Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's a GIRL

Publishing this post is a gamble because admitting that you are hoping for one gender over the other when you are pregnant is frowned upon. And that's a polite way of saying that if you ever dare admit such an ugly truth about yourself while all anyone else is ever hoping for is a healthy baby, you better be prepared for the internet lashing of a lifetime.

At least, that's what I've experience on the interwebs. Not personally, because I myself never dared speak up, lest I too be labeled as ungrateful, immature, or superficial. How dare I have a preference beyond ten fingers, ten toes, and healthy? How dare I ever hope for anything more than the blessed state of being pregnant?

Now, I've never suffered from infertility. I don't know that pain and I don't criticize anyone living with infertility for not taking kindly to any pregnant lady hoping for pink over blue, or vice versa. I also don't take for granted the fact that the pregnancies I have been blessed with have all occurred quickly and without medical assistance. Those women are not the targets of this rant. I'm talking about the holier-than-thou, pack-mentality, Mean Moms, who live to tear into unfortunate newbs on the internet who dare share that they've always wanted a daughter and are hoping for a girl. What a monstrous thing to wish for when so many women only want a baby, right? For shame.

So, no. I never shared with anyone other than family that I was really hoping for a girl the third time around.  But what I never shared before that beautiful day in July when I found out she was on her way, was how my desire to have a daughter often all but consumed me on some days.

I always imagined having a daughter. Really, before Phil and I started dating, I only ever pictured myself with daughters. I grew up with sisters. Boys were totally foreign to me. I wanted someone to pass my old Barbie doll down to. I wanted for there to be a reason I had held on to my beloved childhood furniture through all of these years and moves. I wanted.so.desperately to be a part of that prestigious club so many of the moms in my life belonged to: the moms of girls club.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my boys. I wanted my boys. I wanted two boys. And I was just as thrilled to find out during my first pregnancy that I was having a boy as I would have been had I found out I was having a girl. I love being a mom to boys. They are affectionate. They are playful. And they are fun and funny wild little rascals and they love their mama so much and watching them with their dad makes my heart soar. My life would not be complete without them and, knowing what I know now, had I only had girls, I would have sorely longed to have a son. I would have never felt complete without being a Boy Mom.

But after Andrew was born I began to feel the desire to have a daughter that much more. Not only that, but I began to worry that maybe since I didn't have a girl the second time around, maybe I would never have a girl. Maybe my husband didn't "make girls," so to speak. Maybe it wasn't in the cards for me to join that club. And when more of my friends began having girls and then, even harder, my family started having girls, I began to feel that much more.... panicked... that I'd never know what those careless woman meant when they made comments like "just two little boys" and "little boys are wonderful but baby girls are just so special."  Cringe.

Now I only had two little boys at home---not six. There was no real legitimate reason for me to jump to such hysterical conclusions as "I don't have a daughter because I am not girly enough."  I wasn't frequenting "Gender Disappointment" message boards (okay, so I browsed and recalled in terror a few times). I wasn't researching homeopathic methods of conceiving a certain gender or pocketing away money for expensive "gender selection" procedures (okay, maybe I spent more time lurking on those boards than I care to admit). I didn't frequent those boards because I had so-called gender disappointment. I wasn't disappointed that I had sons. Not in the slightest. I just longed to have a daughter, too.

And although the desire to have a little girl of my own sometimes kept me up at night, it was never in my plan to just keep having kids until I finally got a girl. We planned for #3 before the genders of #1 and #2 were ever known. And, had I been told last July that we were expecting our third son, I can't say with certainty that #4 would be in the plans now. I am just as uncertain about whether or not we will have one more child with two boys and a girl in our family as I would have been if we had three boys in our family.

I do feel like, if we were to decide we were done having children right now, I would feel "more complete" with my two boys and a girl than I would have felt had we had three boys. I've always wanted a daughter. I've always imagined myself with a daughter. And I know in my heart that if that dream had never become a reality for me, that ache would have never completely gone away. She would have always been missing on my heart.

And so I am not ashamed to say that the day I found out Lydia was on her way, I was overwhelmed with joy and disbelief. This was the news I had been hoping for in secret for so long. I couldn't believe it was to be our reality.

And she has changed the dynamic of our family in many ways. She has brought a softness to our family. She has captured my husband's heart in a way only a daughter can do. She has given her brothers the role of protectors; they love her so much. And she has changed my life forever. My girl. My sweet little sunshine. When she was just born I was so in awe of her and in those early days of postpartum hormonal craziness, I remember thinking "I'm going to be one of those moms who says her daughter is her best friend." And I do hope that is the case for us. I hope we are always close. I hope she confides in me as a child, teenager, and an adult. I hope I am never uncool to her. I hope I'm the one she calls whenever she has any kind of a heartache or joy to share. I hope she too considers me to be her best friend, at least at some point in her life.

I hope we have what I have always longed for for myself.

"A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give." 
 Laurel Athedon

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