When I found out that I was pregnant for the very first time, I hoped that I would have a girl. It sounded like SO much fun to dress up a little girl, do her hair, and go shopping with her. I knew that if I had a son, it would be meant to be, but the idea of changing boy diapers and stepping on Legos was totally unappealing. I was a little bit afraid of the unknown, especially starting my parenting journey as a single mom.
My wish came true at my anatomy scan. I got an “It’s a girl!” from the ultrasound tech. I was super pumped about it and immediately went out and bought a ton of Hello Kitty paraphernalia for the baby. I had a couple moments of doubt where I wasn’t 100% sure I was having a girl, but 20 weeks later, Miss Zoelie Joy was born.
When I got pregnant again, Colin wanted a boy. I wanted a boy too – because more than anything I wanted Colin to be happy. We even painted the baby’s room two shades of a pretty blue right after we got our BFP for good juju or something. However, secretly the idea of having a set of sisters was SO wonderful to me. I have five and despite the ups and downs of sisterhood, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Sisters are a wonderful thing and I wanted Zoelie to have that.
We knew the baby would be called Allister regardless of gender. At our 16wk ultrasound, we found out it was another girl. I could see disappointment in my husband’s eyes and my stomach was stuck in my throat. It took a minute for us to get used to the idea of girl number two, but Zoelie was definitely excited that she was getting a little sister. After the initial shock, secretly I was thrilled. Besides the sister thing, we also didn’t have to go out any buy a ton of baby stuff since we already had most of what we needed.
When we got a positive test for baby 3, Colin and I were both certain we were finally going to have a son. Colin wanted a boy to play catch and go fishing with. I wanted a little boy who was a miniature version of my husband.
We couldn’t even come up with a girl’s name at all until just a couple weeks ago, but we found a ton of boys’ names we liked. A really BIG reason that having a boy has been so important to us is that if I don’t give my hubby a son, our last name ends. We are the last with the ability in his family to carry on the name. (Also before you tell me to try for a fourth & do the Shettles method—no, go away. This oven has retired.)
My morning sickness was different, I felt like I was carrying different, and all the old wives tales pointed to a boy. I filled my pinterest baby board with ideas for a vintage baseball nursery and photo shoots of newborns in giant baseball gloves. Out of nowhere hubby decided that he wanted to name our son Rocket. I wasn’t totally into it, but it was so attractive how excited he was, and after a while I agreed.
At 17 weeks we scheduled our ultrasound and went in with a plan to have the tech write down gender on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope for opening with our family around thanksgiving time. The tech told us she didn’t do a lot of prenatal scans. She was fast, and we saw baby for a few minutes, but never actually saw the money shot since we didn’t want to find out at the appointment. Baby’s heart rate was in the 120’s, which was significantly lower than both of our girls ever were. I was convinced at that moment that yes- it was a boy. Afterwards she gave Colin the envelope with a 90% sure statement behind it.
We lasted the whole rest of the day, and then sitting on the couch late that night we decided to open it. What if it was a girl? I didn’t want anyone to see the potential disappointment on my face. Colin opened the envelope and you all know what it said.
I was shocked into silence for a moment. And then the tears came. I went to bed that night just sobbing. It wasn’t the last time I cried about it either.
This brings me to the point of this whole story.
First, I understand how awful it sounds to be upset that a child is not the gender desired. So many people just want a healthy baby and would be ecstatic to have a child at all. I don’t mean to be insensitive to that by any means. I know I am so fortunate to have two healthy children, soon to be three of them. Second, keep in mind that I am human. Disappointment is natural and something that is normal to experience. Please don’t try to make me feel guilty about a feeling I have no control over.
This is my moment of gender disappointment honesty. Seeing the word girl on that little piece of paper instantly tore me apart. It was not because I didn’t want a girl. I was broken hearted because finding out that baby 3 was a girl meant mourning the loss of the son I will never have. I will never be a mother to a little boy. He will never skin his knee riding his bike down our driveway. He will never play fetch with our dogs in the backyard. He will never pester his big sisters, catch his first fish or talk to me about the girl he has a crush on at school. I will never get to sit in the front row on the right side at his wedding.
And from the moment that I found out, I felt like I completely let my husband down. I failed him yet again. I still feel that way.
Just know that being sad about gender doesn’t mean I am unhappy to be a mom to three little girls. I am beyond thrilled, and SO super happy. I can’t wait to meet baby 3 in a few weeks. I love her so much already and I am so thankful that I get to be her mommy. Life with three girls is going to be a challenge – but I’m up for it.
It’s gender neutral. I didn’t buy one single thing for baby 3 that was targeted only to a female infant. In my heart, having Rocket is still a possibility. As long as I’m still pregnant, there is still a 10% chance for a surprise!
Have any of you experienced gender disappointment? Did you feel like you had to hide your feelings? Have any of you been told you were having one gender but were surprised at birth with another? I would love to hear your experiences!