17 March 2018

Mothering a Daughter

Let me tell you a secret. It's something that I've sort of said before, but in a very roundabout way because, well, people like to jump on you when you say something which society would consider un-motherly, don't they? If you feel or think a way that isn't expected as the typical way for a mother to behave, it's kind of frowned upon (a lot), but here goes. I wanted a boy.

A post about being a mother to a daughter when you wished for a son

I was brought up in a male-dominated family. There is, of course, my dad, then my two older brothers whom I share the same parents with, my step-brother and my youngest brother, who is my half-sibling. I'm the only daughter, the only sister, and so being around boys was all I knew. I didn't have any strong female influences in my life, feminism wasn't even a word I came across until my late teens and I guess you could say I lived quite a closeted life, where the women run after the men and daughters are treated extremely different to sons.

In my experience, being a female in an all-male (apart from my own mother, obviously) family was really difficult; I had no freedom, very little choice in all aspects of my life, I couldn't even socialise and make friends with the same freedom as my brothers. I was treated differently because I had a vagina and it hugely impacted my relationships going forward, the way I visualised the world, the experiences I had and my confidence.

I was hardened as a child and teenager, I learnt to be cold and put up walls and do whatever I could to put people off of trying to come into my world; I didn't think I was capable of mothering a daughter, I didn't think I would be a good enough mother if I had a daughter. I worried that if I had a daughter, she would be better off with someone else because I could not mother a daughter.

So, you see, in my experience being a girl was pretty rubbish, and despite being a different person now to the one I was in my childhood and teens, my experience of being raised by my family, made me believe that any daughter I had would be miserable.

Throughout my pregnancy I said the usual cliche lines, such as "I don't mind what we have so long as they are healthy" and "We're so lucky to even be having a baby, whatever their biological sex, we'll love them unconditionally" - but it didn't stop me secretly hoping I was carrying a boy.

I wanted a boy, it was as simple as that, I wanted a boy so that motherhood would feel safe to me, so I wouldn't feel like I was being thrown in at the deep end. Martyn was the only one I was truly open with about my want for a baby boy and he understood it, because he, for the same reasons I wanted a boy, wanted a girl. We both wanted what we felt would be easiest for us to manage and parent well with.

A post about being a mother to a daughter when you wished for a son

I had a feeling Gizmo was, in fact, a girl, though. We didn't find out at our 20-week scan but having Googled obsessively what scans looked like and what to expect, I had a feeling when the sonographer was 'in the right area' and although she respected our wishes of not telling us the biological sex, I knew I was looking at a girl, I just knew

Everyone else guessed I would be having a boy, something about the 'way I carried' my bump, but considering I was a plus size mama, I thought this was all a lot of nonsense based on myths and old wives tales. 

And then she was born. The midwives held her up after my emergency caesarean and I looked at her and said "Oh, it's a girl then." in my heavily sedated and extremely exhausted state. I had a little girl, I was the mother of a daughter. I panicked. Martyn thought I was disappointed; and I can honestly, hand on heart, say I wasn't disappointed, I was just worried I wouldn't be able to be the mother she deserved, that she deserved so much more than I was capable of giving her. Oh, how she proved me wrong.

Having a daughter has softened me, turned me to slush to be quite honest. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a Queen. I have someone who I would give my life for, someone I want to encourage, to hold up high. I have a daughter who has healed my heart in so many ways, in ways only she could, who has made me proud to be a woman and proud to be a feminist. I have a daughter who is at the very core of everything I do, who propels me to do better, to be better. I have a daughter and I can not imagine having any other child, I cannot envision what life would have been like had she been born with a penis instead of a vagina.

I felt so strongly about wanting a boy and yet here I am, unable to even consider a life without my daughter. I thought parenthood would be easier if I had a boy, yet here I am wondering how on earth we could have it any easier. I thought motherhood would be another thing to harden my shell, instead, mothering a daughter has made me fall in love with life again. 

I owe my daughter my life. She breathed life back into me and righted wrongs I couldn't work through by myself. Mothering a daughter has been the making of me. Mothering a daughter has been my saviour.

I wished for a boy, I birthed a daughter and I wouldn't change her to save the world.

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40 comments

  1. Girls really are awesome! I did think I was having a boy up until the 20 week scan and then suddenly the wardrobe became pink and yellow overnight. I'm chuffed I had a girl... but not looking forward to the teenage years! ;) Sim x

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    1. Ha! Yeah, we didn't need to find out the gender as for us, it wouldn't change any preparations we made as we were planning on and are raising her as gender neutral :) I'm sure the teenage years will be lots of fun.... not haha! xo

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  2. Our first was a boy and genuinely we didn't have a preference for our first. My second pregnancy I hoped it was a girl as due to previous pregnancies and the struggles I had with my second (live) child we knew we wouldn't have anymore. We were first told that no2 was a boy and although I smiled I was broken inside, a week later we were told that no2 was actually a girl and literally our whole family was over the moon. IDC what people say everyone has a preference.

