I have a confession to make.
I thought baby Hines was going to be a boy.
In my head, I
dreamed planned it all out. He would grow up to be tall, and handsome, and a gentleman, just like his Daddy. He would climb trees and break windows and flirt with other little girls and be covered in dirt every single day of his life. He would grow up and, and, and….
It’s a girl.
On day one of finding out, I was shocked. I was over the moon ecstatic to finally know what this little one is. I was thrilled that I can now call her by name and bond with her through that.
But on day two, I cried. And then I cried some more and made Theo PROMISE to never tell our precious first-born daughter that I cried over the fact that she is not a boy. (and now that the secret is out…all you blog readers must also promise the same thing!)
I felt so, so guilty. Guilty that I felt slightly dissapointed in the gender. Guilty that I was crying over it, for heavens sake. Guilty that I was not the right Mom for this little girl, because I thought it was a boy. Guilty that I didn’t have that famous ‘mom instinct’ about the gender.
You see, it’s not that I don’t want this precious baby girl. I do! It’s not that I never wanted a girl. I totally did!
I just imagined myself a boy Mom- at least for the first one. Obviously, my heart and my mind ran off into dream world, and completely forget to dream up the fact that it very well could be a girl.
And then the lies started rolling in.
If I’m crying over the gender, I’m going to be a horrible Mom.
I didn’t even want it to be a girl- so SELFISH! That must be the worst thing any Mom could ever think, EVER.
Etc. etc. etc.
Actually, the lies started a long time before this week, a long time before I found out the gender. The lies mostly take the form of self-doubt and comparison.
She still has abs…and she is 6 weeks ahead of me…what am I doing wrong?
I haven’t eaten healthy or worked out in DAYS, unlike her.
She somehow keeps up with 2 other children AND is pregnant…I can’t even drag my butt out of bed to make dinner for my husband. Horrible wife, horrible Mom.
I just YELLED at my cat, I’m sure I’ll do the same thing to the baby…I’m going to be a horrible MOM!
When these lies start piling up in my mind, I’m beating myself up, but I’m also bearing the responsibility of a little human life. And that makes me feel so incredibly GUILTY. Not only am I doing the wrong thing by eating the ‘wrong thing’, but I’m doing the wrong thing AND being a bad Mom.
I was reading a book about birth- different women going through different types and styles of births, and the topic of Mommy Guilt came up over and over again. It’s so easy to feel guilty if labor and delivery does not go the way I plan, or the way that my family wants it to go. It’s so easy to see labor and delivery as the START of mommy-hood, and if you ‘fail’ at that…well, then…it’s only going to go downhill from there. (For the record, the book was called A Good Birth. I didn’t agree with most of it, but the premise was, ‘as long as baby and Momma are healthy and happy, that’s the way to a good birth.’ Yes, I agree. But no, not completely.) Society, whether the broader society as a whole, or our family and friends, give us expectations, and when we fail them, we also feel that we are failing at our greatest calling in life- motherhood.
And here is the truth of the matter: I am going to be a bad Mom. A horrible one, in fact. I’m going to fall short. Of my own expectations, other’s expectations, my child’s expectations. I’m a sinner. I’m a human being who has fallen so far from God that it affects every facet of my life- especially one so deeply personal as pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.
But praise God that I have a HOPE. I have hope in being a Mom that can, only by the grace and strength of God, respond to the calling of God: to raise my child(ren) to love God and love others.
I can’t do it on my own. I can’t do it with a wonderful church body and family and friends surrounding me every minute of the way. That will be helpful, there is no doubt, but it will not redeem me to perfect motherhood.
But I CAN do it because I have hope in Christ. I have hope that He knows what he is doing. He knew this little one was a GIRL before I even existed, before I ever met Theo, before we ever decided to have a child, before I even saw those two pink lines on the stick, before we had our ultrasound! He knew that I would dream for months of a baby boy, and cry when I found out that my carefully laid daydreams were, in fact, different from his carefully laid before-the-beginning-of-time, well-thought-out, God-glorifying plans.
And in several weeks, months days and years, when I look back and think about the tears I cried over the gender of our baby, I will laugh. I will look at my precious baby girl and wonder how I could ever have wanted a boy first!
And then I will remind myself of the lessons that He has taught me through all of this: His ways are not my ways. They are far greater, far more important, far more abundant, far more useful, and far more God-glorifying than my own.
I have a feeling that is a lesson I will be learning A LOT throughout this journey of Mommy-hood.
P.S. I figured I’m not the only one with Mommy Guilt. Am I right?
P.S.S. It’s also very possible it’s the hormones talking when I cried over the gender, right?