Wow, those words are complicated to write. I've been debating this post for some time now, and still remain uncertain about its eventual inclusion into the baby book that this blog annually turns into, but I had a few things to say about "gender disappointment" and a few things to clarify as well, so here goes.
It's no secret I wanted another girl. Partially, this is due to how super-duper amazingly awesome Ava is, and how much I cherish the bond we have together. Everyone has always said how girls are destined to be "daddy's girls", but Ava has always been my mommy's girl. She is possessive of me around my husband, and it is me she wants when hurt or tired or needing comfort. She's become more of a daddy's girl as my husband has trekked off to full-time work and then grad school at night, since he's more of a novelty than mommy, but even still, she remains my mommy's girl overall.
I have dreamt my entire life of having a daughter. And my feelings - which have taken nearly a month to process - might be different if I didn't already have one. But between having a little girl, having three sisters, watching five little girls - two of whom I've been with for five years - and, obviously, being a girl myself, I knew what I was getting into parenting Ava. I nearly never felt fear at becoming a parent when I was pregnant with Ava. I could relate to her, knew what she would go through and when, knew how to talk to her about puberty and boys and sex and all that would eventually cross our paths. But a boy? That scares me.
Part of it has to do with my experiences with boys as a nanny. Then again, I recognize that the dynamic is so very different - to a boy, mommy is queen, and other women - at least at the young age I step into their lives - cannot compete. Now, I don't want to compete with mama - I recognize the sanctity of that relationship. But if mommy knows best and is never wrong and can't be faulted, then it leaves the nanny in a precarious position where she's always wrong and at fault and needn't be listened to, and it's made for some really precarious nannying situations with little boys.
I know I shouldn't judge what parenting a boy will be like based on that. I know that as his mother, I'll be far higher up on the totem pole. But still, boys (at least in my experience) are noisy. They're dirty. The ones I have watched have lacked the empathy that little girls naturally have to be kind and sensitive to strangers and animals and those in need of protection. I know these are terribly offensive stereotypes, and I'm trying desperately to break myself of them, but I only know what I've experienced, and so, ultimately, I feel a bit scared this pregnancy in a way I wasn't with Ava.
(*Homophobes and Conservatives - of which none likely read my little piece of the internet - this would be a good time to tune out. I'm not interested in your hate mail.*)
Part of me now dreams that maybe I'm carrying my future gay son. Future son, if you're straight, we love you anyway :) If you do turn out to be gay, I promise to throw you one hell of a coming out party. Mainly, that I can relate to. Those are the men I know and love. I'm so terrified that I'll screw up and won't be a good "boy" mom.
But then, the other part of me remembers how much I love and adore the man I married. I know plenty of girls who are into bad boys, and that's all fine and dandy when you're young and unconcerned with the future, but for me? Sweet, considerate, sensitive and empathetic (not to mention devilishly handsome, hilarious and an all-American boy) were what I ultimately chose, and to have that as a role model for our son, to have my daughter - who has turned into a generous, compassionate and joyful individual - leading the way, and to have some of the best grandfathers and the best great-grandfather a boy could ask for? Well, that makes the fear subside. If my son turns out to be half the man my husband is, I would be nothing short of delighted. Gay, straight, athletic, academic, shy, outgoing: we LOVE you already, and can't wait to see what you have to offer this world. We have so, so much to offer you.