I was talking with a dear friend who just found out she is pregnant with her first baby. While she has initiated conversations about child raising in the past, the conversations have just gotten more desperate and specific. The impending arrival of her bundle has brought a lot of insecurities to the surface. What I heard in her concerns has been reflected in conversations I’ve had with many others over the years. There seems to be a pattern of expectations on how the new mom will feel – how the new mom will function. I thought that I’d do a little series on exposing expectations that we have as parents that aren’t talked about much in the mom circles. The things that a “perfect” mom wouldn’t feel (or admit to feeling).
The first one: I’ll be happy with whatever gender my baby has, as long as its healthy.
Beautiful, loving, and gentle sentiment. To some it may actually be true; however, my guess is that more often than not, we have strong opinions/wishes/hopes of what the make-up of our family will look like. We certainly wish/hope for healthy children. And if we’re honest, most of us have hopes about how many we’ll have and what gender they will be. We need to permission ourselves to have hopes, be disappointed as often as not, and to be honest about it.
So here’s my raw confession: I really wanted the opposite gender. I mean, really wanted. As in, I cried when I heard that I was having a girl. Sobbed. I always thought having a son first would set the stage for the perfect family. My husband would be the world’s best dad to a son, and this perfect boy would step into the natural responsibility of being a great, protective, and comforting big brother. And then we had our little girl. Of course, I loved desperately and deeply my daughter when she arrived. She was an ornament in our lives, and the exact personality and gender that we needed to begin our parenting journey.
Did I learn my lesson? Of course not!
When I found out that I was pregnant again, I once more had strong opinions about what gender should be next. This time, I had imagined that having 3 girls would be the perfect family composition. I was sure of it. Convinced of it. I had allowed my imagination to see myself floating through flowery fields with my 3 lovely girls, their golden hair flowing in the wind. I would dress them alike, teach them the wonderful ways of femininity, and watch them share deep secrets amongst each other.
But a sonogram revealed a little boy’s anatomy which quickly burst my bubble, and had me bursting into tears yet again.
Repeat the scenario 2 years later when I found out that I was pregnant with my second boy. Seriously, I cried immediately outside of the Dr.’s office after seeing a boy on the sonogram. Not the pretty, serene crying that sophisticated people call “weeping”. I grieved. Ugly crying.
With each birth of these amazing babies, I was instantly smitten. I was able to step back and bask in God’s wisdom for my family, snuggling with my three amazing children. His ability to manage my life was and is indisputable. They are irreplaceable and forever have my heart.
(When my 4th baby’s gender was identified, I didn’t cry. That, however, wasn’t because I’d matured and had learned to control my expectations, but because I actually desired the gender that I was getting! My eldest daughter had prayed for a baby sister, and when I turned up pregnant, I knew that we HAD to have a girl for her desires to be fulfilled. When the Dr. told us that we were actually having a girl, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I’d not once gone into a gender-revealing sonogram appointment and left with my expectations fulfilled!)
I’ll have to let someone else speak who has adopted children, but I’m sure there is an aspect of this to which you can identify. I’ve seen and heard enough to know that not all things go as planned in the adoption process!
I felt like it was important to get out on the blogging world that it is normal to have hopes and wishes of what our family will look like. It doesn’t disqualify us from being parents, nor does it diminish our ability to nurture and love these little offspring. If you are a natural planner who likes things in order, there are a lot of things in your parenting journey that you will have opinions about, but that won’t be in your control. We all have to learn that it is completely OK to have opinions, and it is also healthy to relax in His wisdom for the things we can’t control.