Brave New Motherhood
Raising a Daughter After Four Sons

raising a daughter after four sons

Finding out the gender of my first baby was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Even though my husband and I had both been convinced we were having a girl, we couldn’t have been happier to find out we were having a boy!

Over the course of the next five years, we welcomed three more boys into our family. I started to wonder if it was even possible for us to make a girl. I was labeled a “Boy Mom,” and I was proud of the title my four wild, loving boys had earned me.

Raising a daughter after four sons

Yet people would say the same things over and over: “You’re really missing out not having a daughter!” “You poor thing. All boys?!” “Are you going to keep trying for a girl? 

While these questions really bothered me, I tried to shake them off and smile. But I confided in my husband the little piece of my heart that was ever growing bigger with the desire to have a daughter. I felt guilt over it, sadness, hopelessness -- and I wasn’t sure how to reconcile those feelings with the fact that I had no control over the situation.

When I became pregnant with our fifth and final baby, we waited longer than our previous pregnancies to announce that we were expecting. We knew people would jokingly ask if we knew how babies are made and if we were trying for a girl. We had always wanted five kids, and I hated that people assumed that the only reason we kept having more children was simply to have a girl. My boys were not stepping stones in our attempt to have a girl; they were everything to us, and we felt incredibly blessed.

Raising a Daughter After Four Sons

By the time our anatomy scan came around, we had told close family members and friends we were pregnant. I wasn’t sure how I would feel when we found out the gender of our last baby. I told myself I would be happy either way; I would find peace and gratefulness in whatever way fate had shaken the dice. When we showed up at the clinic, I was prepared to know whoever this precious little person was who would complete our family. On the exam table, hand in my husband’s, I saw that something was indeed missing from the little baby orb on the screen above. Then the ultrasound tech confirmed it: “That is definitely a GIRL!”

Those five words sent hot tears rolling down my cheeks. I felt that little “spot” in my heart tingle with a joy I can’t describe. In that moment, I finally let myself feel how much I had truly longed for a daughter. The dreams and hopes I had been silently holding and storing “just in case” were falling from my lips faster than my husband could keep up. He later told me he had no idea my desire to be a “Girl Mom” ran that deep -- I didn’t know either!

Raising a daughter after four sons

My relationship with my boys is indescribable; my love for them is fierce, and I am so full of joy over the amazing people they are becoming. But my relationship with my daughter, even at only two years old, is so different. In many ways, I actually feel more confident raising my boys. I feel like I know how to meet their needs and communicate with them openly and honestly.  But with my daughter I am terrified.

It seems odd to say I am both terrified and thrilled to raise her. As a woman, I understand the challenges she will face and the experiences she will have on a much deeper level. I want her to feel empowered from a young age, to know her worth, and to always believe she is capable of anything and everything her brothers do. I want her to make her own choices and learn from her own mistakes, but I am committed to being there for her every step along the way to offer grace and guidance when she needs it.

Raising a daughter after four sons

It took me 30 years to find my confidence, my voice, and my value -- it was a painful process of digging into my past and realizing that even though I was often told I wasn’t enough, I had the power to change my story and embrace who I truly am. I want so much more for my daughter. I want her to understand her value and to never struggle with her worth or feel shame about the things that bring her joy. I want her to feel that the whole world is open to her, and I want her to know that she is and always will be enough exactly as she is.

I sit here in awe today as she plays at my feet and my boys run wild around us. She is the light and love my heart always knew I needed. She completed our family and gave me hope for the future and healing for my past.

Raising a girl after four boys