Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Transparent Moment--Gender Envy

This post has received a lot of traffic and I want to make sure you know that I've moved my writing to www.gretacheney.com  I hope you'll follow me there as well as on Facebook

Long-ing (noun): a prolonged, persistent yearning or unfulfilled desire or need, especially one that cannot be fulfilled.

This is not something I am proud of. However, I feel it's one of those unspoken things of motherhood. Therefore, I am willing to be transparent for a moment and share my heart. The reason this is often unspoken?  Because there are so many women that struggle to have a baby...any baby. There are so many people that say "just be happy you have 2 healthy kids." Truth be told, I am grateful I have 2 happy kids, I love both of my boys equally, with all my heart. But why do I always feel I need to apologize for wanting a girl?

When my husband and I found out I was pregnant the first time we didn't care what gender the baby was. We found out early that it was a he? Ecstatic.

With our second, I, along with everyone else, assumed it would be a girl. I was from a family of girl, boy. My husband was from a family of boy, girl, boy. Almost everyone around me was having one of each. But, deep down though I knew it was he. I was torn. I was so excited to have another baby but was longing to have a girl to add to our family. I knew it was God's blessing. I knew He had already picked out his perfect name. Because of the post-partum I experienced after the birth of our first son I wanted to confirm the gender at the 20 week appointment so I wouldn't have all those emotions after birth. I wanted to be excited on the birth day. The second we left ultrasound the calls started. "Are you disappointed? Are you sad?"   Choking. Back. Tears.   My answer? "Oh no, of course not, I'm thrilled!" Why did I feel I needed to lie? Guilt. For all the reasons I listed above I felt terrible that I was disappointed that we were having a boy. We were having a healthy child...praise God! We were having a child...praise God! Was I going to love this child? Of course. Was he going to be perfect in his creator's eyes? Of course. Was he who God planned and ordained for me and our family? Yes, absolutely. They are both perfect, wonderful, joyful, and amazing. I wouldn't trade either of them.

But it doesn't change the fact that when I see little girl clothes in the store, my heart aches. When I hear about a friend that gets pregnant with a baby girl or especially with one of each gender, I feel a twinge (read:  deep) of jealousy. When I hold a baby girl in my arms every ounce of my being longs for one. There are times when I look at a mom and her daughter and tears well up in my eyes. I ache for tea parties, pink dresses and frills, dolls, dress up, and ponies. I want to see a little daddy's girl and I ache for the mother-daughter moments I remember from my childhood. It took several weeks for me to adjust to the fact that I was having another boy. And even now, yes, even now, I am known to quietly (or not) burst in to tears realizing I won't have those special mother-daughter moments. My heart still aches when I hold a little girl.

Our culture has bread in us that the perfect family is 2 parents, one daughter, and one son. The perfect 4.5 person family (make sure to add the dog in there too!). When I was pregnant with our second son, before finding out what we were having, I was told "I bet you're pregnant with a girl." Why, I asked. "Because then you'd be the perfect all-american family. You'd have your son, your daughter, your husband, your dog." Now I know where the guilt comes from; this underlying vision of the perfect family. In reality is my family any less perfect since we had 2 boys? Absolutely not.

Everyone I dare share this with says "maybe your 3rd will be a girl." Or, they think I'll feel better when they say "oh, so and so just had their 3rd...they had 2 boys first and they just had a girl." Or, "just try again."

No. First of all, I hate that people think those with 2+ boys (or 2+ girls) that then get pregnant with their 3rd are trying for the opposite gender. Maybe they are, maybe they're not. Why can't people just have 3+ kids? I refuse (yes, this is the STUBBORN trait that my kids have inherited) to have another baby unless I am completely, 100 % ok with it being a boy.  If I have 3 kids I want it to be because we want to have 3 kids.

And if the girl never happens? First, don't ask my if I'm sad or disappointed, and well, let's be honest, even if a girl did happen, she would probably be such a tomboy that she would hate pink, bows and frills. Instead, she'd probably be out in the dirt (mud caked under her fingernails with her blue jeans on) with her brothers hunting for bugs (but what a cute little bug hunter she'd be).



