Tuesday, April 25, 2006


When I was pregnant with Maggie, I was sure she was a boy. Or, I should say, I had a feeling she was a girl, but I had always hoped to have a daughter and that my first would be a girl, so after winning the Fertility Jackpot with a healthy pregnancy, I figured there was no way I coud be so lucky as to get this last little thing I wanted.

When the ultrasound tech told us we were having a baby girl, I actually asked her to repeat it. I spent the rest of the day alternating between giddy joy and quiet wonderment. A daughter. A girl. A Maggie.

I still am working through why it was so important to me to have a girl. To relive my own difficult childhood? Because I am one? To break the crappy mother-daughter patterns that are all over both sides of my family? Or just because I think girls are cuter?

Either way, now that she's here I am loving mothering her, but I know I would feel exactly the same giddy love if she'd been a boy. But I am finding myself getting unpleasantly judgemental about some comments I have read in various Internet forums lately. About how "I just wanted to have everything pink and have a girl I could go to the nail salon with and have her be my shopping partner!"

UGH. God I HATE that. For one thing, it's such a narrow and traditional view of femininity. Not all girls like nails and shopping and pink. I LOVE pink, and am a fan of heels and skirts and dresses although I generally wear jeans, and I am looking forward to my annual Mother's Day mani-pedi. But not all females feel that way, and even girls who go through a girlie phase often don't stay there long.

But what squicks me out about this attitude is that it sets up a lot of expectations for a little baby girl, without leaving her any room to be who she is. I wouldn't be thrilled if Maggie ends up an overprocessed bimbo and intend to parent her in such a way as to make that unlikely, but if it happens and she's happy, oh well. I hope wel be grreat pals and like doing things together, but if she's a slightly butchy jock or a girlie girl who I trust my fashion-challenged wardrobe to, that's all okay. I really want her to be who she is, to see that amazing little personality blossom and develop. Even my family has some expectations that she will be athletic because she's tall and because most of her cousins are, and even that bugs me. I don't care if she is my best friend or nothing like me at all (I'll admit I do hope she'll like to read so I have someone to talk to about books in this house). To me, thats the essence of god parenting --you figure out who your kid iss and help them do that as best you can. You don't set a bunch of expectations that can be so easily disappoined and set your beloved child up for a life of feeling they have let you down.

1 comment:

Amy in KC said...

It wasn't until we learned that I was expecting two boys that I realized I had spent my whole life preparing to mother a girl. I can't tell you how many times I said things like "My daughter will not be allowed to wear a skirt that short at that age" or "I'll make sure my daughter knows that any career is possible for her" etc. etc.

And now, two boys later, I am happy to report no disappointment, no regret, not a single second of "if only one of them had been a girl." I can't imagine I ever wanted anything other than these two perfect-in-their-own-way little boys that fill up my heart and my life. I can't bear to think of life without Riley and Jack!

I, also, am trying to temper my enthusiasm for them to love the things I love with one very realistic prayer every night - I want my boys to be happy. If that means playing football and going to baseball games and working on cars, then great. If that means chess club and bookishness and majoring in art history, then great for that, too. Or any combination. Or none of the above. Their happiness is my wish, whatever that means for my little guys!