Coping with Gender Disappointment
Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails. That’s what little boys are made of.
While that saying basically holds no truth, (and what is a snip anyway?), I can assure you that I’ve got this whole boy mom thing down to a letter. For the past five years I have been a stay-at-home-mother to a pair of identical twin boys that are about as boyish as boys can be. From playing in dirt, to pinching and yelling, and stepping in various puddles of pee on the bathroom floor, raising boys has been no easy chore. So when my husband and I decided to try for a sweet little girl, we both were pretty speechless when we saw that tell-tale sign between the legs of what looked to be our third baby boy on the ultrasound monitor.
An entire slew of thoughts popped into my head as the ultrasound tech continued with my anatomy skan at 18 weeks. A part of me wanted to cry right then and there, but the classy mom in me decided it wasn’t the right time to cause a blubbering, cry baby scene. In my head, I hoped that there would be some small chance that the ultrasound tech was wrong. Maybe it was too early to tell? But, who was I kidding? A penis is a penis.
For the next few weeks I went through what many would call gender disappointment as I began to cope with the loss of the girl I would never have. I was reminded of my “loss” everywhere I went. From shopping for baby clothes to talking with friends and even strangers.
“Oh, you’re not really done are you? You must try again!”
“At least you have children.”
“You don’t seem like a girl mom, anyway.”
These words really hit me where it hurt as I realized I would never have that mother-daughter bond that I had with my own mother growing up. I would never be able to experience braiding my daughter’s hair before school, or helping her through her first period. There would be no advice to give about boys or a shoulder to cry on when he breaks her heart for the first time. From here on out, I was only ever going to be a boy mom and I wasn’t sure if I would ever be okay with that.
It wasn’t until I talked with a good friend of mine, who reminded me that she doesn’t have a relationship with her mother at all, that I snapped out of this daughter-less fog I was going through. I started to realize that not every mother-daughter bond consists of shopping, tea parties, and dress-up.
While I may have a good relationship with my own mother, that might not be the case if I had a daughter of my own. The two of us could end up being completely opposite of one another as she grows up closer to her father instead. For all I know, she could be a tomboy like I was and despise all those pretty, frilly dresses that I adore so much. Perhaps she would rather play in the dirt with her bigger brothers instead of twirling around in a tutu.
There were so many what-ifs and uncertainties that it no longer mattered if I ever had a girl. After all, I’m still the queen of my castle and I absolutely adore the boys I have. I can only hope that I raise my boys to respect women and to be decent human beings so that one day they will raise a family of their own. Because then I am almost guaranteed to have a daughter (in law) and possibly even some grand daughters to spoil and love. But, for now I am just going to enjoy being a mother to my little ones.