A love letter to my daughter, who will never be

by DaniGirl on September 17, 2007 · 41 comments

in It IS all about me

To my darling daughter, who will never be:

It may seem odd to begin a letter with a farewell, and perhaps even moreso a farewell to someone who never was, someone who never will be. But I needed to find a way to say goodbye to you, my daughter, because even though we never had the chance to say hello, you’ve always been a part of me. You’ve been with me – the idea of you – my whole life. As far back as I can remember, I expected you. I spent my life preparing for the act of mothering you. I carried the potential of you, my daughter, close to my heart, and in quiet moments I have loved to savour the imagining of you. But now, through the vagaries of fate and nature, it seems you are simply not to be.

It’s a wonder of the human heart that it can be filled with boundless joy at the idea of a son, and yet haunted by regretful longing on losing the idea of a daughter.

I am sad to have lost the opportunity to know you. I feel an empty hollow in the place I’ve always reserved for you. After a lifetime of expecting you, I’m struggling to let go of the idea of you, and with that, the idea of us as mother and daughter. Having felt you so keenly in my life, have expected you so fully, the reality of life without you still perplexes me slightly. “What do you mean I’ll never have a daughter?” It’s like trying to imagine a world without the colour red. Red has always been there; red belongs in the colour scheme of life.

I like to imagine that you would have been like me, but better. The best of me and of your father distilled, and improved upon by that which would have been uniquely you. You would have been precocious, and willful, and you would have kept your doting brothers wrapped around your little finger. You would have grown into a strong and capable woman, and you would have become, with the passage of the years, my friend as well as my daughter. We would have shared things that only a mother and daughter can share, and I would have treasured our unique relationship as much as I treasure the relationship I have with my own mother – a relationship I could only hope to replicate, as it would be impossible to improve upon it.

It may seem to be a little strange to say goodbye to someone who never existed; who never will exist. But to me, you were as real as the sunrise, as real as the stars that shine at night. I can’t touch those things either, but that hasn’t stopped me from believing in them. But now, after a lifetime of anticipating you, I relinquish you to the stars and banish the idea of you to the speculation of long, dark nights. What might have been, what will not be. In the darkest of those nights, I think of three lost souls, three babies miscarried, and even poor Frostie, and I wonder. I wonder if you were there, if you tried to arrive, if there was some great ironic twist of biology that prevented me from gestating a girl. I’ll never know.

While I may have spent my life expecting a girl, I’ve been delighted by the inherent joy of mothering my boys. My boys; those odd and adorable creatures whom I love beyond reason. I truly had no idea how wonderful it is to be the mother of boys. And though I can’t imagine life without them, the arrival of each boy somehow only deepened my certainty in your eventual arrival.

But now, finally, it’s time to say goodbye to you, my daughter, as I embrace with my whole heart the idea of spending my life being the princess, the diva, the queen among my coterie of men. I’ll miss you, my girl. I’ll miss holding a place for you in my life, and I’ll miss what might have been. I’ll have to adjust my sense of self, too, my sense of how my life will unfold from here. But my heart is full, and I have more blessings in my life than I ever dared hope for.

Goodbye, my beautiful daughter.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca September 17, 2007 at 7:50 am

That was beautiful.

I know that feeling – when my second son was born (stubborn booger was a surprise, he wouldn’t reveal the goods) and I was convinced he was my longed for daughter. I knew in that instant of joy and relief, the disappointment of realizing I would never have my daughter. You put into words what so many of us moms of boys feel but haven’t been able to say. Yes, we love our boys with our whole being, but for those of us who always “knew” we’d have a beautiful little girl someday… well, you know.

Thank you for saying what I never could.

2 dean dad September 17, 2007 at 7:55 am


3 Barbara September 17, 2007 at 8:25 am

What a beautiful post. I’ve read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. In one book she says that when a baby is born that while we celebrate the birth of our baby girl, we mourn the potential baby boy that won’t be (or vice versa). I thought of this when I was pregnant and it was one of the reasons that I didn’t want to know the sex of the baby before it was born. I didn’t want to have the sadness of not having a girl without the joy of having a boy in my arms or the other way round.

You’ll have another shot at a daughter when the boys grow up and marry. One of my sisters-in-law is at least as close to my mom as are my sisters and I.

4 Sharon September 17, 2007 at 8:27 am

Hugs…And Snif.

