Happy international women’s day!
Before the baby was born, I told everyone I didn’t mind whether we had a boy or a girl.
I wanted a girl desperately.
Throughout the tough pregnancy, I thought to myself that if we had a girl, I could be happy being done. If we had a boy, I might have tried to put myself through it again to get a daughter.
The need to have a daughter was strange. I know I would have loved a son. We had a boy’s name chosen from really early in pregnancy, and I could almost picture my little Toby. He would have been wonderful, and I’d have loved him just as fiercely as I love my baby Yaya.
I have lots of male friends, I like lots of men (my husband and dad are two of my favourite people!), I’m closest to my little boy bunny… But I am so glad she is a girl.
I feel sort of uncomfortable admitting it. (I promise, it’s not to do with the clothes!)
Part of it is that I know girls. I went to a girls’ school. From the ages of 11-18, I didn’t interact with boys. They’re almost like an alien species to me. Meeting boys when I went to university was weird. I feel like I know a huge range of different women, with different interests and personalities, whereas I don’t have that range with men.
My daughter might want to take ballet classes or beg for a pony. She might join the army and wear exclusively male clothes. I know women who do all of those things.
Life is a bit easier for a masculine woman than a feminine man. If she wants to be a racing driver or a doctor or a linguist or a nursery school teacher, people won’t judge her. If she wants to wear skirts or Doc Martens, she can.
I’m not ultra feminine. Most days I don’t wear makeup. I have some kind of genetic inability to do anything good with my hair. I love Formula 1. My housekeeping skills are not great. But I also love ballet and nail polish and films with Sandra Bullock. I have close female friendships. I’m a nurturer.
At my school, we were taught that we could do anything. (We were also taught that we should do everything, which is a bit more problematic. That’s a thought for another day.) I am excited to pass this lesson on to my daughter.
There are so many options open to her.
Women are strong. I grew her inside me – how amazing is that? Being pregnant made me appreciate my lineage as a woman. I felt connected to all of the women that had gone before me. Whether or not she chooses to have children herself, that potential is there for her.
I’m looking forward to sharing stories of other strong women with her. Her name has been shared by empresses and saints. I hope she knows that I think she has a great future ahead of her.
Right now, at four months old, she has such a strong personality. I know she’s so young, but she’s so vocal and determined. While I’ve been writing this post, she’s used her head to rotate herself 180 degrees in her play gym!
I’m really excited to raise this little woman.