Thoughts on Having A Daughter

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I was working on my bio recently and felt compelled to include that after five sons Paul and I welcomed our first daughter last year, adding “Rachel hasn’t stopped smiling since.”
And this, my dear reader, is the absolute truth.
There are countless moments every single day that I am reminded of the gift of this girl in my life. My eyes will linger on her dainty hands and her sweet lips, the pink ruffle on her maryjane shoes, the petite pink flowers that cover her bedding. None of this is lost on me, and somedays I feel like a scientific observer in my own life, watching with glee and amazement and disbelief that there is a girl in our home and that she brings more sweetness than we could have ever imagined.
But in the midst of this past year of smiling, of learning to pull cable knit stockings over chubby legs and clip oversized bows into tiny wisps of a curl, there has been a wave of emotion brewing just beneath the surface, something that keeps my gushing in check (more or less) because life without a girl existed not that long ago, and because I had made peace with that being my life.
What I have felt is… sheepish. And unworthy. And a little guilty. And so very aware of how it feels to sit on the other side of this experience, the one where pregnancy after pregnancy brings boy after boy. Women who also have all these boys understand that this is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just an interesting thing. You watch the women with daughters, realize that’s not a part of your plan, and move along down the sporting good aisle.
You are fine this way. You are a big fan of boys. You recognize that for whatever reason God saw fit to just keep sending you boys, perhaps because you’re really good with boys, maybe because he wants you to be. Either way, it’s your life and you are going to find the beauty and joy and humor in this unique situation because that’s the only option you’ve got.
A few days after Isabel was born, I was in my pediatrician’s office. He and his wife had three boys before they had a girl and he was part of that funny little club — the one where you know how totally awesome it is to be raising a pack of bear cubs, but you are enjoying the sweetness of a daughter as well.
When I was visiting him that morning, in my sleep-deprived horomonally-fueled state, I admitted something insane to him.
“What am I going to write about,” I asked. “I feel like I’ve let people down.”
I didn’t want to suddenly be the woman who now had a girl and could no longer identify with Life Without Daughter. I didn’t want to abandon all my dear Moms of Boys.
It wasn’t that I was ungrateful and I certainly wasn’t willing to trade my girl for all the toot jokes in China. But for so long, I had been writing about making peace with the life God gives you, about embracing this life and enjoying the unique creature that is The Boy. And suddenly, that was no longer me.
I mean, it was still me, but it was all different. I was exactly the same and totally transformed, all at the same time.
As a woman, I had been living in a home filled with males — and I totally loved that. Rarely did I feel sorry for myself or feel lonely or even feel like something was missing. I can honestly say that I loved my life with all those boys and I felt lucky. I still do.
It wasn’t until Isabel came along that I realized how much I love having a daughter. How I love this girl and everything her sweet little sweetness brings. So far, I love every single thing about having a girl.
But I think every mother can say that about every baby. When Henry was born, our fifth boy, I was overwhelmed by his presence as well. We were amazed that we had managed so long without this precious gift. A world without Henry? Unthinkable!
So I understand that a lot of the emotions I feel about Isabel really go along with simply having a new baby in general. You can’t remember life before this child, haven’t we known you all our lives, what did we ever do without you?
But there is this whole aspect of having a daughter that is just very, very…amazing. And I think now, after a year with this girl in our life, I have to realize that we all walk a different path, whether we have boys, or girls or a mix. We each have the life God gave us, and we must each embrace that life.
God sent us a daughter — oh how we rejoice! And I know you rejoice along with us (and I thank you for that!). I don’t need to suppress my happiness, even as I strive to be mindful of all the dear women out there who will continue to be the Queen of their Testosterhome. It’s good to be Queen.
It’s also good to have a girl. Both are good. For us, here in our home, having our little girl is a beautiful gift and an overwhelming joy. We are humbled and grateful and in love.
And we have indeed been smiling since the moment we met her.




  1. Dr. Maureen says:

    What a beautiful post. I just started reading your book, and it's interesting to read it from the other side of Isabel. "If you only knew what was coming," I want to tell the you who wrote the book. But honestly, I think that your house still qualifies as a Testosterhome. You and Isabel are still fairly well outnumbered, after all. 🙂

  2. Beautiful!! I am due with my third boy in the next month, and I love to hear your sentiments. I am ecstatic to add another boy to the family, and feel so much peace that it's God's plan for our family; I feel honored to raise sons. However, I can totally relate to how much excitement and awe it would be to have a girl someday. Your expression in this picture is priceless!!

