Thursday, January 16, 2014

The {Unexpected} Moment That Gender Mattered


To find out, or not to find out?

That is the question of the moment.

A question that may or may not be answered tomorrow at our first sonogram. My vote is no, let's wait and let it be a surprise! Steve's vote is, let's go for it!  We're still in debate....

Whenever the question of gender comes up during any of my pregnancies, I've always responded with the conviction that Steve and I are just so thrilled to be having another baby that we happily accept the gender, the health, the entire life of the baby, in whatever way he or she comes to us. We believe that every child is a gift, just as they are, meant to be in the world, meant to be in our family, meant to be loved by us all.

I will always believe that, whole-heartedly.

But, I would be pretending if I didn't admit that there's a great part of me that wonders what it would be like to hold a baby girl in my arms.  To hear her sweet voice, and see her twirl around the room to her favorite songs, to watch a house full of boys, rough and tumble, be softened by the freshness of her feminine qualities, a mysterious wonder to a home completely dominated by testosterone.

Three years ago, at our 20 week sonogram of Charlie, Steve and I were both grinning from ear to ear, ready to see the first glimpses of our precious one.  We had agreed to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl, and waited patiently for the black and white image on the screen to declare the news.  But, I wasn't prepared for the feelings that would flood through me when the tech announced that we were going to have a boy.  I had heard those very words four times previously, and never once felt anything less than thrilled. But, this time was different....and I wasn't expecting it.  Tears came rising up, and I tried with all my might to regain some composure, hoping my emotions might go unnoticed.  Part of me was grateful, deeply grateful, that everything in the picture told us that our baby was growing healthy and strong, but this other part of me, the part that came out of nowhere, felt something of sadness and loneliness, and I couldn't understand why.

For the rest of the day, I went about our normal routine, cooking and cleaning and schooling away the lingering ache in my heart. Then, that night, while lying in bed, I rolled over toward Steve and finally felt free to let the tears flow.  Instinctively, he knew what was coming...

"Why do I feel this way? I feel so much shame right now. How can I love this baby with all my might, and yet, at the same time, feel sad that he is not a girl? That's not fair to him. He deserves all of my love and excitement and anticipation, just as the others have received it. I wasn't expecting this....this feeling of disappointment, nor the terrible feelings of guilt for feeling disappointed."

It's okay if you're throwing things at the computer right now, calling me selfish and ungrateful. Trust me, that's how I felt about myself at the time.  But, when I think back to that experience, I really wish I wouldn't have been so hard on myself.  I wasn't willfully choosing to feel disappointment, it was something I needed to work through, and in the following weeks, I found a peace within all of it.

As much as I love being completely engrossed in the lives of our boys, their wild hearts, their passion for sports and hunting, their need to be rough and loud and feisty and dirty and messy, in my feminine nature there are limits to what I can understand, enjoy and share in common with boys. It is natural then, for one to long for someone with whom they can connect, someone who shares a similar nature, and to enjoy the fellowship, the communion, the "likeness" of being with one who's nature is familiar to them.

I'll admit, there are times when I do feel a little lonely in this house.  The boys plan hunting trips with dad, they want him to throw the football around with them, and conversations about guns, tractors, trucks and other "man stuff" around the supper table is an education for me at best.  Even though I'm not one to sit on the sidelines - I'll happily get out there and play football, shoot the gun and hop on a tractor - truthfully, that's where the boys bond with their dad, it matters little to them whether I tag along or not.

There is no shame in my desire to receive the experience from the Lord of having a girl.  It's quite natural for me to wonder what it would be like to have a little princess in our family. The only shame would be if I retreated interiorly, closing myself off to my little village of boys, because I want someone besides those whom God has given to me. Thankfully, not for a split second, has that ever happened....
In fact, the very instant that Charlie (and every single one of our sons) passed from the hidden place of my womb into the visible world, I fell ever deeper in love with him.  Not a day goes by, that Steve and I don't look at each other and say, "Is it possible to be any more crazy about this kid?"  Even the older boys say that they can't help but smile when he comes into the room. Our love for him, for each of the boys, is what spawns a desire for more children - love multiplied!  Charlie charms us every day with his sweetness, and his the way he cha-cha-chas his little bottom when he runs is hysterical! We are convinced he was sent to remind the older boys to mind their manners.  He keeps us all on our polite toes! As a two year old his favorite sayings are:
No fank you.
Oh, fank you, Mommy!
Yes, pwease.
That's nice.
Of course!
Good Morning! Did you sweep good?