Any other moms (or parents) out there that have ever felt gender envy whether you have all boys or all girls? How do you cope? Does the feeling ever go away? 



A special thank you to my husband and friends that help me continue to work through this. Ryan, thank you for walking this journey with me and helping me edit this. And Sarah, for helping me realize I don't need to apologize for heart felt feelings. 


© Transparencies of Motherhood 2010

15 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing these raw feelings and emotions. I think you've approached the question of baby #3 with wisdom, strength and maturity. It is interesting though that God has given you this strong desire for a daughter. There must be a reason for it, whether it's baby #3 or helping someone else or whatever the case may be. I will be excited to see how God uses this desire in your life.

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  2. Greta, your feelings are real and you don't need to be ashamed of them. I got choked up reading your blog because God blessed us with the girl we wanted and I remember thinking, "What will I do if they tell us it's a boy?" I know we would've been excited, but not AS excited if it would be a girl. I felt guilty for having a preference.

    God knows your heart but He also has a plan, so trust in His will for your family and the peace He will bring.

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  3. Greta, thank you for being so open. Thank you for sharing your heart. I think a lot of parents struggle with this very thing. You are a fantastic mom!

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  4. Greta, your longing, your hopes are God given. Not unfair, you don't love you boys less. Trust me, those who know you know you would bend over backwards a million times for them! I am interested to see how God fulfills your desire. It says he gives you the desires of your heart (fine lines of that say if they are good, Godly, and unselfish.) You have yet another selfless desire just to have and love a little girl. yes, I see that so selfless. I cant wait to see how your "little girl" comes to you... whether it is another baby, a special "daughter" in your life, or even a few more years from now when your boys find girls, and make them your "daughters" Plus I know, our baby is so blessed to have you as her "other mother"

    love you!

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  5. I sort of wish we would have had a girl sometimes. I think it's a really normal part of being a woman. I can't explain it and it doesn't seem pc or right in a lot of ways, but I'm pretty sure most moms feel it at some point. I love Milo more than words could describe and love that he is a boy, but there is some deep part of me that wants a little girl, if I'm totally honest with myself. I don't know if we have the courage to have another baby -- raising Milo has been so incredibly difficult in so many ways. So, I will be content with my boy. He is a sweetheart and the center of my world and wouldn't trade him for anything.

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  6. thanks for the post...my thoughts exactly!

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  7. Thanks for your post. I am a mother of three boys, and was sure my third was a girl. I am having the same struggle with going for a number four. And the amount of devestation I had when I found out number 3 was a boy I do not want to happen again.

    So I have already decided I cant even think about getting pregnant unless I am sure I will be okay with boy #4.

    I think the longing just comes from wanting a child that reminds you of you, and obviously the way your child will remind you the most of yourself is if they are the same gender. If you talk to father's who only have daughters they have a lot of the same feelings, they just arent as good at expressing it. Thanks for shaing yours!

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  8. @Katie S Brown--thank you for your sweet words! And thanks for the comment :)

    @Price Family--thank you for being so transparent!

    @Jesse and Taylor--THANK YOU FOR BEING AMAZING. You've helped carry me through a lot this without even knowing it. As hard as it is watching you as you're pregnant with my niece I am so excited at the same time :)

    @Neverstop--Thanks for stopping by! Thanks for being so open with your comment :)

    @Celeste--I can not imagine holding that girl and longing so deeply for her and having to say goodbye. You are a strong, courageous woman. You have a beautiful family. And thanks again for sharing the link this post on your blog. I honestly burst in to tears when I not only saw that you had done that (because I admire you so much!) but also the b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l picture that you put with it...that's what I imagine.

    @Anna Banana--Thanks for visiting! It's so hard to feel "devastated" when you know your baby is healthy. But, it's a real feeling for SO many women, obviously myself included. Thank you for being open about it!

