XX or XY

I KNEW we were having a boy.  Just knew it.  The smart old wives tell that if an unborn baby's heart rate is low, it's a boy; if it's high, it's a girl.  That tale has held true for all three kids before this one so why would it fail me now?  So, I just knew we were going to have another boy.

Our ultrasound Monday confirmed that...
...we were, in fact, having a baby.

So, there's that.

And it also confirmed that it was a boooo..."girl"?  Wait...what?  Can you say that again sweet ultrasound tech?  "It's a girl."  Wait just a minute until I first convince myself that really you do know how to do your job, that you're not lying to me to play a joke on a total stranger, that you aren't in fact blind, or that you're not having a small Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner moment.  Ok there.  Now, tell me again.

"It's a girl."

Wow...a girl...okay...awesome!  I'm still trying to redirect all my thoughts about what I thought it was to the completely opposite direction but...a girl!  

I'll be completely honest with you.  I'm still only 95% convinced, even though one of those ultrasound pictures is pretty darn clear but I'm not ruling out the fact that there might be a boy hiding in there.  We shall see on b-day, won't we?  It has happened before to people I know so I won't back down on that 5%.

Three girls, one boy.  Here's the funny thing about that - Anthony is one of four - three girls and him.  Anthony's dad is also one of four - three girls and him.  Sebastian now shares the same fate.  I smell genetics.  I know science would scowl at me but history don't lie.

Anyway, we're having a girl!  We're over-the-moon excited for another little lady and I personally cannot wait to dig out all those cute baby girl clothes and bows I have stashed away "just in case".

But, once again, we're reminded of what lies ahead of us in our days of raising girls and how hard it's going to be considering the world we live in.  I'm not talking about things - how they're going to decide or we're going to decide which princess they'll relate with the most or what color will be their favorite or how girls supposedly having a tendency to like the swipe of the 'ole credit card which is not so great for parents on a budget.  I'm talking about self-worth.  I'm sure, if you're a woman yourself, have a sister, or are married to a woman, you know and you've heard/seen how tough it is for us women to love ourselves, to see our physical and inner beauty, to "add up" to what the media portrays as a woman.  We fall into the lie that we have to be perfect or have this much hair or eyelashes that are this long or noses that are this perfect size or a tiny waist and a big butt or a little butt or, or, or...  We use digital filters and smoothing and altering to hide what we don't want our followers to see and to make ourselves what we're not.  I ran into two articles the other day.  One was "How to Make Yourself Prettier on Social Media" and one was "How to Fake Self-Confidence".  I mean, did you know there are apps out there to smooth your skin to perfection, to take 20 pounds off your body, to whiten your teeth, and to give you a fake tan?  It sounds pretty two-faced to me - I'm this person on social media but this person in real life.  I mean, maybe smoothing your skin out a little isn't so bad, or is it?  Is it being fake?  What do you think?  Is it portraying something that isn't real?  And self-confidence...it makes me sad that someone would think to write an article on how to fake it.  Maybe we should be writing articles on how to love yourself more so that you have real, bonified self-confidence.  Boob jobs, lip jobs, lipo, botox, photoshopping away was is there or adding what isn't, hiding behind anything and everything so as to not age a day or to portray an almost perfect ideal that we are most definitely not - it's all becoming normal and even more scary, it's all those changes are being portrayed as things that are natural; things we were born with; things we do and then think no one will ever know about.

It's hard for me.  I just want my daughters to not struggle with their self-esteems as they grow into womanhood in this world.  I want them to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and see pure beauty; the benefit of being made in the image of God.  He carefully constructed you.  How many of you, after being handed a play-doh construction of something from your favorite person in the whole world, would take one look and quickly smash or remove or tweak something you saw that you did like.  Anyone?  Anyone?  I struggled with my weight growing up - I was uber thin - and was driven to drink wrestlers' weight gaining powders so that I'd never again be told in the most condescending ways that I was "too skinny" or "anorexic", as was stated by a stranger as cheerleader me walked onto a gym floor at the age of 16.  I believed I was supposed to have these perfect proportions, proportions that were very much not me.  Not only was I a stick but my legs were too long and my figure too boxy.  I wanted those perfect thighs I saw in Seventeen mag, anything over my 32A's, and a more pouty pucker.  If you gave me a million bucks back then and told me I could spend it on whatever plastic surgeries I'd like, I'm afraid of what I might've done to myself.

Thankfully, I've grown to love myself for every so-called imperfection and now, I wouldn't change a thing.  Don't get me wrong, it's tempting to download a smoothing app to hide some of those splotches or better yet, grab a round of botox to smooth out my ever-deepening smile and eye wrinkles.  But why?  So I feel better about myself?  Ok.  But is it so I feel better about myself because I think other people think I look better or because I'm the only one I care about?  You'll have a really hard time convincing me it's just and only because of what me, myself, and I think.  We're always trying to impress someone, right?  And why?  Does our happiness lie within or does it depend on others?  

