Mother of Five

All she wanted was a baby girl. So why did God keep giving her boys?

By Shawnelle Eliasen, Port Byron, Illinois

As appeared in

I’d always wanted a daughter. I come from a family of girls. Each of my three sisters has a girl. Naturally, I thought I was meant to have a little girl of my own.

My husband, Lonny, and I had our first child, a beautiful baby boy. I figured our girl would come along later. Our second child was a son too. So was our third. And our fourth.

My fifth pregnancy wasn’t a surprise. Lonny and I planned for a big family. But we did consider the likelihood that this baby would be our last. I loved my boys utterly. It was just time to have that girl I’d dreamed of.

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I pushed back the first ultrasound to early January so the baby would be developed enough to identify gender. Being pregnant at almost 40 warranted the super ultrasound at the university medical school.

I lay on an exam table, Lonny standing beside me, as the doctor roved the transducer over my belly. The baby was healthy and strong. Only one question remained.

I closed my eyes and pictured my little girl. Wisps of blonde hair escaped her ponytail. Her eyes were wide and green. She wore cotton and crochet on top, and bare pink toes fringed out from frayed jeans.

Her gentle spirit was evident in the way she moved. She was mine to teach, mine to mold, mine to pour myself into.

A fresh squirt of goop on my belly jarred me back to reality. “Are you ready to know what you’ve got?” asked the doctor. Lonny drew my hand into his, and I nodded. Our eyes were fixed on the monitor. The marbled image on the screen moved closer.

I was pregnant with our fifth son.

Everything about the walk through the university parking lot was slow. Conversation was slow. Our pace was slow. Even the snowflakes that shook from the clouds were slow. “You know, Shawnelle, you are an awesome mom to our boys,” Lonny said. “No one could do better.”

“I adore our boys,” I said.

“They’ll be great men,” he said, “because of you.”

That I wasn’t so sure of. I was gentle, sensitive by nature. I loved books, not bugs and baseball. I worried that my boys would need more than I could give them, especially as they got older.

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“Are you okay?” Lonny asked.

“Sure,” I said. But I wasn’t, and I was ashamed of it. We had lost a baby early in our marriage. We’d struggled through a time of infertility. I had friends who couldn’t conceive. I understood the fragile blessing of a baby. I just couldn’t control the tears.

That night I waited for Lonny’s breathing to fall into the even rhythm of sleep before I crept from our bed. I stepped around the action figures and dinosaurs in the hall and curled up in our wing chair in the family room.

God, are you sure you’ve got this right? I asked. I’m confident I can raise a daughter well. I have so much to teach her. But I’m not sure how to raise strong men. I just don’t feel qualified. I strained to hear a reply. Nothing except the tick-tock of our grandfather clock.

Winter–and my pregnancy–progressed. March brought a thick end-of-season snow that sogged through our mittens as my boys and I played at our friend Sue’s farm. Sue was the ultimate boy’s mom. An all-star. I admired and envied her.

I’d seen her wrestle her son to the ground and hold him for a 10 count. She could send a football soaring and wallop a baseball to next Tuesday. And she could nail a moving target with a March-heavy snow bomb.

“Over here, Mom,” my firstborn, Logan, called. He popped up from behind a snow bank.

Grant, my second son, bounded up. “Snow dogs unleashed!” Samuel and Gabriel, my two youngest, charged. All my boys were armed with snowballs. All fired at me. Slush snaked past my collar and down my back.

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Your Comments (17)



I can't imagine having so many kids given all the children in the world growing up in without parents. I just don't get it. SMH

Wow how selfish and rude are you. How long has there been people without parents? since the beginning of time. People should not feel guilty for having a child or 10 children of their own. How terrible and rude of you to judge people who want to have kids. Their decision should not be contingent on others actions. You should be ashamed of yourself for being so judgmental and vicious.

Shawnele, Your story really connected with me. I, too, also dreamed of having a daughter, but instead I have been blessed with 4 rambunctious boys. (My oldest is also named Logan.) Like you, I would prefer reading and quiet activities to all the things boys love. I will never understand the love of mud, wrestling or wanting to shoot things. My boys don't always make sense to me, but I have found that they also have the qualities of gentleness and compassion and have much love to give. Your story inspired me to continue to believe that God gave them to me for a reason and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Thank you! Vicki

Wow, what an amazing story! Thank you for sharing!! I am a mother of 4 sons and am due to deliver our first girl in about a week. Of course I am happy to be having a girl but feel like all I know how to raise are boys. As my due date quickly approaches I feel more and more frightened that I will not know what to do with a little girl. I will remember your story forever, you are truly BLESSED!

After raising 2 grown sons, my husband and I met. Though it was a sacrifice in some ways for him (due to him being older than I and already raised a family), he said I deserved to have a family, too. He had had a dream that I was holding a baby girl and spoke with Jesus about that baby; so he was sure at some point he'd get that chance. When we did become pregnant with our first child and got the ultrasound, he noticed the male parts right away. Though he had hoped our son would be the little girl he had dreamed of, he loves our son and wouldn't change that for the world. When we became pregnant with our second child, once again, he was anxious to find out the gender - to find out if the dream would become reality. To his delight, we gave birth to a little girl this time. If I could only have been able to record his "I have a little girl song and dance" after the delivery...truly priceless! God works in wondrous ways! Each life that is entrusted to us is a blessing, and we should forever be grateful for that trust He has in us, whether we trust it ourselves.

I had four daughters, then eight granddaughters. Finally a grandson and what an added joy he has been. Maybe you won't have to wait that long for a girl, but she will be well worth the wait.

Maybe you could a adopt a girl... lots need good homes!!!

Heaven knows we need more 'good' men here; I'm glad you are able to accomplish that...

