It’s not that I don’t feel overwhelming love for my son, but the love is different. As much as I adore him I do find it hard to get as enthused about buying tracksuit bottoms, hoodies and the latest football rigs as I do about tiny Uggs and stripey tights. We don’t have dress up sessions and he’s not a bit interested in baby dolls and play kitchens. I don’t know my Torres from my Gerrard and I’m useless at Mario Kart. He does however, give the best cuddles in the entire universe. He is so witty and funny that he lights up my life every day - and when it comes to offering a unique perspective on life the boy is the king.
I’d go as far as to say that if I was suddenly overrun with a bout of absolute insanity and decided to have another baby, I’d love a second son - and my life wouldn’t be complete without him either - but there is something about having a daughter which fulfils me like nothing else.
The gender of my children was so important to me that with both pregnancies I opted to find out what I was having before they were born. With the girl I went so far as to book a private gender scan while we were visiting family in England as I knew she would be my last baby and I wanted to time to get grips with things if I had been carrying a boy. I wanted the birth of my children, regardless of gender, to be experiences of joy where I wouldn’t have a secret hankering one way or the other for any outcome other than the safe arrival of my baby.
The moment I was told the gender of both my children will be indellibly inked in my heart forever. Both were moments of great joy - but hearing that our family would be completed at “one of each” was extra special.
Of course mammies of all boys will be shouting at their papers by now. Not everyone understands or experiences a fierce preference for one gender or another. I know, of course, there are women who would welcome a baby of whatever sex who cannot conceive and who must now be making voodoo dolls in my image. I know my words must infuriate and upset them. I know my feelings, also, are essentially very selfish.
Expressing a preference for one sex or the other is still very much a taboo subject. You almost get looked at as if you have horns on the top of your head if you answer the old, “What do you want?” questions with anything other than a tilt of the head, rub of the tummy and, “I don’t mind as long as it’s healthy”. I was once told I had committed a “sin before God” for finding out what I was having. I tend to think I was just being honest.
So if Victoria feels an ounce of what I felt about her pregnancy then of course I hope she gets her little girl - but most of all I hope she feels complete when her baby is placed in her arms. Regardless of gender there is no more magical moment than those first cuddles.