Being the mother of 5 boys is a rare privilege, one that I am deeply grateful for, even in the midst of the challenges and adventures.  I can't imagine my life being any other way, and I wouldn't change it for the world.  I believe that God may not exactly give us what we want, but he always gives us what we need.  These boys need me and I need them.

We'll see who wins the great debate tomorrow.  Either way, we'll be keeping the news under wraps until June.  Sorry! You'll have to wait until then to find out whether Husband #6 will come home from the hospital in pink or blue!





21 comments:

  1. I'm the mom of three boys, sister to four men so I know what it is to crave pink instead of blue. I have grieved the loss of not having those relationships. I have to tell you, though, God has a great way of filling in the blanks for us. I never had a sister but I have an amazing sister-in-law who is closer than a sister (and her sister is like a sister to me as well) and through her I have two nieces who are the daughters I never had. I have had so many ladies of all ages - surrogate moms, sisters and daughters, who have brought so much joy into my life. An older woman wisely counseled me after my second little boy that "mothers of boys get their daughters when their sons get married" and truly, I have enjoyed having a daughter-in-law courtesy of one of my sons and a long term girlfriend (that I hope he will marry soon!) from another. I never got to be who I wanted to be as far as having a sister or daughter but what God had for me was SO MUCH BETTER! *hugs* and blessings for your new little one.

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    1. Thank you, Heather for your encouraging words. You are so right....God does have a way of filling in the blanks, and I am truly thankful for that!

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  2. I remember feeling sadness when they told me Sarah was a girl. I had a boy already and I wanted another one. And now that I have her, I couldn't imagine life without her pink clothes, lip gloss and perfume! Isn't it funny that we think we want one thing and then God gives us something else and we realize how perfect His gift was? Lucky for me, I'm not the one in charge!

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  3. Oh do I hear this post loud and clear!! That's why we did not find out for this one, because I didn't want to be disappointed. I think it's pretty impossible to be disappointed when you are holding that new baby in your arms....but if you know for the 4 months leading up to that moment, and the gender wasn't what you had hoped for, that's a lot of guilt.

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  5. I appreciate your honesty. But your killing me! You might find out and not tell us?! ;) Kidding mostly.

    I was shocked when we found out #4 was a girl. I think I cried a little too. Not because I didn't want another girl but I was sure it would be a boy. I mean, who has 4 girls in a row? I met a woman today that has a friend with 7 daughters.

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  6. Beautiful post! I can totally understand your craving for a like-minded creature in your home. But I agree that God gives us what we need. And for whatever reason, He knew I needed to be the mother of all sons.

    Of course, after five sons, it's a joy to have two (almost three) daughters-in-law, and three granddaughters! When people used to ask me if I wished I had girls, I'd say, "I'll have them someday." And now I do! One commenter on my blog also pointed out that I got my girls without having to go through the teenage angst years with them! :)

    I love your honesty and the way you express yourself. And I'm praying for you and your baby.

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    1. Laura I am so happy that you left a comment. I look up to you in so many ways, knowing you have raised five sons as well. Your wisdom, encouragement, prayers and joy for motherhood are so inspiring to me!!

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  7. Ah, this is so well-written (as usual!) How true are these sentiments? I think in every heart of a mother -esp one with a lot of boys running around - there is a desire for some female camaraderie, don’t you think? It’s so easy to store all our hope in making that happen, without us even knowing. I am praying for you and this little baby. How fun if he/she were a girl!! You have such a beautiful outlook on life and family. Thank you for sharing it with us ;)

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  8. I don't think that there is a person out there who would think any differently of you no matter what your reaction is!!! It is so obvious that you love all 5 of your boys with every fiber of your being.
    You know I only have 2 boys and we found out with both of them what we were having. With our 2nd I started crying (the sobbing couldn't stop kind) when the tech told me it was a boy and the funny thing is I actually really wanted another boy - I think that part of it was just finding out - not sure but I'm sure the tech thought I was awful.

