Friday, February 26, 2016

Gender Disappointment | An Honest Experience ♥

 *Before you continue reading, please take into mind that I didn't write this post looking for criticism or a backlash from people who think my experience stemmed from being shallow or ungrateful. I am very thankful that I've been blessed with two healthy babies, especially after suffering a miscarriage in the past. I wrote this post to share an honest experience of gender disappointment, what it meant to me and how it affected me during my pregnancy. If you search for 'gender disappointment' on Google you will find countless posts from women who have experienced this and I am writing this post to let anyone who may suffer from this in the future or who is currently going through it, to know that what they're experiencing is perfectly normal, we are human beings after all and are far from perfect. Sometimes we can't help what we feel but if we think about things a little deeper we may realise that we simply didn't expect the unexpected and the child that we're blessed to be expecting was meant to be the perfect one for us all along, even if we didn't plan it that way. Please read on without judging me or anyone else who has ever experienced gender disappointment.

If you ask a pregnant woman what gender baby she's hoping to have the most common and politically correct answer will be for her to say - "I really don't mind or have a preference either way as long as the baby is healthy", however, for some pregnant women, that answer can be a mask to hide their true feelings, the feelings which do give them a preference towards what gender they'd like their baby to be but it's seen as taboo to ever favour or have a longing for blue over pink and vice versa.

Gender disappointment is a real thing, something which I'm sure a lot of women and maybe even expectant fathers go through on a daily basis. I have a close friend who was desperate for a baby girl after previously having two lovely boys and sadly for her, the realisation of having a daughter never came true, this is something which I think has had an effect on her and has stuck with her through her life. I once saw a quote that read - "The one thing in life that messes us up the most is the ideas in our head of how it's supposed to be" and I think this quote is quite apt when it comes to describing the reality of gender disappointment

Growing up, I myself had visions of what my perfect future family would be and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have dreamed about my future children and all they would be. I always wanted two boys and a girl, the boys to be older to look after their sister (I myself had always wanted an older brother but or wasn't meant to be, I'm in  fact the oldest), and thankfully life has been good to me in giving me the son I always wanted.

When it came to this pregnancy I had a real longing for one gender over the other and I counted down the days to the private gender scan hoping that I would be told I was having the baby with the gender I was longing for. However, when we got there everything was rushed and the lady doing the scan very blasé told us the gender of our baby (I won't be disclosing what that gender was as we're not announcing the gender until after baby's birth). Immediately I was overcome with sadness, I lay there as she gave another quick look at our baby feeling numb, as if I had been told someone had died (some people have described their gender disappointment experience as feeling grief for the son or daughter which they never had), although this moment was supposed to be one of the most joyous moments of our lives. Looking at me on the screen was our precious, long awaited second child and I felt like bursting into tears, for the wrong reasons...

Paying for that scan felt like an age. The credit card machine wouldn't work and I had to pretend to be happy when the lady at the desk said - "Well, what are you having?" and I had to reply with an answer I didn't want to give. I was relieved to get to the car and as soon as I shut the door I started sobbing, I couldn't keep in the emotion any longer. My other half looked at me as though I had lost my mind and my son said - "mummy, don't cry" in that sweet little voice he has, but I couldn't help it, my realisation was that I wasn't going to have the family I wanted and I felt nothing but guilt and shame when I looked at the 3D pictures of our baby's beautiful face and felt like I had already let them down by being so upset about something they didn't even choose to be.

On the way home I rang my mother to tell her the news, she could tell I was disappointed by the tone of my voice but pointed out all the great things about having a baby of that gender and I began to feel at ease. I apologised to my other half for my emotional outburst and for ruining the moment for us all but deep inside I was still feeling sadness and the guilt of having a preference in the first place. My other half by the way was amazing, he put it all down to pregnancy hormones and feeling overly emotional and maybe he's half right, I still feel like an awful person about it all though and I don't know if that feeling will ever leave me.

For a couple of days I began Googling stories of people who were told they were having a certain gender when in fact they were having the other, trying to give myself some hope. It was amazing and quite saddening to read about all these women who had hoped for one baby but had another. One thing that really resonated with me though was the fact that they all stated, that looking back they would never change the son or daughter who they had initially hoped would be the other sex, for the world.

After reading those stories I began to feel a lot better and although I still felt quite ashamed by all the ways that I had felt after learning of my baby's gender, I actually began imagining the little baby that was growing inside me and came to the realisation that I was getting my perfect family after all, that this baby and their older brother were all that I had ever wanted and I had let my stupid ideals sway my opinions on what gender baby I should have been having.

