Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Great Expectations

Expectant moms are afraid to say that they hope they're having a boy or girl.
I know it.
I know, because I'm afraid to say it.
I'm afraid that if I say it out loud, then it won't happen.
I'm afraid that if it doesn't happen, I'll be disappointed.
If I'm disappointed by the gender of my child, then I'm pretty much a terrible mom, aren't I?

So you can't say it out loud.

With my first pregnancy, I thought I was having twins. I did. I dreamed about twins constantly. I saw how much bigger I was than my other pregnant friends, and I knew. I just knew it. 
But I was afraid to say it out loud.
So, I said it secretly.
People asked when we'd have a baby, and I said, "In 6 months we'll have at least one."
We'd listen to the baby's heartbeat, and I'd ask the midwife to move the doppler around a little, just in case we could pick up another sound in there.
And she'd roll her eyes and say, "I'm sure you're not pregnant with twins."
But I was not reassured.

I used to have dreams about taking twins to the park. I was pushing a double stroller or they were toddling down the street ahead of me. They had chubby little legs and blond curly hair, like old illustrated Gerber babies or the babies in old Golden Books.
The sun was so bright, that everything was almost too white to see. The twins, (usually a boy and a girl), would run away from my across the grass, laughing while birds sung.
I would wake up, and lie in bed - trying to decide if these dreams were being caused by my subconscious trying to alert me to twins or by the 6 bowls of Apple Jacks I ate at one in the morning.
They were extremely nice, non-accurate dreams.

My twins do not look like I imagined. And they are both boys. Usually I can't hear the birds singing at the park, over the screaming (both excited and angry).
But it doesn't matter.
Because there were two big, important things about those dreams that were real:
1. I was going to have twins.
2. It would be dreamy and awesome.

Once again, I have conflicting feelings.
My first pregnancy, I struggled with feeling of unlikeliness. I wasn't going to have twins, because seriously, who even has twins?
No one. It was highly unlikely. I wasn't really pregnant with twins, I told myself, I'm just a paranoid new mom with a suspicion that my pregnancy was bigger and better than everyone else's.

And now, I have new feelings. This pregnancy feels exactly like my other pregnancy, so it's probably a boy- right? And if it were a boy, that would be awesome. It really, really would. Besides already having tons of boy clothes, and boy-raising experience - I'm all about brothers.
I could probably be happy as one of those moms with all boys. The new baby would have big brothers to show him the ropes, to teach him cool things that Mom doesn't want him to learn, to help him and take care of him. To love him and to tease him. Brothers are the best.

But then, whenever I talk about the baby, I find myself saying "she."
I can feel her moving. I wonder what she looks like.
I picture the nursery or the quilt I'm going to make, and my friends- it is pink, yellow, and flowery.
Even Micah only refers to the baby as, "Baby Sister." Seems like he knows something, doesn't it?

And I can't decide. Do I think this baby is a girl because I want a girl? I want a girl because I already have two boys. I want them to have a sister to take care of. To tease and harass, to protect and be gentle with. I want to buy her little patterned knit-tights, and read her books that aren't about trains and pirates.

Or do I want a boy because I'm kind of scared of having a girl? I am. I am afraid of dolls and ballet shoes. I am uncomfortable with flowery aprons and fairy gardens.
I am much more at home with sticks and dirt, and learning to punch imaginary monsters.

And I know, okay? Girls like dirt and punching monsters, too. Boys like dolls and dancing. Yeah, yeah. I know. That doesn't make me feel less nervous.
Because I already know, I can do okay with boys. I know no such thing about girls.

All these conflicting feelings have me feeling quite conflicted.
Do I really think this is a boy? Am I pretending that I think it's a boy so that I won't be disappointed if it is?
Or do I think this is a girl? Am I afraid to think this baby is a girl, in case it isn't?

I mean. Seriously, lady. Calm down. Go get your sons some peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
I know.

What will be, will be. 

And I know that I will not be disappointed with either gender. I really won't. A boy or a girl would be such a treat, a blessing, an adventure, and a delight.
But I can't stop wondering, wishing, hoping, and thinking.
December 2nd we find out.
It can't get here fast enough.

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Brittany H said...

It doesn't make you a bad mom, it makes you real. I REALLY wanted this baby to be a boy, so Milo would have a brother, and then we found out it was a boy. Then after we found out, there was a little part of me that was sad it wasn't a girl. I still feel that way a little bit, but I'm also really excited for a boy. Conflicting.

Nana B said...

Okay, here's the deal, boys are great, this is coming from the mother of 5 of them. The only time I really hoped my baby was going to be a girl was with #3. After that I decided I wouldn't know what to do with a girl. She would have been a very spoiled tomboy in a pretty pink dress. And then watching my sister with her girls, whinny, pouty, holding grudges, I really liked my boys, if they had a disagreement, it might be a fight but it was over and done with quickly and then they were friends again. And dirty muddy boys always clean up so nice, and bring Mom dandelion bouquets, or flowers from the garden. And so far, looking at your blooming little baby bump, my guess is boy. So I will be anxiously awaiting the Dec. 2 viewing. Love you!

Aimee @ Like Mother Like Daughter said...

I have always wanted a boy as my first child. But I just feel like I know this baby is a girl. We don't find out till a few weeks after you, so I'm jealous of you! But time will tell :)

faeriequeene said...

I struggled with gender disappointment when I was pregnant with my son. I wanted my daughter to have a sister - to play tea parties and go to dance class with, and while it took me a few weeks to truly accept that I was having a son I wouldn't trade the world for him now. He and his sister are nearly inseparable and I wouldn't change the sweet bond they have.

Gender disappointment is so often a taboo subject that it gets shoved into dark corners that very few people pay attention to, and even then, barely acknowledge it. Don't worry about feeling some gender disappointment - it's completely normal and mostly the work of hormones. Hugs to you during your wait for finding out the gender; enjoy those little girl and little boy dreams until then.

Casey said...

AHHH!! So soon!!!! YAY!!!!

Molly S said...

You're so real. I love it. We didn't find out the gender of either of our boys. The second time around, I really wanted a girl. I wanted my pair. "We" only wanted two. One of each would be perfect. I think had I found out, I would have struggled with gender disappointment, but when I laid eyes on my new son, it just seemed so perfect. OF COURSE he was a boy! Now that my second is seven months old, just this week I've been longing for a little girl. I'm not sad I have two boys, just a feeling of "missing" the little girl I don't have? Either way, I'm trying to work up the nerves to bring it up to my husband. I just don't feel like the family is complete yet - regardless of gender.

Mhopp said...

I have two boys- a 4 year old and 3 year old (they are 16 mo apart) and last February we got our baby girl!! She is now 9 months old and the star of our family. The boys love her and constantly fight for her attention, want to cuddle her. I'm soo soo happy and feel so complete now that we have a girl. I wanted a girl SOOOO bad, but was afraid to admit it. Very happy we got her. I guess I just wanted to let you know that I'm hoping you get a girl too and that if you do- it is absolutely the best!