While From the moment I found out that my first child was a girl, dreams and fears began sprouting up.
Some I nurtured, like the dream of raising a girl into a strong woman. Some I tried to prune, like the fears of protecting her from sexual violence, and the discrimination she would face as a female. Looking back, I see that it was hard not to dream and envision in a gender biased way, and to be honest, I never tried not to.
The Beginnings of Raising a Daughter
My little girl grew up loving nature, dress up, and art. I was a postpartum doula during her young childhood, and she was incredibly interested in birth. I was consciously very open and honest about our human bodies; I didn’t hide anything from her. In my hopes of her not feeling shame about her body, I was clear and open about the names and functions of our body parts. I let her delve into her interest of birth and babies. She had lots of books about the body, carried around a birthing doll (complete with a placenta), accompanied me to all my La Leche League meetings, and became known as a baby whisperer with my doula clients!
I asked myself, is my goal as a parent to raise a female child into an empowered feminine being? Or is it to raise a perfect human being into being in tune with their true Self?
I felt like I was doing this mama thing right– raising a girl who wasn’t ashamed to talk about her body, and most importantly, wasn’t afraid to ask questions. After many years of serving women as a doula and nurse, I had deepened my knowledge of the power of the womb. I understood the heart softening medicine of caring for the breasts, and how to nurture and support the hormonal dance within a woman’s body. I felt armed with knowledge and ready to usher my daughters into their teenage years and young adulthood with the tools to embody their feminine nature.
A Change of Perspective, A Change in Parenting
I felt guilty for my internal response. Why was this so hard for me? Why did I feel so much resistance? I felt those same tendrils of fear coming up just like during pregnancy. How would they be accepted by family, by society? Would they be bullied or hurt? Where would they go to the bathroom at school? Would they want surgery or hormones? Was I prepared for that?
Accepting My Role and Understanding My Own Identity
Over the past two years since they shared this with me, I’ve taken a good long look at my own biases, fears, and assumptions about my role as a parent. Grief began to emerge, beckoning to me to take a deeper look at it. I realized part of my resistance was that in the story I had been building around myself as a mother of girls. I had become very attached to my outlook on the power of “the feminine” within myself. In my journey, overcoming insecurities about my female body and embracing its power felt revolutionary. Because I had identified so deeply with that story, it hurt to hear my child say they wished they didn’t have a uterus or that they hate their breasts. I had to grieve that feeling of “success” at mothering girls that I had, being so eager to encourage body positivity and embracing their feminine selves. Something wasn’t sitting right with me about this.
As I contemplated my views on “body positivity”, I saw how binary and biased my thinking was. I asked myself, is my goal as a parent to raise a female child into an empowered feminine being? Or is it to raise a perfect human being into being in tune with their true Self? Do I want my children to love their bodies “just as they are”, or do I want to embrace the complexities of this human experience and walk along side my children on their journey of discovering who they are?
Integrating the Evolution of My Parenting
I am parenting a unique soul that is finding their own course, creating their own grooves in the earth, led by their own divine wisdom. I see it as my responsibility now to dive in and educate myself about self love for the infinite self, rather than just the feminine self. I am grateful for my connection to the feminine; I don’t abandon it. I take that wisdom with me as I sit before the feet of my teachers, my children, our children, their new eyes, their unfettered vision of themselves, of humanity, of the future. I am in service to you, and I will do the work to walk beside you on your journey.
Article compliments of
Mother, RN, Ayurvedic Health Counselor