My Fear of Having Another Girl (Part III)


 

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After Christmas break, I went to work
and told everyone that we were having another girl. My coworkers had two
reactions.
One: That is amazing! Congratulations!
Two: How do you feel about that?
I couldn’t really tell how to take the
last question. I wasn’t sure if this was a comment on the gender of my baby, or
if it was a comment on my over populating the world. I work at a university in
Oregon. Many of the people I work with have strong feelings about over
population.
My reaction to their question was not
the best. I often said, “I’m little nervous. I hope she’s not as challenging as
my current daughter.”
I was chatting in my office with a woman who
works down the hall from me named Sarah. She works in a different department,
but we have gotten to know each other through mutual friends and hallway chitchat.
She is a smart lady. Tall and slender with brown hair. She holds a Ph.D. in
English, is in her early 40s, and is married without children. I told her about
Mel and I having another girl. I told her about my fears, and about Norah and
how I love her and am frustrated by her at the same time.
“I just fear that if we have another girl she is
going to be the same as Norah, and I don’t know if I can handle that.”
“You know, Clint,” Sarah said. “You’re making
this out to be a problem with girls, when it sounds to me like a Norah
problem.”
She looked me right in the eyes when she said it.
She wasn’t judgmental. She didn’t come at me with an angry feminist rant,
although she probably had the right to. She just said it, plain and straightforward,
and I will admit that it gave me pause.
I felt like a fool.
Sarah’s comment helped me to realize that the
little girl Mel and I were about to have was going to be her own little person,
with very different hopes, dreams, and aspirations. She will have her own
personality and her own problems and they will be unique. She will probably
look a lot like Norah, just like how Norah and Tristan look a lot like Mel and
myself. We are a family. It’s expected. But I can’t go into this thinking that
my new daughter will be like my older daughter just because she is a girl. And
when I think back, I am kind of ashamed of myself for falling into that trap.
And who knows, perhaps by that time, I might have
a better grasp on this whole parenting thing. Perhaps I will have finally
learned how to stick to my guns and not allow myself to be manipulated by
Norah’s cute powers.
Later that night, I went home and told Mel about
my conversation with Sarah.
Mel nodded. “Yeah…” she said. “She’s probably
right.”
“I know,” I said. “I feel like an ass.”
Mel nodded.
I crouched down, like I often do after work, and
kissed Mel’s round tummy. Only this time I said, “Little lady, who ever you
are, I will love you.”
I looked up at Mel, and we smiled at each other.

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video
game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play
dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of
fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial
and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times Motherlode, Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley
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Showing 2 comments
  • Jill

    I think having another baby will help your situation out immensely. It's easier not to give in when you have a baby to remind you that the family only needs one baby at a time, not a 4 year old one and a 4 month old one. your expectations of older children quickly rise when you have a new little one to care for….if that makes any sense.

    • Clint

      Jill: I sure hope you are right.