Thursday, 8 October 2009

I Will Never Have a Daughter

Girls become lovers
who turn into mothers
So mothers,
be good to your daughters too.

- John Mayer

Last year I had a secret that I told nobody. If Dave had died, I was going to get my fertility clinic to test the embryos, and I was going to get pregnant with a girl.

Obviously I wasn't rational ... but I kept thinking about our eight frozen embryos ... wondering if any of them is a little girl with red hair. It was a way that I could carry on Daves genes ... and I have bullshitted myself all these years that girls don't need their fathers, so I'm sure if I did indeed have this girl baby, she would be fine with having no dad. (!!)

Immediately after Rocco's birth, I wanted another baby straight away anyway. Probably because his birth was so emotionally dreadful. I would tell my sisters, "Oh, I'm so clucky again! I wish I could have three babies! Four!" They both looked at me like the incredible fucked up loon I was at the time.

A few weeks ago, I was in a cafe with some friends. They asked me if I was ever going to have any more children ... I grabbed a fork out of one of their hands and pretended to stab myself in the eye, then I dramatically slumped to the ground in mock death, groaning. Lucky they own the cafe, or I would have been asked to leave.

"No. Motherfucking. Way."

Apparently, a healthy dose of cancerous tumours + a screaming baby with sleep issues will break your clucker. Forever.


I am done. It feels nice to be done ... done in the way I wasn't after Max was born. The decision to not have another child back then was made in the form of Daves vasectomy ..... well, his balls weren't safe, sperm was extracted, Rocco was created, and our lifes subsequently went to hell in a handbasket.

I am really, really done. I see babies or pregnant bellies and I think, "Thank God that's not me." Which means, that I will never have a daughter. No brushing of hair .... no shared bond, no cute clothes. No talking about guys, talking about boobs, hiring of chick flicks together. No teaching her how to be a woman, how to dress, how to shave your legs, how to save yourself until you really love the guy .... how to love yourself.

All the things I wasn't taught.

Aside: parenting your children properly when you yourself weren't parented properly is HARD. It's like I need a medal every time I don't yell, or don't hit, or don't belittle. And sometimes the Yucky Mum breaks through and I do yell, scare somebody, hurt somebodys feelings. And I feel like the worst mother in the world. I talk about it, say sorry, say that it's hard being a mum .... but I know I do damage sometimes. Does everyone? Don't we all fuck up our kids in some way? Bueller?

So .. I will never have a daughter. I honestly don't care. In fact, I'm relieved.

When I was born, I was "supposed" to have been a boy. I must have known, when I was all crouched up in my mothers womb. I must have looked down, and realised, dang! No penis! Uh-oh! As Jack Nicholson said in Batman ... "What til they get a loadda me."

I came out the spitting image of my real father. I still am - apparently I even walk like him. Tall and lithe and redhaired and totally, utterly alcoholic. When I drank, in my twenties .... I felt close to him. Like I understood something about him.

But he did not understand me, and did not even want to. I was the boy he never had, and he kind of had not much interest. He had interest in his first two girls, my twin sisters. I was 12 when he died. This has left a gaping hole in me so wide - so fucking wide that I can't even SEE it because it covers everything over so I forget it's there. I watch Dave try to forge a better relationship with his daughter and I wish so hard my own father gave enough of a shit to that with me. Alas ... it's all grist for the mill, now.

I've carried gender disappointment in me my whole life. I wanted a boy when I was pregnant with Max, and I wanted a boy when I was pregant with Rocco. Having a girl terrified me in ways I cannot understand, probably due to my own girl-hood, and the terrible relationship I had with my mother. I wonder why it would scare me so? It's probably fun, to have a daughter. It's probably really cool. But I'll never know and I never want to know. Before she had her beautiful baby girl, the awesome Aunt Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka used to call it "Life in the sausage factory" .. and it is. Four boys and me, in this house. All burps and farts and filthy jokes - the boys do some of that too.

I automatically assume that all men must secretly want boys, that having girls are a huge letdown. It's like, I'm a gay homophobe, feeling all these terrible things about my own sex. Like I'm letting the team down. It probably speaks volumes about what I actually think of myself.

No girl for me. It's good .... it means I can take care of the one inside me, hold her hand as she navigates adulthood with no fucking idea of what she's supposed to be doing.


