When I was pregnant with Toby I just knew he was a boy. We’d picked a girl’s name just in case (Martha) but I *knew* I was carrying a boy even though we didn’t find out at the scan. I saw myself as a mummy to boys and I was really comfortable with that. With Martha, I didn’t have that sixth sense of our unborn baby’s gender and with my stress levels rising over what to do with Toby’s newborn clothes, we decided to find out. But I didn’t think I wanted a daughter.
No offence to the incredible women in my life, because I love them dearly, but I’ve never been a fan of girls. Bullied as a child and teen by girls, I saw people of my gender as either bully or victim – neither of which I wanted to be raising. I found it hard to relate to a lot of girls because I was quiet, not into being noticed by boys (which was lucky as I was never noticed by boys as a teenager!), I liked football and cars, athletics, climbing trees. I was studious, a complete geek with my ginger hair, desire to learn, spots and warts on my fingers. Except when I was a goth, of course. Mother nature and I weren’t on talking terms.
I had female friends but I always felt like I was stood at the edge of the group, not entirely fitting in. Funny enough, some of those girls are now my closest friends and I feel blessed to know them, although some were bullies who even a good 15 or more years later can still make me feel small and insignificant when I’m near them. I’m very much a work in progress. I had male friends who would ‘go out’ with the girls in our group and I’d internally wretch at the very thought of ‘snogging’ any one of them. I knew I was straight, I just found it easy to be friends with these lads and I absolutely didn’t fancy them.
So back to having a daughter.
My only experiences of girls are of having been one, being bullied by them, being friends with some but feeling like I didn’t fit.
I’ve never felt confident about how to dress myself, so I sure as heck didn’t want to be picking out the pink, glittery frills adorning the baby shops.
Don’t even get me started on hairstyles. Bloody Frozen and it’s bloody Elsa hair. Bloody YouTube and its bloody fish plait tutorials. I can’t even guarantee that my hair gets brushed each day, it hasn’t been blow dried in months. Boys felt more simple and straightforward for me to raise and I was comfortable with them. Give me a grumpy, smelly, mumbling 14-year-old lad over a 14-year-old girl who wants to use my make-up, thinks she’s in love and can’t understand the rule I’ll be taking from my own mum that it’s either a skirt or a belly/vest top and not both, any day of the week *shudder*.
Put simply, I was terrified of the very thought of having a girl. Then I saw the lines on the scan that indicated I was soon to become the owner of said species.
I cried, Phil cried. I was in absolute shock but as that wore off I realised I was crying happy tears. In the second it took for the sonographer to confirm “It’s a girl”, my life had changed and oh my goodness was it so colourful – not just pink and glittery! Suddenly I would be on both sides of the mother/daughter relationship and it was an amazing thought. My own mum and I are so, so close and our own spa days, lunches out, shopping trips, long chats would hopefully be in my future from the other side of the relationship!
Obviously there’s a chance Toby may want to do those things too, but how many teenage boys do you know who’d jump at the opportunity to sit in a jacuzzi and saunas with mummy dearest for 6 hours? Martha may not like them either, but gender equality and stereotyping aside, there’s absolutely no doubting that there are intrinsic differences between most girls and most boys, that lead to their relationships with their parents being different too. My own brother and I are very close, we’ve been on nights out together and to football matches, we take the pee out of one another across a 12 hour time difference now that he’s in New Zealand and he’s an amazing uncle to my children – but he doesn’t have the same relationship to our parents as I do because for all of our shared interests and similarly sarcastic and dry humour, we’re very, very different.
And finally, a point…
I’ve rambled. I’m sorry. I shall end with a photo I posted on Instagram this morning because the caption says everything I mean to say:
~DAUGHTER~ I didn't think I wanted a daughter; they're scary and vulnerable and what the hell do you dress them in?! I saw myself as a mummy of boys. But then our amazing, beautiful, stubborn, snuggly, fierce, affectionate, completely and utterly perfect Martha came into our lives and through the fear and the worry of raising a girl came the most intense love and incredible gratitude that the universe saw fit to make me her mama. Baby girl, I may not always be able to protect you, but I promise that with every breath I take I will be trying my hardest. With every beat of my heart I will love you. With every step in life I will do my best to guide you xXx
I didn’t think I wanted a daughter, but she’s everything I could have ever wished for and more.
Did you feel strongly about having either a girl or a boy when you were pregnant? Have you experienced a shift since becoming a parent, like I have? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.