I always did. I knew I wanted children since I was a young girl. More than I ever thought about a wedding, I thought about having a family. And more than that, I thought of having a house full of boys. I never had a brother and Barbie’s and playing dress up didn’t last much long after my 10th birthday.
What would I do with a girl? I didn’t really have a lot of girlfriends growing up. I didn’t fit in with the majority of them for whatever reason and I just always had it in my mind that boys were easier. On many levels. So when they told me the first time that we were having a girl, I was OK… I really wanted a boy, but I was just so happy to hear that magical little thump thump thump heartbeat that disappointment didn’t register. Yes, we had picked out names for both genders regardless, but I wanted to use the boy one. Badly.
Alas, that didn’t happen. But that baby girl was perfect. Literally perfect. And I learned in that moment, looking at my tiny baby’s face that I was meant to be a mother of this little girl. The boy would come. However, this time I was getting a girl. I wasn’t just OK with it, I was euphoric. Grateful for this happy, healthy little blue-eyed girl.
The second time, I was disappointed. I lay on that table, allowing the ultrasound tech to run her wand over my belly and tell me that Cori was having a sister. I remember saying, “Oooh…. yaayyy.” I knew it sounded horrible. I’m sure the look on her face was something like, “Well this is awkward.” What I wanted to tell her, what I don’t think a lot of people understand until they are pregnant that second time is the thought that you don’t think you can possibly love another person as much as your first child. There’s no way your heart could grow anymore – it’s impossible. But! If I was having a boy, I could. Right? All this ridiculous love I had for Cori, was girl love. It was different than boy love. Your heart has room for both. But, with another girl, I had used up all that love on Cori! I didn’t think to put some aside for another girl… I was a horrible mother. What had I done!?
Makes sense. I didn’t want to run the risk of being put in a straight jacket, so I kept my theory to myself. I was pretty sure my poor OB already thought I was nuts after I hysterically cried the visit prior to this one. My nurse practitioner was my saving grace though, she always made me feel normal. Probably because it’s her job to make these bloated, hormonal mothers-to-be feel like they’re not completely insane, but I like to think she just likes me. I mean… she’s had her hand in my vagina so we are pretty close.
Nevertheless, I was ashamed and angry at myself for not having an immediate connection to this new little baby in my belly. I had to go home and tell my husband, who would probably feel a little disappointed as well, but wouldn’t show it. If this was our last baby, I had failed somehow. I didn’t give him a son. This was a pressure I put on myself, however. My husband was and is obsessed with his girls. He secretly adores being overtaken by a house full of women. He’s a better person than I am. Kinda why I had to marry the dude.
But, what made it even more frustrating is everyone kept telling me I was having a boy. Strangers would stop me to giggle at my protruding belly. At how obviously I was carrying a boy. It felt like a punishment, having to repeat over and over, “No… definitely having a girl!” I had become protective at that point. It took time, but I got over my disappointment and the more people remarked on this “boy” I was having, the more defensive I got. As if this girl wasn’t good enough, it MUST be a boy!
That’s the funny thing about having children. Society puts pressure on us to have boys. It’s primal. It’s within us to think that’s what will carry the bloodline, as if the blood in the girl is not the same. All the boy is carrying, is a name… and let’s face it, sometimes those boys defile the family name in some pretty disgusting ways. What’s so great about carrying a name that means nothing to them?
Natural birth was the other punishment. I didn’t take it gracefully, but luckily she had mercy and rolled on out quickly.
A big, red ball of baby girl. She was completely different in every single way. And the second I held her. Felt her little warm nuzzle against my chest. Listened to that beautiful rhythmic gurgle of breath… I was convinced my heart was about to explode. All the anxiety, all the thoughts of “How will I love this baby the same” melted away. Because what I learned right then, was I didn’t love her the same.
Not at all.
I loved her in a complete and separate way. Not because she was a girl. Not because I was high on percocets… because she came from my body. Because she was her own person. Because she looked me right in the eyes immediately, and just thinking back to that memory now, makes me tear up. That moment with her was like nothing I’d ever experienced, and it was ours.
We will be celebrating that little girl’s second birthday this month. All she’s done since we brought her home, is make us laugh hysterically. She’s an expert napper and sassy as hell, but she’s perfect.
And although I wanted a boy. I don’t anymore.