Before I even got pregnant, Will has been talking about wanting a baby girl. We didn’t egg him on at all – but it was so very tender hearted of him; I couldn’t help praying God wouldn’t let him be disappointed.
Then I had this moment in the midst of my sick first trimester. It was a really low day. In the middle of a pretty hard week. Jason was traveling, we were both exhausted, I felt so bad and my meticulous budget was already thrown to the wind and the credit card with my inability to cook a darn thing.
For the first time in my life, I faced a real temptation to regret being open to a pregnancy. That was a scary temptation. I never want to be that kind of parent! I never want to be that kind of person. I have always longed to live and love intentionally so as to never look back with regrets.
Spooked by this awakening to my weakness, I ran to God. Instead of napping, I opened my Magnificat app and began praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Peace washed over me. When it was over, I wanted to keep praying and so I clicked on the Saint of the Day. It was St Thomas a Becket – a saint whose name and story I had already loved. Reading his story then though was a hugely powerful moment for me. Here was a saint who is relatable because he was anything but a prudish, high-achieving type A perfectionist. He was a partier who loved a good time and was incredibly popular. His best friend was the most powerful man in the world. Then God’s grace got to him just in time to help him choose the good when it was hardest and most important. He died a hero because God never gave up on him.
I sat there – crying – and I felt like God was whispering “Hey – I am doing so much more than you know with these little people you and Jason are helping me create. So much more than you may ever even see! I am writing beautiful stories with their lives. And My grace is sufficient for you.”
It was then and only then that I had a little nudge that it was another little guy in there.
In the days that followed, however, I began to confidently expect it was a girl. This pregnancy has been different in bizarre ways from my first two. For one, I have zero libido. As a natural family planner, you tend to look forward to pregnancy as the sex with no consequences season. Kind of sucky when you want to do it about as much as you want to do the laundry. For another, I have craved salads and fruit and everything healthy this pregnancy – even in the first tri! When formerly I couldn’t even look at a vegetable!
We planned a cheesy Gender Reveal party with our family and some friends in the mountains. I figured if it was a boy and Will was upset, he’d hopefully be carried away by all the happiness and excitement around us.
My dad built a big fire in our favorite outdoor picnic shelter, and we cooked brats and served beer. It was cold and gray and exciting.
We were surrounded by family and friends who loved us, and the whole thing departed from the self-centered attention seeking thing it seemed on Pinterest, to a universal and warm celebration of the gift of life and the excitement and newness of every baby. So we cut into the cake and I said, oh my gosh, it’s another boy!…
Haha! Poor thing. I do hate that he was disappointed. But my sons have been such a joy to me, I can’t feel any sadness. With their stinky little feet, their wild wrestles, sticky kisses and adoring cuddles… I want for nothing.
I realized though, I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a “boymom” anymore. [sidenote, autocorrect really wanted “boymom” to be “bottom”. Uncannily appropriate for the job description.] It just started to sound silly to me – like somehow you had to label yourself as intrinsically different and separate from “regular” moms. I don’t think I see my sons any differently than I would if I also had a daughter. Enjoying the experience and unique challenge of raising boys isn’t about me – it began to strike me as insecure that I once used it as something to define myself by. As opposed to simple motherhood – which is itself such a dear and hard and indelibly life-changing experience; not because of the ratio of boys to girls – but because each child you are given is a new and unrepeatable person – to be known by and to know in your short sweet time together.
Maybe I will only be given boys. I do think I have a heart for them. Even going back to my babysitting days, I instinctively preferred watching families with more boys than girls. I noticed that, paradoxically, even though boys get physical pretty much all the time, they caused less drama and got in less legit fights than girls. Boys were physically demanding – but as long as you came up with a good game to play and whipped up a batch of cookies, they were loyal little dears.
I’m probably sounding obnoxiously hipster-alternative and I know I’m totally splitting hairs here with the whole “boymom” thing, but even with the advent of my third boy I will no longer be calling myself that. I’m the mother of a Will and a Henry and a mysterious little guy I have yet to meet. I am a mother who is energized by the physical demands of keeping up with boys, and who appreciates their sweetness, even when they embarrass me by picking fights at the playground and sticking their hands down their pants in public – and I think that’s the understandable sentiment behind the “boymom” label. But I would be no different if you threw a girl in the mix, so I think it is silly to give myself a label.
I will feel a little sad if we never get just one girl – not so much for my sake, because I am blessed with several sweet goddaughters and it’s easy to bond with little girls even if they aren’t your own… But I do hope Jason and Will get a chance to have a babygirl some day. Will has gotten over his anger at the gender he didn’t order, but he tugged at my heartstrings a little when I asked him why he wanted a girl so badly anyway. He shrugged and said, “Cause they’re just so lovey.”
For now though, I am so excited to meet the unique boy growing inside me. I know he will be handsome and strong and special; I know he will only add to the chaos and mess and laughter and lovefests. And as God comforted me in the heat of summer and the throes of morning sickness… he will be part of a beautiful, new, grace-filled story.