THE BLOG
10/02/2014 02:31 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Having a Daughter: Learning to Conquer the Fear of Fatherhood

Me: So are you able to tell the sex yet?
Nurse: *Pointing to a little spec on the screen of Kelley's sonogram* See that there? You're going to have a boy.
Kelley and Me: *gasp* *enormous grins follow*
Kelley: This early and you can tell, how certain are you?
Nurse: I've been doing this for a while and I'm pretty sure that's a boy.

This was part of the conversation during Kelley's scheduled sonogram at 13 weeks pregnant. I had always imagined us having a boy, and now it was just "confirmed."

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I wasted no time filling our Amazon baby registry with various boy items from mini kettlebells for kids (yep, there's such thing) to a multitude of blue themed onesies our boy just had to have. Little Richard Charles Liley III (I'm the Jr/II), was on his way! But then, Kelley had her 18 week sono...

Nurse: ...and right here we can see you're having a girl.
Kelley and Me: *gasp* *no grins, just a look of pure, utter confusion across our faces* "But you told us you were sure we were having a boy!"
Nurse: *calmly* Oh, really? Well, nope, it's definitely a girl.

Still excited for the fact that we were even having a baby, we walked out of the room with puzzled looks on our faces. Everything we had planned up to this point felt as if it were lost in a deep, meaningless abyss. Before the news, I was pushing to name our future boy after me, but Kelley was reluctant to give in without further discussion first. Clearly, my name was out of the question now that our boy "bump" was actually a girl, and we needed to rewire our thoughts to choose a name!

The name ended up being the easiest decision we made as parents. While walking down the hall of the doctor's office that day, I was reading baby names hung on the wall from parents that sent the staff pictures of their newborns. Near the end, right before checking out, I read "Avery" out loud and the choice was made; we loved it! Too bad making the changes to our Amazon registry wasn't as easy.

Since I lacked restraint from telling the world our news after the 13 week "It's a boy!" sono, (in Ricky Ricardo voice) I had some 'splainin to do.

Damn you, social media, for making it so easy to spread the word!! Following my announcement that Kelley was actually pregnant with a girl, not a boy, I received many of the "Oh man, you're in trouble!" and "Just wait until this or that happens." comments just as Jeff Bogle from OWTK.com recently wrote about on his blog.

I would nod in agreement thinking of how much harder a girl will be since they seemed far more terrifying than raising boys. But, as Jeff explains in his post....

"Yeah, it gets challenging. No sh*t, Sherlock. Parenting isn't always Pinterest-perfect cupcakes and Instagram-worthy rainbows, but why would you want it that way anyway?"

According to Jeff, the only thing worth fearing as a dad to a daughter is not being there for her to console, mentor, laugh, cry, and just be a dad as she experiences all that life has to offer. I completely agree with Jeff, and although I feel more confident about being an awesome father to Avery, I still get that worried, "must protect from everything" feeling for so many aspects of her future.

Why is it that so many feel it's more terrifying for a father to raise a little girl instead of a boy? If I had a boy, I know I'd be less wary of what's to come and would feel less terrified about the day he goes off on his own. But for Avery, so many things speed through my mind about what could happen as she ventures off into the scary world.

Tony, from DisillusionedDad.com, also read Jeff's post and then wrote about his own feelings as a father to a daughter and a son. Similar to what I just described, Tony has many fears for his daughter that he does not share for his son. He loves them both to the moon and back, but, just as I feel about Avery, is reluctant to loosen the reigns for his little princess. At the end of his post, Tony mentions how he hopes he is not alone in this feeling of fear for his daughter, and I'm here to say he's not alone at all.

I think part of the reason, a big part, is that as a guy, we know how guys think. Sure, love and romance is a part of life, that's how I am married to a beautiful woman/mom, but it's hard to accept this for our daughter. Do mothers with boys have similar feelings since they know how women view men? I can't answer that, but if you are a mother with one or more sons, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

I couldn't imagine what it'd be like with a son instead of my beautiful daughter Avery, as my love for her is everlasting and I wouldn't change it for the world. Similar to Tony's assessment, I need to fight my natural tendencies to always try and protect Avery from everything, and learn to simply be there for her, as a father, sharing all of life's experiences. Of course, I'll always be her shoulder to cry on too.

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