pregnancy and parenthood

I was hoping for a girl, and that says nothing about the kind of parent I am

“Are you hoping for a girl this time?”

This was a popular question that followed our second pregnancy announcement since we have had the overwhelming joy of experiencing a boy our first go-around.

I always felt a tad awkward answering this because there’s a bit of shame associated with admitting that you may have a preference for a daughter or son, as if having a preference means you don’t value the blessing of your child. So I always started with a disclaimer: we’re hoping for a healthy baby first and foremost, but yes, admittedly, I would love to experience having a little girl! 

IMG_2299.jpgWe opted for the 10-week blood test that can tell you baby’s sex. Unlike the 20-week anatomy scan, you do have to wait about a week to get the results over phone. I will never forget that phone call. I was driving to deliver a meal to a new mom in the neighborhood when I recognized my health provider calling. I immediately parked my car and nervously answered.

“Your bloodwork came back completely normal. Baby is healthy – and, did you want to know the sex?”

Yessss!!

“You’re having a baby girl!”

I didn’t expect to cry so much, but I did. It took me a good ten minutes to compose myself so that I could drive again without tears inhibiting my ability to see the road. They were tears of excitement, joy. I knew my husband had been hoping for a girl, too. I immediately stopped at Target on my way home and bought a couple baby girl items. I wrapped them in an envelope and old Amazon box and put them on our porch to make it look like the mailman came. I told my husband to go check the mail, leading him to open my package and discover that we were indeed going to experience having a daughter. He was thrilled!

Fast forward a trimester. Here we are more than halfway through, and my belly is starting to really show. Someone recently asked, “Do you know what you’re having?” I smiled and answered that we were expecting a little girl. “Oh, perfect,” she said as she saw me tend to my son. “Now you can be done! You’re done having kids, right?”

“Umm … no, probably not. We would love to have three or four, actually. But right now, we’re focused on getting through the next birth.” 

I’d been warned that people would assume this about my family now that we will have a boy and a girl. It is annoying because it implies that you can’t possibly be happy if you have all boys or all girls, and that only if you have one of each will you feel complete. Yet, any family of all girls or all boys will tell you that they are completely in love and grateful for the children that they’ve been blessed with. This is because any rational person will be able to see that a parent’s love for their child is not rooted in what sex they are; Your love for your child goes so, so, so far beyond that.

But some of these same families will also admit to you that at one point, sure, they were hoping for the opposite sex. I’ve come to learn from talking with other families that it’s just not something as openly discussed or admitted because of the guilt that overshadows such a thought. But I’ll admit it; I was openly hoping for a girl this time.

I guess I am generally comfortable admitting this because I know that I would love another little boy just as much, at the end of the day. As much as I advocate for and believe in gender equality, and will do my hardest to instill this in my children, I also believe there are unique experiences attributed to raising a boy and a girl. They are different bonds even though they are equal in love and joy. I wanted a girl not because I feel that girls are superior, but because I would love to be blessed with the mother-daughter bond as I have been blessed with the mother-son bond. And, frankly, I don’t think there should be any guilt or shame associated with wanting both.

I have had a lot of dreams about what it will be like to meet my daughter, as I also did about potentially meeting another son. When we as parents discover that we are having either a son or a daughter, it is a blessing that requires us to say hello to one of these unique bonds and goodbye to the potential of the other one – and with any type of goodbye, there should be a period of allowed mourning.

So to all my friends who have cried over news of a boy or girl, please don’t be ashamed. Whether you felt guilty for being too excited or a bit disappointed, remember that this speaks nothing of the kind of parent you are nor the indescribable amount of love you have – and will – offer that child.

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