When Baby Isn’t the Gender You Had Hoped For

What do you do when baby doesn't turn out to be the gender you had hoped for?  A candid discussion with Amy @ RaisingArrows.netPerhaps you’ve had your hopes and dreams set on having a little girl, but God hasn’t given you one.  Or maybe He’s given you girls, followed by a string of boys.  Or maybe it’s the other way around and you’ve only had girls and really would like the joy of raising a little rough and tumble boy to carry on the family name.

And you feel guilty.

You know you should feel blessed by the gender God has given you, but you can’t help but feel disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped.  Sure you love those babies with all your heart, but deep in your heart you wonder if you’ll ever get your wish.

I know this because I’ve lived it.

My story probably isn’t the same as yours, but I know what it feels like to wish baby was the opposite gender.  I know what the longing feels like.  I know what the guilty disappointment feels like.

When Emily passed away in 2008, I desperately wanted another girl.  Not that I wanted to replace her, but because I wanted to regain a little of what I had lost.  Instead, I had a blond haired boy on New Year’s Day of 2009 whom we named Micah.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

I remember my OB saying she felt it was probably best I did have a boy following Emily’s death, and I quickly came to the place where I agreed with her.  He was a delight, and I was not sorry he was a boy for long.

When Micah turned 1, I found out I was pregnant again.  This became a pivotal point for me.  In my mind, I had “done my time.”  I had birthed a boy child following my daughter’s death, and I “deserved” a girl.  I became very wrapped up in wanting a girl.  In fact, going into the sonogram, I was nearly sick to my stomach with anxiety.  Because we never let the sonographer tell us what we are having, but we always look for ourselves, it leaves a shadow of a doubt we carry with us into the delivery room.  However, looking at the sonogram that day, I was pretty sure I saw a boy.

And I cried.

All the way home.

And many days after that.

I compared sonogram photos of my other babies, hoping to be wrong.  Hoping the little one I was carrying was not another boy.

But, he was…

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

Little Garin had colic and I had postpartum depression – both of these were firsts for our family.  However, as Garin grew, and both the colic and PPD subsided, I began to see what an amazing gift the Lord had given me in this child.  Garin was and is an absolute joy to raise.  I realized I had squandered a lot of time wishing for him to be something other than what he was.  I had not been enjoying my little boys because I was too busy wishing for another little girl.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.nerWhen I became pregnant with our next child, I vowed NOT to waste time wishing for a girl.  I threw myself into preparing for a new baby no matter the gender.  We came up with a boy name we loved.  I decorated in blues and yellows.  And I began to ENJOY the boys God had given me.

Including the little boy named Creed born January 2013.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.netHe was my third boy in a row, and I was thrilled!

I now have 5 boys.  They are rowdy and rambunctious, but wholeheartedly devoted to their mama.  In fact, I’ve come to a place where I’ve wondered if this baby is a girl, do I even remember how to be a baby girl mama again?  It’s been 7 years since I had a little girl, and with Emily gone, my next girl in age is 10.  My girls are at a very different stage in life than my little boys.  My house is no longer filled with girly toys, but rather Legos and cars.  Wrestling is a daily occurrence, and the words, “Don’t hurt your brother,” are said multiple times a day.  This zoo of boys is my norm.  In fact, the 4 youngest boys have taken on the collective term “little boys.”  As in, “My little boys are all wearing red,” or, “Little boys, come here!”

Do I still wish for a girl?  I don’t know if WISH is the right word.  I would love to have the chance to raise another girl.  Yet, I know in my heart it would be scary because of my circumstances – having had my last little girl pass away at the age of 7 months.

Do I feel I NEED another little girl.  No, not anymore.  I have learned to celebrate each precious life – boy or girl.

But, it wasn’t easy.  It was a God thing.

