We just found out we’re having a girl. I have been trying to be rational about it, but I can’t help feeling disappointed and also a little worried. My whole life I’ve been much more comfortable with guys. I don’t even have that many female friends. I feel really unprepared to have a girl and I worry I won’t be able to rise to the occasion. What can I do? – Wanna-be boy mom
Dear Wanna-be boy mom,
Most people have some preference about what their kids’ sex will be, even if it’s just a flicker. Rather than try to talk yourself out of your feelings, we suggest that you allow yourself to be disappointed for a while. Shutting the negativity away now makes it more likely that the feelings will bubble up later. After you’ve done some mourning, it may be time for some self-examination. Maybe there is something in your past that turned you off to female relationships and is now making you worry about having a daughter.
But keep in mind that what you’re dealing with now is how you imagine motherhood. The reality of what you’ll feel like as a mother of a girl (at 1, at 8, at 13, at 32 : ) is yet to be determined. The brains of parents-to-be are filled with hypothetical scenarios formed by our hopes and fears about the future. Some of it is unrealistically gorgeous and perfect, other parts are all gloom and doom. There’s no way to shut down those little crystal balls, and we’re not sure you’d want to. Pregnancy is also a time of intense planning and preparation; this kind of imagining can be helpful.
You will probably find, once you have her, that hanging out with your daughter is a lot different than hanging out with girlfriends. Motherhood is not friendship. Nor is it daughterhood. It’s a new role for you, and with it will come lots of surprises and challenges. Perhaps your daughter will benefit from your easy rapport with men. Who knows? You have an opportunity for a different kind of relationship with a girl now. And it will evolve and change over the years.
A big part of the whole project of becoming a parent is constant adaptation. Your real-life kid will constantly bump up against your fantasy of how a kid should act and how parenthood should be. Life with children is pretty impossible when expectations are firm. To let them go is not easy, but it can be enormously gratifying.
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