Dealing with Gender Disappointment

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Gender Disappointment High Res

The topic of this post might offend some people. And I know that. But know that this post is being written as I sit beside my 10-month-old that I love more than anything. These are feelings from my past, feelings that I know a lot of pregnant moms have, and feelings that I feel should be talked about, so those moms know that they are not alone. Moms should not be judged for their feelings, so if this topic offends you, please click the ‘back’ button on your browser and move on.

(Steps down from her soapbox)

I came from an only child family where I was loved unconditionally. Throughout my childhood, I would romp around the neighborhood with my girlfriends, and in high school, met my (still to this day) best girlfriends. If I met a baby, it was a girl. Girls, girls, girls. It’s really all that I’ve ever known! So from the time I was young, I always dreamed that if I was lucky enough to become a mom, it would be a little girl. Someone I could play dolls with, go shopping with, plan parties with, and whose nails I could paint. When I found out I was pregnant last year, only girl things crossed my mind. I love flamingos, so I knew she would have a flamingo nursery. My own mother even knitted me a blanket in girl colors! I imagined tutus, cute outfits, and bows galore.

Our sonogram appointment was on a Wednesday afternoon and our gender reveal party was not until Saturday. What an amazing thing for a future mom to get to experience. Sitting there with my husband, I was fascinated at what I saw. The four chambers of the heart, the detail of the spine, little fingers moving around. Just, Wow. We had a healthy baby and we were so thankful for that, because of course, in the end, that is all that matters. Our technician knew that we wanted to keep the gender a surprise, and we gave her the envelope and card before hand with clear instructions. She asked us to turn our heads when she got down there. I asked her if she could tell, and she said yes. I asked her if she was 100% sure and she said, “We never guarantee anything, but I am pretty sure.” Ok great!

The sonogram screen had the previous photos as thumbnails on top of the current photos. So me, the ruiner of all great surprises was laying there trying soooo hard to see if I could see something in those tiny thumbnails, while she and my husband moved on and continued to talk about what they were looking at on the current screen. On one thumbnail I could see two pink dots and a blue dot. I had NO idea what they meant, but to me, I came to this conclusion: there was one pink and one blue, and once they see the gender, they put a second dot of the gender’s color. OMG it’s a GIRL!!!

Fast forward to Saturday, gender reveal day! The house was perfect, friends and family arrived, and then my friend arrived who had picked up the cake and cake pops for me (custom prepared by Cake Crumbs Bakery). She told me not to look because she could see a hint of color through the icing. EEEK! As she and her husband were filling out my name ideas board, I overheard (they did not know I was close) her husband say quietly to her, “You better put some more girl names up there.” OMG it’s a GIRL!

The time finally came for everyone to gather around my husband and I, and watch us bite into our cake pops.A BOY IMAGE

 

1, 2, 3

BLUE

What?

 

I looked at my husband who was absolutely thrilled and gave him a hug. I hid my sadness very well at the time, but inside, my stomach sank. We spent the rest of the afternoon taking photos and having fun with family and friends. My parents could tell my disappointment, along with some close friends who knew of my desire for a little girl, but that was it.

I continued to hide my sadness that weekend. I really don’t even think my husband knew. He was getting his boy and he was thrilled. Boys were loud. Boys broke things. Boys ate their boogers. Boys married women who would hate you and try to steal them away forever. Boys’ clothes sucked. And on and on.

A few days later, I went shopping. I decided that I would go pick out a cute boy outfit, and that would get me excited. I went to a few stores (there was a flamingo girl outfit for goodness sakes), and I left with nothing. Crying. I called my mom and just bawled to her. I cried because I felt terrible. Here I am with this healthy baby boy inside me that I knew I will love unconditionally. Why was I having these thoughts? Something must be wrong with me.

I got home, did some googling of ‘gender depression’ and realized that I was not alone. I didn’t spend long reading the posts, but it felt good to know that I was not the only one with these thoughts. That same day, a friend talked to me about a baby shower. A friend that I knew would throw me the most adorable shower there ever was. From then on, I was fine. I started designing his nursery, buying a few clothes, and the most fun – registering. Adorable shower invitations came and my excitement continued to grow. I came to accept this gift we had been given.

And, of course, I loved him from the moment that I saw him…I never doubted that I would. My little man has taught me that sometimes, out of disappointment, comes joy. I have a beautiful, perfect, irreplaceable little boy. I will throw everything I have into being a “boy mom.” Wrestle with him, watch boy shows with him, internally cringe when he asks me for a Star Wars bedroom, and run screaming to my husband when he brings in his first bug. But I will also embrace it and laugh with every ounce of me.

So to any mom out there with similar feelings, no matter what the sex. It’s ok. You can cry. I needed to cry, because that’s what I do when I’m sad. I needed to get my feelings out, and I did. I acknowledged them and moved on, and then I surrounded myself with all of the fun and excitement that comes along with welcoming a new baby into this world. And now? I wouldn’t change a thing.