I can relate so much to your story. I'm mom to 3 boys and each time I'm ashamed to say I prayer for a little girl. The first time I was a single mom and just naturally figured a little girl would be easier for a single mom to raise. Answer to that prayer? Not just a little boy but a little boy that just happens to have Down Syndrome. He and I were on our own for five years then I married my husband. When we got pregnant with number two, I was okay with having a boy. My husband didn't have one (biologically, he had raised a stepson from 5-14 when the boy's mom wanted a divorce and he had a daughter with her). Two years later we were pregnant again and this time I did pray for a little girl. My husband knew how much I wanted a little girl and jokingly said if the baby was a boy we'd name the baby "Oh No Not Another One." The day of the ultrasound came and the tech said boy. I teared up. The ride from the hospital to Taco Bell was a somber one (babies are supposed to be joyful occasions). Jeff (husband) went to get our lunch and when he came back I looked up and said, "How about we name this one Zachary Michael? I think Zachariah is a little too old fashion." And, that is how my youngest was named. The name was spoken in my heart and it soothed me to know it. My baby is now a big boy but he will often remind me that he is my baby and always will be.

This is a nice piece, but how does it apply to a mom who herself has 6 boys? Two of which believe they are gay and two more are autistic/mr. I cry a lot asking why? What did I do so terrible to deserve this when I poured myself into these boys and raised them in a godly home! I can only continue to pray for them and hope God hears my cries and prayers! Their dad wasn't really there for them - he struggled with the issue of homosexualness himself - so is that the answer? He has no issue with it - he was also abusive to us and them when we were still together. But still, so terribly hard to deal with!

Hi there! I know what you are going through because my church does deliverance. That's basically where you cast out demons in the name of Jesus. I know it must be hard for you especially because of the homosexuality problem but know this. Homosexuality is a demon or generational curse. Now don't get scared and think you're kids are demons. They simply have a curse or demons inside of them. That's how it works. I had a demon of suicidal thoughts and I tried to kill myself. Thank God it was cast out and I found help. You need to find help. I assume since their father had the same problems it must be a generational curse and not a demon. Please find help. I recommend you read "Pigs in the Parlor" by Frank Hammond and find a church in your area that does deliverance. It's going to be hard but it's worth it and it is needed for righteousness. Please know that you have done a wonderful job in raising your boys. I can tell that by your post. Don't hesitate to e-mail me at
I hope to help you. God bless!

the 1st time i found out i was pregnant,i prayed for a baby boy.i wanted my 1st to be a boy for one,i new i was gonna have atleast one more & i was wanting a boy then a girl,for one,i wanted my son to beable to watch over his baby sister,& cuz i was into sports when i was a child,i played 6yrs of baseball on an all boys team & i was one of the best players,& i played soccer & i new i could teach my boy how to play.I no i could teach a girl to but back then,it became to where girls were to play softball as softball was for girls & i tried to play softball 1st & i quit cuz i couldnt catch the ball in my glove cuz the ball was to big to me & throwing the ball u had to under hand throw & i wasnt good at that either.Well my 1st baby was a girl & my 2nd baby was another girl & my dr told me that i neede to stop having babies cuz i was having problems in my pregnancies.I had vry high blood pressure,a few times i almost miscarried etc,but i tol my dr that untell i have my son,i was gonna keep getting pregnant,& my dr tol me that i could have only 1 more because i was a high risk,which meant that mmy healtth was risky & that since i coul only have c-sections,that 3 c-sections was all i could have.when i got pregnant with my 3rd i had been prayin still that this would be my baby boy,my lst baby the lord would bless me with a son & when i became 5months pregnant,i had an ultra sound & sure enough,i was having a boy.I was able to teach him baseball & he & even teach him soccer & he played 2yrs of soccer,at 5 & at 6 & i was his couch his 2nd son loved baseball.HE STARTED AT 4 & AHALF YRS OLD & WAS SUPOSE TO PLAY THIS YEAR WHICH HE WAS 14 & A HALF YRS OLD,BUT ON FEBRUARY 12TH,2011 MY SON WAS SHOT IN THE HAED AND KILLED.I STRUGGLE EVERYDAT WHY DID THE LORD NEED HIM SO YOUNG,WITH A LIFE HE WAS GROWING INTO A YOUNG MAN WITH SO MANY GOOD 4 HIS FUTURE.HE WAS GONNA GO TTO COLLEGE 2 PLAY PRO BALL WHICH MY SON WAS A VRY GOOD PLAYER 4 10YRS,IN THE NEWSPAPER ALL THE TIME,MANY TROPHIES 4 MOST VALUEBLE PLAYER,HE LOVED CHURCH SIN

So sorry for your loss. A mother and her son do have a special bond, and sounds like you and your son were really close! I pray you find healing in your hurt and pain and loneliness - he was at that age that was on the brink of manhood yet still a little boy inside. May you find peace soon - hugs XXXX

Such a lovely true story. These 5 men of yours will one day bring you 5 ladies to love as daughters, and they in turn will bring you grand-daughters to spoil and love! What a gift! God bless you!

....that's God's process....a "child" NEEDS a MOTHER to begin life and grow into adolesence....then the FATHER comes into teach the "other aspects" of life...son or daughter !!!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately in today's world that's lost in our "society" !!!!! Anybody/anything can "raise a child", i.e. gays, single parents, wolves, etc. !!!!!!!!!!!! What's the results.....look at what's happening around you....!!!!!!!!!! I know you can't go "shopping" for "girlie" things like you would with a daughter, but enjoy going to ballgames, etc. and enjoy your sons accomlishments...the other stuff to teach...that's what God made coaches for...and notice, all the "big time program" coaches are MEN...and that goes for most women sports !!!!!!!!!!!! There are a few exceptions, i.e. Pat Summit !!!!!!!!!!!!