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

Our Sons Are Watching Too

This past winter I had the privilege of attending a conference called “Shine” where the main speaker was the talented pastor and author, Bo Stern. Recently Bo also wrote a blog post discussing one of the main points that she spoke of at the conference. To summarize, both were about the shame that surrounds women and their personal perception of their outward appearance and how the only way to truly overcome that shame is with a heart change. I absolutely agree with everything she said….almost.

How many times have you heard the following?

Women need to get their thoughts of their appearance in check because our daughters are watching. (Something similar was also said at the Shine conference)

Or…

Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

I’ve had some interest in my “themed” summer so I thought I would take the time to type it out as it’s currently in scribble form on my notepad at home as a compilation of ideas and outlines that I continue to add to.

Depending on where you live you may have more or less weeks than us but here in Bend, Oregon we have 11 weeks. So, I’ve created a different theme for each of the 11 weeks. The idea is to have a go-to for ideas and inspiration when/if we find ourselves in a summer rut. Keep in mind that I am also fully in support of boredom because after all, boredom breeds creativity. I just don’t want boredom every.single.day 😉

What I tried last summer was to have a different plan for each day of the week…e..g. Mondays involved water, Tuesdays involved a park, Wednesdays involved a hike, Thursdays involved a service project, and Fridays were usually an activity. However, I found that without an actual plan I didn’t follow through. So, I’m still going to incorporate each of those things but add a weekly theme as well. So here go…

Summer Vacation Weekly Themes

You’re only “that parent” to yourself

It was lunch hour in the middle of a very large metropolitan Red Robin that was way over capacity. We had 4 starving children and we were pushing nap after 2 very full days visiting the Portland Zoo and Ikea during Spring Break. The wait would be long but because we knew it would be at least that anywhere else we decided to stay put. However, because of the crowd inside and the fact that it was pouring outside we ventured into the area between the interior and exterior door. That’s when it happened. I was chatting with our friends when all of a sudden lights were flashing and sirens wailing.

My son pulled the fire alarm.

26 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Being a New Dad

If you missed last week’s posts about the  25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy,  the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth, and the 25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know about Postpartum I suggest starting there.

I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about what soon to be dads need to know about being a new dad after the postpartum period is over:

The First Few Weeks After Birth: What New Dads Need To Know

If you missed the following advice for new dads: 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, and the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Birth I suggest starting there.

Once you bring your baby home from the hospital you and your spouse are on your own. No more nurses, no more doctors. On. Your. Own. Bringing home a new baby is a lot like being told to go sail a boat across the ocean with no instruction manual and never having sailed before. The learning curve is steep, you’ll often wonder if you’re doing it right or if you’re going to injure the boat.  You’ll wonder if you’re going to die in the middle of the storms, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it and sail along beautifully. You’ll learn to navigate the rough waters, and enjoy the smooth seas.

I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about what you need to know regarding the weeks after birth…aka The Postpartum Period… 

25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth

If you missed yesterday’s post about the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, I suggest starting there.

After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body is capable of doing is amazing. And you’re about to meet your child for the very first time. Your first baby will be a complete life changer. Going from being entirely selfish to having a helpless, screaming creature in your house that needs all your love, attention, and patience will be a huge change to your reality. Take it from other dads…it is the best change ever (though it may take you awhile to get to that realization…or it may not).

I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about things soon to be dads need to know about birth…

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25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…uh, what? Oftentimes soon to be dads (and moms alike) don’t know the first thing when it comes to pregnancy, birth and the weeks following birth. The very thought of having a baby can be scary and overwhelming. Don’t worry, with the help of several veteran dads and their wives I’ve compiled a list of 101 things soon-to-be dads need to know about pregnancy, birth, the weeks immediately following birth (postpartum) and the awesomeness of being a new Dad. This will be broken into 4 different posts so it isn’t so long to read at first. So without further adieu…Advice for New Dads

Dating Your Kids: 10 Fresh Date Ideas to Get You Started

All too often I have gotten to the end of the day and stopped to realize that I was never fully present with my children. Sure I was there in the flesh. But my mind was constantly multitasking: making mental lists of everything I needed to add to my to-do list for the next day or who I forgot to respond to via text, or if I replied to so and so’s email. If my mind was there, my body wasn’t as I raced around trying to prepare dinner, gather a grocery list, change a diaper and respond to various other needs. It was in this realization and in my quest to redefine family my husband and I began dating our boys. The power of quality time is not one to underestimate, especially as we add more children to our brood. It is so easy to become consumed with day to day menial tasks that I often forget the importance of really being with my children. I don’t want my kids to go through life thinking I value trivial things more than them. As it is in our married relationship after a “date” we always feel closer and more connected…like we matter, are valued and have purpose. It is the same in our relationships with our children. In this realization that we decided dating our kids would be as important as dating each other. It isn’t as easy as it sounds though.

Dating Your Kids

10 Date Ideas To Get You Started…

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