Inspiration Pregnancy

Secretly Sad: Gender Disappointment

8th October 2016

4D Scan 29 WeeksI thought long and hard about writing this post as I know it will hugely divide opinion but if someone who feels how I did happens to stumble across this and take any comfort from it then that’s good enough reason for me to put this out there.

Can I firstly start by saying I know I am so unbelievably lucky to have two beautiful, healthy children and I am fully aware that it isn’t something to be taken for granted but equally, pregnancy is a completely and utterly bizarre time in anyone’s life and can leave us feeling ways that we never imagined we would (F YOU HORMONES). No one should be made to feel ashamed of how they feel, especially if it’s an unexpected reaction to a situation.

Did you know that gender disappointment is an actual real life thing? Well neither did I until I fell pregnant with Woody. My whole life I always imagined having two babies. They would both be beautiful baby girls with long flowing locks, a penchant for princesses and ponies and a wonderful sisterly bond. Coming from a family of girls I never imagined it any other way. I was absolutely ecstatic when at twenty weeks the sonographer confirmed my dreams were coming true and that Nora was a baby girl. We spent months deliberating over her name, stock piling beautiful girlie outfits and preening her tiny but perfectly formed ditsy print nursery. It was perfect.

When I discovered I was pregnant for a second time we were over the moon. Again, I spent hours imaging what my second baby girl would be like, what would we call her, would she be like Nora? I couldn’t bare the anticipation and booked us in for an early gender scan at sixteen weeks. I had that all to familiar over anxious feeling as I laid on the bed in the sonographer’s room, eagerly awaiting the image of our baby to flicker on screen, a squirt of freezing cold jelly and just like that, there it was, as clear as day, our second baby was a boy. ‘Congratulations! One of each, you are SO lucky!’ Chirped the woman in reception as she eagerly handed me a tiny blue paper bag containing snaps of our baby boy. I tried desperately hard to blink back the tears and choke back my disappointment. I didn’t want a boy, my dreams had been shattered. Now, I know to most people that was an utterly ridiculous reaction and how could I be disappointed to be having a perfectly healthy baby, but the disappointment ate away at me each time I was congratulated. Call me dramatic but I felt like I was mourning for a baby girl that didn’t even exist. My ideal family dynamic had been flipped on it’s head and I really didn’t know how to cope with it. The scan photos stayed tucked away in their baby blue bag and I cried as I browsed the boys section on Zara, all of which was made all the more worse by Nora asking if we could swap the baby boy for a sister. This feeling of genuine disappointment was all consuming for weeks to come, I would find myself bursting into tears over everything and anything. I’d take Nora to dance class and be upset that this wouldn’t be a journey we would make again, I rifled through the bags of tiny Nora clothes I’d hoarded, devastated that I wouldn’t have another littleΒ pink bundle to fill them with.

Google became my confident as I spent hours searching to see the percentage of incorrect gender scans and to see if anyone else felt the way I did or if I really was a crazy hormone fuelled bitch. I came across several articles and discovered the phrase gender disappointment and a whole load of other ladies all seeking answers for their secret sadness. The way I felt really was a genuine and valid feeling and not one that I should be ashamed of. I remember phoning my Mam that evening and finally admitting my aching disappointment. I sobbed and sobbed, the kind of sobbing you do when you’re a kid that cries so much you forget what the reason was. I sobbed because I felt so guilty that I was being so selfish when some people would give anything to be in my position. I knew it was unreasonable but this feeling was all consuming. My Mam promised me I wouldn’t feel this way once I met ‘him’ but I couldn’t wholly believe her. I tentatively broached the subject with many of my friends, loads of which admitted to feeling exactly how I did, I really wasn’t alone. It honestly took me weeks of reasoning with myself and hundreds of conversations with very supportive family and friends to bring myself to accept that our baby was going to be a boy wether I liked it or not. I avoided all blue clothing and didn’t even begin to discuss boys names until we approached due date.

True to form, every reassuring thing people said to me came true. After an amazing labour and delivery, I clapped eyes on my baby boy and fell in love instantly. He is so much more wonderful than I could have ever imagined and my heart could burst when I think about him. I worried I couldn’t love a boy like I love Nora, I worried I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy, how could I be a boy Mama. But in reality, gender doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. He is Woody, my wonderful baby boy and now I can’t imagine having two girls. I’m genuinely excited for all of the boy based adventures we have to come and if I was ever lucky enough to have another baby I can honestly say I wouldn’t care if it wasΒ pink or blue.

