At one of my many late ultrasound scans, I found out the gender of our baby when the sonographer blurted out “It still looks like a boy!”. The stab of disappointment I felt was unmistakeable. I didn’t want to find out the gender, knowing I would be disappointed if I didn’t have a girl. Although I had a strong gut feeling that it would be a boy anyway. Having this confirmed was different.I also had a dream just before I got pregnant about a girl joining our family and even had a preferred girl name picked out. Heck, this pregnancy was so different from my first that at the beginning, I thought I had food poisoning because I was constantly sick. So the realisation of my bump being a boy broke me. This is what they call “gender disappointment”.
When I told S, the first question he asked me was if I was happy. Honestly, I wasn’t, I even burst into tears in the corridor of the hospital because I felt the loss of not ever having a daughter. I immediately decided and told S not to tell anyone, not a single soul. It didn’t really make much of a difference though. Because we didn’t know what the gender was before, so when people asked us, of course we told them we didnt know. We only had a few weeks before baby would make an appearance anyway. Additionally, I thought it would be so hard for people to be excited when I’m not happy about the news myself. Being pregnant almost became not very exciting for me.
I don’t know what was more shocking
Even when we didn’t know the gender, we received some quite shocking comments and I think if I had known, these would have seriously set me off:
“You never know, you think it’s a boy, but he may come out as a girl. Even sonographers and doctors get it wrong sometimes.”
“You could always have a third baby if this is a boy, but that might be another boy too.”
“You must be really disappointed if it’s another boy.”
“Having another boy would be fun, #JasperBean will have someone to play with, they can share clothes, toys blah blah blah, you will save so much money! And you’ve got experience with a boy already. Girls are a hassle.”
“If it’s a boy, you’re safe. If it’s a girl, you’re gonna have to buy a gun!”
“It’s okay if it’s a boy, you can wait to have granddaughters instead.”
“I was put on medication when I had my second boy because I was so depressed.”
“Even if your baby is a boy, he may identify as being the opposite sex!”
“Boys run in the family!”
“Girls are expensive.”
Yes of course I still love my baby with all my heart and that all I should really want is my baby to be healthy. But yet, I can’t help but feel sad and guilty. It’s not my baby’s fault that I feel this way. I’m not dissapointed in my baby boy, I’m just dissapointed that I’m not having a baby girl.
It’s no one’s fault, I just needed time to reset
When I did find out what the gender of our baby was, it was just under 2 weeks before I was due, but still I didn’t tell anyone. It just felt right and easier for me to deal with. I’m grateful for the sonographers’ blunder, because I was given time to reframe my mind and be mentally prepared. I knew with all my heart that once I held our baby for the first time, I’ll love him just as much as I love #JasperBean. I am forever grateful to even have another baby, so this temporary gender disappointment was just something I had to deal with. What I felt was true natural emotions, I can‘t and don’t want to change any of it. The fact that in the face of every rationalisation, deep down in my heart, I wish I had a daughter.
It’s just an innate desire and doesn’t make me a bad parent.
Here are some ways that helped me cope with Gender Disappointment
- Giving myself time. It didnt seem like I had much time to let the news sink in before reality hit. But it was nonetheless time I needed. In a way, the accidental knowledge was a blessing in disguise.
- Acknowledging my feelings. Embracing the fact that I was unhappy with the news and sad that I wasn’t getting what I wanted may not be what people expect to hear. However, acknowledging my feelings at the time was important, I knew it was not a feeling that would last.
- Talking about it. Even though it may seem like I bottled it in by not telling anyone the news. I did have S, we communicated and this made me ”heal“ faster.
- Praying. I know He is the only one that will not judge me for how ugly my feelings were. He‘s not going to be angry or disappointed at me. He will listen and give me comfort, because His almighty power is everywhere.
- I‘m not alone. There are thousands of women who are or will be going through what I went through. I found comfort knowing that I wasn’t alone.
- Pen to paper – or in my case, fingers to keyboard. Writing all my feelings down and documenting it definitely helped me cope. It made me read and re-read what I had put down and question myself. It made me realise what was important. Lastly, it reminded me that none of this makes me a bad person.
I love my boys and wouldn‘t change them
As much as I want to, I couldn’t control the way I felt. I know God has challenged me with another baby boy, so I am going to fully embrace being a mummy to 2 gorgeous boys. When I look at parents with baby girls now, I don’t feel jealous or envy, because I know I am blessed. My boys are the best things that has ever happened to me and I love them with all my heart. Even on days when they are pulling my hair out and driving me up the wall.
Did you experience gender disappointment? If you are going through this at the moment, I hope my experience can empower you. I would love to hear from you and am happy for you to reach out to myself for support.
Thanks for reading and until next time…
Love, MsMamaBean x