By Contributing Writer, Brandy Ferguson
Two sentences in, I backspace all of it. That’s wrong, I think to myself. Then once again, I try to capture the words that only sometimes exist to express how this mother’s heart feels about her unique design.
As a mother of eight sons, it’s been a long journey to get to this blog post where I can honestly share my heart of gratitude.
It began after the birth of our third son. I hadn’t thought of it til then, but once our precious baby boy was born, I suddenly realized I didn’t have a daughter yet and furthermore, that I WANTED one!
Certainly the next baby would come in a pink bundle. Except for this one small problem. My husband had always said he wanted three kids and three kids only. I had agreed to this plan before we had any children.
But after our first son was born, I had an idea that I wouldn’t want to be “done” any time soon….not even two children later. And we both enjoyed our first son so much that we vowed that if we were ever rich, we would have EIGHT kids!!! Almost unheard of in our generation, we chuckled that that would never happen.
My husband knew my heart, and I suppose he figured the odds were favorable that we would have at least one daughter, so he consented to one more.
Our fourth son was born, and we were overjoyed to have him, too. But my husband knew my heart still yearned. I somehow had in my head that surely the next baby would be a girl.
I knew my husband, at this point, would simply not have more than five children. No way. And so the day of the sonogram was a sad, sad day for me. A fifth son would join our family just 16 months after the fourth. I pounded my fists on the floor, in tears, in a complete fog of questions for and at God, including these:
- What’s wrong with me?
- What did I do to deserve being denied something so simple, something everyone else takes for granted?
- Do you even hear me, Lord? Do I matter to you?
When my questions were met with silence – staggering silence – I answered my own questions:
- Because I’m a misfit.
- I don’t deserve to have the desires of my heart.
- I am unworthy of God granting my request.
- I don’t matter.
But I worked through those emotions, and in just a few months, welcomed a beautiful fifth son into my arms. He captured my heart, like I knew he would, like all his brothers had done before him. I was over the moon in love with him. His birth was so beautiful, and God used our home birth experience to move my husband’s heart.
Shortly after Drew’s birth, my husband came to ME this time, expressing that he would love to have another baby. Our marriage was strengthened in this process, and I was blown away at the prospect of more of God’s blessings.
And yes. At the back of my mind….PINK.
I began reading and researching (because I had figured I was doing something wrong, remember?) to see if I could “help” God help us have the daughter our hearts desired.
Sonogram day came, and I didn’t pound the floor near as much this time. Our sixth son was born, and again, our world was rocked by the magnificence of God’s creation, His blessing, and our new, sweet baby.
By this point, you can imagine that my mind and heart had evolved into some kind of dough that I felt the Lord kneaded on a continual basis regarding the issue of my role as a mom of all boys.
And on sonogram day for baby boy number seven, I had already accepted that if the Lord was going to give us another boy, then great, and if it was girl, then what a surprise that would be.
We were overjoyed again, amazed, and captivated by the sweet addition of our seventh son.
And we began to hear the questions and comments from strangers more than ever before.
We continue to hear them all the time, everywhere we go, especially considering my very swollen belly. The opinions of others on our children, the amount of them, the fact that they’re all boys, and (gasp!!) the news that we are indeed expecting another baby!
“You have seven kids?”
“They’re ALLLLLLL boys?”
“Do you know what causes that?”
“Did you PLAN that?”
And my favorites…….
“So, are you going to just keep trying til you get that girl?”
“I know this one lady who had sixteen boys and then a girl.”
“How will you pay for their college?”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. You poor thing.”
I often think that I’ve just about heard it all, and then someone will spring a new one, leaving me speechless.
It happened recently. And speechless, I was. Someone was being sweet and commenting on how awesome it was that we had such a large family and then even said that I was awesome for being the mom OF the tribe of boys. A person standing nearby overheard and as we were walking away, the man uttered this phrase:
“Are you really awesome, or do you just want one on YOUR team?”
(Had they ANY idea what I had been through emotionally, they would surely never dream of saying such a thing, right?)
I stuttered and fumbled for words for a moment, tried to reply cheerfully, but as I was walking back to the car, I realized I was a tiny bit offended. Really? Was I awesome or just selfish….was that what he meant? Ouch. (God, give me grace.)
I think the biggest problem I run into with folks’ comments is when it has to do with their accusations of our motives. It seems people think they have an idea why we would have so many children, and maybe to them, the obvious answer is that we’re after one thing. A daughter. And the questions that come with that feel so loaded. There’s no short answer except yes.
Sure, we still want a daughter, but at this point in the game, even four daughters would not even begin to balance out the testosterone in this family. I don’t think there are too many people (besides other moms of all boys) that get the fact that homes filled with all boys are insanely masculine and testosterone-filled. With no sisters to soften the mix, it’s ALL boy, ALL testosterone, ALL brute. ALL. THE. TIME.
Sometimes I just want to scream. Sometimes I want to run and hide from all the jumping, flipping, punching, pounding, wrestling, destroying, farting and fighting. Sometimes I even wish for some feminine relief. For someone to want to cook with me. For a little girl that I can teach to sew. To be able to fix a little girl’s long hair. Sometimes I long to train a little girl how to be a sweet, confident young lady who knows how to be a keeper of the home.
Boys just aren’t wired that way. There are a few necessary life skills that I feel can overlap. Of course boys need to learn to do their own laundry, to keep their rooms tidy, and to be a help with cleaning….but to train them to be keepers of the home is against their design. Boys are hunters, fishermen, defenders, protectors, providers. And of course, while they ARE meant to also be nurturing teachers of their own children, they are NOT designed to naturally want to be home managers, chief-diaper-changers, bottle-washers, menu-planners, etc.
All that to say….as a mom of ONLY boys, my job can sometimes be a bit lonely. So, do I still want/wish/long for a daughter? Of course I do.
But in expecting an eighth boy, what can a mom do except embrace her design?
God has used the unique situation of giving our family all sons (so far) to mold, shape, and ultimately soften my heart. Once cold and hard (more than I knew), He’s taken enough time to condition me, to make me more malleable, more pliable, more WILLING to accept HIS will.
No, I’m not a misfit mom, He says. Yes, I’m different.
Just like one of four unique corner pieces to a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, there is no one else exactly like me. My design is different by His purpose. By His will. To reject my shape, my design is to deny fitting into His plan for my life, to deny connecting with others where only I can. Where only He created me to connect.
So, I’m a corner piece. And it’s taken me a long time to accept it. I don’t look like all the other pieces in the center, like most everyone else. I don’t match the border pieces, each of them still cool enough to be able to connect to three other pieces. No. I’m a corner.
And I embrace my design. I embrace my role as mother. I embrace the uniqueness with which God has created me and my family. Otherwise, I’m working against my Creator’s design and plan.
In case you’re wondering, we’re still not rich. And we have no plans to stop at eight children. Because God has used this whole process to teach us so much. About trusting Him. About how children really are a gift from Him. And about embracing the life He’s given us.
I’m so thankful for our eight precious sons. I look forward with heart spilling over in love, to the arrival of our eighth sweet boy. I don’t know if God will ever give us a daughter, and although I still would love for him to, I want to want what HE wants for me more than what my human mind can imagine that I want or need.
What’s your shape as a mom? Do you feel like you’re a corner piece sometimes? Are you a middle piece?
Whatever your shape, I encourage you to accept, embrace, and furthermore, be thankful for the way God created you.
Boy or girl, children are a gift from God. (Psalm 127:3)