Scratch that. This should be titled “What I most definitely should not say.
I feel wrong even writing this. As if transferring my thoughts into words make it somehow more real or more wrong. But everything I’ve been reading about the feelings I’ve been experiencing says that I need to deal with it. I need to talk to people and reassure myself that it’s normal (please someone tell me it’s normal). That every mom-to-be goes through some sort of anxiety. And since talking things through isn’t necessarily my strong suit, I’ve turned to writing. Somehow the words flow from my brain to my fingers easier than they flow from my brain to my mouth. They always have. I can sit down and write a 4 page email to someone detailing every thought and feeling I’m having, but when faced with a one-on-one conversation I clam up. I can’t think of the right way to express my thoughts or even organize them in any sort of logical way. So writing has always been cathartic for me. And while not everyone may think a public forum is the correct way to deal with this, I’m putting myself out there. Not to upset anyone or let anyone down (although I do fear that this admission will change the way people think of me); but because I’m hoping that I can get some reassurance that I’m not the monster I feel like. That someone out there can connect and relate and say “hey, I recognize that. And it’s ok.” So I’m going out on a limb here. And to all of you who are going to judge me….please spare yourself the time. I’m already judging myself enough for the both of us.
But I digress. Like I said writing is a way for me to deal with issues or disappointments or feelings that I just don’t know how to handle. This is one of those times. So here goes.
I cried after our 20 week ultrasound. Yes, the ultrasound where you can find out the sex of your baby.
Which we did.
And I wish with all of my heart that they were tears of joy like “oh I’m so excited we’re having a girl, it’s what I’ve always wanted!”
It is what I’ve always wanted. But they were not tears of joy.
I don’t know what they were tears of. Tears of fear? Tears of holy-shit-I-thought-for-sure-it-was-a-boy? Tears of dread that my hunting/fishing/outdoorsy Husband will not be excited anymore?
Can I stop right there for just a minute? And just let you know how hard it is to write that. How hard it is to confess that my first reaction was anything but ecstatic? I don’t know if anyone can even imagine the guilt that I’ve gone through about having this reaction. How selfish I’ve felt.
And I know how awful it sounds to be disappointed for even one second. That there are people out there who would give everything short of their lives just to have a baby growing inside of them. That not everyone has an easy pregnancy. Not everyone is able to carry a baby longer than a few weeks before their bodies reject them. I know people who have lost babies. I read several blogs written by women who are infertile or who have struggled with infertility and have cried through more posts than I care to admit. The pain and struggles that these women go through is unimaginable.
I wonder what those women would think of me if they read this. How cruel I must seem. How heartless I must be. To be honest, I’m having a hard time getting past those thoughts too.
Because I didn’t just cry one little tear and get over it. It started as we were walking away from the Dr.’s office. In complete silence. The Hubs and I weren’t saying anything. Just walking down the hall in silence. And I think it was at that point that I was hoping for a bigger reaction from him. And from myself to be honest. I wanted us so badly to be laughing and giddy with excitement and talking about names and everything. But we weren’t. We weren’t saying anything.
I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. We got outside and The Hubs noticed something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t really explain at that point because I didn’t understand it myself. So we talked for a few minutes…I promised him I was ok…and I walked to my car to return to work. Although I didn’t go to work. I sat in my car for a good ten minutes not knowing what to do. Just crying. Trying to make sense of what I was feeling and why I was crying. I couldn’t go back to work this way. Everyone was awaiting my return and the joyous exclamation of …”IT’S A……” They certainly weren’t expecting this reaction from me. Neither was I.
So I went home. I went home and sat with my dog for a while. She always relaxes me; I can’t explain it. Awhile later I cleaned myself up and headed into work only to face more tears as I tried my best to proclaim “it’s a girl!”
Great. Now I’m publicly outed as being the worst mom in the world.
