Warning: shameful behaviour ahead.
Let me share a story about myself. It’s a story that I’m a little ashamed of, but I’ll tell you anyway because that’s how I roll. Flashback to my second pregnancy, about 6 months in. I am waddling to my obstetrician appointment with my husband (and I do mean waddling since no carbohydrate passed me by in the run-up). I am excited because we are about to find out the sex of our baby. We are already lucky enough to have one beautiful, healthy son, aged 3 at the time. So I am certain that the child I am cooking is a girl. I mean certain. I was excited to get confirmation that my daughter would arrive in about 3 months time.
I’m having a whatnow?
Anyway, cut to me lying on the table as my nice doctor waves the wand over my belly, and says “Oh look, there it is, I can see his testicle.” Me: “Her testi-whatnow?!” Him, smiling, “Yes, there it is, definitely, you guys are having another boy! Congratulations!” I immediately welled up.
The ugly cry in the parked car.
But that was nothing compared to what happened on the drive back to my work. My husband had to pull over the car so I could go into full ugly cry mode. I was 37 years old, I knew we wouldn’t have the time or the money to have another child. That was the moment it hit me: you will never have a daughter. I would never pass on to a beloved child what it’s like to be a girl, what it’s like to be a woman.
In addition: no girl movies, no girl games, no hair braiding. No discussions about boys and female friendships and feminism with a daughter. Never would I be mother of the bride, mother to the pregnant daughter, then grandmother to the mother’s children. I was devastated. Now I know in my pregnant state I was assuming my boys would both be cis-gender and into typical boy stuff, but again, I was hormonal and pregnant. Also, that is what ended up happening, so my assumption was correct. I walked back into my work and called my (eminently sensible) Mother to tell her the news, thinking she would understand and offer words of comfort.
She, as we say in Australia, went off like a box of frogs. It went something like “What do you mean you’re upset? I can’t believe what I’m hearing?! You’ve got a perfectly healthy baby in there and you’re going to have two beautiful boys; some women would kill to be where you are! You’re being awful! You stop this nonsense RIGHT NOW!” Yeahhhhhhh…she was right. Furthermore, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I was very in my (pregnant, hormonal) feelings and instead of being grateful and appreciating my good fortune I was focusing on what I didn’t have.
Let it go…let it go…
One thing you learn as you get older is to let things go. I was actually physically incapable of letting anything go when I was younger. But (thank the gods) with age comes the capacity to chill the fuck out…something can feel sad, or hard right now, but with enough time, I now know that passes.
Wouldn’t swap them for a daughter for the world.
Subsequently, we went on to have a beautiful, cheeky, clever second son and I wouldn’t swap him for the world. I love the relationship my boys have with each other, they’re best buddies. My youngest hero-worships his lovely, gentle older brother. They are always tearing around the house laughing and fighting and basically jumping on my head and jumping off every possible surface they can find and eating the entire fridge and cupboard and banging things and breaking shit. They are so loving and so exasperating and you know what? I can’t compare having them to having a girl and you don’t miss what you’ve never had. In conclusion, they’re utterly brilliant, I’m lucky to have them and I wouldn’t change a thing.