“It’s a girl!” the ultrasound technician excitedly said as I clearly viewed a pair of legs, kicking and kicking around. I had not seen my child since we took pictures of a 7-week blob, but this was a baby. And this was the first moment that the pregnancy felt real to me. After all, I’m not the one growing a human inside me. My immediate response was incredible excitement… …followed by some very complex emotions that I will do my best describing. See mom’s reaction here.
After the appointment, we sent an ultrasound picture (one where Baby Girl was being more modest) to my family with plans to share our news later that week. The first guess from the family was ‘boy!’ followed by 6 more guesses… all boy. Now my family is great and will love my child well, I do not doubt this, but it was clear that they were thinking (maybe wishing) boy. It was not until receiving these guesses, I realized that I too had been hoping boy. This hope resided somewhere deeply lodged in myself, but since surfacing, my boy leaning thoughts have occupied my mind with guilt and shame. This unspoken preference led me to believe that I was not a good person and already a failing father.
Now I have thought of several reasons why I had this preference, but more than any other reason, the prospect of having a boy lessened my fear of fatherhood. The most comfortable answer for me was boy, so that is what I was clinging to. I don’t know anything about little girls or being a father to a little girl. I am terrified by things I know little of.
Maybe you don’t connect with these feelings of gender disappointment and think I’m shallow. Or maybe you do connect with these feelings I’ve had. If you do relate, I recommend you be open about it and honest. Address these feelings head on; talk about it with people you lean on. Being honest with myself and talking openly about these feelings has helped me move forward out of this fear. I am excited. The adventure of fatherhood awaits me and my focus is now on these thoughts.
- I am most thankful for a healthy baby and healthy mother.
- I am thankful that we are blessed in being fertile as I realize that this is not the case for many, many aspiring parents.
- I am thankful that my daughter will be able to watch how I love Mom.
- I am thankful for the opportunity to look my daughter in the eye and tell her I love her.
Baby Girl, will you forgive me?