 I guess I should take a step back though and tell you how fun I think putting on make-up is or coloring my hair.  I don't think there's anything wrong with using those things to accentuate what you already have.  I have a deep love for mascara, I admit it.  On the same lines, I don't think there's anything wrong with using photo-editing techniques and filters to make a picture prettier or give a cool vibe.  But when we're using them to add or delete things we think are "wrong", I think we're hiding behind them, using them to cover up things we don't want anyone to notice.  Bags under your eyes?  Own 'em.  A zit or three?  Own 'em.  I've never known a person who has never, ever had a little acne but if so, let them throw the first stone...or tube of acne cream.  I know.  I get it.  It's SO tempting to just grab an app to erase that zit that just popped up or to smooth my splotchy skin.  Even I'll admit that.  But why?  Because that's just not me so why would I lie and make people think it is?

I'm not meaning to come down on anyone who has ever used any of these things so I apologize if I sound judgmental.  I'm speaking as much to myself as all of you and I'm speaking for the sake of my daughters.  It's hard.  It's real hard.  But it's happier on the 'true me' side...the grass grows green without chemicals.  Perfection is not what society thinks it is - we've gone very wrong in that notion.  It's who you really and truly are before the masks and surgeries.  It's a big pill to swallow, I know. 

Usually I like cutting my head off selfies for the blog just because it's too hard to come up with a face of some sort and smiling is just too posed but for all intents and purposes of today's post, I kept my head on and my face make-up less so you could see the real me. 
 My hair looked pretty good this day but I promise you I didn't fix it for the picture - I was going on day three of it being unwashed and still curled from the day before.  If you want an even more natural look, picture wavy curls hanging in my face because that's just where they like to jam.

This is 100% me...no photoshopping (which, for the record, I never use to alter any part of myself...ever), no smoothing, no nothing.
If you get closer you can almost gaze into my tired eyes.

And even closer in you can see where Sebastian drew blood with a scratch to the upper lip three mornings ago, not to mention my splotchy face and those apparent wrinkles around my 30-some year old eyes.

It's all good though because really, I don't care what you think and you probably don't even care either way so it's funny that we think other people care and then go to sometimes great lengths to keep up good opinions that were probably the same at the point we started.  It's maddening, isn't it?  My body isn't yours and yours isn't mine so why would we compare?  My nose isn't Adele's seemingly perfect nose and hers isn't mine.  My butt isn't J. Lo's and hers isn't mine.  So who's telling me the two should be one and the same?  Ha!  Silly, isn't it?

So, let's stop the lies.  Please, for the sake of our daughters.  Let's stop hiding our so-called imperfections.  Let's stop using photoshop to add or delete and push for the fashion industry to do so too.  Let's stop using filters and smoothing and altering apps to cover up and change what we don't want anyone to know is there (I'm talking to you John Mayer...that face ain't that smooth).  Let's stop putting ourselves into boxes - too skinny, too fat, butt's too big, butt's too small - and focus on being our healthiest selves; different from every other woman on Earth.  You are beautiful.  So beautiful.  Beauty is not what's on the cover of Vogue unless you're just as gullible to believe that Barbie herself, in all her *ahem* humanity, is beautiful.  Beauty is what God created you to look like.  Let's not hide that.  I know a girl that got a nose job to make her nose more slender and it is post-surgery, but what it isn't anymore is the exact, beautiful nose her dad had, her dad who died in a car accident when she was young.  How incredibly sad.

 You. Are. Beautiful.

Don't let anyone, anyone, make you think differently, not even you.

.           .           .



  1. Sheena, these words are beautiful...your news of another little girl is beautiful...and your makeup-less face/wrinkles/God-given frame are all so beautiful! You're daughters are blessed to have a mama who knows and lives the truth. Now bring on the bows!!!!

  2. And what's more important... you're beautiful inside! We keep telling this to our daughter. Everything around girls seem to state that beauty is what matters most. It's hard to be a girl, but I believe that building true self-confidence (I'm still cringing at that article title) is key.

    1. Thank you and YES to everything you wrote! :)

  3. All true! I follow some of my high school aged nieces on Instagram and the amount of selfies they post is incredible. At least 1 a week. They pucker their lips and get a dreamy look in their eyes and their hair is falling softly over their faces. I think it's sad and I've often thought, if God ever blesses us with girls, how do I protect them from our selfie-obsessed, image-obsessed culture? I think we all need to live out our baptismal vows & strive to live Christ-centered lives, so that we can teach our children to do the same. I love the analogy with the playdoh. That was spot on. Congrats on Girl #3 :)

    1. Ugh...we're such a selfie-saturated society and it IS so sad. I don't mind a couple here and there and, usually, I appreciate seeing the face of the person I'm following once in awhile but not that often. Leading by example is the best way to teach them, you're right. :)

  4. You are gorgeous!! Thank you for these beautiful words; having a new baby girl has made me really consider how I see myself and how I want so deeply for her to know her worth; and even having a boy has made me catch myself more than once when he overhears me say something negative about myself--while my daughter will learn from me how she should perceive beauty, my son will learn from me how he should honor women and dignify their beauty. Your attitude will be such a gift to your kids =) So excited for you and that sweet girl! Also I looove that shirt.

  5. Oh the anxiety over baby gender!! We decided not to find out our baby's gender partly because I didn't want to spend the next several months worrying over whether it was correct or not. For your sake, I hope this little one IS a girl and you can enjoy all the celebrations that go along with it. :)

  6. Congrats! We have three girls and one boy as well (no twins though). It's a lot of fun! God bless!

  7. Congrats!!! I loved this, and it all started when I somehow discovered on IG that the real vanilla ice commented on your announcement??!! Magical. God bless your gorgeous family!! Yay team pink!