“Your Daughter Needs a Sister!” (an Acceptable Christian Lie)

"Your Daughter Needs a Sister" (an acceptable Christian lie) // jessconnell.com

We heard it so much over the last 9 months.

“MeiMei needs a sister!”

“You poor thing! So many brothers! Do you know what this one is yet?”

“Oh goodness, you guys need a little girl this time!”

Now I know… having a son would mean we’d have 7 boys, right? I mean,



FIVE… in a ROW.


I get it.

And I also get that most people are just commenting about life, like the weather… “we need some sunshine here in these parts!” or, “we could do with some rain.”

It’s common to desire the thing you have less of.

And let me be clear– I hold no one in ill will… and we get so many of these comments that I’m not thinking of some particular person right now. We all make unnecessary and/or unhelpful comments in life, and most of the time, we don’t realize how those comments feel on the side of the hearer. I do recognize that most people saying this are thinking about their own relationship with a beloved sister, or the perceived imbalance in our family, or just hoping that certainly… hopefully… one day… the odds will be in favor of another little girl Connell.


{and maybe MeiMei and I know this lesson better than anyone else, because we’ve lived it together these last 10 years, 5 times over now}


He always, always, always does.

5 big boys


There is not the slightest chance I’d trade in my…

  • hilarious, chuckley, thoughtful, vibrant 6-year-old Mosey man, or my
  • snuggly, observant, little 21-month-old Luke-a-roni, or my
  • little amazing hiker-man, nap-buddy, and funny-faced 3-year-old Theo

…to have had more “balance” in our family… even though, for all of these, most people were pulling for daughters (and in two of the three pregnancies, we were initially told via sonogram that they *were* girls).

Theo Moses

What I mainly want to say is… MeiMei apparently DIDN’T need a sister. Or else God would have sent her a sister.

Because He ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS does what is best.

Despite our desire to end all the hard things in the world, all the injustices, and inequalities, a right reckoning of God’s perfect sovereignty and His ability to not only make use of but– in the words of Joseph– “MEAN” things for our good… is this:

There is never a time when some alternate universe would be better than the one He has given us.

Last Wednesday, He sent us a perfect little 8 pound, 14 ounce Fisher Barnabas.

And he is exactly the right person to have entered this world at that moment– a brother for MeiMei– a son for me… a unique expression of God’s glory now living and breathing in this world.


Two things I know for certain:

  1. God is always good. He is never anything less than good.
  2. MeiMei didn’t need a sister. She needed Fisher. And that’s exactly who God gave her.

For my part, I think words matter.

I don’t want to tell people, “you need a daughter; you need a son; your only child needs a sibling; your wife needs a daughter; your husband needs a son;” etc. Because those things might just be lies.

Part of being mortal and living a time-linear life is that WE HAVE NO IDEA.

But God always knows. He always does what’s best. And He always SENDS who’s best.

And the most recent “best” thing He’s done in my life is sent us Fisher Barnabas. A seventh son full of soft cheeks and chirpy pterodactyl squawks and heavy little sleep-filled breaths who brings smiles to all 9 of us Connells… including his proud big sister who couldn’t beam any brighter than she does when looking at him. :)


I’m so thankful for God’s exactly-right, always-perfect gifts.

He does all things well.


To hear more of my thoughts about Fisher Barnabas & our thoughts about whether or not we’ll have more kids, check out this video: 2 DAYS POSTPARTUM: WILL WE HAVE MORE CHILDREN?


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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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19 Responses

  1. Steph says:

    Congratulations on your sweet new son! Hope you are feeling well, and getting enough rest!

    Much love from a mom of 6 girls and 1 boy

  2. Joy says:

    LOVE this!! While we have three precious boys and a girl on the way, I get so tired of having to reiterate to our boys that each of them is/was just as much a gift as their baby sister will be! So many, many comments right in front of them that “you finally got your girl!” as if their being boys was somehow less desirable. It is hurtful, damaging, and downright untrue, even if said lightheartedly. We remind them that God chose them from “before the foundations of the earth,” and “knit [them] together in [my] womb.” He doesn’t make mistakes!