If you feel like I did, please know you are not alone. You are not selfish or ridiculous or ungrateful. Do not feel guilty, it is a completely normal and very common reaction. Who wouldn’t be disappointed if their dreams didn’t come true or if life didn’t pan out the way they had imagined. Don’t forget, hormones are insane and can turn the best of us into completely unreasonable, crazy beasts. Cry, talk to people about it, let them reassure you, be angry if you need to be, but just know once you hold your baby in your arms and look at what you’ve created, you could never, ever be disappointed.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Lorraine Rennison 11th October 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Wow this really hit home to me , i have never felt disapointed after having 4 beautiful daughters …. but i know deep down lee was, as he would have loved a son , i also cant believe the pressure other people put on us to have a son , constant comments such as “are you trying again for a boy ” ” i bet lee was gutted 4 girls ” this in turn left me feeling inadequate as if i hadnt provided for Lee what he had always dreamed off , as if people think we only had 4 children because we wanted the son we never got , this has never and will never be the case for me , its a tough thing to talk about & i really admire your honesty xxx

    • Reply Jess 12th October 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks so much for reading lovely. It’s awful how people think they can comment on your family set up and not expect it to cause offence. You have the most beautiful family! xxx

  • Reply Sophie Rowney 11th October 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Really interesting read, shame people feel like this, I personally don’t buy into gender specifics and boundaries and if I do have children in the future, I look forward to challenging gender stereotypes. I feel once society stops labelling girls under pink and boys under blue and accepts that boys and girls can do any sport, dance, wear whatever colour, have long or short hair, the better. Peace X

  • Reply Life as Mum 19th March 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Very interesting read and so honest to. Well done for being so honest.
    I can totally relate. I’ve got three kids, two girls and one baby boy. I’ve ALWAYS wanted a baby boy. I never knew the reason why until I gave birth to my son 8 months ago. I was disapointed when I was told my other two were girls. However, I got over it pretty quickly after my first but not with my second. Especially that i had in my had that i was having a boy because all symptoms were so different.

    Of course now I’m not disappointed at all.

    Hope you’re well lovely.

    • Reply Jess 20th March 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, it really is such a touchy subject and I wasn’t sure how people would react.

      We are both super lucky to have girls and boys aren’t we?! You do get over the disappointment but it causes so much turmoil whilst you’re feeling it doesn’t it. I wouldn’t change him for the world though, he really is everything I never knew I needed! xx

  • Reply Rebecca 29th March 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Im really glad i read this, my baby is due in 4 days and i was told at my 20 week scan that the baby is a boy but ive never 100% trusted what she said coz at the time she didnt show me anything on the screen or sound like she was 100% sure, plus the sonographer isnt God, but also my husband would LOVE a son and ive had it in my head this whole time its a boy and i feel like ive bonded with a little boy in my belly, BUT, ive had this fear of ‘what if its a girl?’ Me and my mother had a terrible relationship so i wouldnt know how to have a relationship with a daughter, i was terrified i wont be able to bond with a girl or feel like the worst mother ever because id feel sad it wasnt a boy, and that my husband would be disappointed. I know that the most important thing is that the baby is healthy but i cant help the fear of not loving my baby as much if it is a girl.

    But after reading that u felt instant love for ur baby boy once he was born, even though u always wanted another girl, has given me a bit of hope that maybe i wont feel so bad if this baby turns out to be a girl in the end. So thank u :)

    • Reply Jess 30th March 2017 at 12:01 am

      Hi Rebecca, hope you’re really well and that your baby doesn’t keep you waiting too long to meet him/her. Thanks so much for taking the time out to comment. I completely understand how you’re feeling so please be assured that these crazy feelings are completely normal. I promise you that once you lay eyes on your new bundle of joy, you won’t care if she’s a girl or if he’s a boy, the love you feel for her/him will be overwhelming. Good luck, I hope everything goes perfectly for you!

  • Reply Lu Lovely 27th October 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I love your honesty in this post. Doesn’t everyone go into their scan hoping for a particular gender? I know I did. By speaking out, it’s going to make people that feel the same way feel less alone and like they’re being unreasonable so good work.
    I was extremely lucky each time with mine because I got what I was hoping for each time.

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