When Baby isn't the Gender You Had Hoped For | RaisingArrows.net

I would like to offer you some suggestions on how to learn to celebrate each baby no matter the gender because I’m a practical person who likes to have tangible ways to help me work through difficult circumstances.  These are not meant to be “band-aid” solutions or ways to just “get by.”  These are ways to start training your brain to see your babies as blessings and gifts from God in exactly the gender package God intended.

*Enjoy the children you have.  One thing I wasn’t truly doing was enjoying my little guys.  I was looking toward the next pregnancy as the one that would bring me another chance at a girl.  This is not how God intends for you to parent.  Enjoy the babies you have!  Find good things about having a string of boys (or girls)!  Revel in the fact that these little ones were given to you and learn to cherish that!

*If you find out gender ahead of time, take that knowledge and make it special.  Buy or make something special just for that baby.  Celebrate – and I don’t necessarily mean a “Reveal Party” because that could backfire on you if well-meaning friends and family are disappointed and say so.  Take time to enjoy your pregnancy and prepare for the new baby in a special way.  Come up with a name you love.  Take time to ponder who the new baby will look like.  Thank the Lord for this new life and the privilege to carry this child.

*Don’t let others feel sorry for you.  Even if you are feeling sorry for you, don’t allow others to do the same as that will only perpetuate your feelings of disappointment.  You can be honest with those you love, but if you are going to learn to be content, you have to learn to be outwardly blessed by the gender of children the Lord has given you.  You don’t have to quote Scripture to exude thankfulness.  You need only to offer a smile and an appreciation for the children you have.

*Make having a lot of one gender special.  This is where it gets fun!  Dress them alike.  Plan parties and outings and homeschool projects that cater to their gender.  Be a boy or girl mom full force!

*Be joyful and count your blessings – but give yourself grace.  Once upon a time, I had more girls than boys.  In the blink of an eye, that changed.  Of all people, I should have been thankful.  I should have counted my blessings.  But, in my humanness, I wanted what I did not have.  Learning to see my boys as something other than stepping stones on my way to the girl I felt I deserved took time, humility, and an entire change of heart.  I needed grace to get past the guilt and disappointment.


Do you have a story to share about your own disappointment?  Perhaps you have an encouraging word for mamas traveling this same road.  Please, feel free to share your thoughts and comments below so that others may be encouraged and blessed!

L€™Bri Aloe Vera Skincare Giveaway

Last year, I introduced you to my aloe vera based skincare routine from L’BRI.  My skin has been in much better shape since using it, so today, I wanted to introduce you to another product from L’BRI you might be interested in – the Facial Masque.

Facial Masque

When Caroline, my L’BRI distributor, told me this was one of her favorite products, I definitely wanted to see for myself.

By the way, here’s a video she did on the Facial Masque —>

The bottle has a black lid you pull up on and then you squeeze a bit into your hand (you only need a little, so this bottle will last you a really long time!) and rub it all over your face.  I like to put it on after a shower because you definitely want to have your bangs pulled back out of the way.

Facial Masque on

Now, here’s the really fun part – this masque dries so tight you won’t be able to move your face!  (My kids think it is hilarious!)  However, it’s not a dry itchy feeling like you get with many clay-based masks.  The first ingredient is aloe extract, so you get a very different experience.  You actually feel your skin being nourished.  This is a product you can use about once a week to really tighten and firm your skin.  It has been a fabulous addition to my L’BRI skin care routine – thanks Caroline for introducing me to it!

Would you like to try a bottle for yourself?

This week, Caroline is giving away
a bottle of the Facial Masque and a bottle of Facial Cleanser

Facial MasqueL'BRI Facial Cleanser

All you have to do to enter to win is follow the instructions in the giveaway widget below!

But first, a few quick things I need to mention€¦
L€™BRI products are made in the U.S.A. and they do not ship outside the United States.  All orders over $60 have FREE shipping.  You can also become a consultant for L€™BRI yourself!  Go HERE to learn more.

