Motherhood

Motherhood Mondays: On Having a Boy

My darlings, sorry for the late post today! I’ve been thinking about this one all day, and finally had a chance to write it out.

So, I’d love to ask: When you think of having children, do you ever secretly hope for a boy or a girl? Even though people don’t really talk about it, I actually think it’s really common to wish for one or the other.

When you’re pregnant, the most important thing on your mind, of course, is having a healthy baby. Anyone who is given that gift is blessed beyond belief. I definitely did not take that for granted and felt hugely lucky to be having a baby.

But also, in my heart of hearts, when we found out we were going to have a baby, I secretly hoped that we would have a girl. I had always imagined having a daughter and doing all those fun girly things together — playing with dolls, going to ballet lessons, having heart-to-heart mother/daughter conversations, and doing all the classic (and cliched) things that are part of girlhood. I loved being a girl, and I’m really close to my own mom; and I thought it would be such fun to raise one.

So when we found out that we were expecting a boy, I was so excited and couldn’t wait to meet the little man. But part of me couldn’t help secretly feeling a little disappointed. I felt really guilty for feeling that way (was I a terrible person? the gender shouldn’t matter as long as the baby is healthy, right?), but the feeling remained. I had always pictured having a daughter…and now we weren’t.

Plus, I kept thinking about how didn’t know a single thing about boy stuff. The guys in my family are all are obsessed with motorcycles and pranks and windsurfing and whisky. Would Alex and our baby bond over sports, while I wouldn’t be able to share that with them, I wondered? When we were growing up, my brother and dad talked endlessly about motorcycle parts and car racing; what if my baby boy wanted to talk about cars? I didn’t know a thing about them — or care! And I’m a wuss about rollercoasters and swimming in the ocean and those types of rough-and-tumble activities. What if he were into those things? Would I be the lame mom sitting nervously on the bench while my son bonded with all the more adventurous types?

I really worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect to a boy… or, more honestly, that he wouldn’t connect to me.

But then.

Toby arrived.

Once the doctor put my red-faced, wrinkly, sweet, beautiful baby boy into my arms, EVERYTHING changed. I can tell you with all my heart, now that Toby has entered our lives, it is the most incredible, moony experience, and now I CANNOT imagine having anything other than my delicious baby boy. When he was brand new, he was so tiny, vulnerable and sweet. When I breastfed him, and he’d snuggle up and put his little hand on my chest and look into my eyes, I would just swoon.

Now that he’s eleven months old, he is so lovely and has such a sweet, open demeanor. He giggles, he coos, he stands on full tippy-toe. He touches my face with serious concentration. He loves reading books and eating pears and looking out the window. Sometimes when he’s asleep at night, I’ll tiptoe into the nursery just to lean down and put my head near his; I love seeing his out-of-proportion body sleeping there: his big head, small shoulders, big diaper butt, and short legs. I pat his back and smell his sweet milky breath. I am totally enamored and enchanted by him. He is my little man, my lovely little boy.

Having a son has turned out to be the most amazing thing, and my apprehensions and fears seem so silly now. I’m so excited to bring him up, and previously boring things like baseball and water pistols are suddenly super thrilling, since I see them through his sweet little eyes. The other day, I was riding my bike downtown and saw a dinosaur-shaped balloon and couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it was. :)

Oh, how Toby has opened my eyes!

Anyway, I thought I’d tell you, since people don’t often talk about their preferences for a boy or a girl (it seems like it shouldn’t matter) but I think it’s very normal to initially crave one over the other. And I wanted to be honest and share how needlessly worried I had been. I’m curious: Do you secretly hope for a boy or girl? How have your thoughts changed, if you’ve had a baby? I’m so curious to hear — from everyone from mamas and mamas-to-be! Leave your comment anonymously, if you’d like!

(Photo credit unknown, via Abby Sharp)

  1. This is what you saw when you walked in! He? She? With two different diaper cakes, one for a girl and a boy!