(Don’t) look to me for what a woman looks like

I have a five-month-old baby girl. I didn’t want a girl. I can imagine how this sounds. I wanted two boys. I already have a four-year-old boy, and I hoped for another one. 

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Before I had a girl, even imagining I would have one felt like I’d tripped an alarm system in my mind. And we all know that when an alarm is activated, the noise is so loud and jarring that the only thing to do is deactivate it, fast. 

But this also meant I didn’t even engage with the sound of the alarm, because I just wanted it turned off. I couldn’t sit with the discomfort of those jarring thoughts. I distracted myself and so I never really thought about the ‘why’. 

But sometimes life has other plans. My partner and I found out we were having a baby girl at the three-month scan last March. And so I had a whole six months to either try and avoid the alarm or instead, when it tripped, allow myself to listen to it. 

So I practised listening to it a bit more… not a lot… but for longer periods. I waited a bit longer each time before I deactivated the alarm. 

I didn’t want a girl because I didn’t believe I could show her what a woman looks like. Or at least the version of a woman that society accepts. 

I didn’t want a girl because I was scared of misogyny, of the male gaze and of society's relationship with her body.

I didn’t want a girl because I wanted to spare my child from a world that already has an opinion about how she should show up. 

But I also I didn’t want a girl because I knew that I would have to square down, deeply, my own discomfort. 

As the months wore on I started to feel less frightened. Not because the perceived threats were any less real. But because I challenged my belief that life ‘would’ be uncomfortable for my daughter. 

So I started to really think about the world she was entering. If I wanted to raise her consciously, there was no way I was going to do this by deactivating alarms and dissociating from reality. 

I know that I can’t show my daughter the exact body society aspires to, I can’t show her a 2.4 heterosexual family, or a woman who will respect men for their gender alone. 

But I can show her self-acceptance, self-trust and self-advocacy. 

My daughter who is five months old fills me with hope, not fear. 

I want a girl. 

Exactly the girl I’ve got. 

And I hope that she can look to me for what a woman looks like. Because the message I will keep telling her is… don’t look out, look in. 

And this is the message that I want to tell you today too, on International Women's Day... look to yourself for what a woman looks likes. 

The power is in you, it's waiting to be unleashed. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London NW11 & W1G
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Written by Lisa Hannelore Coaching, Transformative ADHD Life & Career Coach. ICF ACC Certified
London NW11 & W1G

Lisa Hannelore holds an Accredited diploma in Transformative Coaching. Her mission is to help brave women enjoy the power and peace of living in unapologetic authenticity.

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