L'BRI Aloe Vera Skincare Giveaway! | RaisingArrows.net

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How I Became the Perfect Everything

How I became the perfect everything (because no method in the world is going to get it right) | RaisingArrows.netNot too long ago, I began to have the distinct feeling that I was wasting time. Every conference I went to, every conversation I had, every song I listened to, every Bible passage I read seemed to point me to the fact that I was seriously wasting time.

I didn€™t mean to do it. In fact, I wasn€™t even aware of it. But, when the same words continued to be spoken into my life, I knew I needed to take a hard look at what those words were saying.

The specific words weren€™t, €œYou are wasting time, Amy.€ They were things like:

€œYou don€™t need to be Jesus to your kids. You need them to need Jesus.€ ~Angie Smith

€œI realized it had to be Jesus + Nothing.€ ~Kendra Fletcher

“but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4

€œYou gave me life worth dying for, but between the altar and the door, I bought the lies that promised more€¦All my deeds and my good name are just dirty rags that tear and strain to cover all my guilty stains that You already washed away.€
All You€™ve Ever Wanted by Casting Crowns

To you, those words may not sound anything like, €œYou are wasting time.€ But to me, that is exactly what they were saying. They were telling me that I have been focused for far too long on the details, always missing the big picture. They were telling me that in the process of managing a household, homeschooling a ton of kids, being a wife, and writing a blog I wasn€™t allowing myself to be raw in front of anyone, so no one could see (including myself) that I needed Christ. These words were telling me that I was working and working and working for something that had already been taken care of.

It was almost as if I was on a hamster wheel – wasting time going in circles. Over and over again, I was rolling through the same stuff, working myself into a frenzy, but never getting anywhere.

And never acknowledging that Jesus had already taken care of it all.

We read blogs, talk to friends, ask questions on Facebook trying to figure out how to be the perfect parent, perfect wife, perfect homeschooler.  We hash and rehash conversations, searching for answers that only seem to be temporary.  We live a discouraged, beaten-down life.  Yet, we weren’t called to that sort of life!  We were called to victory, we were called to abundance, we were called to joy overflowing.

Where did we go wrong?

We tried to be everything.

Let me tell you something…

I talk a good talk. My bio photo even says €œan abundant life,€ but I wasn’t acknowledging that abundance in life has nothing to do with how quickly I get my housework done or how calm the kids are or how well I homeschool. In fact, I bought the lie that those things really mattered to God. That my sacrifices somehow made me holy before Him.

The truth is, He can€™t even see my filthy rags.

The truth is, He wants my heart, not my works.

I was wasting time trying to be everything…trying to get it all right.

Friends, if you are doing the same thing I was, I want to encourage you to lay that burden down right now.  It’s not yours.  Jesus didn’t ask you to be somebody, He asked you to be HIS.

How I Became the Perfect Everything (stop wasting time!) | RaisingArrows.netHe wants your every day, every moment.  He covers the mess ups, the gaps, the craziness.  And He gives you JOY!

What your children need is a mom totally sold out to Christ.  They need a mom who isn’t wasting time being perfect, but who perseveres through it all because she knows where her strength comes from and she knows she can’t do it without Jesus.

You know how I became the perfect everything?
I gave up.

I can’t mess this up if my heart is focused on Jesus.  I can’t mess this up if I ask the Lord with a contrite heart for daily provisions in my parenting, homeschool, and homemaking.  I can’t mess this up if I am loving Him and pouring that full heart into my children’s lives, my husband’s life, and beyond.

I’m not going to get this all right.  There is no formula or method that will make any of us the perfect parent, homeschooler, mom, wife, friend.  We are wasting time if we think there is and we go chasing after everything that tells us so.

You can be the perfect everything not because of ANYTHING YOU DO, but because JESUS ALREADY IS.  Every step you make is covered.  Just walk it with your heart mind and soul focused on Him.

 

Titus 2 IRL – Is that what you really want?

