Thursday, 16 October 2014

Gender disappointment, when the baby you are expecting is not what you were expecting.

In August 2014, the Yahoo Contributor Network was shut down. All the copyrights to articles thereon were returned to their authors, so I decided to publish certain articles of mine, originally written for Yahoo UK on my own blogs. This is one of them.  
One of the big decisions in pregnancy is whether or not to find out the sex of your baby before they are born. For me this was an easy choice, I'm no good at surprises, and I hated the idea that the
sonographer might know when I did not.
In my first pregnancy, I had no real preference or strong predictions about my baby's sex. I had always wanted a daughter, but after getting to know some of the little boys of my friends and family, I would have been grateful for either. As it turned out, he was a boy, he grew, he was born, and I loved being his mummy.
When I was pregnant with our second child, I, along with everyone else I knew, was convinced I was expecting a girl. Absolutely beyond doubt. I had girl's names picked out, I even bought a little dress in the sales as it was so unusual and completely to my taste.
At 20 weeks we went along to our scan. "Would you like me to take a guess at the gender?" asked the sonographer, we agreed, and in a fairly non-committal way, she informed us that it was probably a boy.
I was stunned. Completely taken aback. She might as well have said he was a giraffe, I had been so sure. I actually booked a private gender scan a few weeks later, just to check. He was most definitely a boy, the sonography clinic even gave me a close-up photo to prove the point.
It has to be said that I grieved the "loss" of the little girl I had convinced myself I was carrying. It took a while for me to come around to the idea that this little being I was falling in love with was not quite what I had thought he was. I also felt guilty, as if I had let him down, by hoping he was something he was not, and for feeling disappointed in what he was. We had to start looking at boy's names, and referring to him as "he". It is for this reason that I am very glad we chose to find out the gender at the scan. It was a confusing time, and I am grateful we were not trying to come to terms with this "change" after he was born.
I looked at the positive side of having a boy. All of my first son's clothes had been put aside for the future. All of them, not just the unisex babygrows, would be suitable hand-me-downs for his baby brother (though I am sure any daughter of mine would end up wearing dinosaurs and robots anyway). So I lost out on some retail therapy, but it has saved me a fortune, and will continue to do so for years to come.
My eldest has the perfect playmate. Of course brothers and sisters can play together, but already the bond between my two boys is exceptional, I expect they will be best friends for a long time. I also looked at the 3D scan photos taken at our private scan. His sweet little face looked a lot like his brother. I reasserted that this was the same child I had loved when he was two blue lines on a stick.
When he arrived he was just perfect. He was not what we expected, but that is part of the charm. Like the birthday gift you never asked for, never expected and never knew you wanted. Every day I delight in learning new things about him.
So now I have a houseful of little boys. Yes, there are only two of them, but it feels like the house is full of shouting, wrestling, cars and bricks. Over time I have become comfortable with the idea that this is my family, and it feels right. If my fairy godmother offered to swap my youngest (or indeed my eldest) for a daughter, exactly as I imagined she might be, I would have to decline. They are mine, and I love them just as they are.
As with any mother of multiple children of the same gender, I am constantly asked if I am going to "try for a girl". There is a part of me that would still very much like one, but there is no guarantee that if I fell pregnant again, it would be a girl. Even less that it would be a girl that lived up to my expectations of mothering a daughter. If we do decide to grow our family it will be because we want another individual to love and raise, and we will be ready to accept whatever kind of baby fate sends us.

No comments:

Post a Comment