Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dealing With Gender Disappointment {My Real Story}

I've debated writing this since we found out what baby #2 is because every time I think about it, I feel like the worst mom in the history of the universe. I decided to swallow my pride and write my story because after speaking with other close friends and family members I realized that I wasn't alone, and I don't want you to feel alone if it is something that you have been going through as well. My intention by writing this is not to offend those who may not understand the topic or who are in the process of trying to conceive. My intention is to spread awareness that those who do deal with this are not alone and that it is perfectly natural.

This is a topic that is probably going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. You may get angry over this post, or you may completely understand and relate to it. I hope for the latter but regardless of the outcome I truly feel like gender disappointment is a topic that needs to be more out in the open.

When you find out you're pregnant, your first though is for a happy healthy baby, and the next is typically hoping for a specific gender. This isn't the case for everyone, but for a lot it is. And gender disappointment is a real thing.

This is my story.

From as far back as I can remember, I have always been the maternal type. From around age 2 or 3 I would carry around my baby dolls as if they were actual babies, and I had accessories for them like a real child would have - play strollers, a play crib, bottles, blankets - the whole nine. I specifically remembered that play crib - it was metal painted white and I can remember the way it felt and the sounds it made when I adjusted the side railing to get my baby doll in and out.

I remember being a young pre-teen when the movie Titanic came out and bringing my two twin baby dolls to the show. The movie was so packed full of people that my friend and I had to sit in the front while my mom and her mom sat more toward the back, because those were the only seats available. Halfway through the movie I remember handing my "babies" off to my friend so I could ditch her to sit with my mom. Good times.

I remember being in high school telling friends (and my mom) that if I felt like my high school boyfriend would have been "the one", I would have had no problem having a child at 16 years old. That's how much I looked forward to being a mom. I was always the one who took care of my friends when they needed something whether it be holding their hair back, giving them a ride somewhere, spotting them lunch money, and even calling to remind them to check their blood sugar (I love you diabetic best friend). The maternal instinct was just there.

When I met Mr. Hunky I knew immediately that he would be my "baby daddy" as my best friend and I would joke. At our wedding my maid of honor included in her speech that I was so ecstatic to meet him, that when I told her about him I said "I met a tattooed Marine. I love him". She wasn't to far off with that one.

When Mr. Hunky and I got pregnant in December 2010 I was over the moon. I knew he was the man I wanted to start my family with and the idea that I was pregnant was the biggest (and scariest) blessing. I instantly started hoping that our little bundle was a girl. In fact I was so set on it being a girl that it took my mom reminding me that there was a 50% chance it was a boy, for me to realize that it could be a little man growing inside of me. Once I realized it that baby could be a boy, I fell in love. I could feel that he was a boy, I just knew it. I looked forward to having a boy first and dreamt of the "big brother" figure to our next future child. The idea of having a little boy was amazing beyond words, and when the ultrasound technician confirmed that he was in fact a boy, I melted.

Fast forward to January 2014. We're expecting again! Getting Mr. Hunky on board for a second baby seemed like a tedious task and for a while it was constant bickering about [him] not wanting another child versus [me] wanting another child. Although he will never admit, I think Mr. Hunky came to the decision that he too wanted another child because when preventing intentionally was dismissed from the equation, a baby was made. When we confirmed our pregnancy with a home pregnancy test, we both immediately came to the consensus that we wanted a daughter. We've always agreed that two kids would be the perfect number for our family and that we don't want any more than that (and to be honest, pregnancy is not my favorite - I am always extremely sick), so when we envisioned our family we could see Little Mister and a baby girl. A sister. Little brown curls toddling around the back yard sporting a pink ruffled dress and a big ol' cloth diaper butt. A Scarlett or Emilee as we had thought of naming her. I could see it, and I wanted to so bad I could feel it. I dreamt of this baby girl almost every night and after how sick I have been with this pregnancy (I'm now almost 20 weeks and just started feeling less and less morning sickness about a week ago), I thought for sure it was a girl. I prayed that odds were in my favor being that I know 10 other mommies who have confirmed that they are carrying a boy - where were the girls?! I had to be carrying one right? Absolutely.


At 18 weeks 4 days Mr. Hunky and I went in for the anatomy scan. Everything with the baby looked fantastic developmentally and the little bug was wiggling around for our enjoyment. There is nothing like seeing your baby grow happily inside of your tummy. When the ultrasound tech got to the bottom half of measuring our baby she approached his lower region. "There is a is the other leg...and here is..."

"His wiener.", I blurted out. I couldn't help it, it was there right in front of me, on the big screen. He was a boy. Baby #2 was a boy.

