This kind of thing is incredibly hard to admit out loud much less write out. First off, I am incredibly grateful for my 2 sons and I am even more thrilled with the baby boy growing and kicking inside me every day. But my reaction to the news that “IT’S A BOY” felt like a shot through the heart. There’s this thing called “gender disappointment” that women feel but do not talk about because well… it’s taboo… and there are significantly worse things that could happen to us in our lives. But it doesn’t mean women don’t wrestle with it (obviously alone because who can they really tell?).
I really wanted a girl. Myself and everyone around me thought it was a girl. I’ve wanted a girl since my first child. Not sure why but I’m from a family of girls and love all of it. The relationships, sisterhood, my relationship with my mom, the bonds women share, I love it all. It took a few days for me to sift through my feelings. Feeling like a had dreamed up this perfect, hand-picked family unit… as if I had a choice in what I was getting.
This post actually isn’t about how I coped but more my reaction to God. Although there are some great articles about dealing with this disappointment. Some women struggle with this, even after baby has arrived. I’d encourage you to find these resources if you are still struggling with this (I found some good blogs just by searching on Pinterest). It was anything but glorious, it was as human as it gets. My knee-jerk response was “You knew I wanted this, I try so hard to be a good Mom and do the right thing. Why would you not give this to me. Am I being punished?” On and on.
When I realized that this was my immediate response, I obviously felt nothing but guilt and shame. I also felt an overwhelming sense of feeling like we respond to God this way more than we realize. I did not grow up treating God like a magic genie. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are treating God that way… “if I do this then You do that”. If I don’t cheat on my husband, then You will give me a happy and easy marriage. If I raise my kids right, then they won’t make mistakes. If I tithe, then you will bless me financially. But without realizing it… we are treating God like He’s a “return on our investments” in the decisions we make in life. Yes, I understand God talks about making wise decisions a ton but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the expectations we place on God. As if we are good Christians or good people then bad things won’t happen to us… or even worse, if we are good then we will get blessed.
I know God loves me. But I think it’s also important to understand we live in an imperfect world. Even the most perfect family can drive you crazy. Marriage is freaking hard. Motherhood is not always a Mary Poppins moment. We don’t get that job with the perfect salary… (or we do and 2 years later we want more or we want to quit). We get sick or even a loved one dies unexpectedly.
Sometimes life doesn’t pan out the way we hoped, but this is not God withholding things from us. The reality is God already gave us everything. But that doesn’t mean our world is not still broken. Death, sickness, disappointment, and failure are all still things we deal with on a daily basis. But despite those things He still loves us and cares for us. Our problems are His problems. Our struggles are His struggles. We may feel like we are going through this alone but that could not be farther from the truth. We have to remember that we are only viewing “our world” but God is viewing the universe.
The truth is I have to remind myself of this every day. Life has a way of reminding us that we are not in control *cough COVID-19 cough*. My successes and my failures do not change whether or not God loves me or cares for me. I have turned my shame into an attitude of thankfulness. I look around and I can see how much I have to be thankful for. I love my boys so much. I have a TON of nephews and we basically live in boyhood all the time. I absolutely love their wild hearts, and I take great pride in the mantle given to me to raise strong, gentle, respectful men that will love God and love people. I can’t help but feel that this baby is special. I cannot wait to meet him and watch my 3 sons grow up together. Needless to say, we are quite excited for this boy!
If you have ever felt “gender disappointment” you’re not wrong, you’re just human.