  3. Julie Kiekow says:

    Thank you Jess, thank you so much for sharing. Such a beautiful reminder – “…GOD ALWAYS SENDS WHO IS BEST. He always, always, always does.”

  4. Kim Fox says:

    Haha. Like the first commenter, I am a momma of 6 girls and 1 boy- with another girl coming in May. I loved this post and have loved your blog for a long time since you were in Turkey…Making home. Thank you. Praise God for your baby boy!

  5. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this. I have “only” had two boys so far, but when we shared that we were expecting a girl, or when strangers size up my family and realize the sweet infant I’m carrying is a girl, there seems to be the inevitable “Oh, you got your girl!” Um, my husband was rooting for a girl more than I was. Honestly, I felt like I was used to boys and would have been totally fine with another. I’m not very good at pretending tea party or playing dress up. I have no idea how to properly put a bow or headband on a baby head. Fortunately my oldest is 5 and completely enamored with Esther, so the implication that could be taken from those well-meaning comments goes right over his head. But I’m not a fan of the implication that we needed to even things up, or that my husband got “his boys” and now I needed “my girl.”

    As a side note, I’m also not a fan of “Oh, we don’t care, as long as the baby’s healthy” comment either. My middle child has Down Syndrome. We knew before he was born, and while not knowing what to expect was scary and the days in the NICU were very difficult, we were always thankful for him. I know most, if not all, Christian parents who say either of the above ideas don’t mean that if the baby wasn’t healthy, or wasn’t the gender that would even the score, they wouldn’t be loved or appreciated. But depending on the context, it can start sounding that way. We need to be careful to always present a Christian worldview regarding children, whether we have one or eight, all one sex or a mix, typically developing or not.

    And, on my end, I’ve found there are some awfully cute little girl clothes out there, and they don’t even have to be pink and frilly. And I’ll figure out the headband thing. :)

    Congratulations on your littlest boy. I think I’ve been reading your blog since you “only” had 4 or 5 kids and lived in Turkey. You say so many things I have tried to put into words but couldn’t.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Wonderful thoughts– I had the same thought recently when someone said — “well as long as the baby’s healthy”…

      And I particularly loved this part of your comment:
      ” I know most, if not all, Christian parents who say either of the above ideas don’t mean that if the baby wasn’t healthy, or wasn’t the gender that would even the score, they wouldn’t be loved or appreciated. But depending on the context, it can start sounding that way. We need to be careful to always present a Christian worldview regarding children,”

      YESSSSSS!!! We should stand out in the way we talk about children.

  6. Kondwani says:

    I love this post. God has blessed you greatly, and I rejoice with you. (And even with fewer sons than you, I have been surprised by the slightly silly comments that are made)

  7. Do you know, as I was reading this, especially GOD ALWAYS SENDS WHO IS BEST, the Lord really impressed this upon my heart about my husband. I love him deeply but I have been struggling this year to give him my best in this season of littles when, by the time we sit down, I want to INTROVERT to recover. It hasn’t been the greatest of years for me as a wife and in this morning’s quiet time I begged God to give me words I need to hear about myself and my husband. And I read this not twenty minutes later and it’s what I need to hear right now. My husband is God’s best for me, he is the BEST. That refreshes my soul. Thank you x

    • Jess Connell says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! It’s true. I think the more confidence we gain in God’s good sovereignty, the more it enables us to walk in freedom, joy, and purposefulness in every moment.