Titus 2 IRL - Is that what you really want? | RaisingArrows.netOften, I receive emails from young moms crying out for an older woman to be a Titus 2 mentor to them.  Years ago, I wrote about how you should not be so caught up in looking, you forget to be a Titus 2 woman to someone else because there is always someone who could use what wisdom you have gleaned thus far.  But today, I want to address another aspect of this search for the Titus 2 woman. Because we have a shortage of Titus 2 women in our real lives, we tend to turn to Facebook and blogs and forums to find our Titus 2 help.  I’m sure many of you have mulled over the question of whether or not today’s young wife and mother really needs a real life mentor?  Could these blogs and forums and connections on social media be the Titus 2 of today? Before I answer this, let’s go back in time… In yesteryear, your Titus 2 women were a part of the local congregation.  You knew if an older woman was someone you wanted teaching you because she had proven herself.  The entire community could see that fact.  Young mothers knew they could count on her advice because they had seen her run her household day in and day out and they were able to observe the fruit of her labor.  It was obvious she was for real. Likewise, the older women could see the needs of the younger women.  They saw these woman with their husbands and children out and about and could readily ascertain many of the issues they were having. Now before you tell me those were the “good ole days”, I want you to consider how much you would welcome an older woman’s advice?   Would you really be all ears or do you think maybe, just maybe, you might end up feeling cornered?  Would that older woman come off as helpful or presumptuous and meddling?  Would you only want her advice if you sought it?  Would you be irritated if she kept a watchful eye on your progress? It’s tough to take criticism.  It’s tough to be told something in your life needs to change.  And it is beyond tough to be held accountable for the lessons you’ve been taught.  When we do our Titus 2-ing online, we can lie about how we are doing or hide behind a passive-agressive Facebook status.  We can even unfriend and walk away. The reason I think having In Real Life Titus 2 mentors is important isn’t because of the sweet and precious moments of fellowship we might have with an older woman, but because of the hard stuff no one can really manage from an online platform. There is no online substitute for accountability and tough love. Do you want someone to be real with you?  Are you willing to be real with them?  I wonder if we lack Titus 2 women in our communities because we aren’t willing to have someone meddling in our lives and/or we are afraid of meddling in the lives of others? Can we have online Titus 2 women?  Yes – but they have to be women who aren’t afraid to check up on us and ask the hard questions.  And most importantly, we need to truly see the fruit in their lives.  This doesn’t necessarily mean all their adult children are Christians (because God doesn’t have grandchildren and people make their own choices) nor does it mean they do everything right all the time.  But it does mean you know what their home life is like and you know if they truly are striving on a daily basis to live for Christ and serve their families in His name.  It will be difficult to find this type of relationship online, but not completely impossible. Should we have IRL Titus 2 women?  Yes – but be prepared to listen and potentially get your feelings stepped on.  If you want those real relationships, you have to be willing to be real and raw and teachable.  Iron sharpens iron and sharpening hurts.  Be aware that Titus 2 relationships are going to be this kind of hurt from time to time. So, Titus 2 seekers, let me leave you with this final question that each of you must answer on your own – Is that what you really want?   If so, then it is time to put yourself out there and let older women know how much you need them and how you are willing to hear what they have to say and how you are willing to be held accountable.  Stop looking for an older woman to have a cup of coffee with, and start looking for one who has proven herself and has wisdom to share!

Learning to Love Every Age and Stage

Learning to Love Every Age and Stage | RaisingArrows.netWe have a wide range of ages in our household – all the way from little bitty to nearly grown.  It’s a lot to keep up with, but I enjoy it so much!  However, I remember a time when this wasn’t the case.  I remember when I didn’t relish every moment because I didn’t know I was missing anything.  And even if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have known how to change it.

Then I reconnected with a childhood friend who was very vocal about loving her children.  She loved them “out loud.”  She told me she would memorize their little faces as they nursed because she didn’t want to miss a moment.  And I was in awe.