5 BeachMama September 17, 2007 at 8:31 am

Beautiful letter Dani. Although I expected a daughter when I found out J was a boy, I have never looked back. Once I was a Mom to a boy (and a half if you count A) I never imagined being a Mom to a girl. And now that she is here I am finding it hard to imagine how things will be different. I wonder if she will be just like her brother and be tom-boyish or will she be really girlie and run around taking care of all the boys.

It is amazing what we come to expect and what comes to pass, there is a reason we are given these gifts, perhaps you have three boys so my little girl has more boys to choose from one day?

6 Veronica September 17, 2007 at 8:50 am

I have three girls and we are trying for one more baby. I may have the same feelings about a son someday.

7 Chantal September 17, 2007 at 9:22 am

Oh that made me cry. Mostly because I have two sons and I feel I need to try one more time for my girl. I know that if I have a boy I will love him as much as I love the boys I already have. But I need to try. I struggle a lot with how I will deal when I find out I am having another boy. I find it hard to talk to other moms about my desire to have a daughter, some brush me off. It makes me sad not to be able to share my sadness. It makes me feel selfish, this wanting a daughter. This letter helps me understand that I am not alone in this desire, it puts into words why I have this desire at all. And it also gives me hope that I will be able to cope if things don’t go exactly as I plan. Thank You Dani! You have no idea how much you have touched me.

8 Miche September 17, 2007 at 9:27 am

Oh Dani, you brought tears to my eyes! That was so heartfelt and beautifully written. I wish there was some way to ease your ache. *hugs*

9 daysgoby September 17, 2007 at 9:27 am

Beautifully done. I have the feeling I’m going to be thinking about this all day.

10 Loukia September 17, 2007 at 9:55 am

Oh, Dani… I am crying here at work. What a wonderful, beautifully written, touching post. This should go up for some blog award and be published in parenting magazines. I’m having my second boy and am thrilled beyond belief, but I feel what you’re feeling, in a way. (Even though we haven’t sworn off having a third child, I think I’m made to make boys). How touching, Dani. The way you pour your heart out and the way you write. Wow.

11 b*babbler September 17, 2007 at 10:06 am

What a beautifully bittersweet letter.

12 cinnamon gurl September 17, 2007 at 10:23 am

Oh wow.

Um… yeah, just wow.

13 alison September 17, 2007 at 11:51 am

That was just beautiful, Dani. I sometimes wonder if the baby I lost would have been a boy. You put the wondering into words so wonderfully.

14 Kerith September 17, 2007 at 12:10 pm

You have a gift…Although I just met you (discovered your blog) I am in tears and just want to give you a hug.

15 colleen September 17, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Buckets of tears. You write so beautifully.

16 Sue September 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Beautiful Dani.

17 Not So Little Sister September 17, 2007 at 3:47 pm

That was beautiful. I have similar feelings and emotions wrapped up in having a little girl one day. Your candidness and lovely words brought tears to my eyes. Hugs.

18 Kerry September 17, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Hugs, Dani.

19 Susan September 17, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Oh, that is so lovely.

20 Mommy off the Record September 17, 2007 at 7:16 pm

I just had my second son and when I found out I was pregnant with him, I wrote a post about how badly I felt that it wasn’t a girl. I have gotten past that now, but only partly because I want to try one more time.

So I know exactly how you feel. I want a daughter badly also. And it DOES feel like a loss when you realize you will never, or may never, have her.

My heart goes out to you. Enjoy your boys. May they bring you much love and happiness.

(Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog. I know I said in the post you read that I don’t have much time for blogging, but goshdarnit after reading your post, I have to add you to my feedreader. You hooked me! I hate that! :))

21 bubandpie September 17, 2007 at 7:29 pm

I can barely breathe.

22 Phantom Scribbler September 17, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Beautiful, Dani. And, oh, there’s a book I have, that I bought back when LG was a baby and we were so frickin’ overwhelmed that we didn’t think we would have any more kids. I’m going to send it to you.

23 chichimama September 17, 2007 at 8:15 pm


24 Alley Cat September 17, 2007 at 9:27 pm

I don’t even know what to say.

25 crazymumma September 17, 2007 at 9:29 pm

You choked me up.

26 Bex September 17, 2007 at 9:53 pm

You’ve done it again… you’re amazing. You’re such a beautiful writer, person, mother, friend.
Incredible post Dani. Your boys are so lucky to have sucha loving, caring, mother.