  8. shannon bradbury says:

    I loved this!! As a mom of 4 boys and 1 girl…I can relate.. my daughter has struggled with having brothers and no sister more than I have. She has cried many times. I have introduced her to girls at church, we have done ballet.etc… I had 7 miscarriages and her lament was what if they were girls. I’m going to share this with her as you said “God always knows what’s best” and I wholeheartedly agree. Congratulations and thank you for sharing this!!!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Awesome! These things that happen in our kids’ young lives give us the opportunity to give them biblical framework for thinking about life.

      The more we’ve gone through these things together (the last 4 times we’ve had a son), the more I’ve seen MeiMei’s attitude adjust toward an awareness of God’s goodness in each life, whichever gender it is. I think (for all of us!) the more we keep encountering the same/similar situation, and keep working to refine our attitudes toward a right and biblical understanding, the more we’ll find our hearts getting in tune with God’s way of seeing the world.

      I love that God gives us the opportunity to start that work in our kids’ lives, while they’re in our home.

  9. Britt says:

    God always sends who’s best! I love it, and it’s so, so true. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

    We have 5 boys and just had a little girl this past summer. The thoughtless, silly comments are endless. But I like how you pointed out that’s just what they are…silly comments, not personal jabs. I always tell our boys that people are just surprised about how God arranged our family and don’t really know what to say.

  10. Diana says:

    Love this! So true. I think that this very truth – that God knows exactly what gender of child we need (rather than our man-made ideas of “balance”) – is actually what led me to the conclusion that God also knows exactly WHEN each child should enter our family. I don’t need to plan my children’s entrance dates and/or numbers, just like I don’t need to plan their genders – because God knows exactly how many, which genders, and when to place them in our family. There is great peace in accepting God’s plan for our individual families rather than frantically trying to plan them according to our ideas. Thank you for posting this!

  11. Kami Crawford says:

    I love this so much, Jess! Thank you for speaking this truth out! I know I have been damaged and lied to on the other side of the coin and it has prevented me from accepting my 4 daughters when God gifted them to me. God really does know just what we need, this world needs etc. But that belief is still sinking in for me. I love that you’re teaching your daughter and sons that they’re exactly what they and your family needed. What a gift. And sorry if I’ve contributed to this lie in any way. I really don’t want to perpetuate this lie or believe in it anymore.

    • Jess Connell says:

      It’s so ironic and sad to me the way this lie affects so many families… families with “too many” boys sit around feeling sad about not having girls (or not having “enough” girls), while other families are sitting around in exactly the opposite situation feeling sad about exactly the opposite circumstances.

      It’s basic discontentment but we convince ourselves it’s OK to do. I, too, want to fight this and not ever perpetuate it.

  12. Alicia says:

    Lovely article, and congratulations on another little boy! Going on from your thought about some families seeming “unbalanced”. God sees the whole world, not just our individual families. He is making His creation to be what He sees fit. In the grand scheme… families with lots of boys “balance” the families with lots of girls. Also — at one point in time, we had 2 daughters and two sons. How perfect! Since then, we’ve had 3 more girls. Wouldnt trade them for anything!

  13. Rebekah says:

    I feel like families with girls get more negative comments. I’m from such a family and we ALWAYS, and I mean always had all kinds of comments saying “Oh, your parents kept trying for a boy”, or “Oh, ONLY girls?!?!” “Your poor father!” “There must be a lot of drama in your house” and countless other rude horrible comments. We’ve gotten tired of people telling us that we need a boy in our family. Even relatives have joked and commented as if having girls is some kind of a problem. In fact I hear most people exclaim with enthusiasm whenever they hear someone having a boy, but not so much when they hear that a girl is on the way. Maybe just the people I’ve been around.
    It’s whatever God gives and no one has a right to judge and comment.
    Just had to say my rant, sorry.

  1. December 12, 2016

    […] talked about one of those, last week: “Your Daughter Needs a Sister!” (an Acceptable Christian Lie). One commenter shared how the classic comment, “it doesn’t matter what it is as long as […]

  2. December 31, 2016

    […] Your Daughter Needs a Sister (an Acceptable Christian Lie) […]

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