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.
That’s me on the left. That’s LD, my firstborn son, on the right.
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?
I’m probably the last person you want to hear from here… but I understand more than you know. Whenever I imagined my future as a mother? It was always a little girl that I envisioned. I have no doubt that if that hadn’t come true for me, I’d have had my share of grief to work through, too. I know I’d have fallen in love with any little boys to come our way, but the idea would have taken time to adjust to.
I get it, I do. Kudos to you for putting this out there! It is soul-baring stuff. x
PS – I adore how much LD is a mini-Angie… and given his penchant for theatrics, you may get to see a tulle petticoat on him yet…
I could have written most of this post myself! Both my husband and I grew up in boy-girl two child homes. I knew I was going to have a daughter. I could feel it.
We found out with our first at 30 weeks (he was shy!) that he was a boy. We were thrilled! With our second baby, we found out at 18 weeks that we were having another boy. I was crushed. My husband’s first words to me after we left the ultrasound were “We can try again for a girl”.
The thing is, we had decided on two children. We are in our upper 30s and two children is how we grew up and it fits our lifestyle. The night before we were being induced with boy #2 I sat on the edge of our bed and bawled my eyes out for the girl we would never have. I did fall in love instantly with son #2 and I wouldn’t trade anything in this world for my boys.
Our sons are now 4.5 and 2. We are still talking about the possiblity of a third child but it has to be decided on soon (like the next few months). It’s a hard decision but if we do decide to add a third, I will not find out the gender ahead of time.
If we decide that our family is perfect as it is, I will continue to grieve the loss of the girl I never had.
RJB – Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It made me ache for you.
I think the hardest thing to get across is that you would never trade the children you have. Of course not. Once they are with you, it becomes so obvious that they were meant to be yours.
The sadness and disappointment is not linked with the children you DO have but those you don’t.
I wouldn’t trade 100 daughters for the 2 sons I have now.
But that doesn’t mean that the idea of never having a daughter doesn’t devastate me.
Thanks for reading.
And if you decide on a third, I hope you get your little girl.
MJ! The nerve of you! You with your daughters!
No, of course not. You and your thoughtful comments are ALWAYS welcome here.
I think I envy most the fact that in getting your much wanted daughter first, discovering the second child’s sex could be light and joyful instead of loaded with expectation. That must have been so nice.
And let’s face it, LD would totally wear a tutu. I am exercising self-control on this matter….
I so get what you say. I felt the same when I found out the sex of my second child. Another boy. I cried and cried and it took me the rest of the pregnancy to get over it. In hindsight I wished I hadn’t found out but I was so desperate for a girl that I wanted that joy of imagining her before she arrived.
Of course my boys are adorable, now 3 3/4 and 15 months. I have never given up on my desire for a girl and so was freaked out when my period was late about a week ago but thought maybe this is my chance. My partner has also freaked out at this unexpected pregnancy and does not want another (this would be no. 5 for him) and expects me to get a termination, so not only will I be grieving the girl I will never have, I will be grieving for the girl who may have been, or the boy who may have been. Either way s/he is still in there. I am not looking forward to the next few weeks when I decide what to do. Either way one (or two) of us will be hurt.
Thank you for being here and reading this and for sharing your own story.
I hope your partner changes his mind. And that you get your little girl.
My heart is breaking for you.
what a awesome post! I love that your boy proved you wrong and ultimately you got everything you wished and dreamed for… plus more.
Still hope you get your girl though!
Thank you, Grace!
Yes, I often say my sons are a dream I never had, come true. They are so perfectly meant for B and I.
Like MJ, I’m timidly poking my head in here. Wanted to say, what a great post! You couldn’t be more right, it’s not about not wanting what you have, but wanting/greiving for what you don’t have. HUGE difference that some people just don’t get.
I’m reminded of one of my fav quotes “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck” – Dalai Lama
Hope you get your princess, but know a prince would be just as welcome & loved.
I always like having you around, lovey. I am busy stuffing my pockets with any pink dust that shakes free!
I love that you get where I am coming from. This was hard for me to write because I am frightened that it comes off as a disservice to my sons who are, make no mistake, the very centre of my world.
And the Dalai Lama is right – I never knew what it was to have a son but I have since learnt that the riches are many. I am twice blessed.
And with hindsight, I can see how B needed sons. Funny how I didn’t factor what the father of my children might need into the equation back before my kids were born!
It’s funny, I can’t imagine S with a son lol! He has his gaggle of girls & is like a pig in shit!
Yep, there’s a fine line that some people just don’t understand. I totally get where you’re coming from.
I’ll be sure to shimmy every time I pass your way so as to offload maximum pinkdust!
Yes, lots of shimmying – if you wouldn’t mind. xx
Amazingly honest and raw, and obviously has many Little Mumma readers nodding their heads with your words. Thank you for always keeping it real.
And you know i’m sending you LOTS of pink dust for #3…just in case.
Thank you, my dear friend.
I am, as you know, praying for your situation – in reverse!
Thank you for reading and sharing this crazy journey with me. xxxx
Angie THANK YOU. As you know we have very similar feelings on this issue. Wanting a girl does not mean we don’t love our boys. People don’t get it but I’m so glad you put your story out there. I’ve been struggling with writing mine because it is something that I’ve now realised I’ll be thinking about for the rest of my life even though there will be no more babies for me. You’ve got no idea how much I want your next one to be pink but believe me I truly understand that just because you want pink doesn’t mean you won’t love blue.
My fingers are so crossed right now.
I can absolutely understand your hesitance in writing about this. It has been, hands down, the hardest one for me to share.
The ache for a little girl is almost impossible for me to write about without feeling as though it diminishes what I feel for my sons. I can’t adequately express it in a way I’m comfortable won’t be misinterpreted. So thank you for understanding. That means the world to me.
And if the time comes that I am all done with children and still with no daughter, I am sure I will check in with you again to share where my head is at.
Im so glad you shared your honest feelings about this. It was fascinating to listen to your thought process, and to hear the details behind the reasoning. I truly hope you are blessed with a daughter, and I totally get your need to grieve that if you dont. Im glad TRDC brought me by to visit today!
I’m so glad TRDC brought you by, too!
Thank you for being here. And thank you for understanding my words – words that were so tricky to make sound right on what can be such a sensitive topic.
I hope I am blessed with that baby girl, too. We’ll see…
Thank you so much for expressing yourself so eloquently. This post has helped me understand my husband a little better… because he is the one with ‘non-existent baby girl grief’. I will stop pressuring him to get his vasectomy (after two boys) and let him deal with this in his own time… and I think I’ll go give him a hug <3
You’re a good wife, Amethyst. I hope you did go and give your lovely man a hug.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you so much for this post. This is the first time I have ever heard expressed exactly what I am feeling. I am currently pregnant with bub number 2 – another boy. I only ever wanted a little girl. I grew up doing ballet and am currently a dance teacher, and never ever imagined I would end up with boys. I would never ever wish to change the gender of my first and I hope I feel the same way about the second. I wish this one was a girl so that when we try for a third there would be no pressure, but alas, it is not meant to be I guess. I just really hope that you and I both get our girls. Best of luck to you, and thanks again for the post.