  3. Everyday Epic says:

    I have loved reading your posts! I am a mom of two boys, and my husband is a Resident Director in a college hall of 250 guys. My life is completely consumed by BOYS–and, like you said, I've made peace with it and love it. But we just found out recently that I am expecting a girl. I never, ever anticipated that we would have anything but boys, given our life til now. It's been such a gift to me to think that I'll be one of those moms pushing around a sweet little girl, but it does come with that "sheepish" feeling. Thanks for being so honest and putting into words what I've been feeling too. Keep on writing–you keep me sane in this male-dominated world! =)

  4. Betty Beguiles says:

    That is the most amazing picture! You made me cry! Just beautiful. 🙂

  5. Melissa Z says:

    Beautiful, thank you!

  6. So sweet Rachel! Thanks for sharing your journey with us – That is a great picture!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I read your blog for some years while enjoying life with my three boys. Testosterhome was the last thing I read before leaving for the hosptial at 4 a.m. for baby #4 (no kidding!). And it was a girl. Oh my! I couldn't read again for over a year, I was so overwhelmed with a new identity, some guilt and a feeling of being 'left-out' of the all-boy pack. Silly, looking back! But everything has fallen into place – the little bows and ruffles go so nicely with the tiny light sabre. And she can heavy-breathe ala Darth Vader with the rest of them. Life is good.

  8. Keri Sullivan Ninness says:

    I think this my favorite post of yours ever. You continue to outdo yourself Rachel. God made you for all those boys. He made you for that gorgeous girl. And he definitely made you to write all about it with such humor, wit and beauty. Hope the Family Balducci is well.

  9. That picture is amazing! I'm a mother of 3 girls. I can't imagine the beauty of birthing a boy, but so far, it seems that I'm made to make girls. My youngest is only 5 months old, but that photo made me want to have another baby – like now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for saying what every mom of all boys has felt. It was my favorite post of yours ever. And I am the mom of three teenage boys. (2 of whom are almost not teenagers anymore).

  11. I loved this post. We have three boys (and are most likely done) and it made me cry (not in a bad way….just a sentimental way). Well done.

  12. I've been waiting for this post since Isabel was born. Thank you for sharing your joy over your new daughter with us!

  13. I am the mom of three boys ages 6, 4, and 2, and am due any day with baby #4 – A GIRL!!!! I am so excited about it, and feel vaguely guilty for feeling so excited…my mother in law made a comment at one point to my husband that me wishing I had a girl was a little disturbing to her – that it shouldn't matter. But it DID!! Even though I would be totally fine if this would surprise us and decide to be a boy, and I would love my boys and life would be what it was, just like you said – I am treasuring the fact of a girl and girly clothes and barrettes and ribbons and ruffles and a friend one day, as I treasure my friendship with my mother. I can't wait to meet this daughter. I am so glad for you for yours. 🙂

  14. I only have one son, but am expecting our second child–a daughter–very soon.

    Though I know I would have been just as happy if the ultrasound tech had told me I was having a boy, I'm so looking forward to a daughter!

  15. Rachel,
    I loved this post! As a mom of 5 boys getting ready to welcome a little girl into our family, this spoke right to my heart.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  16. Jennifer says:

    I have wrestled with these feelings too, and I love how you put them into words. My boys are 8, 5, and 3, and my girl is 2. Hearing "It's a girl!" brought mixed emotions–excitement over a daughter, and grief to be leaving the world of all boys all the time, which I had grown to love more than I thought possible. Thank you!

  17. Seriously... says:

    I have 4 boys….and while part of me wants so bad to have a little girl, part of me would be a little sad to not just have a crew of boys…but just a little sad. Not sad enough to not try for that little girl 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Heard you on the radio the other day and had to check out your blog. Was surprised to find that you have a little girl addition to your five boys.

    As a mom of four, three wonderful boys followed by a girl, I could relate to every word here! And let me assure you, the amazement continues … When my little girl recently asked – "Can I help you clean up?", I almost passed out (having never heard those words usher from a child of mine! It's truly wonderful to have a little girl to round out the scene!


