As the mother of a son, I do not accept that alienation from me is necessary for his discovery of himself. As a woman, I will not cooperate in demeaning womanly things so that he can be proud to be a man. I like to think the women in my son’s future are counting on me. – Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Disclaimer: I’m only writing this because the #1 question people asked me after I found out my baby’s sex was “How do you feel about it?” I think it’s a societal expectation to want/need a boy and a girl and also taboo to discuss anything regarding feelings of disappointment, but I’ve had some time to process and decided to write this out for other moms who may have similar feelings as well as for myself.
I’ll be honest. There was little part of me that was heartbroken when we found out we were going to have another boy. I’m ecstatic for this baby, but, as a woman, it almost felt like there would be a void in me that may never be filled. I can forego the cliché “girly” stuff; but there was this void that I needed some time to process.
Let me explain.
In high school, I wanted to be a leader. In retrospect, I wasn’t a great one and knew little of what it meant to be a great leader, but I jumped for it and became class president. I went through a lot of personal trials, but I learned a lot about myself. It was humbling at most.
In college, I joined a sorority then started a chapter of it at another school because I was so passionate about it. I was president for multiple years and mentored fellow women through their personal and sisterhood trials. I learned so much about leadership and speaking to women to help them grow personally and professionally during those years.
In my professional career, I was once a manager to over 20 people. I remember some employees who had been working there for decades saying I was the only manager they had who truly cared about the team and who was transparently fair. I have so many stories of women asking to meet me in private to talk about personal trials and how to balance their lives – women around 10 years my senior.
I felt like I had so much coaching and mentoring under my belt that having a girl was just destiny. I felt like I had the tools to help her be a confident contributor to the world, likely moreso than I could.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m so ecstatic and grateful to be able to hold another boy. The hopes of my boys growing up together and being good friends while Tristan and I grow old warms my soul. We have a lot to learn to make sure our boys grow up to be admirable men, but it’s a new learning experience.
It was just one that I didn’t feel like my life prepared me for.
I could definitely forego all of the girl clothes, the fancy accessories, and the sassy attitudes, but what I’ll yearn for the most is helping her get through challenges only a female would go through as an adult. I feel like I’ve been through so many different and empowering experiences as a woman that I kind of crumble feeling like I have no one to pass down the wisdom to.
In that way, I felt sad. A void.
That was me — initially. As I processed my emotions, I realized though that perhaps this is going to be my greatest experience as a woman who has gone through all of these unique experiences. Perhaps this is my way to use these tools to help nurture strong feminist men. It somehow has evolved into my opportunity to bring up men who will hopefully refuse to see women only fully capable of being housewives, but to see the potential for all women to be educated and level-headed leaders too (if they so choose :).
Perhaps life has simply prepared me for something I didn’t realize it was preparing me for, and it’s something greater than I knew myself. The real destiny, if you will.
I share this because I’ve heard many times that disappointment upon finding a baby’s sex is real, but there is a bigger picture to this and, quite frankly, I didn’t even expect myself to feel it. Don’t zone in on the little moments. Zone in on the big ones – the ones that you can place an impact on. It’s okay to feel, to stop, to process, and to resolve. We all serve a purpose here, and we just need to find out what it is.
Looking back, I know that I used to tell myself that somewhere down the line that if I never had kids or when my kids were grown and independent, I would love to find an organization where I could mentor young women. It’s something I completely forgot about until now. After processing my feelings of why I would’ve loved to have a girl, I realized there are other ways to mentor young women beyond giving birth to one. With many things in life, once you find your why, you’ll understand why you’re being dealt the cards you’re being dealt. It also helps lead to resolution.
I’ll be honest though. I just hope one day these boys find good women to call their wives. You know, ones that will want to have me included in their lives because men have a bigger reputation of leaving home completely than girls do. If you didn’t notice, I think very far in advance. 🙂
I’m overjoyed, friends. I’m a mom of boys.