27 Cyn September 18, 2007 at 7:04 am

{{{hugs}}} We also suffered through three miscarriages and I often wondered about those children that I didn’t have. And now I have two wonderful boys. When I found out #2 was going to be a boy – I cried, but at that point, it was tears of relief because my babies are just 15 months apart and I *knew* what to do with a baby boy – at that point, the thought of learning to care for a baby girl was scary.


28 jennyandtim September 18, 2007 at 7:28 am

Quiet a moving letter.

Part of us will always wonder what it would have been like to have a daughter. What would she have been like, what things would she take from each of us, how would her relationship have been with her brothers? We also wonder if each failed cycle was a girl, or if our lost twin was a girl, or if I’m just not capable of making a girl.

We were a bit disappointed to find out our last child was a boy, since baring some serious divine intervention he is our last child. We still love our children as much as possible, but will always wonder what if.

Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy.

29 Trixie September 18, 2007 at 8:23 am

All I can say is that it’s a good thing I have a baby neice around the corner, or I’d have nowhere to focus my newfound “where’s my daughter??” energy. Lovely post.

30 nomotherearth September 18, 2007 at 8:54 am

Lovely letter. I have two months to go, and right now, I’m dying to know how my family will turn out. Two boys? One of each? The suspense is killing me!! I think that it affects the way you parent, and the parent you become. I, too, always thought that I would have a girl, but now I’m not so sure. I don’t know if I’m secretly rooting for one or the other, but I guess I’ll find out. This was wonderful to read, though. I think that you summed up exactly what I’m feeling (and said it better than I ever would).

31 Lisa September 18, 2007 at 9:51 am

We’re adopting internationally for the second time, and aren’t sure yet whether we’ll get a boy or a girl. (We currently have a daughter.) After reading this, I’m starting to wonder if we shouldn’t try for a boy.

32 Sara September 18, 2007 at 10:11 am

From the first line of this post, I knew it was going to be one your best! Still my blogging idol – love your writing, and always will!

33 slouching mom September 18, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Bub and Pie, and Mad, encouraged me to visit, as you and I appear to be on exactly the same wavelength. Yesterday I wrote a post, an elegy to the girl I will not have.

This letter was beautiful.

34 mamatulip September 18, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Oh, Dani. Such a beautiful letter. I’m completely choked up.

35 Bon September 18, 2007 at 5:57 pm

here for the first time, by way of Slouching Mom’s comments and B&P’s reference to you.

my heart has been full of the same longing since i was a little girl, and having had two boys and lost one, and loving both, i know the longing does not ease. lovely lovely letter.

36 liz September 18, 2007 at 10:01 pm

What a lovely letter.

37 Sara September 19, 2007 at 8:07 am

Lovely letter. Lovely.

38 Mad Hatter September 21, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Yay! I can finally comment. I tried to get over here a few times the other day but I couldn’t. Thankfully, I could still read your posts in Google Reader. This was beautiful, Dani. I think so many of us spend time imagining ourselves mothering daughters. The reality of it and the imagined fantasy are two different things, mind you, but that intense female bond is worthy of every bit of nostalgia. Beautiful post.

39 Kathleen in Ottawa September 24, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Many tears, reading this one.
I remember discovering my first baby would be a girl – at the time we thought surely she’d be our only. I was shocked, I wondered how I could possibly manage a girl, since I had somehow convinced myself she was a boy. Plus, I’d actually willfully forgotten all the things I had previously stored away in me to share with a daughter, part of my way of dealing with the certainty that I was never going to have a baby at all.
Anyway, I said my goodbyes to the prospect of a son, and rejoiced in my baby, just as you are.

Not much later, when I found there was to be another child, I didn’t know what I hoped for anymore. When I knew she, too, was a girl, there was a twinge of loss for the baby boy that never was.

So because of I was so certain, and so wrong, I did more grieving than I needed to, but each time it felt remarkably like how Dani describes. Beautifully put, thanks.

40 Kathryn October 10, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Ah. I really can’t stop crying. Absolutely beautiful. Everything I have thought, but could never quite find the right words. I am a mother to three amazing boys, and love every minute of it. Still, I feel a part of me is missing, and I wonder if it will ever be filled.
Thank you for such an amazing post.

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