I wanted a girl. Instead, I gave birth to two beautiful and healthy baby boys. From the time my kids were babies and up until they were preschool age, I lamented not having a girl. I felt alone in a family of boys. Excluded even. I worried about how we would relate to each other. But now that my oldest is almost 8, I don’t wish for a girl anymore. That saying, “time heals everything” is true, but what changed my perspective is something someone told me while expecting my second son. This one sentence allowed me to actually get over the wanting of a daughter. It's one sentence that changed everything.
Before I get to the one sentence that changed everything, it’s important to accept where you are at. If you want to cry about not having a girl, or wallow, or just be sad, then you need to do that. For me, I gave myself two whole days to feel … grief. Grief is what you feel when you lose something. And you just lost the chance at having a daughter. When you give yourself time and space to admit that you wanted something and didn’t get it, the wound closes and gets put in the past. Then your present can fill up with all of the amazing times and experiences you are actually having, and you no longer fantasize about how things could or should be. If you don’t give yourself this gift of acceptance, you will always wonder how things could be different if you had had that girl.
The next thing you can do to deal with gender disappointment (after accepting your feelings) is to accept that being a boy mom is just … different. Just like being a mom of all girls is just … different. What I’m about to share can be taken as a generalization or a stereotype, and that might offend some. So in my defence, my disclaimer is that the following is my experience of raising boys:
My house is always full of noise like yelling, growling, shouting and barbaric types of noise. My house is always full of movement from the time my boys wake up. It’s like cooking and cleaning and parenting with multiple tornadoes going through my house. All. dang. day.
The way boys play is just different from the way girls play. My boys don’t put on dresses, twirl delicately in front of a mirror, and give commands in high-pitch voices. They also don’t have tea parties. Instead, we wrestle.
You need to accept that you won’t see the type of play that came to you naturally when you were once a little girl. And that’s ok because it’s not bad, it’s just different.
So you’ve accepted your feelings, and you’ve accepted that being a boy mom is just different. Awesome. Now you are ready to hear the one sentence that changed my perspective about having a daughter. Or, in my case, not having a daughter.
While I was pregnant with my second son, I felt grief and sadness about not having a boy followed by a girl. I expressed my fear about the old adage, “A son is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.” I felt grief over not having a daughter to talk to or, at my lowest point, to not have a daughter to be best friends with. (Because so many girls are best friends with their moms, right!?)
I expressed my feelings to a woman I trusted, and she looked me right in the eye and said, “I think you’re focusing too much on gender and not on the individual.” And that was the aha moment I needed to hear.
When I heard those words, my oldest son was three and a half years old at the time. I thought about his unique personality, and the joy of watching him gravitate toward certain interests. And how I would get to experience this over and over again while being his mother. It made me realize how much I have and how interesting both my little boys are – and unique!
And that’s just it – every mother is parenting a child that is a unique individual. We all have that in common as mothers. And my boys are boys unless they tell me otherwise. Every mom lives with that reality too nowadays. So go easy on yourself mama, and focus on the individual you are raising, not the gender.