The girl who was

Yesterday as I was swiping a finger across my laptop’s trackpad, the dashboard sticky notepad popped up on my screen with the list of girl names I had been keeping around for inspiration. None of the names were “the” choice, but they were names I’d heard that made me pause, so I wrote them down, in hopes that either they would become The One, or would prod The One to show itself front and center. I looked at the list for a minute, and then went to delete them. But I couldn’t do it.

You guys, I think I’m sad. It feels unexpected, this melancholy. I can say without hesitation that I felt absolutely neutral going in to the 12 week ultrasound about the gender of this kid. In fact, if anything, I probably leaned a little tiny bit toward boy, only because that was just always how I thought things would shake out. (When I was younger, I thought I would have only boys.) So when the ultrasonographer said “girl,” I didn’t have a “Yay!” moment, or a “No!” moment, just a “Oh!” moment. And then I started planning.

See, I think that’s where I ran into trouble. This is the way I work: Every morning when I wake up, I think of the thing I’m most looking forward to that day. It could be anything—coffee on the way to work, lunch with a friend, my bed at night (this happens the most during pregnancy, I think), whatever. It’s like the gas in my motor (uh, that’s how motors run, right?) or the spark for my fire. I think anticipation is really important to me—knowing something specific that’s on its way and conjuring up all the ways in which that thing will make me happy. So after that 12 week appointment, I got to conjuring. And boy howdy, did I conjure up a lot.

Rosie Mae has turned my feelings about being a mom to a girl right on their head. I had no idea what to expect when she came along, and frankly, I was terrified. I didn’t think I would be very good at it. It’s like I was afraid to have a girl. I mean, who knew anything about girls? Not me. Would I even like what girls liked? What if she wasn’t anything like me? What if she was exactly like me? I kind of freaked out, I’m not going to lie. There were tears on her ultrasound day, and man, if that won’t just ratchet up your mom guilt quotient a good thousand percent or so.

But then she came out, and was Rosie. Not just some girl, but the best girl. My girl.

Getting to know her has been one of the best things ever to happen in my life, and I think that has something to do with my excitement about another girl on the way. I’d get to do it all over again, but this time without so much of the fear and trepidation. Just pure excitement.

So when there was more to be seen (if you know what I mean) than we expected last Wednesday, my initial gut reaction was a little bit of a “Oh no!” like the feeling you get when you raise a glass to your lips expecting to sip some sweet tea and instead get a swig of orange juice. You like orange juice, it’s just not the taste you were expecting.

Understand: I am not disappointed that this baby is a boy. I just need time to shift my brain around a little, prod it around to THERE’S A BOY IN THERE and get those good juju vibes aconjurin’. I know they’ll come. Waiting for Noah was one of the best periods of my whole life. I couldn’t wait to meet my boy, and when I did, I loved him automatically and feverishly, like someone struck down with an incurable malady. (I guess I’ve never gotten over it, really.)

With Rosie, though, it was like a slow and steady fire. She was born, and I felt like I didn’t know her. But little by little she peeled away my fears until I was left bare and wholly hers. And now, of course, I join in all the cliched statements from soap operas and country songs across the nation: I can’t imagine this life without her.

So there you have it. I would have loved to have another girl in this family. Go figure. If I could have told myself of three and a half years ago how things would shake out, we would have had a good laugh together over a (non-alcoholic because we’re both pregnant) beer about it. And now, after I put away all the girls’ clothes and hats with pink bows (Remember this one? And the overalls! Gah!), I’ll move on to the boy section of the baby name books and start stockpiling the list of things I’m looking forward to about having a baby boy. I think there are going to be right many. For all of us.


1 Darth { 01.09.12 at 8:08 am }

I think it is impossible to refrain from creating mental images, and this is certainly true anything as important as future children. The forced “correction” of such an important concept, made necessary by the imposition of reality, is jarring. But I firmly believe that as soon as the actual child appears, the “image” and the “reality” very, very quickly become one, and all prior images soon become distant memories. There are about eighteen weeks (is this right?) more before the wondrous appearance: a short time after that I would guess you will have difficulty imaging that this child could have ever POSSIBLY been a girl!

2 Leeann { 01.09.12 at 9:49 am }

As a mom who was absolutely positive that she’d end up with three girls, I so, so get it. xoxo

3 Allen { 01.10.12 at 10:33 am }

Rach, you’re like an emotional Tabitha for me. I hope your gut-spilling is as beneficial to you as it is to us. You inspire me to tell the truth. Most often to myself.

Besides, maybe you’ll end up with a FAB-U-LOUS boy…best of both worlds 😉

4 Lisa { 01.10.12 at 6:55 pm }

You do such an awesome job of expressing your feelings, and although I’ve never had this exact same thing happen to me, I read your entire post & nodded, thinking, “yes, mm-hmmm!” I am generally pretty optimistic about things & can get excited about most anything. I, too, didn’t care what my baby’s gender would be when I learned I was pregnant. But I do NOT handle change well at all. Even when said change is something good. Tell me I’m going to have or do one thing & then switch it on me & I’m likely to suffer some depression & confusion. So I’d imagine this is like the mother (pun intended) of all changes! And to do it to a HORMONAL woman at that!!

I love your honest stories of motherhood. Thanks for sharing. This baby, no matter what kind of genitalia it has, is a lucky, lucky kid.

5 Lisa { 01.10.12 at 6:58 pm }

P.S. Don’t delete that list of girl names. Besides the obvious fact that you could possibly have another girl someday, that’ll be something fun to treasure & share with your kids years from now. Stick it in Baby Boy’s babybook. :) Who knows – maybe he’ll have a daughter someday & use one of those names!

6 Betsy { 01.10.12 at 7:02 pm }

Thanks for this post – so beautifully written, so deep! I know you’ll adjust your expectations and love this baby as much and more and differently and the same as Noah and Rosie. I’m just sorry that they made any kind of call at 12 weeks, because they set you up for having to change your (and everyone’s) imagination of this new baby. In any case, he’ll be wonderful!

7 racher { 01.10.12 at 8:10 pm }

These comments are amazing. Thanks everyone.

8 Allen { 01.11.12 at 10:43 am }

you reap what you sow

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