I am in no way cut out to be the mom of a boy. This thought crossed my mind over and over throughout the first trimester of my second pregnancy. I was meant to be a girl mom, I was sure of it. I dreamed of Hazel growing up with a little sister, experiencing the sacred relationship known only between sisters. One of my sisters-in-law and several of my good friends were pregnant at the same time and they were having girls, so naturally I would be having another girl, too!
I spent many days trying to convince myself that this pregnancy was almost identical to my pregnancy with H. There were, in truth, few similarities. I knew I was pregnant and that it was a girl, before I even took a test with Miss H. This time around, though, Chris had a hunch that I might be, but I was in denial. I felt nauseous quite often in the first trimester with H, and this time I was sick…a lot. I remember telling my mom early on that I couldn’t connect with this pregnancy and that I felt that meant it was either a boy or something was wrong. Still, I pressed on, telling myself and everyone around me that I believed it was a girl.
I was so anxious the day we found out. I left work early and met Chris at the doctor’s office for the ultrasound. “It’s ok,” I kept telling myself over and over, “It’s healthy. It’s a girl”.
The ultrasound tech was less than stellar as she hurried through the entire experience, never slowing down to let us savor the images of our sweet babe. She didn’t even show us what she saw when she boldly announced, “It’s a boy”.
Immediately I broke down into tears. I couldn’t stop crying to enjoy the rest of the ultrasound. I was so thankful my baby was ok. Everything looked perfect, growing exactly as it should be. But I couldn’t help but feel crushed that all I had hoped for having two girls came screeching to a halt.
We left the ultrasound in silence, my husband completely unsure of what to say. We got to the car and decided that I would pick up H from daycare and Chris would pickup the cupcake that I had ordered for her. I cried the whole way to her daycare. She was so hoping for a baby sister and I had no idea how I was going to tell her it was a boy. I remember feeling terrified and angry. How could God possibly give me a boy? How in the hell was I going to be the mom of a boy? I am simply not cut out for it.
I picked H up and we met Chris at home. We sat her on the couch and told her that if she got a pink cupcake it was a girl and if she got a blue cupcake it was a boy. She was so excited, yet when we placed the blue cupcake in front of her, she was upset. I couldn’t hide my tears. I felt I had let her down somehow.
Later that evening we met with my brother and sister-in-law to decorate eggs for Easter, and we talked over boy names on the drive. You see, at this point, there had only ever been one name in the history of being together that we could agree on for a boy. But I wasn’t sold on it. Nothing felt right. We knew before we had H what her name would be. I knew what I wanted this one to be named, if it had been a girl. But a boy? No, we couldn’t agree on anything and nothing felt right.
That night, as we were coloring eggs, Chris wrote E’s name down on an egg in white crayon and dipped the egg in the dye. When it came out he showed me and I looked at him and smiled. It was that moment that we knew what his name would be.
The next day, I met with my mom and sister and talked to my mom about what I was experiencing. I explained that it wasn’t that I wasn’t excited about my baby – I was. I couldn’t wait to meet him. It was that I had to come to terms with the fact that I would never have another baby girl, that H would never have a sister. I love and am close to both of my brothers, but there is just nothing like the bond between sisters. And I now had to accept that H would never get to experience that and it crushed me.
The following weekend I started shopping for my baby boy. It made things more real. As the pregnancy progressed I got more and more excited to meet him, but would still feel pangs of sadness every once in a while that I wouldn’t have the chance to have another girl.
Many people don’t understand gender disappointment, making one feel even more alone while experiencing it.
Here are a few things I learned about gender disappointment while going through it.
You feel really guilty.
Deep down, you are excited to meet your baby, no matter the sex. You truly are thankful to have a healthy baby and you already love that sweet thing so much it hurts. And that’s why you feel so much guilt about being disappointed.
People make you feel even worse.
You inevitably get people who say you should just be happy you are even having a baby or that you should be thankful it’s healthy. These comments aren’t helpful. First of all, you are happy you’re having a baby and you are thankful it’s healthy. You already feel guilty about your feelings, and yet people are so quick to lay on the judgement.
Your feelings are real.
You are entitled to feel the way you do. It’s human nature to picture what your life may look like in the future. It’s normal to hope for one sex over the other. And when reality doesn’t quite align with what you imagined, it’s also human nature to be disappointed. It’s ok to feel the way you do. It’s important that you acknowledge your feelings and work through them.
You’re given what you’re meant to have.
Whether you believe in God or the universe, it’s important to understand that you are given the exact child that you are meant to have. This was hard for me to grasp when I was going through it. One day when I was talking my feelings over with a dear friend before we officially found out, she sweetly told me that if it was a boy, then he was meant for really great things. That stuck with me and now that I know this child, I couldn’t agree more. I was meant to have this boy because he was meant to teach me so much and he will have so much good to give to the world.
Find ways to get excited.
Once I started shopping for my little man, it got easier to be excited. Again I want to say that it wasn’t that I was unhappy that I was having a boy, it really felt more that I was sad that I wouldn’t ever have another girl. After we named him and could refer to him by his name, and started gathering all his things, it became less about who I wasn’t having and so much more about who I couldn’t wait to meet.
I was so anxious to meet my son towards the end that I could hardly stand it. His birth was everything I needed it to be. When I met him, the weight of all I had felt before hit me. How could I possibly have wanted anyone else?
He changed me the moment he was placed in my arms; I never knew my heart could expand so much and break into a thousand pieces all at once.
The little things stick with me and I remember words that are said during significant moments forever. I remember word for word Chris’s response when I was 16 and told him I loved him for the first time. I remember the very first thing I told my sweet girl when I held her for the first time. And I remember looking at my baby boy in complete awe and wonder after he was born. I told him, “It was you all along”. And that statement couldn’t be more true.
It was him when H was barely a year old and I told Chris I felt like our next baby was a boy. It was him when we came up with a boy name a year later and proudly stated that his name and her name together made a really cool indie band name. It was him that my heart called out for year after year waiting for the right time for him to join us. And I will never not feel guilty about how I felt and reacted when I found out he was a boy.
You see, H was the little girl I always knew I was meant to have, but it was E who I never knew I always wanted.