  1. This is so complicated. I've been thinking about this a lot lately as we decide if/what choices we want to make if we're able to adopt.

    I'm glad you've got the family you wanted and feel comfortable being done.

  2. excellent post, eden.

    I had some reluctance about becoming mother to a daughter, knowing how much I didn't want to do what my mother did. in some way I think my hub felt that way about a boy, since his dad screwed him up good.

    but my daughter's birthmom and I were both destined to have a teenage girl, I guess, since we wreaked such havoc on our own moms...

  3. Oh mate I so get you on this one, as much as I understand why you never wanted a girl, it's exactly why I DID want one! I still remember doing a silent air guitar on the ultrasound bed as we learnt about R whilst Mr T slumped his shoulders in resolution (probably thinking about the double PMT in the house hehe). Why would you need a pink one in your house when you have such an awesome niece to spend time with anyway???
    Love you mate, and we can hold hands together (along with Rex) as we trip through the puddles of life and motherhood ...

  4. Wow. I could have written basically every word of this. No frozen embryos and my daddy issues are (just slightly) different but wow do I feel you. I was nodding through the whole pot and may have to quote bits of you and write one of my own. Thanks for this.

  5. I have a little girl, and while she loves me, I don't make her eyes light up like her father does. We're going to have a lot of fun together, but in her teenage years, when she hates me, I'll be happy that she has her dad.

    I had a great relationship with my dad, but I saw my friends who had difficult relationships with their fathers. They just never had the same confidence or the security in themselves that I've always had. It just makes life a little bit easier. It really makes me sad when I see fathers who are not interested in their daughters. Don't forget the rest of the song...Fathers be good to you daughters/Daughters will love like you do.

  6. I think it's just one of those things ... I would have been FINE without having a boy. I had two girls and thought for SURE I would be having another girl. It was only after having a boy when I realized I was happy as a clam with the new gender. But had I had a girl, I'd of never known, nor cared.

  7. I too have Dad issues from a messed up gene pool. He never wanted me and well, i don't want him either.

    I'm glad I have girls. I always wanted girls and never wanted a boy. until Thalon. Now, I want a boy more than life itself. it's all kinds of fucked up. My girls ADORE their father. Sure they tolerate me but they really want their father. Having Thalon made me realize, here is someone who really loves me. immediately! unlike the girls did upon arrival. i could only make him happy and the bond was so beautiful and pure, i'm so ashamed to have ever felt this way in the beginning. now, i'd do absolutely ANYTHING to have him back, not just another kid or boy or girl. but I'd totally like to have a do over, so to speak.

    enough of my therapy session in your comments.:)

  8. Well, I am ending up opposite currently, I had(have) a frustraing relationship with my mother, and having a girl scared the he** out of me. I wanted a boy, boys I get, I think in my mind I was a boy growing up, all dirt and fearless. And surprise surprise at 20 weeks, a hubby is delighted, his sincerest wish was a girl, I only know that I am glad he wanted it so much so when I struggle I can watch his face light up, and I know many things that I won't maybe just maybe my outcome will be different.

  9. My best friend has shared a lot of her parenting journey with me - she has two girls and two boys. And it's so interesting what she says about her girls, especially her older daughter - that it is sometimes the hardest thing in the world to be present to her because it triggers so many of her own issues. Whereas with her boys there is a bit more distance that lets her be closer to them in a way. Strange but it makes a certain amount of sense to me. Others have told me, too, that parenting your children is a way of parenting yourself, and I think this becomes even more true when you have a daughter.

    I think this is why I long for a daughter - cause I feel like I need a lot of prodding to take the little girl in me by the hand and care for her, and I'm not sure it's going to happen any other way. And also cause of the donor stuff - I worry that I won't be able to relate to a boy if/when he has issues with all of that. Dumb, maybe, and creating a whole set of expectations that may not be remotely based in reality, but there you go.

    Really great post.

  10. Seriously, I've been working on a blog post titled, "Why I didn't want a daughter." Most of what you said here, I have written there. I really need to finish it soon. Just wanted you to know you're not alone with those feelings.

  11. Hey Eddie -

    I was trying to leave a comment on Triple Word Score, but couldn't find the link for comments. I think my laptop is finally, truly, hovering on the brink of the death cliff and screwing up my on-line experience.

    Anyway, I loved that post and want to know how to play world-wide scrabble! Maybe I could get a game up with Bruce Sprintsteen or something. That would be cool.

