The Unconventional Reason I Wanted — No, Needed — To Have A Daughter

Photo: Leszek Glasner | Anna Nahabed | Shutterstock
woman thinking of baby

By Kate Schweitzer

Before we begin, I want to warn you: this isn't one of those essays about how I wanted a girl, found out I was having a boy, cried for weeks, and then realized that having a son was the greatest gift of all. No — this is about how I wanted a girl and how I got what I wanted.

More than a year ago, when I looked down at a positive pregnancy test, I endured less than a minute of the initial holy-cow-we-are-having-a-baby shock before the thought crept into my head: "It has to be a girl."

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In the weeks that followed, my desire for a baby girl only got stronger.

I preemptively Googled those old wives' tales to see if I exhibited the signs that I was carrying one.

And like an overgeneralized horoscope, I'd read into every scenario, convinced it was written for me to the point that I was oddly pleased with a massive breakout on my chin — unsightly, yes, but it was a clear indication that "girls steal their mother's beauty." I even became superstitious about the predictors that didn't line up: I'd buy a tub of Häagen-Dazs at the grocery store whether I wanted it or not because cravings for sweets meant I was having a girl.

Meanwhile, I tempered my fantasies in front of others. When someone asked about my preference, I'd feign befuddlement. "Oh, I haven't even had time to think about that!" Or I'd pretend not to care at all. "You know, just as long as it's healthy!"

But then came the big reveal — our 20-week ultrasound appointment.

When the technician announced she knew the gender, my brain whirred. In that instant, I tried to imagine what would happen if the news didn't go my way, how I'd have to fake elation and learn to get over it — a harrowing task considering I have a hard time getting over bad service at a restaurant. Then she announced it: "You're having a girl!"

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I couldn't contain my relief. "YESSSS!" came out of my mouth with the same veracity as a baseball fan whose team just won the World Series. My OB was taken aback. "Wow, you must really like pink."

Her presumptuous statement caught me off guard. Because I wanted a girl, I must be into fairies and unicorns and dresses covered in hearts and flowers.

I took offense to her insinuation that I aligned with such a flagrant gender stereotype. I'm not girlie, I don't particularly like pink, I've never successfully braided another person's hair, and I'm not inherently excited about Disney princesses. (Full disclosure, though: I did own an American Girl doll, but it was Molly, which is the equivalent of not having an American Girl doll at all.)

So, why, then had I been crossing my fingers this whole time for a girl?

I started to worry. The closest I come to art-and-crafts projects is my Pinterest board, so I wouldn't be able to teach my daughter to sew or crochet. I'm a slice-and-bake cook at best, so it's not like I was looking forward to passing down any carefully crafted family recipes.

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Conversely, it's not as if I had high expectations of raising a proud tomboy, for I was hopeless at sports and wouldn't have the know-how to coach her little league team.

I could never quite put my finger on why having a girl was so important, so essential until I gave birth and met her for the first time.

It was only then that I realized that having a girl, for me, meant re-creating my childhood.

I could watch my daughter grow and at the same time look back on my own long-forgotten memories. Her firsts could stand in for mine. Having a girl also meant re-creating the relationship I have with my own mother. So when she's no longer here, she'll still be with me. I'll be able to stand in for her. I could be for my daughter what my mother was for me. I could raise my own best friend.

Which now makes me want my girl to have a girl someday, too.

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Kate Schweitzer is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. She's been featured in Arcbound, Huffington Post, New York Magazine and more.

This article was originally published at Pop Sugar. Reprinted with permission from the author.