Only weeks ago, my husband and I received the news that our sixth child – the second together and a complete surprise – will be our first girl.
From the time that little plastic stick bore two faint pink lines till the morning of the ultrasound, my husband worked diligently to prepare me for another boy. After we discovered our fifth child was a boy, I nearly cried for almost a week. Before Xander was born just last January, I grew to embrace my role as a mother to five amazing boys, but it did take some time.
As if a husbandly duty, James felt it necessary to smother my longing for ballet slippers and little pink painted nails before it grew any deeper by convincing me that we were inevitably having our sixth boy. In the process, he convinced himself.
While the ultrasound technician measured our baby’s bones and organs that day, my husband intently searched for a little penis on the black and white computer screen. The tech assured us that he would not find one and proceeded to point to our daughter’s labia.
Afterwards, we walked out into the quiet hospital hallway, holding hands but in our own separate worlds of deep thought. My husband considered which brand of shotgun would be most effective in scaring off our daughter’s future dates, while I contemplated whether I was a good enough role model as a woman.
Only six years ago, I had been engulfed in the darkest pits of depression before my escape from a violent marriage; so deep that some days I prayed for the Lord to take me. My divorce proceeded a custody battle, that I lost after two years and tens of thousands of dollars.
There’s a piece of me that still feels a hole, a deep longing for my older boys when they aren’t with us.
And it is because of this that I fear raising a daughter.
A mother sets a different kind of example for her daughter than she does for her son. For her son, she sets an example of what he should seek in a future mate. But for her daughter, a mother sets an example of the kind of woman she will grow to become.
It took nearly 40 years for me to become the woman that I am today. And because of this, my greatest wish for my daughter is that she learns some important life lessons quicker than I, and that by some miracle I will maintain the tenacity to teach them, even if Elle enters this world having inherited my and her father’s iron will.