What’s it like to have 700 mother of boys together … noisy!!!.
Recently I went to a fantastic lunch run by Mothers of Boys. That’s right, not one daughter amongst us. There was huge demand as tickets sold out in just one hour. A wonderful event for mothers of boys to bond together and talk about our experiences.
My experience, prior to attending this event, had been a big journey where I had many personal insights.
When we were expecting our first son, we chose not to find out the sex and his arrival was the best day of my life. For our second baby, I fell pregnant very quickly and convinced my husband to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. When I found out he was a boy, I felt sad, but immediately I was thinking of #3.
In preparation for our darling third child, we did lots to sway things in favor of having a girl (I was leading this, with my partner reluctantly participating). I changed my diet dramatically, took daily potions, implemented strategies and timing, temperature, position etc. At 12 weeks, I sought out an ultra sound operator who could tell gender this early. When she told me I was having another boy, tears immediately started flowing I tried desperately to pretend and pull myself together.
During the rest of the pregnancy, I cried more, and often. Everywhere I went, I noticed cute girls clothes in shops, sweet little baby girls when out and about. I noted when someone I meet had a daughter. I read forums and books about gender disappointment and talked to lovely supportive mothers of boys.
I knew with all my heart that I loved this precious baby inside me, I was just filled with sadness for what I would miss out on … pink, dance lessons, fun times together, mother of bride, etc. At the same time I felt very grateful for having 2 healthy children, and another on the way, but I was grappling with such overwhelming feelings of disappointment that I would never have my much dreamt about daughter called Kate.
During clearer moments, I could see through my fantasy that having a girl would be sugar and spice and all things nice. I could see how much expectation I was putting on her. I’ve worked on getting to the bottom of why I wanted a daughter so much. I think it was for the connection and communion, and a way to access my femininity.
Over the years I’ve received so much wonderful advice – “Everything you would have done with a daughter – do for yourself”, “If you’d had a daughter, you may never have made the journey inwards to discover yourself”. I’ve come to my own insight that nothing outside myself, even a daughter, would bring me the happiness and peace I craved. I feel it is my life lesson.
Over the 7 years since my youngest son was born, every year, the pain and disappointment has lessened. In our family we joke about how it’s better to have boys. For example –
- I don’t have to do hair for school
- They can pee at the park
- We can pass on clothes down the line
But still, every time I met a new family who had a daughter, something almost automatic would say in my head “they are so lucky”, or if I saw a sweet little girl at the shops, think, “I’ve missed out”. It was an unconscious habit I’d gotten into. These little stories I told myself didn’t upset me, but they had an effect on me and my energy.
Over the past few months, I feel I’ve made huge leaps forward.
It started with a Byron Katie worksheet on the thought ,”My Life would have been better, easier and more fun if I’d had a daughter”. In Byron Katie’s Work, you meditate on four questions,
Is it True?
How do you react when you have that thought?
Who would you be without that thought?
Then Turnarounds/ opposites. My first turnaround – “life would NOT have been better, easier, and more fun”. I’ve heard that sentiment before and it didn’t have much impact.
Then I found another Turnaround – “Life would be worse, harder and less fun with a daughter”. This time I felt it in all my cells .. my life could have been WORSE.
A few weeks later when I attended the MOB lunch, I dropped into a deeper level of acceptance and shift towards feeling proud to be the mother of 3 boys. Then we went to the open day of the boys only High School that my oldest son will attend next year. It was great to see all these young men touring us around and the staff continually saying “your son”. I can see it is going to be nurturing for ME and my boys to be surrounded by all these amazing boys/young men.
I am so grateful to now feel so content in this area of my life. I’ve heard Byron Katie say, its like untying the knots .. untying all the untrue beliefs and thoughts that were making me miserable. Byron Katie also says that everything is happening FOR you, so having 3 boys was organised FOR me to have this wonderful life experience. Miraculously, those automatic thoughts of, “I’ve missed out” have simply let go of me.
If you are grappling with feelings of gender disappointment, know you are not alone. Be gentle and kind to yourself with your feelings. I can tell you from my experience that these feelings do change … maybe not go away completely, but they will change.
I am looking forward to every day and every year feeling more pride and satisfaction of having our 3 amazing boys.