Saturday, April 26, 2008

Girls and Boys

When I was pregnant with Beckett, I stumbled upon a message board/support group for women who were disappointed in the gender of their child/children. I generally thought their reasons were vapid and selfish and I rather casually judged them. Some of them were extremely angry that they had had a child of a sex other than the one they desired. Most had tried more than twice for a specific gender, usually female. However, there were a few posters who were really pissed off and disappointed to have even one son.

At the time, I didn't get it. At all. And I still don't get the anger or bitterness that a lot of the women expressed.

But now that the reality has completely set in that I am never going to have a daughter, I understand some of the sadness and disappointment. That said, I do not blame my sons or my husband or anyone else and I absolutely adore my sons. They are amazing and loving in ways that a girl never could be. Boys are just special in that way.

Still... there are things, experiences, knowledge, history that I could only share with a daughter. My daughter. Not a daughter-in-law. Not a niece. Not a friend's daughter.

And lately, it feels like the Universe is rubbing it in. And I just need to get it out.

I know that I've talked about this before, specifically about all the beautiful names I'll never use... Catherine/Cate/Cat, Tess, Anna Claire, Sloan(e), Emerson, Annalise, Elizabeth, Kyra.

Lately, I've been focused on the heart of the issue and that's how it has been presenting itself to me, too.

Everywhere I look friends and family are having daughters. Every movie or tv show I watch seems to have mothers and daughters having lovely encounters. Last weekend I watched a ton of movies while Scott's mom had the boys. One of them was an awful thing with Diane Keaton, Lauren Graham, Mandy Moore, and another woman. The three young women were Diane Keaton's daughters. The movie opened with the three of them at a spa, sharing and joking with one another. Of course, the mother was a real bitch, but with good intentions, I guess. However, that opening scene broke my heart.

I'm never going to have that. Not with my mom. Not with my daughter. And it sucks.

And that's just one thing on the lengthy list of experiences you can share with a daughter that you'll never get with a son. Now, that said, I know there's a ton of fun stuff I'll do with my sons. But I know that it's rare for a mother and son to have the same kind of emotionally intimacy that mothers and daughters can have. I've seen it. My best friend and her mom are exceedingly close. And while her brother and her mom love each other deeply, I don't think they connect in the same way.

And while Scott and his mom were very close at one time, they no longer share the same sort of relationship they once did when he told her everything that was going on in his life and she talked to him about who she was dating or asked for his opinion on things going on in her life. That more or less ended when we got married, although I'd be happy for him to talk to his mom more often. It's just that he doesn't need her in the same ways he once did. And that's normal.

But I think girls always need their moms in a way sons never will. And that's what breaks my heart.

And like I said.... That old fucking Universe just keeps rubbing it in. That stupid movie. Two friends/relatives having daughters in the last week. My favorite cousin's daughter going to her first prom. I know her mom helped pick her had her style all over it and her daughter is beautiful – the spitting image of her mom at that age.

Then there was the well-meaning friend I haven't seen since college who told me that she couldn't wait to meet my sons and that God really knew what he was doing when he gave you sons!"

I know Josie meant that as a compliment...I'm a guy's girl, love sports, not too prissy. Still, what I heard was, You are not good enough to raise a daughter and you'd only fuck her up the way your mom screwed you up.

Even as I type this, I hear how whiny and pathetic I sound. I know I should just shut the fuck up and be happy with what I've got. And I am happy with my sons. I wouldn't trade them in a million years. They're both so cute and handsome and funny. Each so full of their own unique personalities.

I can't help feeling like I got invited to the birthday party and all the other kids got cake AND ice cream, but all I got was a double helping of cake. And it's cake that moves around too much and is loud and won't sit still and stay on my plate.

But ya know what? At least I got invited to the party. I know that to anyone who wants kids and doesn't have them yet, I sound like a horribly selfish bitch.

And I'm sorry.

