My husband is from a family of four boys, and I have two brothers. Between his 3 brothers we have 4 nephews and just 1 niece - my husband maintained for years that O'Connells just don't have girls -- until our niece came along to crack that theory. I, myself, was rarely accused of being the girly-est of girls, though I did have my phase of princesses and barbies early on-- not to say I was a "tomboy" either, but let's just say that my happy place was four-wheeling in the woods or making and editing comedy films with my friends, not trying on shoes in a shopping mall. And to be honest, for most of my life girls typically scared me -- I always just felt more comfortable approaching boys and hanging out with boys (maybe because there were always herds of them at our house growing up between my brothers) -- but when trying to make friends with a new group of girls, I became an awkward wreck.
When we found out we were expecting our first baby, the emotions were overwhelming. And again with the honesty, it took a little while to sink in. Some women immediately jump into the bumpies and nursery planning and daydreaming about all the cute little clothes and toys... but I dipped my toes into the idea like it was a boiling hot tub. Slowly but surely, I came around to the idea that yes I am going to be a mom and while still terrifying, I felt the excitement too. , Then once I saw the little movements on that first ultrasound and once I finally started to show... I realized I was already in love.
Except we were still calling the baby "it" which seemed weird. But from mostly male-dominated families and my aforementioned fear of girls in general, I naively just assumed it was a boy. I had the "gut" feeling-- surely it was a boy. I could see myself being a pretty good mom to a boy. Except it wasn't a boy.
The Big Reveal
While I laid nervously on the table as the doctor scoped around for images of our sweet miracle, I was already beside myself with joy to hear the growth was normal, all the measurements were on track, all fingers and toes accounted for... and then she asked "so do you want to know the gender?!" Squeezing each other's hands and grinning like idiots we said "YES!" When the words came through her lips it was like one of those slow motion, life flashing before your eyes kind-of moments.
"IT'S A GIRL."
And my reaction to follow went something like this:
Wait, no really, are you sure??
You're serious. Oh my gosh. It's a girl.
There's going to be SO.MUCH.PINK.
Shopping, make-up, painting nails...
I don't even know how to french braid... you can't have a girl and not know how to french braid...
How will I help her through all the girl drama?
She's going to look up to me... and I don't have all the answers...
And then I look at my husband and think...
but wow, I can't wait to see him love this little girl...
we can teach her to be her own person, be whomever she wants to be...
I mean it's not like a boy would be easier in some way, right?
We're going to love her SO MUCH...
And we can say "her" now! Our little GIRL!
She’s going to look up to me... and I don't have to have all the answers.
Sleepovers, singing along to disney movies, coloring books and crafts … maybe I can do this.
WE can do this.
I keep saying it's a good thing pregnancy is 9 months long, because it's taken me a while to adjust to every milestone. I don't think any parent is ever "ready" for the drastic life change that comes with having a baby, but I know that with the change will also come a magnitude of love and emotions beyond my current comprehension. Boy or girl, that love will overflow and we will do our very best through every step of the way.