My dreams of pink and tutus and ruffles and a daughter came crashing down and to be honest it took everything I had not to start crying right in the middle of that room.

What was wrong with me? I should be so happy that baby #2 was a HEALTHY boy. But I was so sad that it wasn't a healthy girl.

I am the worst mom.

After our appointment I told Mr. Hunky that I didn't want to go to the baby stores as he had promised to take me, I just wanted to grab something to eat and go home. When we got home I went straight to our bedroom, crawled in bed, and stayed there for hours. I felt like such a failure, not because I wasn't pregnant with a girl, but because I wasn't the least bit excited to be carrying a boy. I was a failure to the little boy growing inside of me. At least that's how I felt that day.

I will save you the details of how the rest of the day went, but I will tell you that I cried a lot and shortly responded to the "Congratulation" text messages and Facebook comments that I was receiving from friends and family. I needed a day to grieve and as selfish as it sounds, it helped me come to terms with the fact that I will never have a daughter, and that I will be the mom of two boys.

It took me a few days before I finally got excited about having another boy. I brought in the box of Little Misters old new born clothes and looked through them, tested out our new double stroller, and started a small online registry. I started to look at cloth diapers and swaddle blankets, I made a list of things that we wanted/needed for this baby, and I changed the fashion on our infant car seat from the pink as it had originally been, to the more masculine beige color that we had on reserve for a boy.

Its been about a week and a half since we found out that #2 is a boy and I am excited. I feel him move, I can call him a him, and I talk to Little Mister about his baby brother. I'm excited about the bond that my boys will share and I cannot wait to watch this little boy grow up. Am I still disappointed that I'm not having a girl? Of course I am, but I am also much more excited about having a boy.

Tips for Dealing with Gender Disappointment

  • Grieve. Take the rest of the day to grieve the fact that you are not having the boy/girl that you hoped for. It's perfectly okay and it is completely natural to be upset, for a period of time.
  • Reach out to a friend/family member. Using the shoulder of a friend or family member and just crying or venting really helps a lot. Chances are they won't have the words to help you move on (it's rare that anyone can say something to make you feel better, right?) but getting your emotions out really does help.
  • You are a fantastic mother. Repeat that to yourself as many times as you need to, because you really are wonderful. Gender disappointment is normal and I can almost guarantee that someone you know has gone through this. Even if they never admitted it. 
  • Talk to your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend. If you have that option available to you. They may be dealing with the same feelings/emotions and just not expressing them because they see your pain. If they are feeling the same, talking it out together will help
  • Get excited. You're having a beautiful baby! Regardless if it is a boy or a girl, it's your baby! It may take some time before you are 100% excited to be having the gender you are, but either way a child is a huge blessing. Here are some recommended ways to help get excited.
- Create your baby registry! Whether it be online or in store, go crazy! 
Add things that you love, you need, you want, and you just think would be 
adorable for your little bundle.

- Start thinking about their nursery. Choose a theme, decor, furniture, etc. 
Create a collage or dream board for their room to further inspire yourself!

- Go shopping and pick up something in your babes gender. 
Even if you can't afford much right now, the Goodwill and other second 
hand stores have beautiful clothing items for next to nothing! 
Grab an outfit or onesie and hang it up in your closet or theirs! 
Guaranteed it'll put a smile on your face whenever you see it.

-Write out your birth plan. It's never to early to start thinking about 
how you want to bring your baby into the world. Write up your birth plan to 
share with your doctor at your next visit and gather their opinions.

- Make a list of what to pack in your hospital bag!

- Choose a name for your little one!

- & most importantly - think about holding that little one in your arms. 
There is not better feeling in the world!

You are a fantastic mother, your feelings of gender disappointment are natural and you will move past them. I promise.

Edited to Add:
I'd like to mention for those who may be reading this and not commenting- my intention with this post was not to offend anyone who may not be able to conceive, are currently trying to conceive, or who may have suffered a loss. Babies are a gift and we live in a world where society expects us to be perfect. We are judged for wanting big families or not wanting kids, for not being able to conceive, for having to many girls or to many boys, judged for having gender disappointment. We live in a world where everyone's opinions on YOUR family and YOUR life are voiced and it's a very challenging thing. Whether you have 1 kid or 12, or cannot conceive at all, someone will always have something to say. My hopes with this article is not to hurt anyone or bring up pain, but to help show other moms that it's normal to have feelings of gender disappointment if you do have them.


