This is a topic that is probably going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. You may get angry over this post, or you may completely understand and relate to it. I hope for the latter but regardless of the outcome I truly feel like gender disappointment is a topic that needs to be more out in the open.
When you find out you're pregnant, your first though is for a happy healthy baby, and the next is typically hoping for a specific gender. This isn't the case for everyone, but for a lot it is. And gender disappointment is a real thing.
This is my story.
From as far back as I can remember, I have always been the maternal type. From around age 2 or 3 I would carry around my baby dolls as if they were actual babies, and I had accessories for them like a real child would have - play strollers, a play crib, bottles, blankets - the whole nine. I specifically remembered that play crib - it was metal painted white and I can remember the way it felt and the sounds it made when I adjusted the side railing to get my baby doll in and out.
I remember being a young pre-teen when the movie Titanic came out and bringing my two twin baby dolls to the show. The movie was so packed full of people that my friend and I had to sit in the front while my mom and her mom sat more toward the back, because those were the only seats available. Halfway through the movie I remember handing my "babies" off to my friend so I could ditch her to sit with my mom. Good times.
I remember being in high school telling friends (and my mom) that if I felt like my high school boyfriend would have been "the one", I would have had no problem having a child at 16 years old. That's how much I looked forward to being a mom. I was always the one who took care of my friends when they needed something whether it be holding their hair back, giving them a ride somewhere, spotting them lunch money, and even calling to remind them to check their blood sugar (I love you diabetic best friend). The maternal instinct was just there.
When I met Mr. Hunky I knew immediately that he would be my "baby daddy" as my best friend and I would joke. At our wedding my maid of honor included in her speech that I was so ecstatic to meet him, that when I told her about him I said "I met a tattooed Marine. I love him". She wasn't to far off with that one.
When Mr. Hunky and I got pregnant in December 2010 I was over the moon. I knew he was the man I wanted to start my family with and the idea that I was pregnant was the biggest (and scariest) blessing. I instantly started hoping that our little bundle was a girl. In fact I was so set on it being a girl that it took my mom reminding me that there was a 50% chance it was a boy, for me to realize that it could be a little man growing inside of me. Once I realized it that baby could be a boy, I fell in love. I could feel that he was a boy, I just knew it. I looked forward to having a boy first and dreamt of the "big brother" figure to our next future child. The idea of having a little boy was amazing beyond words, and when the ultrasound technician confirmed that he was in fact a boy, I melted.
Fast forward to January 2014. We're expecting again! Getting Mr. Hunky on board for a second baby seemed like a tedious task and for a while it was constant bickering about [him] not wanting another child versus [me] wanting another child. Although he will never admit, I think Mr. Hunky came to the decision that he too wanted another child because when preventing intentionally was dismissed from the equation, a baby was made. When we confirmed our pregnancy with a home pregnancy test, we both immediately came to the consensus that we wanted a daughter. We've always agreed that two kids would be the perfect number for our family and that we don't want any more than that (and to be honest, pregnancy is not my favorite - I am always extremely sick), so when we envisioned our family we could see Little Mister and a baby girl. A sister. Little brown curls toddling around the back yard sporting a pink ruffled dress and a big ol' cloth diaper butt. A Scarlett or Emilee as we had thought of naming her. I could see it, and I wanted to so bad I could feel it. I dreamt of this baby girl almost every night and after how sick I have been with this pregnancy (I'm now almost 20 weeks and just started feeling less and less morning sickness about a week ago), I thought for sure it was a girl. I prayed that odds were in my favor being that I know 10 other mommies who have confirmed that they are carrying a boy - where were the girls?! I had to be carrying one right? Absolutely.
At 18 weeks 4 days Mr. Hunky and I went in for the anatomy scan. Everything with the baby looked fantastic developmentally and the little bug was wiggling around for our enjoyment. There is nothing like seeing your baby grow happily inside of your tummy. When the ultrasound tech got to the bottom half of measuring our baby she approached his lower region. "There is a leg...here is the other leg...and here is..."
"His wiener.", I blurted out. I couldn't help it, it was there right in front of me, on the big screen. He was a boy. Baby #2 was a boy.
My dreams of pink and tutus and ruffles and a daughter came crashing down and to be honest it took everything I had not to start crying right in the middle of that room.