And let’s be honest, I still dress him cute and it’s SO. MUCH. EASIER.

Did you deal with Gender Disappointment? How did you deal with it?

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Jackie M. is mom to an adorable little boy, wife to David and dog-mom to the cutest German Shepherd around. She is an allergy mom, learning to navigate the various trials and tribulations ‘mom status’ brings to life. The good, the bad, and of course, the sometimes slightly ugly. In Jackie’s other life, she is the Marketing and Communications Director for a local Country Club. Jackie is ‘Miss DIY’ and has an Etsy shop {Fancy Flamingo} where she makes custom banners for life’s special occasions. Born and raised in the Midwest, Jackie is originally from Kansas City. She has called Colorado home since 2008, and loves experiencing all that this amazing state has to offer! A few or Jackie's favorite things include caramel lattes, clothes from Loft, M&Ms, a well organized craft room, taking too many pictures, exploring Colorado and the great outdoors, her husband’s cooking, and of course, the occasional time that she can spend on the couch.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Jackie, you are by alone in your feelings at all! I wrote about my experience last March for the Columbia, SC Moms Blog and while I did receive some harsh words, the vast majority of comments thanked me for voicing what so many women experienced. I have the most beautiful 7 month old baby boy who I adore more than life itself, but the struggle was real for a few months after I found out his sex. I hope you have a wonderful first Christmas with your sweet baby!

    http://columbiasc.citymomsblog.com/painted-blue-admitting-to-gender-disappointment/

    • Hi Ashleigh! Thanks so much for the comment and for sharing your post. They are so similar! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well 🙂

  2. I am so glad you wrote this piece. I felt the same way three pregnancies in a row. I became pregnant unexpectedly in my late 30s and gave birth to the opposite sex. It was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be. I also found that all those people who were so encouraging that I was a mom to 4 kids of one gender, mysteriously have been absent for the last two years of my last child’s life. Some people are happy when someone else isn’t. That encouragement or shaming you for your feelings? Consider the possibility that it makes people happy to know someone doesn’t have their version of having it all.

  3. Love that you wrote this. I found out 6 months ago that I am having a second boy. This is our last child and I was devastated at the news. I left the OB appt in tears and felt so guilty. The best thing I had happen was talking to a few other boy moms. They had the same experience. It wasn’t that I was sad about a boy, it was that I had to grieve for the girl and mom/daughter relationship that I would never have.

    • Now you will have two little boys that can run around and rough-house with each other 🙂 We will not be having a second, so I know what you mean about grieving the relationship you will never have. But a great boy(s) mom you will be!

  4. I as with the previous commenter had the opposite, thinking/dreaming of a boy and we now have a beautiful baby girl. I had to admit my disappointment was actually grief, because having lost my father to cancer almost 5 years ago I wanted to name our little one in honor of my dad. It was one more little lost peice of what I had thought of as my fathers legacy. It was hard. So so very hard. I think the only ones who really truly understood my grief were my husband and my brother both of whom were incredibly close with dad. Instead our little girl carries a different family members name and she is as you’ve said, an incredible joy.

  5. I’m so glad this post came up today. I am dealing with a similar situation right now. I found out last week that I am having a girl. I had been thinking/assuming/wanting a boy. I’ve been able to talk to my mom about it, which is great, but I feel I can’t talk to other moms-to-be about it. All the community forums I belong to, the women are kind of rude to each other and I can’t imagine posting about gender disappointment and not getting my head ripped off about how I should just feel lucky she’s healthy. I feel the extra scrutiny because I’m having a girl and most articles, blogs, posts about gender disappointment are like yours; getting a boy when wanting a girl. Thank you for writing about it. It is a real thing!!!

    • I so don’t understand or get the mom shaming. Online groups and forums like that are the worst since there is no face-to-face interaction. It’s nice to know that others out there share the same feelings that we do!

  6. Jackie, thanks for your candor in sharing your story. I know lots of moms who had to grieve the original vision they had of motherhood…I think we all do in different ways all the time actually. Boy-girl gregarious-reserved– we never know what to expect and we don’t get to be in charge. I always wonder when families wait til they deliver to find out…can you imagine?! I think that would be such a challenging shift for me! But some people thinks it’s fun!! Thanks again mama- and cheers to boy moms!

    • No I cannot imagine! People always say that they ‘want it to be a surprise’. But to me, the surprise of finding out at the ultrasound, gender reveal, or whatever you choose is just as good! Thanks for the kind words and yay for us boy moms! 🙂

      • My husband and I waited until our little one was born to find out her gender! We loved the anticipation of the moment when doctor would say, “It’s a…” That moment beat all of our expectations! It was very odd to me how many people actually got a little angry at us for waiting to find out, as if the timing of finding out would change anything at all.

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