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  9. I'm also due in June. :) I'm in India and there's a law here where you can't find out before birth and honestly, I'm hating it. I support the law, because what happened was that people wanted boys so they would find out it's a girl and have an abortion. But I admit I feel delivery will be so intense anyway and I'm going to be so concerned about the baby's health and what's going on the last thing I want hanging over me is the surprise of the gender. Also if anyone (like relatives) are going to be disappointed I want them to have time to process and get over it so this baby only ever knows people overjoyed at his/her arrival. Sigh. But I do understand the law and think it's a good law, but wish it wasn't needed.

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    1. I am so sorry that you don't have the freedom to know the gender of your baby, Pamela. You make a great point about keeping the gender a secret, especially for extended family. There's no disappointment, just pure joy on the arrival of the blessing. I will keep you in my prayers!!

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  10. Oh please find out and tell me. I pinky swear I won't tell a soul!

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  11. First, I say find out!

    Second, I know how you feel. There are moments in this adoption journey that I think, "But wouldn't a girl be nice?" I did not have a sister and I am not close with my mom, so part of me does not even know what I am missing when I think of that mother daughter bond. I do think a girl would be so wonderful to have. And wonderful for the boys too. I think they would benefit from having a sister. But, we are working hard to leave it in God's hands. To let our agency choose a child for us. We chose a great and prayerful agency and I know, just like you know that whatever sex your baby is that that is the very child that is meant for your family, that the child we are presented with is exactly whom God has choosen for us too.

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    1. You are exactly right, Katie!! God chooses are children for us...he has a purpose and a plan for our family, and it's up to Him to design it!! I have been following your adoption journey, and continue to pray for you and your family as you get closer and closer to bringing your precious one home!! :)

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  12. No hurling of things over here. I completely understand. I was raised in a family of 11 kids. I was the second oldest and didn't have a sister until #9. So when I found out #2 was to be my second girl, I was a little sad. Of course I got over it and now I wouldn't trade my girliest girl for anything. But I understand.

    And you are KILLING me that you won't tell us even if you find out. Gah!

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  13. I'm a little late on this, but I'll toss in my 2 cents that finding out may be a good thing, and it doesn't make you a bad person to feel that way. When I was having #5 (and had this feeling it would be the last, which has been correct these almost 7 years now, though we will happily accept another), I wanted a girl. I had 3 boys and a girl already and I desperately wanted my princess to have a sister. (In retrospect, maybe a boy would have been better- Bub is pretty lonely in his estrogen sandwich and Natalie is pretty tomboyish and independent) ANYWAY. I was terrified of spending the first 24-48 hours after the baby was born mourning that it was a boy, rather than celebrating- that wouldn't be fair to him. Of course when I confessed this to some women, they told me I was a horrible person, but many more others were empathetic. A friend, expecting her 4th boy at the time, confessed the same feelings, and when she found her hoped-for princess was a prince, she was sad for a couple days, but she was glad she had that out of her system and she could look forward to meeting him.

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  14. I will add, sweet friend, that you are beautiful and holy and prayerful and God makes beautiful things out of the dust. Your heart will sing the song of whatever HE gives you because you are grafted to Him. That being said, I think all your feelings with Charlie were normal and whatever he is doing in your heart right now is more of the same normal, mommy type emotions. Be encouraged and fear not for HIS PLAN IS PERFECT. Perfect for our sanctification and holiness. And really, for our families. (((hugs))))

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  15. And can I add that as far as having a child that is like minded or one that you can relate to, that is not always a gender thing. Now, don't get me wrong, I love going for pedicures with my girl & stuff like that, but it's my boy who is most like me, who gets me, & whom I just "get" more naturally. So perhaps this is a moot point as far as that goes. You just never know because their personalities are all so different. Perhaps you would have a girl who doesn't twirl and dance & sing like you envision and is nothing like you at all.... you just never know.

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