    Love the stories about Dave's spelling/grammar "issues". Haha!! Poor guy. Can't have it both ways!

    And thanks for the link love!

  12. And by the way - girls are sneaky little shits. I have a boy and 2 girls, and the girls prove me right time and time again. They are BORN that way. I used to have to lock my older daughter into her room for nap time (she wasn't bolted in, just a hook and eye with the door slightly ajar, so no one call family services on me). After all - I NEEDED THAT TIME!! It was crucial to my sanity - even so I'm not sure it helped much . . .

  13. I had a horrible relationship with my father until I moved out of the house. Now we are like peas and carrots. I still don't know if I would want a boy (although at this point I would take a healthy child regardless!).

    I also tried to comment on your triple word score post and it wasn't working. My husband is the EXACT same way with spelling...I swear its like you were telling stories about us. Lol

  14. This is so IRONIC to me. When I first read this I kept thinking about my girls. They are 14yrs & 20yrs old. The trials and tribulations I have gone through with them. The PMS, the boys, the attitude that changes in a heartbeat. The tears, oh God the tears those girls can shed. I was thinking I would trade them for my little boy any damn day of the week. Then I went to pee and......wait for it...I sat in pee all over the toilet seat....DAMN them boys!

  15. Oh how I wish you could come to my Thursday support group.

    It breaks my heart that your father didn't pursue you while he was alive. You are infinitely worth pursuing, worth knowing, worth loving. His selfishness made that wounded hole that covers everything, that hole that echoes down the years into your parenting. But I admire the way you strive to be a better a parent in spite of the handicap you feel. I love the way you love your boys (all of 'em, even the big one :)) You DO deserve a medal for all the little things! It's like you're running a race with no legs. Keep on doing it, Eden. You're doing a fantastic job as a mom, as a wife and as a person. I'm sending you a huge hug from Greenland!!

    Lots and lots of love

  16. Was terrified of having a daughter. TERRIFIED. Words cannot encompass the fear. So I get this. And I'm glad that you live in the Sausage Factory.

    You, my friend, are now Queen of the Sausages. It's a well earned title. Do it proud, love.

  17. I was the exact opposite when pregnant with Zilla. I didn't know if I could parent a boy. I didn't know how. I never had a brother and I never played football or anything "tomboy-ish" I was a girly girl through and through. I sometimes wonder if there was some mistake made when whomever decided I should have a boy. I'm not the best at it.

    I hope you continue to work on your little girl inside. She needs you just as much as your boys do. She deserves to be loved and healed.

  18. Wow... where do I start? I've always wanted a boy, maybe because I never felt girly enough, pink enough... The thought of having a daughter terrified me, I don’t know why. Maybe because I wanted so much to give my ex husband the BOY he always wanted . Now I have my girl, my girly pink girl and I can't imagine not having her. Every time I feel that I have nothing more to give I think about the huge responsibility of teaching her how to be a woman, how to love herself for who she is, how to expect to be loved... I have great mother, and a father that walked way even before I was born... However, I was blessed with a wonderful father that raised me like his own a. That loved my mother even knowing that she came with extra "baggage". I never, never in a million years thought that my daughter would have a father that would walked way. I cry everyday because I do know that daughters do need great mothers but also present father. I also cry because I think that I am not done, I still hope for my boy, but maybe I will never have a son and I am not okay with this idea yet. Thanks for another great post.

  19. It's funny how we develop this feeling about wanting boys or girls. I remember when I first started TTC reading about special diets that might help you conceive a girl or sperm samples that had been washed so that the girl swimmers were the majority (cost was like 4 times the cost of just a regular vial). Then one day I realized that I wanted a boy too. I know I would be happy with and love a boy to pieces and a boy might be easier to raise than a moody girl. I really want one of each.

  20. Personally, I'm waiting for my 'done', but I hope it's just because dealing with another newborn reminds me how much I like to sleep.

    Your experience would break anybody and their entire extended family's clucker for good.



  21. The part about how hard it is to parent properly when you weren't parented properly hits home with me. I find it hard sometimes although I VOW to not make the same mistakes.

  22. It is extremely interesting for me to read this blog. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

  23. It is extremely interesting for me to read that article. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

  24. Don't stop posting such stories. I love to read stories like that. BTW add more pics :)


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