And while the best co-workers a girl could ask for comforted me during all of this and said all of the right things…I can’t help but think they went back to their desks and thought “Wow. That was weird. What a horrible person she is for being upset about the sex of her baby!” Forever tarnishing their image of me while at the same time securing me a place in their mind as “Janna, that ‘ol heartless chick.” Probably the same thing some of you are thinking about me right now.
So I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. It’s pretty much consuming me these days. I’m trying to make sense of why I had that reaction…because with each passing day the reality is starting to sink in more-and-more (it’s been a week now) and I’m starting to get downright giddy about a future with barbies and ponies and pink everything. But as hard as I try, I can’t escape the “why?” Why was my first reaction so negative? Because it’s really causing me an enormous amount of guilt. As if somehow that precious little baby knows.
How do I forgive myself for reacting that way?
But getting back to the “why.” When I try to analyze it, all I can come up are two possible reasons. #1, I had myself convinced I was having a boy. It just had to be a boy. Everyone around me has boys, so naturally that’s what my fate was. I chalked it up to a ”mother’s intuition.” And ya’ll know what they say about that.
Well in this case, it was wrong.
The second reason, is that I thought it The Hubs needed a boy. I mean, look at this guy I’m married to. He’s a man’s man. He fixes things. He kills things with guns or bows and arrows (legally). He is outdoorsy. I mean, he skis (and when I say ski, I mean he hikes up his own mountains to ski down. None of this chairlift crap for him), he rafts (and not just your average rivers, rivers of epic size and whitewater, for which he’ll plan 7 day trips down), he fishes, he mountain bikes, he plays hockey (on two leagues), he backpacks through the wilderness, he trail runs, he snowmobiles (rarely on a trail)….I mean honestly! Is there anything this guy doesn’t do?! (Besides vacuuming, cleaning or dishes). He needs a boy. He needs a little man to be his sidekick through all of these adventures. And he’d be so good with one. He could teach him everything and do so well with it.
In my heart I thought that he needed a boy to be excited about the baby.
So looking back, I think that’s the true reason I was scared when I found out we were having a girl.
I’m not blaming The Hubs for this at all. I’m blaming myself for boxing him in and thinking that he couldn’t do all of those same things with a girl. And for convincing myself that he wouldn’t be happy with anything other than a boy. As if he is some sort of heartless person.
But then I sat back and thought about it more. And the bottom line is that he does all of those things with me. He taught me all about rafting and backcountry skiing and fishing and biking. And I like to think they’ve made me a more adventurous person. More confident. More outgoing. Happier. Healthier.
In the end, isn’t that really all we would want for any child?
Exactly. All any parent can hope for is a healthy, happy child. Boy or girl.
I can’t change the past. I can’t change the way I reacted after the appointment, and I’m still not proud of it. In fact writing about it and admitting it to everyone has been harder than I thought it would be. But it’s also been healing…because I think I’m starting to understand it.
It’s not because I’m selfish or because I’m heartless. It’s because I want the best for her. I want her to experience the best that both The Hubs and I can offer as parents…because I think we’re pretty cool people. We do neat things. We have a lot to offer. I think it’s more that I was just ignorant and thought we had to have a boy to do all of those things. When in reality, all I had to do was look in the mirror to realize that girls can do it too. And be happy. And still be girls. And still like pink. And love their daddies more than anything in the world.
Shame on me for thinking otherwise, because I’m my own perfect example.
In the end, I’m not sure I can forgive myself for the reaction I had. Maybe I don’t need to. Maybe it’s ok to be scared and nervous. To be honest I think it would be kinda weird if I wasn’t…no matter what we were having! The bottom line is that I already love this little girl more than I can express or really comprehend. And I know she’s going to turn out great and that The Hubs will be an amazing dad. It just took me awhile to adjust my perspective and realize how naive I was being. I wasn’t giving The Hubs (or myself) enough credit. Because we do have a lot to offer any child.
Plus, I hear they make pink archery bows.