What if I told you I was disappointed when I found out the gender of our first child was a girl? If I said that, I would be telling you the absolute truth.
Recently a friend of mine learned the news that his first child would be a girl, and he called me to express his frustration. As I worked to tell him how awesome daughters are, I found myself having flashbacks about how I responded when the gender of my child landed in my ears for the first time.
Picture this; I’m in a dimly lit room that is about 240 square feet, sitting in a stiff chair covered in faux leather, next to a bed that can lift your body to an upright position, or lay you flat on your back. Reclined on that bed is my wife who has just had her entire belly covered in a gel by the Sonographer (a face, and name of a woman I’ll never remember) to conduct the ultrasound. At this point I’m starting to get excited, the Sonographer is about to confirm to me what I already know to be true. My wife is pregnant with our son. The Sonographer glides the probe over my wife’s belly and asks, “do you guys want to know what it is?” Terece and I look at each other and agree by both saying “yes.” The next words spoken in the room would take the breath out of my body (not in a good way) “IT’S A GIRL!” If this were a text message, I would insert the casket emoji or the skull head emoji, which means #ImDEAD. I was DEAD (shocked, in disbelief…). It was almost if the news brought a sense of grief over me. Now, some of you all may be shocked to read this, I mean for goodness sake, I am the guy who hasn't taken a picture without my daughter in it or near the scene since she was born. Be that as it may, hearing the news rocked my word. I mean come on, I was supposed to have a son for my first kid right! I had fallen into the trap of thinking if I thought about the baby’s gender long enough in my mind, that it would manifest in my wife's body and a boy would be the result. WRONG! It took me two days after learning the gender of our baby for me to wrap my head around the fact that I would be the father of a daughter, a baby girl… my girl. Unable to hide my disappointment, I started to feel guilty. My wife was beyond excited to know what type of child she was carrying in her belly, and here I was moping around feeling sorry for myself, “cause’ I’m not prepared to have a daughter, I never even thought about fathering a girl!” [NOTE TO SELF: Get over yourself, Aaron!]
This story is not one of my proudest moments. I decided to write about it because I realized that my friend, like many other fathers and I have to acknowledge then denounce our unconscious biases around the idea of a daughter being our first born. Who can we blame for this bias, movies, our families, or stereotypes ingrained in the culture that lead us to believe we should have a son first so he can protect his younger sister(s)? I fell for the trap, but as you may have noticed, I broke free. Beyond the scientific part that determines the gender of a baby (X & Y chromosomes), I believe God has His plans for each of us. I could not imagine anything different from the daughter I have.
Fathers will you chose to be brave (braver than I was), to await the news of your child's gender, and accept it with complete excitement. My only regret is allowing my expectations on the gender to cloud my ability to be excited in-the-moment that my wife and I had been chosen to raise a precious gift from God. My Girl!
Side Note: My friend is okay now with having a daughter :)
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