My journey through pregnancy has not been easy. In my first trimester, I suffered from morning sickness and nausea that just would not stop – even when it was the afternoon. In my second trimester I started experiencing horrible, brain-busting migraines — daily. Oh, did I mention that my husband and I also chose this auspicious trimester to move from our beloved city of Denver to Houston? I quit my job and felt like I’d lost a piece of myself in the process. I was spiraling out of control, and I still had 20 weeks to go in my first pregnancy.
Then, I found out I was having a girl.
I had said I didn’t care either way. But I did. I had wanted a boy.
I had wanted a boy because I thought it would be easier.
I had wanted a boy because I’m scared — no, I’m terrified — of having a daughter.
I didn’t know why though. I tried to be excited, but I wasn’t. I loved her already — how could I not? — but I didn’t want this baby to be a girl.
After yet another day of sitting in my new Houston house in tears waiting for my husband to get back from his 12-hour day, I realized that I needed therapy. My life had turned upside down: I wasn’t working, I had no friends, I was pregnant.
So I went to therapy, where I uncovered why I didn’t want a girl: I’m scared of becoming my mom.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She loved me and my sister. Of course, she did.
But she was controlling and distant. She didn’t hug me. We never had fun “mother-daughter” bonding days, trips, or traditions. She never inspired me to do my best, be my best. She obsessed about what my sister and I ate. When we would actually eat food, she would refuse to ever buy the food again. Her reason? We had eaten all of the food. She didn’t decorate for holidays, claiming that it would all just have to be put away in a month.
Although I’m a different person than my mom, I’m scared of becoming her. I know that I have her tendencies: I’m not a great eater (if there’s no “healthy” food, I just won’t eat), I can be controlling (thinking I always have the right answer), and I’ve had to work on becoming a more emotional and nostalgic person as an adult.
And now I’m having a daughter. I don’t want to watch what my daughter eats and tell her she’s fat. I don’t want to control my daughter’s decisions and decide everything for her. I don’t want to stand in my daughter’s doorway and berate her.
Mostly, I’m just scared.
I know that knowing all of this gives me power to break this cycle. But I’m still worried. Overwhelmed. I’m struggling with the knowledge that being a mom – a great, loving mom — is going to be something I have to work extremely hard at. I’m scared of continuing this antepartum depression into postpartum depression.
So this is my vow to my soon to be born daughter: I love you and I will protect you. I want you to be a powerful woman who trusts herself and her abilities. I want you to feel loved. I will hug you every day (even when you’re a teenager and you hate it). I am going to work my ass off making sure you never feel inadequate. I will most definitely, always decorate the house for the holidays. We will go on vacation and explore as much of the world as we can. I will love you.
I know that I don’t have to be my mom, and knowing that is the first step to being the mom I want to be.