I thought I was prepared to hear the sex of my second child. My daughter was almost 5 at the time, and I was convinced I was having another girl. I'm not sure why. I guess, if I'm being honest, I simply thought I wouldn't be a great mom to a boy. I was afraid. But the ultrasound technician told me I was having a son, and, even before he was born, my baby boy changed my life. I know I'm not alone, so I asked other moms to share how having a son changed them, too. All I have to say is: prepare to feel all the goddamn feels.
When I first heard I was having a son, I cried. I was so afraid of raising a boy I was almost disappointed, which I now feel incredibly guilt about. After all, my son is one of the best things to ever happen to me. And my fears, however valid in the moment, were based on preconcieved notions that, it turns out, don't hold any weight. In the end, there was simply no way I could have anticipated how much I would love him the moment I held him in my arms. There was no way of knowing how differently I'd feel about him compared to his sister — in a good way. I was afraid of the unknown, but the unknown turned out to be an incredible life change that has only made me a better mother.
My daughter changed me too, of course, but in different ways. Before her arrival I was an irresponsible, immature young woman. She made me a mother prepared to sacrifice anything and everything for her children. Still, my son transformed me in ways I couldn't have imagined. He made me stronger, and more confident in my parenting. He reminds me that I can do, and be, absolutely anything I want. And, just as I suspected, I am not the only mother to have been changed by her son. Here's how other moms were impacted the day their sons were born:
"Having boys has made me incredibly aware of their emotional wellbeing, and my intense desire for them to learn to be respectful of women and view them as equals. My goal is for them to learn that every emotion is OK, and that I am interested in learning about their emotions. I let them be angry, cry, scream, and it's all ok. Especially with everything going on in the media with the sexual assaults and men feeling like they can treat women however they want, I want my boys to think the opposite.
I try to do this by letting them get the purple cups they ask for, refusing to identify his new friend at school who happens to be a girl as his girlfriend, and teaching him that he is in control of his body, so he doesn't have to hug anyone, including relatives, if he doesn't want to. I've never thought much about the fact that I'm female, but this changed dramatically when I had boys."
"Before the ultrasound tech told me anything, I always envisioned myself raising a fiercely independent daughter who could protect herself from predatory men. But when I ended up having a baby boy, I had no clue what to do. I soon realized that having a son meant it was my responsibility to raise him so that those kind of safety talks won't be necessary for the next generation of daughters. He will call out sexism, he will listen, and he will know that gender doesn't determine worth."
"I’m about to have my fourth boy in a few weeks and always pictured myself as a 'girl mom.' Having boys has definitely helped me embrace my own unique motherhood style — very free range and laid back — whereas had I had girls I might have absorbed more social expectations and pressures. It’s hard to explain, but I think being a 'boy mom' has made me more of my true self."
"I'm a single mom, so my sons have taken on the role of my protecters. This has changed me by making me stronger. I don't want my sons to feel like they need to protect me. They're still kids and it's my job to show them that I can take care of myself."
"Discussing boy/man issues as he grows and the body image issues of boys is different, yet the same, as girls. Hard to approach it [in a way] politically correct [way] these days."
"My pregnancy was unexpected, and occurred at kind of a weird time in my life. I had just put in my notice at my job and decided to make the leap into freelancing. Then I discovered I was expecting. The jolt of reality was a challenge, but I had always dreamed of having a little girl of my own, even if the timing didn't align. I had this fear that if I was having a boy, he would become 'part of the problem' with our world and culture. I have experienced sexually predatory men, had once been outright told at my job that I was making half of what my male counterpart was making because he 'had a family to support,' and watched as politicians rose to power in spite of (because of?) their disregard for women and others.
If I had a son, he would be born into privilege. White, male privilege. I worried he would be spoiled and entitled. So I was sad when I discovered I was expecting a little boy, and became even sadder as I watched Trump elected president of the United States in November. I was ashamed of my sadness, too. I knew I was fortunate to be expecting a child at all. But I had so many fears about raising him right. I pictured how the mother of Dylan Klebold must have felt, feeling like she had failed. The mother of Brock Turner. The mother of Donald Trump. I had so much fear and anxiety.
Then my little boy, Cameron, entered the world in February. I looked into his sweet eyes and realized I'd been looking at things all wrong. I wasn't contributing to a greater problem. Cameron was an opportunity and a blessing. Cameron wasn't put on Earth to further our culture's troubles. We were brought together so I could raise him right, and he is such a light during a dark time. I will raise him to be a protector and advocate. And he was born a little white privileged boy precisely because that's how he could make the biggest impact. He can use his privilege, his color, his sex, to be a force for good, and motivate others to do positive things.
While I was pregnant I wrote a children's book for Cameron called Citizen of the World, all about being the change you wish to see. It will be my greatest privilege, honor, and challenge to ensure he carries those values his whole life. My son will be the man you can trust your daughter with. My son will be the friend who protects the bullied. My son will celebrate his partner's promotion rather than feel threatened by it. And the world is a better place because he's here. I can't imagine my life with anything other than this perfect, sweet, warm-hearted little boy. I am the luckiest mom in the world."
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