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