My Dearest Daughter: Saying Goodbye to Gender Disappointment

My Dearest Daughter,

Though I’ve never actually met you, you have always a part of me: a dream, a desire, a hope. Until today. Today I say goodbye to the dream that was you in order to make room for other dreams.

For as long as I can remember I dreamed about hearing ‘it’s a girl!’ I dreamed of holding you, your tiny body cradled in mine as we rocked in a beautiful white chair in your bedroom covered in shades of purple and grey, your strawberry blonde hair sticking out of the blanket, while I sing you the songs that my mama sang to me. I pictured taking you to your first ballet class; watching you twirl, so proud in your tutu, stealing glances of yourself in the large mirror. I pictured the bows, the braids, the frills, the ruffles, the headbands, the shoes. I looked forward to introducing you the world of American Girl dolls and playing dress up and tea party. The beautiful, delicate doll house your great grandpa built for me is still sitting in your Grammy’s house with all the furniture and people carefully packed away waiting for your tiny hands to explore. But even beyond all of the girlie stuff I hoped we would always be close…sharing secrets together, going on mother-daughter outings and long walks talking about everything and nothing at the same time, hearing all about your first date, your first school dance, your first kiss, your first heartache; everything you might be too shy to share with your Daddy. I pictured you coming in to tell us you met ‘the one’ and then sharing in your excitement as you planned your wedding. And then I pictured you as you became a mom…my baby girl having a baby.

My dreams aside though you would have loved it here. Your older brothers would have loved you and have been fiercely protective of you. Kadyn would have taught you that it’s okay to be sensitive…you CAN be both sensitive and strong. And so can men. He would have taught you all there is to love about the arts and literature and would have read story after story to you, never tiring. Kai would have made sure you were a bit of a tomboy by teaching you all there is to know and love about sports. He would have talked your ear off about soccer and had you kicking a ball before you could walk. He also would have taught you mathematics and would have always been eager and willing to play any game or do any puzzle with you. Lukah would have taught you to love hard. He would have been the one to sit and listen to you gripe about boys and relationships and then make you laugh. And your Daddy. My heart aches for your relationship with your Daddy as much as my own. You were already a Daddy’s girl, even with just the thought of you. He would have made sure you knew you were loved, and beautiful, and smart. There never would have been a question. He would have raised you strong enough to be confident in your own choices and yet never too old to hold his hand. Sure, he would have relished embarrassing the heck out of you on occasion, but you would have secretly loved it knowing he was yet again showing his love for you. You would have known from day one how a woman should be treated just by watching him in action with how he treats me. I pictured you at your wedding, dancing with your Daddy during your father-daughter dance; he would have had tears in eyes and you would have found a way to let him know that you would be okay. And so would he. He would have encouraged you to be whoever you wanted to be and always follow your heart. He would have taught you that you don’t need to fit a certain mold, you are loved for who you are.

In my longing for you and my initial gender disappointment I’ve been told many things. I know people are trying to be helpful when they remind me that one day I’ll have daughter-in-laws or even granddaughters. But I also know that though they will be special in their own way, they aren’t you. I’ve also had people tell me that God gives us the desires of our heart, but I’ve learned that doesn’t always play out the way we picture. And I’ve been told if you focus on something long enough, hard enough, and put all your energy/mind on that thing, then it will happen. Now I can now honestly say that doesn’t always work. Sometimes there is a greater, more beautiful picture waiting than even we can understand in the moment.

Surely we are doing something right though in raising our boys because God is entrusting us to yet another. One more brave, strong, wonderful boy. With you in mind we will continue to raise them to the best of our ability…letting them be little while gently guiding them to be the men other parents would want their daughters to date. Men that will no doubt make amazing husbands and fathers. I can’t promise they won’t think they are ‘dying’ when they get sick (I think this must be an innate male trait) but I can promise that I will teach them to cook, to braid, and to do their own laundry. We hope to raise them to embrace their individuality and fight for their beliefs. And goodness will they know how to love. Strong. Loud. Fierce. Bold. Completely. Never ending. For to feel loved, to know love, and to be free to express love Just The Way They Are is above all the greatest gift we can ever teach them.

And because of that, it is with a tear filled face but excitement in my heart that today I say goodbye to the dream you were. You hold the dreams of my past and to hold on to you any longer takes moments away from my precious boys. At this point to want you here means one of them would not BE. And as I anxiously await the arrival our newest, and our last little I cannot imagine life without ANY of them. They are each so special to me and I love them beyond imagination. And you see, they deserve all of me, not just the broken pieces. And I deserve to have complete, whole happiness in each of them. From this point forward I am all in. They are each the dreams of my present, and the dreams of my future.

So, baby girl, with a kiss and prayer I send you off. I pray you can bring hope to a couple that may be in the thrown of trying desperately to have a baby and currently feeling hopeless. They need you more than I do. And every time I hear of a ‘miracle’ baby I will smile and think fondly of you.

Kisses,

Mommy

Redefining family after baby gender disappointment

They sit across from me waiting anxiously, eager to play cars, trains, superheroes, or ninja turtles.

Boys. My destiny. I’m learning to embrace this. Honestly, it hasn’t come easily. My parent’s closet still has my American Girl Doll neatly packed waiting for my daughter to play with. There also sits my dollhouse my grandfather made for me and all the adorable little mini people and furniture that go inside all boxed waiting for my daughter’s hands to carefully take them out. Only my daughter doesn’t exist.