  19. I so relate to your happy confusion! We had a girl, then 5 boys. I loved (and love) our male dominated household, but then WOW! When our daughter was a senior in HS we had one girl, then another. I truly could not believe it. I still cannot believe it. I'm crazy about being a mom to my boys – having these little girls has made me grow even more in how much I love those guys. But I'm still not tired of hairbows, and I still raise a little happy prayer when I do a load of pink clothes. I think we may feel a little pang of guilt as we anticipate the times we'll share with our grown daughters. We'll have a wonderful bond with our sons, to be sure. But I think we know how awesome it will be to share in the life of our grown daughters, and we feel a little badly about anticipating a different kind of relationship with our grown sons. ?? Maybe??

  20. Rachel,

    I JUST finished your book and loved it!!!! I'm also thrilled you have a girl. I thought I wanted a family full of boys, but one is plenty for this girl 😉

    (I have one boy & two daughters) i'm looking forward to reading you're blog!!!!

  21. What a gorgeous and honest post. We have 3 awesome boys and recently found out that we are (unexpectedly) expecting. While of course my hopes and prayers are for a healthy child, there is a small part of me that is aching for this new little peanut to be all girl. I know that of course we'll be completely in love with whoever this turns out to be, but I'll admit, I long for headbands and tights and dolls, and having that amazing motherly bond with a daughter. Thanks so much for your touching and heartfelt expressions.

  22. Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba) says:

    LOVE that photo. So much.

  23. Chrys and Mike says:

    Well, that post made me tear up and then the pic at the end did me in.

    We have three boys (5, 3, 1) and are due in a couple of weeks w/ Mystery Baby (gender unknown).

    I have been amazed at how many strangers, well wishers and friends act as though having another boy would be a disappointment or second best! I would honestly love another boy to add to our little club. We aren't "trying for a girl" or "hoping for pink" or whatever folks ask. We'll truly be thrilled with whatever God gives us.

    And? Honestly? I'm a little afraid of a girl. It's the unknown. It does overwhelm me a bit if I'm honest. It's refreshing to read about the joy that sweet girl has brought to your lives.

    So I sit back and am thankful that I'm not the One choosing. It's a win either way.

    Love your blog.


  24. Oh I can so relate after having three boys and then a girl.

    But just wait until she is three and you start wondering why you wanted a girl so bad after all 😉

  25. Brianna Heldt says:

    I so loved reading this–and what a sweet photo at the end!

  26. I have one daughter, between the oldest and youngest boys. For years, I have called her my cream in my oreo… for I love all parts of oreos, each part is enjoyed for what it is. What a wonderful post, and an amazing picture. Your husband looks great too…he seems so relaxed and joyous! It must be that veteran parent thing!

  27. Anonymous says:

    So, we must keep trying baby after baby, to get the "prixe" a girl?

  28. Well, I for one, didn't keep "trying" after my 3 boys to get my "prize" little daughter!

    But I graciously received the amazing, incredible gift that she is from Him who gives us incredible blessings, if we have arms open to receive them!

    I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years, Rachel, and after having my daughter, and decreasing my computer time, I left off reading your blog.

    I was soo happy to read that you had a girl. I am still happy to read how eloquently you can put all my jumbled emotions into perfectly formed sentiments!

    Enjoy your little baby girl. Mine is two now and I love every feisty minute of her! She has been such a blessing to each one of us. It is nice to see my sons so protective of their baby sister.

  29. When you see a Protestant woman walking through church with three little boys trailing behind her, you're looking at a woman who played the lottery… and lost.

    Just found out I'm having my third boy. Who, me? Bitter? Frankly, yes.

    And the reason that same woman may not have four boys trailing behind her is because she has said to herself, "I do not have the strength to hear the ultrasound tech say one more time to me, "It's a boy…"

    I'll sound happier later. Just not this week, apparently…

  30. Thank you for this post.

    My daughter is three months old – and previously we only had wonderful, wonderful cubs. I love her to bits and love having a daughter, but at the same time, feel a bit guilty, especially to all my Mums-of-Boys friends (funny how we find each other, isn't it!)

    We would have loved our little daughter just as much if she had been a boy, but she is infinitely special just the way she is.

    I am glad to hear that it isn't just me.