This post hails from CardioGirl a kick ass blogger 😉 Definitely a recommend read for you, I read nearly every post, if not every one of them.
And now…..without further delay…
As a mere sprite, I was the youngest of six — five girls and one boy — my mother constantly told me the story of my birth and how everyone hoped, for her sake, that I would be a boy. Back then in the Stone Ages ultrasound was not used to check on the baby, much less to determine the gender, so it was a waiting game.
Regardless, in the late 60s, a pregnant woman who had four daughters and one boy garnered sympathy from those other women in a similar state. They would all tell my mother they hoped it was boy. Maybe, if she were lucky, she would have two sons.
She always finished the story with this, “But God gave me the baby I was meant to have. And that was you.” She made sure to tell me that she didn’t care, boy or girl, she just wanted a healthy baby. Then she would further elaborate that gender didn’t matter. Women can create their own opportunities; they are just as smart, just as capable and just as worthy.
But somehow, hearing that over and over I only picked up on the dismay the “other people” in her life expressed. I knew my mom loved me and was fine with the fact that I was a girl. But all I heard from her was that society had hoped for a boy for her.
I always thought it was weird the way she phrased the story. Couldn’t she have focused on something other than gender and ended with, “But God gave me the baby I was meant to have. And that was you.”
Times have changed, though, and society’s stigma of having a boy vs. a girl has lightened a bit. But I must admit when I was pregnant with my second child and out and about with my first daughter, people would say to me, “Well, maybe you’ll have a boy.” Then I had my second daughter.
And when I was out and about with my two daughters and pregnant the third time, almost everyone I ran into felt the need to speculate, “Maybe this will be your boy.” But between you and me, I really wanted another girl. I prayed for another girl. I understand the equipment that comes with girls. I enjoy my girls. I knew I would love a boy, but I wanted another girl.
And I made sure to never say that around my older daughters, because I didn’t want to taint their memories. And God sent me my third daughter.
Now when I talk with my girls it never comes up about their gender. So far this issue of boys being smarter than girls has not reared its ugly head. Yet. I do believe it’s possible to celebrate the opportunities available to girls without discounting girls.
Again, I really believe it’s all how you present the story. I could tell my daughters, like my mother told me, “You can do anything even though you’re a girl.”
But instead I like to tell my daughters, “Because you are clever and hard working you can achieve anything you want to achieve.” No disclaimers necessary.
Like most folks out there, I’m a work in progress. I am still trying to re-frame my own way of thinking about myself. I think I’m getting close. Although I still have to remind myself, daily, that I can achieve anything I want, as long as I put the effort into it.
I still have to tell myself I rock just because I’m me. Not a chick. Not a dude. But uniquely me.
Hopefully my daughters will grow up knowing they are more than just a girl – instead of less than a boy.