It had never occurred to me to enjoy my children right where they were.  I was always too busy trying to get them to the next stage.

Learning to Love Every Age & Every Stage | RaisingArrows.net

So many mamas are rushing through their children’s childhoods. Some are excited for the future. Some are weary of the present.  Some know they should slow down.  Some never give it a thought and just keep plodding away.  Most are a mixture of all of these, and far too many of us are “missing the moments.”

Enjoy Every Age and Stage | RaisingArrows.net

Baby Creed is 14 months old.  Every day I wake up and stare at him and realize he is growing up before my eyes, and if I don’t enjoy the very age he is right now, I will never have that chance again.

I am thankful the Lord brought someone {back} into my life who truly loved her children and showed me by example how to make memories with my children before I found myself with only memories to hold on to.

You may never know the pain and emptiness of losing a child, but if you do not grab hold of the age and stage your children are right this very minute, there will come a day when they will be gone in the figurative sense, and you will wonder why you didn’t savor their growing up years.

Learning to Love Every Age & Stage | RaisingArrows.net

There isn’t some magical formula to loving your children right where they are.  It is more a careful and purposeful slowing down to gain perspective.  It is a hug, a kiss, a smile, a listening ear.  It is taking photos and videos – even if they are on a cell phone.  It is keeping a journal with them or sharing a Special Night.  It is being a student of your child, learning more about them every day.  It is thinking before you speak, and loving more than you lecture.  It is speaking out loud just how blessed you are.  It is looking for the good in every age and stage, rather than dwelling on the bad.

It is realizing they do grow up, faster than you would ever imagine.

Large Family Homeschooling eBook | by Amy Roberts of RaisingArrows.net

A Mother’s Love {Welcome Home Wednesday}

A Mother's Love {Welcome Home Wednesday Homemaking Link Up on Raising Arrows}This week my mom is here visiting and helping our family pack up for our move. At night, we all sit around the table and play games. We have laughed so much this week that my throat is hoarse and my sides hurt, but I go to bed every night with a smile on my face.

My mom is here because she loves us. She’s willing to do anything within her power to make this move easy.  I am grateful she is here, and especially grateful for the evenings spent laughing.

This week I want to honor a mother’s love with links from last week that really spoke to my heart as a mother who dearly wants to love her children with the love my mother has for me.

First up, a couple of posts with photos that made me smile.

Lisha from The ‘Blish shared her day in photos.  There was a lot of love there and it was a fun post to look through.

Jilllian from Olive Plants & Cornerstones shared 13 Lessons motherhood has taught her, but it was the photo that caught my eye.  Perhaps because my own son will soon be 16, and I could see myself and my little guy all those years ago. *sniff*

The-changing-seasons1-300x235

Jennifer from A Heart for the Home talked about Embracing Your Season.  Considering I’m in quite a season right now, this stood out to me as something I needed to read.  Stress abounds, but the ability to embrace it and even laugh through it is beautiful!

Whitney from Beauty in the Mess had a wonderful post on grace and forgiveness toward your children when they do something that really bends you out of shape.

I also enjoyed seeing how Katheryn from The Fit & Healthy Homeschool Mom is building relationships with her children.

And finally, a must-read from Lisa at Frontline Moms & Dads entitled 10 Reasons My Older Kids Still Go to Church.

The common thread you are going to see in these posts is RELATIONSHIP – the kind of relationship that packs up a household by day and sits around a dining room table at night playing games and laughing far too long and far too loud.

Thank you, mom.

Before we head on into this week’s link up, the most clicked post of last week was from Meghan at First Comes Love and her post on buying clearance now with next fall and winter in mind.

Now, it’s your turn!
Leave up to 3 links that will encourage homemakers this week!
{If you are reading this via email, please click HERE to find all the links and leave your own.}

Welcome Home Wednesdays
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