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  9. Oh Greta, I love your sincere, sensitive, and caring heart! I wish we could have hung out more at Whitworth!!!
    My husband is one of three boys so I just presume I'll have all boys. We didn't find out what we were having until he was born but when he was born...I wasn't surprised. Now that I have Hudson I couldn't dream of any other child. I love him so deeply.
    As a teacher, I have always liked how boys are busy, let things go, and don't play games. I look at other friends with girls and I don't envy the teen years they have ahead. Oh geez was I crazy one!
    I guess as I've seen my mother-in-law excited to have daughters (in-law!) it makes me love her more. I predict my next will be a boy but I hope for granddaughters and all those fun, magical playdates with them. It seems many who have all boys, yes even up to 5 boys, have granddaughters and their special dates with them are magical.
    God has a plan, even though I don't understand, He knows best:)
    On the other hand, my friend bought the book on how to conceive a girl; I might give that one a try:)

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  10. LOVE your blog!! New follower too - and not just 'cause you're following mine, it's because you're awesome! :) Thanks for saying things moms usually aren't "allowed" to say (or feel like they're not). I think we all had an idea in our heads of what the "perfect" family would be, and of course, life is never how we imagined - but it can be better! I was actually hoping for a boy. That's because we have SO many women in our family that I wanted to contribute to the male ratio lol. Of course I love my girl to death, but believe or not, I was jealous of blue baby stuff when I was pregnant... Knowing of course that I'd be jealous of pink stuff if I did have a boy! :) See, we're never satisfied.

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  11. @Haak House--Katie, thank you for your kind words. They mean so much. I would love to know what book you're referring to...though as I said in the post, I won't have a 3rd until I'm ok with another boy. However, it would be nice to try for a girl at the same time :)

    @Anne--You're so right...it can be better. And, the grass is always greener on the other side isn't it? I know many women that have all girls and long for the boy in the same way I long for a girl. Thanks for following :)

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  12. Hi Greta! I am a friend of Celestes and saw her post about your post! I had to read. I now have 3 boys and can empathize 100% with your feelings. I cried when I found out the 2nd and 3rd were boys. It makes it so much harder too for me, when other people make comments like 'oh boys are so wild and crazy'. or 'I love when girls just sit on your lap and will read a book'. Comments like that hurt. They don't realize how sad I am that I can't do hair everyday with bows, or dress them in such cute fashionable clothes. I love my boys and I have great boys. Yes they are active and full of life, but the love that is between a son and mom is wonderful! Esp. the older they get. My oldest is almost 11 and tells me now, almost on a nightly basis that I am the best! Boys also don't need 'things' to help their self-esteem (bows, shoes, clothes, etc.) I agree with Haak, in that boys let go of things with friends so easily and are pretty free spirited. Hang in there, and don't feel bad at all about how you are feeling! thanks for sharing!

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  13. Oh ... just figured out that you are related to Taylor. (She's having your niece.) I have a little present for your niece sitting right here beside my computer ... waiting for me to wrap it up and put it in the mail. :)

    Anyway, thanks for your HONESTY! Wonderful!

    We had a boy ... and then a girl. Everyone said, "Oh, the perfect family." completely assuming that we would stop having children. No need to have anymore if we already have a son and daughter. Um. No. We had no intention of stopping.

    We had ...

    boy
    girl
    boy
    girl/girl twins
    boy
    boy
    girl
    boy
    boy
    girl
    girl

    I just LOVE my kids ... and it never mattered to me which "kind" I was having.

    If/when you are ready to have more children, yes, you need to be ready to say, "another boy is okay". Be honest, and say, "I would LOVE to have a girl; but I am a-ok with whomever the Lord chooses to send my way."

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  14. It really bothers me that we have to be SO CAREFUL about sharing true feelings like this. I wish people could be more understanding and patient when listening to others' experiences/perspectives/feelings. I think the way you are feeling makes PERFECT sense!! And I do not think you have any reason to apologize. I'm sorry that there are others who do feel that way.

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  15. I appreciate your honestly, and I've had similar feelings since we have 2 girls. Mostly I feel for my husband because I know the longing I would feel if we had 2 boys and no girls. I'm heartened to remember that God's plan for our family is always better than my own expectations, and I pray that we'll be at peace with it. :) Blessings to you!

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