When we found out we would have a daughter, I froze. I had convinced myself that it was another boy I was carrying. Sons are known territory. A good thing. Sons love their mothers, after all.
But my intuition told me this was a girl. And then we confirmed it was a girl. I was so terrified, I cried.
Mothers and daughters, I said. Mothers and daughters don’t get along.
That’s not always true, my husband told me.
I will have to teach her how to be a woman. I barely feel like a woman myself most days. No one ever told me how to be a woman, how will I teach her? I don’t know how to do woman-things.
You know plenty. You will be fine. She will be fine.
…which is silly because I don’t believe in gender roles anyway, I continued. I can’t sew or knit, which means she will never sew or knit.
If it matters to you, then you can learn.
She will be relying on me to know how to be a woman. Me.
You are a great woman.
And so it went. I reminded myself that I am a woman. That this wasn’t some alien thing that I would need to show her, like how to fly. That what I know is enough. That the fear was silly. That some mothers and daughters are wonderful friends. I thought of examples.
…And then she was born, my sweet, beautiful girl. And I was immediately swept away in loving her. I suddenly forgot the anxiety and doubt I had about mothering her. I was made to mother her.
She healed me. She completed what I didn’t know was lacking, just by being here. A girl. My daughter. Mother and daughter. We will begin a new cycle, our cycle. I’m not the only woman in the house anymore. I can show her what I taught myself. She will be a great woman. This time it will work out fine.