5.5 years ago my vision of my family changed when we found out we were expecting our 2nd little boy. I had always wanted 4 children but had never really thought much past the first being a boy and the second being a girl. When I wrote about having baby gender disappointment  I experienced during pregnancy (and even for several years after) 4 years ago I had no idea there were so many people that shared similar feelings. Since then it has been the most commonly viewed post on my blog.

I spent 3 years after the birth of our second son wondering if my desire for a girl would ever be overtaken by the desire to simply have another baby no matter the gender. Three long, embarrassing years riddled with ugly emotions of self-pity, anger, disappointment, jealousy and guilt over feeling all of those things especially when there are so many women that would do anything just to have a baby. I would see friends with their daughters heading off to dance class with leotards, tights and ballet shoes in tow and my inner core would ache with such intensity that I was sure I was going to spill my insides. I would sob whenever I thought of all the things I did with my mom that I would never have a chance to do with my daughter. And my heart would hurt when I thought of the father-daughter moments my husband would never have. All the while desperately trying to fill my role as a mom to little boys. But as the months and years passed I found God changing and reshaping my heart. I began embracing being a boy mom. I would be completely lying though if I said the longing was gone, but it finally reached a point where I was ready for a baby…boy or girl.

Good thing because an adorable, wonderful, happy, light of our lives baby boy joined our family. Yes, that made boy number 3. Initially, when we found out that we were expecting boy #3 I could feel some of the same emotions creeping back in. It wasn’t until a dear friend of mine wrote

“I believe that raising a boy to become a good man, today, is such an incredibly important task. God wisely chooses special people to get that privilege. And now that I have a daughter, I’m praying for parents like you to have boys, so that someday Paisley will be loved well by one of them. Congratulations.”

that I realized what I gift I have.

Though I often don’t know what I’m doing with boys and it certainly isn’t what comes naturally I’ve been redefining what family looks like and redefining my role. Of course, I am mom. But more importantly, I am mom to 3 wonderful boys. And of course we are family. But our family is not your 2.5 kids: one boy, one girl, and a dog. We’re creating another mold in which to fit.  Something I’ve realized is that little (and big) boys need their mommies just as much as little girls. And though our relationship will tweak and change as they grow who is to say that I can’t have the same relationship with my sons that I do with my mom? Raising these boys to be great men is going to be a challenge, but one that I am embracing. My husband and I hope to teach them how to treat a lady, to be sensitive yet strong, and most importantly teach them that our love for them is fierce.

And let me tell you…Brothers? The bond there is strong. Best of friends, worst of enemies but at the end of the day when they’ve “secretly” crawled in to bed next to one another and fallen asleep it completely melts my heart.

Redefining family

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Dealing with Gender DisappointmentAnd please, when you see someone with all the same gender, don’t assume we’re trying for the opposite gender. Maybe we are and maybe we aren’t. Just know that we’re redefining family.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on baby gender disappointment …both good and bad! Please follow me on Facebook 

To see the original post on dealing with Baby Gender Disappointment when you’re disappointed with your baby’s gender check out the following link:

Transparencies of Motherhood: Baby Gender Disappointment 

Baby Gender Disappointment

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

Baby gender disappointment. 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? Why do I feel I need to apologize for being disappointed we were having another baby boy?

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.

Gender Reveal

Just over a week ago we had the baby’s big ultrasound. It had been scheduled for a few days later but we bumped it up as a surprise. Beforehand we did a lot of talk about how we don’t get to choose what baby is and that God has the perfect sibling picked out. Regardless, we were all excited and had in our heads what baby’s gender is. As the boys were referring to it…Kadyn, Ryan and I were all on “team pink” and Kai was on “team blue.” The boys came to the ultrasound with us and did a fantastic job of sitting still. Kadyn watched with much excitement while Kai was quite content looking up every now and then while he was coloring.
Gender Reveal

Outfit Selection: It was so fun to include the older brothers in the process of the Gender Reveal. We had the ultrasound tech put the gender in an envelope (we hadn’t seen the gender yet!) and we all marched down to the Carter’s Outlet after the ultrasound and the older brothers got to each pick out a girl outfit and a boy outfit. The outfit choice for the gender they thought baby was were easy. They weren’t too interested in picking something from the other gender, but we insisted that they would be disappointed if their choice wasn’t in the box.

Gender Reveal

The box. Inside holds the outfit for the gender of baby #3. At this point we had NO idea what was inside. We had taken all 4 of the boy’s outfit selections (1 girl outfit and 1 boy outfit from each of the older brothers) and brought it up to the cashier. We handed her the envelope with the gender written inside and our credit card and asked for her to purchase the correct gender outfits and put them inside the box.

 

Gender Reveal

 

 

Family dinner for reveal! Immediately following Carter’s we went to a family dinner. We rarely go out to eat so this was at treat in and of itself. I don’t know how we contained our excitement long enough to make it through until dessert but we did. While we were waiting for dessert to come the older brothers opened the box.  

 

It’s a BOY! Boy #3 on his way.Gender Reveal
Kai couldn’t have been any more excited. Kadyn was disappointed at first but primarily because he wasn’t right. Although he did say a few days later “Mommy, we really need a sister. I’m happy and all that we’re going to have another brother…but can we keep having brothers until we get a sister too?” He was all too thrilled to share all his toys with “all the brothers” just so he could have a sister in the mix.

And p.s. the most important part is baby looks healthy!