Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I had two sons but all I ever wanted in the world was a daughter?
Yep. True story.
Even though it is wildly redundant to do so, I will preface this by saying I am truly, madly and deeply in love with my sons. Of course I am.
But there was a time when the idea that I could potentially go through life never having a daughter would have seemed impossible. Insane.
I never doubted that I would have a daughter. And I expected to have her first.
Now, two sons down and plans for only one more baby, you’d better believe I am terrified that I was completely and utterly wrong.
It’s not that I didn’t want sons either. I did.
But only sons?
That thought had never occurred to me. Not once.
For as long as I can remember, to the very core of me, I believed I was destined to have a daughter. That my firstborn child would be a little girl. A little girl who was the very image of me.
To my mind, this would represent full circle.
I was a firstborn daughter for my birth mother. But I was the baby of the family that raised me – my family. And if I think about that, I can see how I have been both those things at once. A confusing duality.
But my birth mother had a baby girl first and so I assumed it would be for me.
I have a glory box full of pink baby clothes to prove it.
Yep. That’s true, too.
When I met B, it was even more obvious. He was the anti-jock. Thoughtful, gentle, a protector. He was so suited to being the daddy of a little girl.
So when, at fifteen weeks, an amniocentisis confirmed without a shadow of a doubt that I was pregnant with a son, I was….blindsided. Shocked. Confused.
For a period of several days.
I was not having a daughter. It made no sense.
In the fog of raging early pregnancy hormones, I raged. At B, mostly, given that it was ultimately his sperm that was to blame. And because, well, he was there.
I said awful things. About the men in his family. About the man he was. Wondering aloud why God would want to carry on a line that was so clearly flawed.
I was crazed. I was cruel.
And then, just like that, I was over it.
And I fell completely in love with the idea of the son growing inside my belly.
Of course I did.
But I couldn’t take back the things I had said. I could explain them away by citing pregnancy hormones. As I have just done here. But that was never the whole truth.
Besides my arbitrary reasons for believing I would have a girl first, there was a part of me that needed a daughter. Needed someone to be just like me. Because, in my life, there has never been anyone who was just like me.
People who grow up with their blood relatives will easily take for granted that they look like someone else. No doubt, they will have been told so countless times in their lives. It may even be a sore point for them. For some people, looking like their mother or father might be a source of great anguish or pain. Perhaps it is concrete evidence linking them to someone they pray they don’t turn out like.
But for me, it represents the simplest connection. Biology. And it was something that I never had.
So when we discovered that we were to have a son, I assumed the opportunity for this connection had been dashed. I was jealous that this little boy was going to be just like his daddy. I hated B for stealing this from me.
When you’re wrong, you’re wrong.
Aside from being so very like me physically, LD has a personality that closely mirrors my own.
The hell I visited on my own mum as a teenager (and prior, to be honest) was, I thought, another strong indicator that I was destined to have a daughter just like me. It was full circle and it was karma.
But karma is, as they say, a bitch. So I got the kid just like me but with a penis. So all the hell and none of the tulle petticoat dress-ups to compensate.
Huh. Should have seen that one coming.
What I didn’t see coming was the way I would feel about my son. With hindsight, it seems crazy. He was my firstborn child. I would have loved him if he’d been born with two heads.
LD was a gift I never knew I wanted. Oh, but I fell hard for that little guy.
To hear the words, “Oh my goodness, he’s just like you!” – well, I can’t adequately express the enormity of that. It was an exquisite feeling. A connection that fed the hungriest part within me.
Having had a subsequent child who physically resembles me much less, I now know that connection has absolutely nothing to do with whether the kid looked like me or not. The way I feel connected to each of my children is on a level that so far surpasses anything as superficial as physical similarities.
But still, the fact that LD looked like me gave me a kick.
And then came a second son. A son who has impacted on this little family in the most profound and beautiful ways.
Poor Zee. He was definitely not supposed to be a boy.
I had reasons this time. Well thought out reasons. I still needed a daughter. That had not changed. And B and I knew we would have three kids only. So the second baby should naturally be the daughter so that the third child could be whoever it was going to be with zero pressure.
And I still stand by that. That would have been so nice. I may have even chosen not to find out the sex of that baby so we could experience the delivery suite surprise.
But as it stands, there will be all kinds of pressure during my third pregnancy. And I will definitely be finding out the sex.
At my 12 week ultrasound with Zee, the sonographer begrudgingly made an early predicition that he was a boy. And once again, I cried and raged and blamed B entirely. And then, got over it. But now, the possibility that we may never have a little girl was frighteningly real.
If we are destined to be a family with three sons, there are certain feelings I will need to process. Not the idea of another son. Or three boys. No, I feel nothing but delight when I picture that. There is definitely magic in that reality.
But I will have grief to process. Not for the son I have but for the daughter I never will.
The difference is crucial.
I can’t stop myself (or B) from grieving. The only control I will have is to make sure that those feelings of grief are as far away as possible from the delivery suite where we welcome our new son. To that end, we will discover the baby’s sex early once again.
At some stage in the future, we’ll go a third time. And pray that the intensely strong sense both B and I share about a little girl joining our family is accurate.
Because otherwise, what am I going to do with that fucking glory box?