Our journey to conceiving a little one was shorter than most. We decided we would try, and then boom - it happened. I realize that this is not everyone’s story, and I also realize that we are lucky. I am currently working on some process writing for how I navigated that guilt as I concurrently dealt with my prenatal anxiety and depression. But perhaps another contributing factor to this was my gender disappointment. I’ve heard a few other brave women talk about this, so I figured I’d share my story as well. This is not a popular topic. And there are many critics who would say “you should just be grateful that you could get pregnant”. But I would not be being true and honest if I did not share this journey of mine as well.
I will preface all of this by saying that I really and truly have embraced and enjoy being a #boymom. Most of my good friends are also #boymoms and there is something endearing about my little dude having a squad (although they may live far away, sad face). I can’t imagine my life without my sweet baby boy, and I could just eat his little face up. OK, now on to the messy part.
I needed to know the gender of this baby. I admire those who can go an entire pregnancy and revel in the joy of the surprise. But how does one plan appropriately for this?! The truth is that I absolutely could not imagine planning appropriately to my own crazy standards without knowing the gender of the little thing inside me.
Another factor to this was the prenatal anxiety and depression I was dealing with. There was no connection I felt between me and my growing baby. I did not feel the instant maternal love that many do. So the lived experience of simultaneously dealing with the mental health concerns I was, as well as the inability to form a bond with my unborn child, was just a bit more than I could bear at times. So I felt the intense pull to know what the gender of the being inside me was. I thought that that would help me to form a bond, if I could know exactly what was going to come out. I could decorate appropriately, purchase some clothing and start brainstorming names. This was part of my strategy to be more accepting of motherhood.
We did not reveal our pregnancy to family and friends until around 4 months, so we went to do our gender reveal on our own together. In a way, it was beautiful, looking back on it. This journey has been so much about the two of us. We didn’t have close family and friends to accompany us to the theatre of an exam room that was offered. It was a great exercise in relying solely on each other, and brought us closer together although it was difficult.
We ventured to a beautiful boutique ultrasound company in San Diego where it was advertised that they could reveal gender as early as 14 weeks. I was not eligible for the bloodwork testing to reveal gender based on my age. I laid on the exam table, glancing over at my husband as we watched the 4D baby face dance across the screen. We saw little arms, hands, legs and a beating heart. It was pretty amazing. And then came the main event. We held hands, and anxiously awaited the big reveal. The ultrasound tech zeroed in on it. And by it, I mean it. It was quite clear that we had made a little boy. My husband was elated. It was just another moment of supposed joy in this pregnancy that I feel I ruined for him.
To me, this was so unexpected. I had not wrapped my brain around the possibility that I would have a boy. I had myself convinced it would be a girl. I envisioned a mother-daughter relationship. My point of reference is girls. I am a girl, in a family of girls. I didn’t know what to do with a boy. This would be the third grandson on my husband’s side. Would he just get lost in the shuffle? How would I be as a #boymom? These feelings just further fueled the inadequacy I already had decided I had as a mother. I truthfully don’t remember my reaction. But I do remember admitting to my husband in the car after the appointment… “I wanted a girl.”. I felt like an awful person. How could I feel this way? And my husband, being the wonderful and supportive man that he is, just loved me and told me it was okay to feel this way.
I had several months to relish in the fact that we would have a boy. I gave myself time and grace to acknowledge how I truly felt instead of bottling it up. I decorated. I bought boy clothes. I thought up names. And then he arrived! A month early. His little face took my breath away, and still does. Love is an understatement. I can't imagine having anything other than a boy at this point. He makes my little heart so happy, and I am really enjoying watching him grow. Someday I may tell him that I expected (and was hoping for) a girl. I would want to show him the courage it takes to be honest about how you feel, and how everything works out the way it is supposed to.
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something first-time mom raising her little dude in southern California. It's been quite a first year, and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.