It's stupid, I know. But, it's what I'm feeling right now – a need to live out the mother/daughter relationship I've never had but see all around me. The sadness I feel that despite the fact that I went to a women's college and loved every single minute of it I don't have a legacy child to follow in my footsteps.

I'm just trying to shake it. Move on. Embrace the sports-themed bathroom the boys now share and forget about the rose and cream toile of my dreams.


Jen aka Evilynmo said...

Thats rough. Really rough. Why not try for one more in a few years? You're still young. But that isn't what you want to hear. You want to be heard. I'm sorry, I never realized how lucky I am to have a daughter. I didn't even think of the things you said.

Jen said...

I don't think you should feel guilty for being disappointed and little bit sad about having only sons. After all, it's not that you don't love your sons or regret having them, it's just that you'd like to have a daughter TOO. I'm one of two girls, and my dad had always yearned for a boy. He didn't love us any less, he just wishes he could've experienced raising a boy. I'm hoping that one of us will give him a grandson. I know it's not the same, but maybe one day you'll find yourself being grandma to a wonderful girl...

Aleta said...

I don't think you sound selfish. I think your post was honest and not bitter or angry (such as the ladies that you wrote about in the beginning of the post). I can understand you missing out on the experiences with a daughter. I sometimes wonder how life has cheated me with not being able to have children... The same year that I had a miscarriage, my closest friend had a baby girl. Recently she found out that both her daughter and son have issues - ranging from austism to add/adhd and says that she doesn't have "normal" children. So that's how her life was cheated.. Sometimes it's hard to be happy with what you are given, especially when life slaps you in the face with what you don't have.

Christopher Pelham said...

Your odds of having a girl increase with each child...and of course you could adopt. or be your own daughter.

Tana said...

I don't think you sound selfish. I have one marvelous little boy who I wouldn't trade for anything, but I'm already praying baby #2 (sometime in the future) will be a girl. Actually, I've been praying that ever since the ultrasound showed a little boy, even though I was excited about my boy. :) I think your feelings are quite reasonable, and it's good to know that you aren't bitter or angry. It's ok to be disappointed.

Leila said...

I completely understand your feelings about this (and I think they are somewhat universal.. that's why there are so many expensive gender selection "therapies" and programs out there). and when you are hoping for something and find that you aren't going to get it, it's a loss, and you have to mourn for it (similar to wanting a child and being infertile, or wanting two children but your partner wants to stop at one, etc.) at the same time I did want to share that it may be helpful to be ultra-aware of the role your own issues have in your feelings (which I think you already are as you talk about your relationship to your mom) so that you can deal with those feelings too. you and I both lost our own mothers and I think that sets a different tone for parenting and the ongoing relationships we hope to have with our children. there's a lot to process in that loss. also, I realized recently that my desire to have a second daughter (which we are having) is probably in large part related to not wanting to let go of Juniper's babyhood, which went so quickly, and thinking I can repeat/draw out the experience because I really want to have another (third) baby and I don't think Gavin's going to go for that. so in my case I think an issue that needs to be explored is this conflict between the two of us (which may be more significant that whether this pregnancy is a boy or a girl). I hope I don't miscommunicate--I'm not trying to discount the profound feelings you are having--just to suggest that there may be another layer to them (which I think you already know, so this may not be super helpful). also as far as generalizations go, I have heard that boys can be a lot sweeter and more affectionate to their mothers, at least during their younger years. my brother was VERY close to my mom for a really long time, much closer than I was until I got older. of course generalizations are only that--take Carter, my stepson, who is affectionate to NO ONE, not his dad, not me, not his birth mom (before she was removed from the family) or other relatives. so you never know, and of course gender is not enough to tell us what kind of relationship a child will have with his/her parents. finally, I just wanted to reaffirm that your feelings are real, significant, and deserve attention--it might take a long time to deal with them and you may never get over a feeling of loss in this area in the same way that we may never get over losing a loved one or parent.