Monday, April 15, 2013


We went to our 20-week ultrasound excited to see our little one for the first time. To see a head, and tiny hands and feet, a profile of a face, a beating heart. To peek between the little legs and see if we were expecting another son or a daughter.

Okay, I don't think Andrew cares as much to know that last part now. But I do. Every minute of my life I share with this little one. I get to know habits and quirks. But it's kind of maddening sometimes, spending so much time with someone about whom you know so little. I want to know as much as I can. I love the solidity of being able to address my baby as "he" or "she." I love having just that one anchor that allows me to visualize who they are and what life with them might be like.

But Creature 2 was uncooperative. Tiny legs kicked, kicked, kicked, never stopping (I knew that!). Tiny body flitted around my womb, changing position constantly, exploring every crevice and corner (I knew that, too, and what a difference from Peregrine!). But tiny legs remained firmly crossed. And, despite a nearly hour-long ultrasound, we left the hospital with no news about the gender of our child.

I couldn't wait. So I went to one of those places that Andrew calls "vanity ultrasounds" and my midwife calls "recreational." They had a service called Gender Check, so I booked that. And laid down on another ultrasound table and saw my little one again on a screen. And, though tiny legs still remained crossed, my recreational ultrasound tech had a more vested interest in checking between them. In fact, she saw it right away. And assured me that the little one inside me is 100% a girl.

I was overjoyed in that moment and can't imagine it any other way. I remember that moment from Peregrine, too. There's something about it that's like giving birth, in a way. All of a sudden you know something about that little person that you didn't know before. All of a sudden, a piece of your family takes shape.

I can't say I wanted one or the other. I think a lot of people assumed I really wanted a daughter because I already had a son, but it wasn't that way. I adore my little boy, and I would be happy with many more of them. Of course I want to buy fluffy pink things and do hair, but that's a really small want, all things considered. I really, truly would have been equally happy with either.

However, I'm terrified, and more than a little, of having a daughter. I don't really know why. Maybe some of it is all the consoling things people told me when I found out Peregrine was a boy. I didn't need consoling, but I got a fair bit of it. Boys are so much easier, mother/daughter relationships are so complicated, that sort of thing.

But here's the thing. Boys are so much easier. I connect well with little girls, so I teach girls well, but boys are easier to manage. Sure, they misbehave more, but there's no drama. They don't misread your words, and it's a lot harder to inadvertently hurt their feelings.

And there's so much more to being a girl. It's hard being a girl. Making the strange and awkward transition from girl to woman is so very complicated. Mother/daughter relationships are complicated. I don't worry much about Peregrine hating me someday. I'm terrified that my daughter will hate me someday.

I guess what it boils down to is this: I can love a child well. I can feed and clothe and play with and guide and teach. I feel pretty well equipped to do that. But this new little one in my womb? For her, I have to be a woman. I am the first, and most consistent, example of womanhood she will have. And it goes far deeper than sexuality (although that in itself is a terrifying topic). My daughter, my baby girl, will be a woman someday. And she will be looking at me to see what that means.

Friends, that's a deep calling. And one I don't know if I'm up to. I'm not sure if I've figured it out myself. How on earth will I teach it to another vulnerable, precious little human being?

So God give me grace and strength like I've never had before. God give me grace to love this new little one, this new female little one, in the way she needs to be loved. God give me grace to be her mother, with all the beauty and sorrow and unknowns and complication that entails.

Here's to you, my little Sylvia to be. God give us grace to walk this road together.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a gorgeous name!

    Your fears are real and valid. It is hard to mother girls, and I feel like a failure nearly every day, but God's grace is abundant. And really? So is the grace of those sweet little girls. Praying for you and all of your dear ones.