What was wrong with me? I should be so happy that baby #2 was a HEALTHY boy. But I was so sad that it wasn't a healthy girl.
I am the worst mom.
After our appointment I told Mr. Hunky that I didn't want to go to the baby stores as he had promised to take me, I just wanted to grab something to eat and go home. When we got home I went straight to our bedroom, crawled in bed, and stayed there for hours. I felt like such a failure, not because I wasn't pregnant with a girl, but because I wasn't the least bit excited to be carrying a boy. I was a failure to the little boy growing inside of me. At least that's how I felt that day.
I will save you the details of how the rest of the day went, but I will tell you that I cried a lot and shortly responded to the "Congratulation" text messages and Facebook comments that I was receiving from friends and family. I needed a day to grieve and as selfish as it sounds, it helped me come to terms with the fact that I will never have a daughter, and that I will be the mom of two boys.
It took me a few days before I finally got excited about having another boy. I brought in the box of Little Misters old new born clothes and looked through them, tested out our new double stroller, and started a small online registry. I started to look at cloth diapers and swaddle blankets, I made a list of things that we wanted/needed for this baby, and I changed the fashion on our infant car seat from the pink as it had originally been, to the more masculine beige color that we had on reserve for a boy.
Its been about a week and a half since we found out that #2 is a boy and I am excited. I feel him move, I can call him a him, and I talk to Little Mister about his baby brother. I'm excited about the bond that my boys will share and I cannot wait to watch this little boy grow up. Am I still disappointed that I'm not having a girl? Of course I am, but I am also much more excited about having a boy.
Tips for Dealing with Gender Disappointment
- Grieve. Take the rest of the day to grieve the fact that you are not having the boy/girl that you hoped for. It's perfectly okay and it is completely natural to be upset, for a period of time.
- Reach out to a friend/family member. Using the shoulder of a friend or family member and just crying or venting really helps a lot. Chances are they won't have the words to help you move on (it's rare that anyone can say something to make you feel better, right?) but getting your emotions out really does help.
- You are a fantastic mother. Repeat that to yourself as many times as you need to, because you really are wonderful. Gender disappointment is normal and I can almost guarantee that someone you know has gone through this. Even if they never admitted it.
- Talk to your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend. If you have that option available to you. They may be dealing with the same feelings/emotions and just not expressing them because they see your pain. If they are feeling the same, talking it out together will help
- Get excited. You're having a beautiful baby! Regardless if it is a boy or a girl, it's your baby! It may take some time before you are 100% excited to be having the gender you are, but either way a child is a huge blessing. Here are some recommended ways to help get excited.
- Create your baby registry! Whether it be online or in store, go crazy!
Add things that you love, you need, you want, and you just think would be
adorable for your little bundle.
- Start thinking about their nursery. Choose a theme, decor, furniture, etc.
Create a collage or dream board for their room to further inspire yourself!
- Go shopping and pick up something in your babes gender.
Even if you can't afford much right now, the Goodwill and other second
hand stores have beautiful clothing items for next to nothing!
Grab an outfit or onesie and hang it up in your closet or theirs!
Guaranteed it'll put a smile on your face whenever you see it.
-Write out your birth plan. It's never to early to start thinking about
how you want to bring your baby into the world. Write up your birth plan to
share with your doctor at your next visit and gather their opinions.
- Make a list of what to pack in your hospital bag!
- Choose a name for your little one!
- & most importantly - think about holding that little one in your arms.
There is not better feeling in the world!
You are a fantastic mother, your feelings of gender disappointment are natural and you will move past them. I promise.
Edited to Add:
I'd like to mention for those who may be reading this and not commenting- my intention with this post was not to offend anyone who may not be able to conceive, are currently trying to conceive, or who may have suffered a loss. Babies are a gift and we live in a world where society expects us to be perfect. We are judged for wanting big families or not wanting kids, for not being able to conceive, for having to many girls or to many boys, judged for having gender disappointment. We live in a world where everyone's opinions on YOUR family and YOUR life are voiced and it's a very challenging thing. Whether you have 1 kid or 12, or cannot conceive at all, someone will always have something to say. My hopes with this article is not to hurt anyone or bring up pain, but to help show other moms that it's normal to have feelings of gender disappointment if you do have them.