How Having a Girl Has Made Me a Stronger Woman
Updated: Apr 14, 2019
From the moment I told my family I was pregnant, everyone thought it was a boy. Then when I told my friends, same reaction. Everyone was convinced that Tyler and I were having a baby boy. I started looking at blue paint for the nursery, and spent all my time picturing myself with my son. I have two sisters, I have never been around a little boy expect for the ones I would babysit when I was in high school. I pictured playing in the mud and looking for bugs. I pictured Tyler teaching him how to throw a football or hit a baseball. I imagined the day he would meet his wife and how he would be the best husband ever because I would raise him to respect women always. I was excited for my life as a boy mom to start.
Two days before our gender reveal party, we went in for an ultrasound, and the doctor put the gender of our baby into an envelope. I wasn’t even nervous or overly excited because I already knew, I was having a boy. From there we went to party city with the envelope, a big black balloon, and two bags; one filled with pink confetti and the other filled with blue. After we left party city with our balloon full of pink or blue confetti, a thought started to creep into my mind. What if I was having a girl? I honestly hadn’t even considered my life with a daughter. And the idea of that scared me. Not only because I had not mentally prepared for having a girl, but having a daughter is hard. The world is a lot scarier and much harder for them than it is for boys.
Over the next 24 hours I pictured my life with a little girl. It wasn’t a horrible thought. I was good with little girls, I grew up with two. I knew that no matter what we found out tomorrow, Tyler and I were going to be happy just to have a healthy baby.
On March 3, 2018, we had a party at my parents house with all of our closest friends and family. Everyone picked their team by wearing pink or blue. I wore pink, trying to pretend I wasn't secretly praying for a boy. Towards the end of the party, we all gathered in my parents living room. Tyler held the balloon while we thanked everyone for coming. Once everyone was in the room we started the countdown. It was finally time. There was a loud pop and pink confetti rained down all around us. Everyone cheered and Tyler picked me up and spun me around. We were having a girl. I had so many feelings flood through my body, but the only feeling I let show was excitement.
For the next hour or so, we made our rounds, thanking everyone for coming. We took a couple of photos and then sent everyone home. After everyone left, my sisters went in the rooms, Tyler and my dad went outside to started cleaning up, and I went into the living room where we popped the balloon. I sat on the ground and stared at all the pink that surrounded me. I started to cry. I didn't want to have a girl, and that made me feel guilty which made me cry even more.
After a few minutes of crying alone my mom came downstairs and saw me. After talking to her I realized, It wasnt that I didn't want to have a girl. It was that I was too scared to have one. I've been on this planet for 22 years as a girl, and I know how scary and how hard it can be. Being a woman is a disadvantage in so many areas of life. I never wanted her to struggle with anything, let alone struggle because of something that she couldn't control, like her gender.
The pressure that the media pushes on women and young girls to be skinny and beautiful is crushing. 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the United States right now. Yep, you heard me right. 30 million. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any mental illness, killing someone every 60 minutes. Both men and women can suffer from eating disorders, but a female is three times more likely to develop an eating disorder.
Ready for an even scarier statistic? Every 92 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, and over the 90% of them are women. 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted and 1 in six will be a victim of rape. 81% of those rape victims will experience long term effects of PTSD. That means they will be followed by flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, and many end up self harming. And those statistics are only gather from the assaults that have been reported. Thousands go their entire life without reporting it, myself included.
The inequality women deal with everyday is mind blowing. I have experienced sexism first hand. I have seen the women I love and respect be put down or degraded just because they are women. I have been called horrifying names like it was nothing. Unequal pay, lack of respect, high assault percentages, you name it and women face it. I didn't want any of that for my daughter.
So I was faced with a couple options. I could either sit there and cry about how the world is unfair, or I could do my part to make a change and make the world a better place for my daughter to grow up. I have always considered myself a feminist, but once I found out I was having a girl, my ideals became even stronger than they were before.
If there are any mommy's reading this right now that are having a baby girl, I'm sorry and I'm not trying to scare you. But I do want you to be aware that the world is a brutal place. And that can be frightening, but we have the power to change it. Speak up, be loud, don't let anyone silence you. Stand up for what is right and make the world safer for our daughters. Lead by example. Encourage her to join our fight. Strong women raise strong women.
And if you're reading this and you have a little boy, make sure you instill the type of values in him that make a great man. Talk about consent and respect. Put down toxic masculinity before it has a chance to form.
The world is changing, and women are gaining more power everyday. The #MeToo movement has empowered women across the globe, including myself. We are normalizing breastfeeding and shutting down rape culture. Equal pay in being talked about and trans women have more rights now than they ever have before. More and more states are giving women the right to choose what to do with their bodies. Women are finally being heard and action is finally being taken.
There is still a long way to go, but we are on the right track. The day I found out I was having a daughter, I became a stronger woman. I grow everyday because of her. My hope is that one day, women will be held in the same statue as men. If that isn't the world that Paisley gets to grow up in, I hope she follows in my foot steps, and the footsteps of the other strong women she is surrounded by, and stand up for this fight.
So mama, don't be scared for your little girl. Be aware, be strong, and love your daughter. We got this.