essay no. 3

London, England

I always thought I would have a daughter.  As a young girl I remember keeping my favorite toys, mementos and photos perfectly organized so that one day my future daughter could enjoy them ( in the same way that I loved seeing my own mother’s photos, dolls, her high school cheerleading costume, love letters from her first boyfriend, etc.)  I guess I assumed that only a girl would appreciate these things and would value the link to the past, the connection between mother and daughter. And so I kept them for the daughter I hoped to have.

When I was 20 weeks pregnant with our second child we went for a scan to find out the sex of the baby.  We already had a little boy, so of course there was a small part of me deep down inside that thought it would be nice to have a girl.  The nurse told us it was a boy.  My husband grinned from ear to ear; beaming with pride.  I smiled too, hoping to hide any tinge of disappointment.  Disappointment is a bad term; of course I felt extremely lucky to be having another baby, and I didn’t for one minute take his health for granted. Plus, I knew it would be great for my son to have a brother.

Our second son was born after a marathon labor, no drugs whatsoever, just good old-fashioned sweat and strength.  From the minute he was born I loved him. I remember wondering how I could have ever been so selfish to have hoped for a girl. Another boy was perfect.  And it’s true – you always love what you get, and can’t imagine life any differently.  The ideas you may have had as a young girl seem like silly notions. Life has a bigger meaning.

When you have two boys and are pregnant with number three, everyone assumes you would want a girl. These assumptions completely infuriated me.  Pregnant with our third and intent on not finding out the sex, I held firmly to the belief that I would, of course, love the baby no matter what it was.  Plus, I really believed it was a boy, and all those people making assumptions were neglecting the fact that ‘it’ was already what ‘it’ was, and the amounting social pressure was not going to change anything.  What I might have wanted didn’t matter. It seemed silly to want. I had learned my lesson.

When Ivy was born, they placed her directly on my chest.  I looked up at my husband for the big announcement, but the room was quiet. I flipped her over, took one look and… tears flooded my eyes.  I made the announcement myself, “It’s a GIRL!” I said, “And she’s beautiful”. It’s difficult to describe the amount of emotions swelling inside me at that moment: shock, for one, but also such an overwhelming feeling of knowing I had always wanted her, and there she was lying on me, eyes wide open, taking in the world. I looked at my sister standing beside me, tears rolling down her cheeks, and I had flashbacks of the two of us being little girls together, sharing a childhood. That little girl inside of me rejoiced. I looked around the room and saw my husband smiling, tears in his eyes as well.  Even my midwife gave me a reassuring smile and a nod.  It was as if everyone wanted this but no one would say, not until it happened. I sat there in the room staring at my daughter, loving her instantly, knowing this was the life I was meant to have.

Courtney seems to be living the life I've always dreamed of: calling London home, traveling the world with her own little (and beautiful!) family and being happy and creative and driven in it all.  It's delightful to follow her on the must-read international blog, Babyccino.

*Catch up on delightful's weekly essays here.


kelli said...

This reminds me how much I love the moments when life confirms that you really are (can be) in tune to your own destiny.

And secretly, I have my own hopes of a little girl even if I know I can be very happy with a family of boys, like I'm guessing will be the case.

I've really liked reading about your new life with Ivy. You're such a pretty mother.

missy said...

I don't read babyccino, but this essay alone makes me want to be right now. I loved this whole thing and the idea of being in touch with one's destiny?! I really like that thought. And that what we always knew would be, really can happen.

Makes me feel like we really do have power over the direction our lives take...

marzi said...

as a mother of 2 boys i can totally relate to this entire story. while i love my boys more than anything in the world, there's always that secret little thought inside of me that wonders what it would be like to have a little girl. thanks for sharing such a great story.