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I Didn't Know I Wanted a Girl Until I Had One

Photograph by Twenty20

My husband and I are those crazy people who don't find out the gender until the delivery. Besides loving a good surprise, nothing compares to the feeling when you're about to meet your sweet bundle of joy you've waited nine long months for and your partner announces whether you're the new proud parents to a daughter or son. While riding a supreme emotional high, the doctor lays them upon your body and you see them for the first time.

The feeling is indescribable.

My first two were boys and I couldn't be happier. Growing up in a house full of girls, I prayed for boys. I was never a girly girl and am definitely not a fan of pink and bows. In fact, while pregnant this time around, I found nothing more annoying and irritating than people’s comments regarding the gender of my unborn child.

Knowing I already had two boys, strangers would love to tell me how they hoped I have a girl or assume I wanted the baby to be a girl. The best conversations were related to the idea I was intentionally trying for a girl. Besides sounding completely stupid and ignorant, I can't imagine the entire basis for someone getting pregnant is to birth a specific gender. No need to consider finances or any other responsible factors included with child-rearing, let’s just keep on popping out children until we get that boy or girl.

Like I said, stupid.

I was happy to be a mom of boys and if this child was another, I would be just as excited. Dinosaurs, cars and trucks are my jam! Bring on the mud, getting dirty and laughing at fart noises. No extra time is spent on primping or doing hair—true for both my kids and myself.

There is such a comfort and familiarity that comes along with raising boys, I can’t lie and say there wouldn’t be an ease of adding another. On top of it all, what would I do with a girl?

Then it happened. After my last push, my husband announced we were now the parents of a daughter and she was placed on my chest.

I was immediately filled with this intense feeling of happiness. Of course, the majority of this can be attributed to the miracle of childbirth and welcoming our new baby, but there was more to it. I was so prepared to hear "It's a boy!" and always be the mom of boys, I didn't even allow myself to consider the idea she would be a girl. Maybe this was a self-defense tactic put into place in hopes of abating any feelings of disappointment?

Although I’ve always been quick to wave a middle finger to gender stereotypes, there were some traits generally associated with girls that I might hope to hold true.

I couldn’t believe how captivated and enamored I was with her. My husband was equally excited, but also shocked. He, too, was convinced we were breeders of boys and this baby would follow suit to its predecessors. He shared my feelings of the unfamiliar territory a baby girl would bring, asking, “When do they get their ears pierced?” and telling me how she’ll never be able to wear makeup. It was unbelievably adorable to see this protective instinct kick in and to hear these worries he already had when she was only a few hours old.

I can’t fully place why I had additional excitement about welcoming a girl. Maybe it’s because she’ll help to balance out the testosterone levels living under our roof. Maybe it’s the idea of two older brothers helping to protect their younger sister that I can’t help but to find adorable. Maybe it’s the special relationship she’ll have with my husband. Maybe it’s all of these and more.

Although I’ve always been quick to wave a middle finger to gender stereotypes, there were some traits generally associated with girls that I might hope to hold true. Would she grow up and stay close to home, family and her mom when the boys tend to gravitate toward their spouse and her side of the family?

I somewhat hope she will have a nurturing quality, maintaining a mild-mannered disposition with some gentle, calm and compliant personality traits thrown in. This would be a welcome change considering my boys are wild, restless, overactive, loud and rowdy with a never-ending amount of energy. This part may just be wishful thinking.

Even though I often see girls holding true to some of these typical temperaments, every time I mention them to a parent of a girl, they laugh in my face. Their stories closely resemble difficulties and challenges I have with my boys. So, with my luck, this little lady will be the ringleader of them all with a strong-willed, independent, stubborn personality—just like her mom. In any sense, I'll celebrate her individuality and embrace her uniqueness in all her glory.

I'm looking forward to what's in store for my daughter and everything we'll experience together from struggling to French braid her hair to watching my husband walk her down the aisle, and everything in between.

I can't wait.

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