Thursday 9 April 2009

We’re having a……………..


Yes, I saw it with my own eyes. Well, the obstetrician pointed out the relevant bits that apparently resembled a ‘burger bun’ (we’re still debating what he would have called the corresponding male part, ‘hotdog’ maybe?). So we’re going to be mama, dada and the girls.

I’m just beginning to get my head around it. You’ll have to be patient with me today and understand that I have been accused, frequently, of over-thinking things.

I had never pictured myself as the mum of girls. I mean, I’m not exactly your typical girl myself; among my skills I can list currach building, single-handed sailing and the ability (presumably now lost) to knock back copious amount of beer. Now I do like to cook, and I even bake, but up until recently most of my friends would have described me as ‘sporty’ or ‘a tomboy’ or maybe even ‘wild’ (and other less favourable terms I’m sure).

But having a little girl has definitely changed me.

It began when crazypixie was a few days old. I lay in bed nursing her and I just felt so womanly, so connected to the earth (ok, it may have been more of those hormones, but hey, hormones are me too). I had this image of my daughter and I being part of an unbroken umbilical line of women stretching back to the beginning of humanity and before. I felt more in tune with other mothers, even my own, and began to really appreciate the wonder of my own body.

Yet, despite my earth mother moments I was adamant about not gender stereotyping my child. We were definitely buying into the pink princess thing. I bought her clothes in every colour but pink; sensible yet cute tops and trousers. The frilly knickers we got as presents were bundled off to charity shops She had a truck long before she had a dolly, and woo betide anyone who dared to comment on her ‘prettiness’ (‘alertness’, ‘brightness’ or ‘determination’ were all considered acceptable)..

She does take after her mummy in some respects; she loves swimming and being out on her bike and she’s a right strong willed little miss.
But she is teaching me lessons already. Yes, she is definitely her own person. At 13 months old she likes nothing better than to sit in front of a mirror brushing her hair, the cats ‘hair’ and everyone else’s. When visiting friends what toys does she go for first time, every time? Yes, the dolls. And wouldn’t you know it, the colour that best suits her complexion is pink.

So, I’ve chilled and become more philosophical. Friends are commenting that I’ve ‘gone soft’ but I think I’m just a lot happier in my own skin (and boobs).
Some of it has to do with being a mother to any child but the thought of raising a little girl has really encouraged me to look at my whole attitude to femininity and gender in general. My copy of ‘The Female Eunuch’ has long been gathering dust, but Friedan has been a recent bedside companion. At the risk of sounding totally self absorbed, I reckon my quest to understand my own identity as a person and a woman is a lifelong one.

I can only hope that I can keep my own issues in perspective and be the kind of mother that inspires her daughters to embrace their own identities and strengths, respect those of others, and question and work to improve the world they live in.


Oh, I almost forgot: what was himselfs reaction to the prospect of having two daughters?
‘Oh my god, all your periods will synchronise and I’ll be in a house full of PMT.’
Ah, the male mind………..


artyfeminist said...

Congrats Jen! I have to laugh - I was (still am) the complete same about gender stereotyping- militant anti pink and anti doll :) Of course, 'dirty dolly' is her favorite toy at Nana's house. Once Olivia was mistaken for a boy and a friend of the family remarked, no she is a girl but her parents believe in dressing her in blue. Like it was a religion or something!!!

Super impressed that you can make a currach, teach me.

mammydiaries said...

Oh Jen! Congratulations!!!! I actually have a childrens book you and arty feminist HAVE to read. It horrifies me every time I see it...

Irish Mammy said...

Congrats!! I have a son who loves pink, maybe no.2 will actually be a girl and he can get his hands on even more pink.

I didn't want to know the sex this time ... but it was very tempting at the last scan.

All the best, I look forward to hearing more about her.

Irish Mammy