No, I haven't lost a child. And I really don't mean to belittle to horrific pain of families that have. I can't imagine that kind of tragedy in my life.
I am the mother of two young sons - the oldest is 3 years and the youngest just turned 3 months. They are both amazing, wonderful creatures. And I am blessed and honored to have the responsibility of raising them. I can't imagine my life without either of my boys. But with the recent birth of my second, and discovering in the delivery room that he, too, was a boy (we chose not to find out the sex of the babies during either pregnancy), I now find myself wondering what happened to my daughter?
As a child, I fantasized about being a mom. I always knew I would be, regardless of what else I did with my life. I nurtured my dolls and a whole jungle full of stuffed animals. They were all duly named and properly cared for. And they were all girls. Every single one.
Unconsciously, as an adult, I always assumed I'd have a daughter. Maybe it's just that I'm a girl, so I was more comfortable with the idea of raising a girl. But I always had visions of braiding her hair, sewing dresses for her, teaching her to wear makeup, helping plan her wedding, and celebrating her own pregnancy and journey to motherhood.
After the birth of my first, I quickly adjusted to having a son. He's an intelligent, thoughtful child whose personality is very much like his Daddy's. And I knew there'd be another chance for my daughter to come into the world.
Then I got pregnant again. I tried so hard to not think of the baby as a girl, because we really didn't know. We picked a boy's name, and a girl's name, but I thought a lot harder about the girl's name, becuase I wanted it to be perfect. We were fairly certain we would stop with two children, so this was my one chance to do right by my daughter.
And it was a boy again. He and I bonded very rapidly, and I'm getting to know him and what he's like now (he is, after all, only 3 months old). So far, I'm pretty impressed with him. But every time someone I know has a baby girl, I feel a tiny pang of jealously amidst my resounding joy for their family.
We could try for a third baby, but I'll only do that if we're positive we want a third child, regardless of gender. And I'm not sure we do. So, now I'm facing the reality that I probably won't ever have a daughter. And I find myself grieving for her. For the mother-daughter moments that will never be; for the daddy's little girl that won't exist in our family; and for the sister my sons will never know.
My friends with daughters talk about the responsibility they feel to be a positive role model. To show their daughters that women are a vital force and are as smart, as strong, and as important as any man. That is a heavy responsibility. I don't have a daughter to do this for; but I will still be a positive role model for my sons. I want them to grow up expecting women to be as smart, as strong, and as important as anyone else. I want them to respect the women they know as wonderful individuals. And this, too, is a heavy responsibility.
So I will do my part to provide our society with responsible, active citizens for the next generations.
And kiss my daughter good-bye. I'll love her always for who she might have been.