At Home, Arlington, Massachusetts
We're having a girl. There's part of me as I heard the news that leapt with joy. There's so much that I want to share with a daughter, give to a daughter. But there's also part of me that has silently mourned. There's so much brokenness and misery that the world is going to give this little girl.
For a long time in this pregnancy I really wanted a little boy first. There is so much pressure on the first child – they deal with the battery of their parents' indecisions and inexperience in often emotionally brutal ways. And little girls deal with it more severely. I have known so many mothers who simply cannot understand the stress that their little firstborn daughters live under. There's no one to tell these little girls they are ok, they are enough, they are protected, they don't have to compete to be accepted. Their badness and their disobedience is understood simply as just that, rather than the complicated vortex of self-will, misunderstood responsibility, and desire for acceptance that it is. First born daughters are so often tightly wound baskets of sorrow. They just often look like little tyrants aiming for command because they don't know what to do with who they are. For much of my life I longed for an older brother – someone who I thought would help me make friends, shelter me from the confusion of childhood, and help me with my parents. I longed for a male counterpart to just give me a wing to hide under through much of life's confusions. I grieve to think of our little girl having that same sense of dislocation. Being first is always a defenseless position, and I have known the hardness such vulnerability creates in little girls both personally and in the lives of women around me.
I want to share all that I have found to be good and true and beautiful about being a woman with my little girl, but it terrifies me to think that in reality there will be so much twistedness and brokenness to try to teach her about and equip her for. There is so much in the world that will want to hurt her, to use her, to belittle her – and that is not what God created her for. In this world gender and its systems are deeply flawed and a cause of immeasurable pain for women. But that is not the whole story. God is here.
And he gives us blessings in his graciousness.
This little girl may not have an older brother, but she does have a truly wonderful man for her father. One who will be gentle, and kind, who I know will try to listen and hear her heart because he has demonstrated the same with me. He may not be able to function as her guide through the drama of peer life the way a brother would, but he will always be a warm and wise shelter for her when it is time to recharge for the world outside.
About the Project
This is a very personal project. It tracks my growth and development as I journeyed toward motherhood over the recent years. It doesn't document every experience I had, and probably neglects my more joyful and peaceful moments in the frenzy of trying to communicate my fears, anxieties, and doubts. If you are a friend or loved one, please do not let anything you read here overshadow what you know of me personally. If you are a stranger, please remember that a living and flawed person stands behind these words. To all my guests here, please understand these are not political statements and try to extend me grace, even as I share my failures and foibles - I have repented of much of what I share. I don't share this journal as an exemplar, but rather out of the desire to share my hope that entrance to motherhood does not need to be a fearful thing - despite the very real fears I have fought against. Motherhood is simply a part of life and one through which I am discovering more of myself and my God.