For most of the 9 month duration of my pregnancy, I was absolutely certain that my child was a girl. I am one of three girls, my sister has 2 daughters; boys just aren’t born into my family. Somewhere towards the last few weeks, I started having doubts. These were intensified on numerous unsolicited occasions when strangers told me they thought my bump was boy shaped. I continued to refuse to entertain the thought consciously.
I was denied the questionable privileged of enduring labour because my child was facing the wrong way, insisting on being born feet first and head last if allowed to enter the world of his own accord. This comes with assorted frightening risks, which I declined in favour of the entirely undesirable (on my part) Caesarean section.
So there they were, rearranging my insides and removing the foreign body, through an incision so small it defies logic while I gave a running commentary of how unpleasant I was finding the whole situation to Husband. They announced that the child was born and Husband could have a look if he stood up. He did, then sat down quickly to attend once again to my hysterical ramblings. “So?”, I demanded, “What is it?”. “Oh.”, he replied. “I forgot to look.”. For the love of waiting 9 months to find out the sex of your child, you have got to be kidding me! He stood up again. He sat down slower. “It’s not a girl.” He said quietly.
There was lots of shouting to 10, someone was doing the dishes in my stomach. I assumed they were attempting to put things back where they found them, I’m not sure they were successful! This all went numb in the background; I felt the weight of lost hope crashing in on me. My face visibly fell. I think I started crying. My husband looked concerned. “You’re not upset, are you?” he asked.
I had pretended I didn’t care before. It’ll be nice for my family to have a boy baby in their world, I’d told everyone. But I did care. I didn’t want a boy. A boy would dress in pants and shirts, without pink or frills. A boy would play boy sports. A boy would never want to talk the night away about love and life and all things girlie. A boy would leave and be involved with his future wife and her family.
And then they brought him round, behind the blue curtain and put him on my chest. His tiny little body fitted into the crook of my neck. He was beautiful. His head looked like a bicycle helmet. He was perfect. He was mine. I started to cry properly then. “I forgive him”, I whispered to Husband.
And so began my journey of learning to speak boy.