Mothering a Daughter

17 Mar 2018

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.

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.