I get it, you’re new. That sounds strange to you still. Girl momma. You see the #BoyMomma hashtag all the time. You identified with it, and this—this is so new.
It’s ok if you’re a little scared. It is different. Your boys are growing up in a world where they will likely make more money than her. Girls in other countries aren’t allowed to go to school. They can’t drive cars. They are sold, they are disowned, and they are broken. Your girl will be sexualized before she’s ready to be. She’ll be groomed by society and the media to believe she is supposed to be flawless—pretty and sexy and virginal all at the same time. You will run yourself ragged chasing her around, telling her that her value lies within and assuring her that everyone in Hollywood’s hair is fake.
But take heart, girl momma. You are about to give birth to a powerful creature. She will be the perfect combination of hard and soft. She’ll be a fighter, a caregiver, a listener and a talker. She’ll change the way you see the world and she’ll change the way you see yourself.
You’ll see the way the world treats its women–its mothers and its daughters. In many ways, the world pits its women against each other at birth. You’ll hear the old sayings “a daughter steals her mother’s beauty”. Smile through your gritted teeth, because you know it isn’t true. You’ll know that your children make you better. Stronger, wiser, more compassionate—every one of them. You’ll know the only thing she stole from you was another piece of your heart. And you’ll know that if she’d only asked, she could’ve had it anyway. You’ll know down in the depths of your soul, that bringing her into this world has made it a better place.
When you said you hoped it would be a boy, I tried to stop you. Not because you were wrong then, but because it would feel wrong to you later. I said the same things, girl momma. I made the same excuses. I undermined the power of my daughter before she even existed. I made snide comments about drama, and hair and the color pink, because I didn’t know better. Because I didn’t know her.
I didn’t know the wonderful creature that lay in wait inside me. I didn’t know she’d have her daddy’s dimples. That she’d talk more than I do. That she’d build block towers taller than one-year-olds should and take hold of my hand so I could “come see”. I didn’t know that she would be able to love so softly and so sweetly, yet fight so bravely and so fiercely. I didn’t know she’d be a fearless climber, a spontaneous hugger and a non-conformist dancer. I didn’t know when I said it, and neither did you.
So don’t punish yourself, girl momma, when you finally understand, because she’s going to need you. You will be her hero. You will be her example. You’ll realize how much more you should’ve loved yourself, and you’ll teach her to do better. You’ll grow together, because a daughter doesn’t steal her mother’s beauty–she reveals what was underneath it.
Note: A version of this post appeared on She Is Fierce.