On Being A Daughter…

By Alison September 5, 2005 5 Comments 3 Min Read


Before Finley was born, Mark and I called my bump, LilyFinn. Lily for a girl and Finley for a boy. But from the minute my pregnancy was confirmed I was convinced I was having a girl for a long list of retrospectively, stupid reasons – I’m a girly girl so there was no way I could possibly give birth to a boy, and aside from that Gabriel was the bestest little boy in the whole wide world and I didn’t want a son of my own to have to compete…

At twenty weeks we went for our scan. Before we had even been asked whether we wanted to know the sex of our child, the radiographer told her collegue: "Theres the heart, there’s the lungs and there’s his little prick". I was absolutely gobsmacked!!!  How totally inappropriate and inconsiderate can you be? But after the shock, came total and absolute disappointment…

I do know that it isn’t the done thing to wish for one sex or the other. That the  standard answer to "Do you want a boy or a girl" is "I don’t mind as long as it is healthy". I know that. But I didn’t say it. I wanted a girl with every inch of my being. I wanted a daughter, and more than that  I wanted the kind of relationship I have with my Mum. I wanted a girl who felt about me, the way I do about my Mum. I wanted to be loved like that.

I don’t know how to put into words what it is to be a daughter of a woman like my Mum. I know now what is to be a Mother, but I am still struggling to understand the bond that exist’s within the complex and fragile relationship between a Mother and her daughter. I don’t know what it is to be a daughter above and beyond the fact that it is astonishing to be blessed enough to walk in the footsteps of an incredible woman.

It is no secret in our house that I am A Daddy’s girl. I look like him, think like him, even have his nose (according to my Dad!!). But I am her Daughter, and it is her strength, her precarious, fragile strength that runs through my veins.  It is her I want to be when I grow up.

She is the kind of woman other women always wanted to be. She is and always has been shockingly beautiful, though at the age of fifty five, she is only just beginning to realise it. But I don’t think that it matters. Her life has been what it has, she is the person she is because she didn’t know it. 

Look at her now: see how her hands are always moving- containing the nerves others who don’t know her, would never imagine are there.  She is complicated and delicate and occasionally, I rightfully feel that I hardly know her at all, and I think that this is what being a daughter is about. Not friendship. Nor admiration. But a love so fierce for a woman you can never really know, at least not in the way you are given the opportunity to know every other woman you will ever meet.   

Part of me thinks that my Lily is still out there somewhere. But I will never meet her. She is a possibility now passed, and if we are blessed with a little girl in the future, she won’t be called Lily.  The day of the scan, I went straight to Mum’s house and cried for hours in my her arms. Although I was all grown up, and carrying a child of my own, I was for a moment, a little girl again, seeking the kind of reassurance only a Mother can provide.  Five month’s later, it is my Mums face I remember as she rushed down the hosital corridor to meet her newly born grandson, and the photograph I treasure most, a close up of Finley, just one hour old, with my hand gripping his and my Mum’s gripping mine. I am her. She is me.

She, who I need most.

Happy Birthday Mum.


  1. Savannah says:

    How totally sweet and wonderful. Happy Birthday to Alison's mother! How clever to have Finley so close to her big day, as well. Celebrate! Today, the 5th, is Gerred's big day. No Batmans for us this year, although I did stick in matchbox car wrapping paper!!! He's never going to be too old for that.

  2. Danielle says:

    How appropriate this post is for me right now. I have just discovered I am expecting my third son, and while I know I will love him just as much as my first two sons, I am experiencing that utter devastation you described for a third heart-breaking time. Unlike you, my relationship with my mum is all but non-existant. Remnants of that love and adoration for her remain but her choices in life have left me feeling cold and unimportant. Maybe the reason I crave a daughter so is that I want to put things right. I want to nurture a little girl and be her best friend. I want to braid her hair and make her dolls and help her plan her wedding one day. I want to support her when she finds a wonderful man and gives life to her children. I want to do all the things my mum is not doing for me. I want to be there unconditionally and never let her feel she is second best to anything. I will do this for my sons, but my dream of a daughter will never go away.

  3. Savannah says:

    You know, I grew up an only child of an only child (girls, girls, girls). My mother's favorite story was how she had all little dresses for me when I was on the way and only one little boy's outfit. I thought I might want a girl since I was in the company of such lineage and had very little experience with little boys at all. Not even cousins, actually. Gerred sometimes accuses me of wishing for a daughter. Instead of a daughter, (and I'm not at all knocking any of the beautiful relationships you have with yours. I have a wonderful mother/daughter relationship and most of my friends have the same), I have the one son. And there is nothing in this world that I would trade about that for a daughter. I love the coarse little yahoo a boy gives, the curt little kisses aimed at your elbow or shoulder… the braggart way they show off their little scrapes, the husky tremor in their little voices when they declare they certainly are NOT afraid of that spider… the way they later aren't afraid of even an errant BAT in the house while their mom screams and goes into absolute hysteria…. the idiotic way they primp for thirty minutes and then throw off those clothes and wear something stinky and atrocious and give their hair a final tousle as if to scream, "LOVE me just the way I am!" And the way they cry when their girl dumps them at 18… I was nursed in the hospital after my caesarean (which went awry and turned into a 30 day ordealin a big hospital 60 miles from home) by a beautiful African American nurse. She had eleven ELEVEN ELEVEN!!! boys. She laughed with such delight as she told me she had cried after boy number 5 and number 9 and then decided to feel as blessed as she really was. I understand all wishes and dreams for the pretty dollies and dresses, but for me I am 192 percent Batman or Skeletor or Gobot or Transformer.

  4. Savannah says:

    And Danielle and Alison, I hope you have your little girls someday. Your wishes and dreams sound beautiful and I know you are awesome mommies to your sons and will be to little daughters you'll have someday. I just wish everyone to have exactly what they are called to have… I understand… I was just saying I feel called to have the boy! haha.. Please don't take that last LONG post the wrong way!

  5. Stefanie says:

    As the mother of THREE girls I love this post …I reacted the same way when I was told #3 was ANOTHER girl. My husband and I both agreed this would be the last child, Boy or not. I did the same thing when I came back from my ultrasound…cried to my Mom. Now we laugh when we talk about how silly I acted that day because I couldn't picture my life without that sweet little cherub. I chalk it up to hormones but inside I will always yearn for the son I never had.

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