  1. I thought I was going to have a girl too! My older son even asked to ultrasound technician, "Are you sure it's not a deformed girl?" Everyone was disappointed. But, he came, he's here, and how could it have been anyone else? It feels like he's always been here. Don't tell my husband, but there's always next time!!

    1. Your sons reaction literally made me "LOL". I hope your next is the little girl you've been wanting! <3

    2. Maybe... My husband is so sure this should be our last, but even thinking there won't be another makes every second with my little guy bittersweet. Then again, until last year he didn't want even a second child.

  2. I am infertile, and do foster care right now. I have decided after doing foster care for multiple little ones that I think ONE is the perfect number of children for me (at least until that one is at least like 5 or something). But if we end up adopting the baby boy we have now I will definitely be adopting one more, because I really want a little girl. Potential gender disappointment is actually the second biggest reason that I am wary of doing IVF, even though I would LOVE to experience the horrors of pregnancy and breastfeeding (#1 reason is that I am afraid I will end up with high order multiples, well and the cost LOL). Thanks for being honest!

    1. Thank you for your honesty! I can't speak from experience yet but I have heard that two is easier than one (or maybe those folks are just crazy! Lol) so we shall see! I completely understand your weariness of IVF, I cannot speak from experience on that one but I have heard that multiples are a high chance and I give so much credit to moms of multiples, I could never do it! I hope that one day you will get the opportunity to adopt that lucky baby boy who you are fostering, and that one day you may adopt a beautiful baby sister for him! Best wishes <3

    2. I have experience with having anywhere from 1-4 tiny kids at the same time. In my experience one is easiest, because it doesn't demand much change in lifestyle. One child is easily taken pretty much anywhere with you. Once you get another one in there its not as fun to take them places because they tend to argue. I also like the amount of quality time I spend with a child when there is only one. I cook with them, clean with them, read with them, pretty much whatever I do, I am teaching the kid to do it with me. When there are more, they are vying for attention and it turns simple tasks (like say, opening a door - not exaggerating, I have had kids get in a knockdown brawl over who could open the door to go outside LOL) into ordeals sometimes. I will say that 2 girls (in my experience) is much easier than a boy and a girl. Both times I have had only 2 girls they have gotten along really well and are little BFFs and its pretty darn cute. Right now I have a boy and 2 girls (and a baby but he doesn't really fight much yet) and its a helllish chaos in my house when they are all here. I think that having 2 boys will probably be really fun, I imagine they will keep each other very occupied once they are older.

    3. When they say two is easier than one, I don't think they mean two the same age...

    4. Hah! The reason 2 are easier than 1 is because they are built-in playmates (usually; you do have to do some refereeing haha) so they can entertain each other for a little bit, keep each other occupied. Those are the moments that make it easier.

  3. Girl, I am BAWLING reading your story. I can SO relate and all those memories of me being told I was having another of the same gender came rushing back. Now I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I wouldn't have anymore either. Very well written. Thanks for posting this story. God bless you and your family.

  4. Thanks for bravely sharing your experience :)

  5. We are trying to conceive after having a miscarriage in March (first and hopefully last!). I was thrilled to conceive after just the first month of trying (since our son took 8 months) for the excitement to be cut short 2 weeks after finding out....I was/am devastated! I thought maybe it was because I was thinking on how much I wanted another boy and afraid of having a girl. That the universe wanted to show me that I shouldn't be picky and be happy with the fact that I was able to conceive (more or less) and have a healthy baby.
    Now we are back to having "trouble". It seems that my luteal phase is a little short and I'm afraid that it's going to take just as long if not longer for #2 which is even more stressful since we were "planning" on wanting our son no more than 3 when the second came.
    I know that I should have learned my "lesson" that whatever we get is what we get and to be happy no matter what....but I'm still wanting another boy. Since we only want 2 children (took a bit of coxing the hubby also for #2 even though that was always the "plan"), I believe (in my opinion) that having 2 of the same sex is nice. They have someone to relate to more...share rooms/toys/etc plus I can not see myself with a girl since I am a tom boy lol Even though we did not carry to term, I still feel that my negative thoughts towards having a girl were/are wrong.....since we should be happy with whatever the universe blesses us with.

  6. I really wanted a boy when I was pregnant with my daughter. I always dreamed of having a little boy. when I found out she was a girl I was disappointed at first then I started to love the idea of having a little girl.

  7. So I feel a bit guilty typing this, but I had a similar (yet completely different) gender issue. I had a little boy and I hoped I'd have at least one child of each gender. Of course, I'd love my children regardless of gender, but still. There was that desire for one of each (minimum). My first was a boy. My second, I was torn. I wanted a little girl, but I also hoped they would be a boy.