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    1. I think you're right, everyone has that one sex they think of when they first think of what their baby might be! I'm glad you got your happy ending with your little girl xo

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  3. This is such a lovely post. I love your honesty so much and I also love how much your daughter has obviously inspired you as a parent. I’m sorry to hear you had a difficult childhood being a girl - but it sounds like you are doing an awesome job with your daughter.

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    1. Thank you so much! It wasn't the most fun but it certainly helped shape me into a stronger woman today, so there are some positives! Thank you so much for such a lovely comment xo

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  4. Oh Sophia, this is such a beautiful post! :) You are a wonderful Mummy to your little Willow... I have news for you... motherhood isn't "safe" regardless of sex.. Haha!

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    1. Thank you Beth and yes, you're quite right haha! xo

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  5. It is good to get your thoughts out and write down your thoughts. I remember just knowing all the way through my pregnancy with my first I was having a boy. Sometimes you just have that feeling.

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    1. Perhaps "a mother's intuition"! :) xo

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  6. I come from a male dominated family. I'm the only sister so it was just me and my Mum. I love it now as we both love girly things. Also it makes you appreciate your female friends more.

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    1. As see I was not a very girly-girl growing up, so we didn't have that in common! Glad to hear you had such a lovely bond with your Mother xo

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  7. Aww this is lovely. I'm a mother to three boys and a little girl who I never met. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have her here with us. You are very lucky but I suspect you know that. Boys or girls we are all very lucky to be parents ,eh ? X

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    1. Thank you, I do feel lucky. I'm sorry your little girl isn't with you in the same way as your boys, but I am sure she is always with you and your family xo

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  8. This is a really open and honest post - good for you. Guess you get what you are given and all babies are a to be enjoyed! Cute pictures.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, and we wouldn't have it any other way :) xo

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  9. I think secretly, most people have a gender preference. Especially if it’s the second child. I have a boy and I’m pregnant with another boy. When I had my first I said I wanted an army of boys, but when I fell pregnant, both me and my partner did was a little girl. But I did come round to the idea of two boys quite quickly - at least I know what I’m doing!

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    1. I agree, I think when you find out you're pregnant, everyone instantly thinks of either a son or a daughter. I hope you're pregnancy goes well and you and your growing family enjoy the new little babe when he's here :) xo

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  10. I'm the opposite to you - I really wanted a girl! For very different reasons though, just because I'm very girly and because I used to have such a great relationship with my own mother and wanted to experience that for myself. In the end I got 2 boys, and I admit when I found out my second was also a boy, I felt disappointment for a while. You soon get over it though, and then can't imagine it any other way. Your daughter is so beautiful and looks an absolutel delight.

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    1. You definitely can't imagine it any other way when you have them, can you? Thank you so much! :) xo

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  11. Ahh this is so lovely. It's funny because although I didn't have a preference, I only ever imagined myself with boys. When I had my girls I was surprised at just how much I realised I had been missing them from my life, I genuinely never knew how much I longed for a daughter until they were here!

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    1. Oh, that's so sweet! It sounds like they completed you xo

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  12. I REALLY wanted a girl, and was so glad I got one. Sounds like it worked out perfectly in the end for you and Willow though! You both got just what you needed x

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  13. Such a lovely post and so honest. I have 2 girls and I would love to have a boy if we have another. I’m the opposite to you as we seem to have no boys in the family x

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    1. Thank you so much Kerry. Ah my side of the family has a LOT of boys, but my OH does have a lot of girls on his side xo

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  14. I grew up with a sister and two brothers in a single parent family. My mum did a great job and I was lucky enough not to have any negative feelings about what sex either of my babies would be (I have one of each). I admire your honesty and your lovely post!

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    1. Thank you Emily. Sounds like we had very different upbringings, your mum sounds fab xo

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  15. I love this, such a lovely honest post. After two boys everyone assumed I wanted a girl but I actually felt so sad that I wasn't having another boy. That said I wouldn't change her for the world! She's made our family complete :)

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    1. Ah that is so lovely Jennifer, it sounds like she was just what you and your family needed xo

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  16. I love how honest you are, not many people admit to having a preference about the sex of their future child. I’m glad that having a daughter has turned out to be better than you’d ever imagined. I have two boys and feel like if I had a daughter now I would feel like a first time mum all over again!xx

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    1. Thank you so much Wendy. I do think there is a huge taboo around people saying they want a specific sex - hence why I wasn't vocal about it when pregnant! xo

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  17. Perhaps the universe has given you just what you need to grow as a person. I'm sure you'll be an amazing mother to your daughter.

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    1. I really think it has you know! Thank you Elizabeth xo

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