My Honest Motherhood Journey Through Gender Disappointment: A Letter to Our Daughter
To my darling daughter, Before we knew you would be joining our family, we prayed for you. We imagined you in our hearts, and we pictured you surrounded by your loving brothers. You were a secret treasure that we never knew if we would be blessed with. Today, we found out you would be joining your father, brothers and I. We were shocked, excited, and in disbelief that we deserved such a wonderful blessing from God. He knew what our family needed, and that was you miss Evelyn Rose. I love writing that.
To say your name out loud, and announce that this is my daughter’s name…. It’s just surreal. Thank you Lord for bringing this little light into our lives. I pray that we will have the wisdom to raise you into a kind, compassionate child and a women with integrity. We will try our best little one, that I can promise. We love you. Your father and I can’t wait to meet you. Love,
I can’t believe I wrote that a year ago. I can still remember the day we found out we were having a daughter perfectly. It will probably be a day I will remember until my last. It was full of anxiety and excitement… it was my 20 weeks ultrasound.
It’s OK to not be Ok: The “Perfect” Family Dynamic
The big reveal. Not only in terms of health for mom and baby, but the parents get a glimpse at who they will be bringing home with them in a few months. Their child’s facial features are almost fully developed. A guessing game ensues, and each parent tries to place their child’s features to members of the family. And if your lucky, you’ll see some waving, kicking and in our case, an emulation of Jean Simons. (she couldn’t keep that little tongue in her mouth!)
But for some of us, the anxiety of finding out the gender overshadows the healthy baby on the screen. And let me be honest with you, I’ve been there. It’s not something I’m proud of, or really want to share. But, I’ve come to understand it’s a real thing to want to have your desires and idea of the ideal family dynamic fulfilled.
And what I want to tell you is that it’s ok to have those feelings. It’s ok to want that specific relationship, and it’s ok to mourn that idea if it’s not met in the end.
When we found out our second child was a boy, I cried. Not that I didn’t love boys, or that I wouldn’t love this individual. But for the realization that I was one step closer to never experiencing a family with both sexes. Growing up, neither my husband or I had the opposite sex for siblings, so having this family dynamic with my husband was something I looked forward to experiencing.
And even though I always connected better with the little boys I would babysit, there was still that desire to have a daughter. Even from a young age, I felt that I was destined to be a boy mom, with just the slightest possibility of a daughter in the back of my mind.
When it came time to conceive our third child, I read all the gender swaying techniques and even tried them. Knowing that this was probably my last shot since we would be comfortable as a family of five, I had become consumed with trying to have a daughter. What I mistook in the process, was arrogantly thinking I was in control of the matter. I wasn’t, and God had to teach me a hard lesson to get me to realize that while He knows the desires of my heart, He is in full control.
But, it didn’t get me to stop praying. I felt petty asking for something like this. But, I have seen some amazing things happen through prayer, and I wasn’t about to let my arrogance get in the way again. I prayed the hardest and scariest prayer out there… “his will be done”. So I gave it all to him. I laid it at his feet and stepped away.
The plan was originally to wait until the birth to find out- something I wasn’t comfortable with. The fear of coming to terms with gender disappointment at the birth was scary and unsettling. But it was something my husband really wanted to try out, and I wanted to respect that.
So we went with that plan… up until my husband, out of the blue said, “We should find out at the next ultrasound”.
“What?! Really?! …..Ok, well you have a few weeks to change your mind.”
Well, he didn’t change his mind. So there we were- a dark room, cold gel on my abdomen and sweaty palms.
We Were Having a Daughter
Unlike our first child, we decided to keep this babes reveal low key and open up an envelope over a quiet dinner- just the two of us. Well, that didn’t end up happening either. After nervously watching the screen for any hint to prepare myself for whatever outcome, we hopped in the car… a white envelope lightly touched my lap. I visually documented that moment. It seemed like a big one at the time. The moment that would tell us if we would be complete as a family of five, or perhaps trying to conceive one more time.
We looked at each other, and knew that it was the right time to find out. Kris and I both wish we had this moment on tape. Because what was about to happen, was utterly embarrassing and a full display of uncontrolled human emotion.
I opened the envelope. “GIRL”,(with a smily face to the side). That’s what it said… in all capitols. A wave of ugly crying sobs came out of me- I had no idea I was even capable of that kind of emotion. There was no forced promoting of that reaction, it was just a response to something I did’t realize I wanted THAT bad.
Why me? Why did God choose to bless my family with the gift of having a daughter. I don’t know. Maybe she’s meant to grow up to do something spectacular, or maybe she’s here to teach me a thing or two. This is something I continue to ask myself. Wondering how God could be so good to me through my shaky faith and battle with gender disappointment.
Yes, I ended up getting the desires of my heart, and thats something that I will carry with great thankfulness the reset of my life. But don’t let this detail deter you from this message’s purpose. That sometimes we can’t control the desires of our heart, and that it’s ok to feel disappointment or other negative emotions during the times of uncertainty. You’re entitled to feel those emotions, and I encourage you to work through them.
If part of my motherhood journey was having a son instead of a daughter, I know I would have needed to seek further healing to overcome the battles that were raging inside. And dealing with those negative gender disappointment emotions in a healthy way, and redirecting them in order to fulfill my job as a mother would have been necessary.
I Always Knew
I always knew that children were a gift from God, but now I feel like I have a deeper understanding of that. It’s a gift that no matter how hard I try to give myself it is dependent on our gracious creator. Children are designed with a specific purpose to glorify Him, regardless of their gender.There’s a reason why the bible says, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him” (Psalm 127 3-5). If you’re struggling with gender disappointment, I encourage you to reach out. Find the support you need, whether that’s through deeper discussion through contacting myself or listening to fellow motherhood journeys.
Let’s become united in our motherhood journeys. Rather than holding expectations and unrealistic standards to fellow moms, we should be encouraging, engaging and community driven. Therefore, out of respect for other mothers and the children they have come to bare, hold your tongue the next time you want to comment on all the boys/ girls in a family. When others comment, “Oh, I bet you wish you were having a daughter /son” , or “I guess you will have to try again” it can be incredibly hurtful to women experiencing gender disappointment. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that, and how my heart would sink a little more each time. All our children are special… each and every one. Our job is to mother and nurture- so let’s do that together.
Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor his loving-kindness from me! (Psalm 66:20)
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there” (1 Samuel 1 27-28).