    See, my husband wanted 2 children. I want 4. He said he would entertain the idea of more children if we had two boys, and I finally agreed that I would not pester him about having more children if we had a little girl this time around.

    So, as you can see, I was sort of set up for (slight) disappointment no matter what. (Un)Fortunately, my second little was a girl. I love my children to pieces, but this pretty much means they will be my only children. I, too, always wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. Of course, as a little one, I wanted 20 kids... then I learned how you HAD kids. The number dropped to 10. It was at 6 when I met my husband, and then it dropped to 4 and stayed there. It's still there.

    So, while I can't relate, I sort of can (in a weird way). *hugs*

  8. Thank you so, SO much for this. It took me much longer than you to come to terms that my last baby was a girl and not the boy I'd wanted, but I wouldn't change a thing. She is wonderful & perfect and I am so glad I had her!

  9. I had a boy at first. thats what I wanted. then, with my second pregnancy, I thought i was having a girl. we did the whole gender swaying thing. like, ... everything ... to have a girl. i thought i was right on point and my pregnancy felt a bit different. second was a boy. not a girl that i hoped for. i cried. but, he is now 3 and I am more in love with him than you can imagine =] so much in love, just like my first baby boy.
    now, i am pregnant with baby girl. and this time, i just let the lord and trusted him. at this point, i honestly didn't care about gender because I was SO upset last time. I didnt want that again. :o

  10. Thank you for your very honest post. I think a lot of mom's going through this feel like they are the only ones who feel that way. I know I did. I now can happily say I have three wonderful boys but there was a time I had to mourn not having the girl I always imagined I'd have. But I love my boys and the crazy loud fun that comes with them.

  11. i have THREE boys lol. we didnt find out the sex, and i swore i would be upset if it wasnt a girl but i wasnt. l love being the princess for awhile longer, and maybe in a few years ill try to get DH to try for number four, because i eventually have to have a girl if i keep trying, right? lol

  12. Good for you for being so candid and putting yourself out there. I think everything you've felt is perfectly normal. If you think about it, you've sorta "lost" your idea of a little girl--I imagine that it's somewhat of a grief you are dealing with. And it has nothing to do with your son inside you, meaning, you are not rejecting "him" at all, you are rejecting the idea of "not having a little girl" ---once you can settle things in your heart about the "loss" of your little girl, you will be able to fully embrace the reality of the love you have and have had all along for your little boy and be able to express your welcoming heart for your little boy! Once he is born, I'm sure you know it, you have no LESS of a love for him and wouldn't want him any other way. 'Just going to have to try again :)

  13. I can understand how you felt disappointed, but you grieved and are now happy to be having a boy. I think it is great that you wrote this article to help others see that they are not alone in feeling disappointed at times.

  14. Baby #1, I was single so I was hoping for a girl (figured raising a girl on my own would be easier, after all, I'm a girl too -- we could relate). Nope, Baby #1 - boy, who just happens to have Down Syndrome (figured at that point, a boy would probably be easier). Baby #2, married excited yet once again hoping for a baby girl -- nope, Baby #2 - boy. Okay, that's fine DH's got his first bio-son. Baby #3 -- this has to be a girl right? Wrong again. I teared up when the ultrasound tech said boy. DH joked we'd have to name Baby #3 "Oh no another one!" Get to Taco Bell and I ask what he thought about Zachary Michael and the rest as they say is history. The boys are 20, 14 & 12 and there are still days I wonder how to be the mom of boys. :) I wouldn't trade it for anything, but still dream of pink lacy things. Granddaughter someday?

  15. I had 2 boys! I am too old to have any more I hope!! I knew my second was a boy. I didn't mind though! I still think that maybe we should have tried for a girl but things happened where 2 was enough! Thanks for sharing. You are normal!! Rita Spratlen

  16. Patricia A. HoffmeisterJune 1, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    I don't think you're a horrible mother, but I had 3 boys and I was excited about each one. I was almost 40 with the last one and I definitely did not want a girl.

  17. I'm only on my first so I don't know what it is like to want a certain gender. I do know that my husband wanted a boy slightly more to do "boy" stuff with, whatever that means. I grew up doing everything with both parents, as our family didn't subscribe to typical gender stereotypes. I can't imagine immediately equating a girl with pink or a boy with blue, as it is just a person that has yet to figure out their favorites in life.

  18. I can totally relate with baby #1. I had my heart set on a girl and when the ultrasound tech said it's a boy...I had to stop myself from crying! I wouldn't have it any other way now... :)