Wanting a Girl, Having a Boy
How one mom dealt with wanting a girl, but having a boy
I was 18 weeks pregnant, lying on my back, my bladder about to burst, waiting for the technician to arrive for my routine ultrasound.
I was nervous. But it wasn't the shape or size of the fetus that had me so jittery, or whether the individual parts were developing all right. For some reason, I had an amazing amount of confidence about these things, a strong hunch that the baby inside me was healthy. What was I nervous about? That the baby might be a boy.
From the time my husband and I thought about having kids, I knew I wanted a girl. It had been a vague wish, something felt more than articulated -- until a few weeks before the scheduled ultrasound, when we took a trip to Cape Cod, and I realized how strongly held my preference really was.
It was near the end of the season, and there was plenty of beach available, but we steered away from isolation and parked ourselves among the families with their rafts and sunblock and towels, animal crackers in small plastic bags, brightly colored shovels and pails. This would be our first baby; we wanted to get a glimpse of what was in store. So we sat looking and listening, day after day, our thick novels spread open on our knees, the pages not turning.
I saw a girl who again and again chased the tide as it shrank into the ocean, and then about-faced and ran to higher ground, squealing, as the cold water rolled back in. I saw a girl who leaned her back up against her father's shins and flipped through the pages of a magazine, her mother's sunglasses sliding down her nose, her hair a cascade of auburn curls. I saw two sisters who sat face-to-face on their heels and piled a mound of wet sand between them, their voices crisscrossing in the air, mixing with the screeches of gulls. There were boys on that beach, too, of course, but nothing about them engaged me. I noticed them there, but it was the girls I couldn't stop watching. Why?
On one level, the pull was purely visual. I loved the way their bellies pushed out, the way their wet bathing suits clung to their butts, the way they held themselves, a certain softness and grace entering whatever they did. There was something about their long hair, the sheen of which a day in the wind could not fully conceal, that made me want to lay my hands gently upon their heads, something about their eyes that made me wish they would look my way. Never mind that, as my husband jokingly pointed out, their beach clothes were a whole lot cuter.
Still, I knew enough to recognize that aesthetics are subjective, that they are dictated by something much deeper. There was no inherent reason one little girl's high ponytail and clam diggers would grab me, while her older brother's football jersey turned me off.
Deb Abramson, a writer in Nashville, Tennessee, is now the adoring mother of two boys: Ezra, 2½, and Levi, 14 months.