Three months have now passed since we were first told what baby's gender is and since then we've actually had conflicting reports of what the gender is, but you know what, I honestly don't mind anymore and am just looking forward to the beautiful, precious baby who will be coming into our lives in May. I have a boys and girls name chosen, gender neutral and some clothes for each gender put away too (I'll donate the ones we don't end up using to the charity bin). Looking back I wish we had never had the gender scan and if I'm ever pregnant again I won't be having one. It seems that so much focus is put on gender these days, people can't wait until the day that they can do their gender announcements, gender reveal parties and cakes are now a thing and from the moment you announce your pregnancy you have the world and it's dog trying to decipher the gender of your baby from how high or low your bump is, how your skin looks etc... These days people can even choose their baby's gender through IVF and other fertility treatments, but after my experience on gender I've decided it doesn't really matter what's between your baby's legs at all.

When I think of our baby I see this adorable little person and it fills me with joy. I honestly can't wait to meet this new love of my life now. My only regret is that I didn't realise how perfect they actually were and how meant to be they were for our family until I was made to think about it. I would urge anyone who has a preference on the gender of their child to really think about the issue and not let any unrealistic ideals fill their heads with notions about 'the perfect child'. A baby girl does not always make for sweetness and pretty things, just as a baby boy is not all about getting mucky and making a mess. It's these gender stereotypes which I think give people false ideals and spur on gender disappointment.

I'm already blessed with one beautiful boy (who hates being dirty by the way!) and whatever gender his sibling may be, I know that it was meant to be this way and that child will be loved beyond words.

Have you ever experienced gender disappointment yourself? How did it affect your pregnancy?

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29 comments

  1. Loved reading an honest account of this. I have two boys. With my first I really wanted a boy and was very lucky to have a boy. With my second I hoped for a girl but we were blessed with another boy. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to naturally conceive two healthy children but I still longed/long for a girl. I always visualised myself having a boy and a girl like my mum did. I don't feel disappointed my boys turned out to be boys, I feel disappointed that I will never get to experience a daughter and share mother daughter relationships and wedding dress shopping etc. I think those feelings are natural, no different to what ifs many people feel about other life aspirations. I think more woman should feel open to discuss it without being branded ungrateful they have healthy children. There is always going to be something we could possibly more grateful of that others don't have. Lovely read, thank you :) Natalie x

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your experience. I think it's completely natural to what a child of the opposite gender the child you already have, especially in a second or third pregnancy. I think as humans we always want to experience both the joy of having a boy and a girl and the mother/son, mother/daughter bond. Like you I wish we didn't have to feel ashamed of our feelings on this and could speak openly about issues such as gender disappointment etc.

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  2. I understand completely! I have 2 boys and now i couldn't imagine having a girl but when i was pregnant with my second they got the scan wrong told me i was having a girl! I found out at 36 weeks that he was a he lol! I had been having reg growth scans due to him being small and although I always referred to my baby as she and my paperwork said female foetus no one bothered to tell me or noticed it was a boy! I suspect they maybe noticed but didn't say or weren't listening haha! Anyway I was devastated I cried then felt guilty for being disappointed with the sex of the baby I loved! It's funny now but at the time not so much lol. I had all girls clothes purchased etc. that I had already washed so couldn't return, on ebay they went! haha xxxx

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    1. Oh Georgina, what a shock you must have got at that 36 week appointment! I can't imagine being prepared for a child of one gender and then being told I'm expecting the other. You'd have already had it in your head that you were having a girl and then had to adjust to having another boy. I hope all the clothes sold on Ebay! I think your experience is one of the reasons I'm going off the idea of gender scans. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment x

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    2. If I ever had another child i honestly wouldn't get one, I don't think I would be able to trust it after that experience! I can't imagine anything else but boys now but at that time I had a name for "her" and was excited with all the girly outfits etc. haha. As long as they're happy and healthy. that's the main thing and you soon forget any disappointment when you have that baby in your arms. xxxx

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  3. I was really hoping for a little girl and five years ago, I got what I wanted. Then we tried for a second baby and was hoping this time for a little boy. Sadly, that never happened :( I'm not exactly young, I'm in my 40s now and while I know that many women still give birth at my age, I've sort of accepted maybe it's not meant to be? It saddens me and sometimes I still sort of grieve over the little boy I'll never have. So in a way I do understand how some pregnant women get really disappointed when they hear the gender of their baby and I also understand why some may find this really controversial. x

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  4. This is such an honest post and I can definitely understand. I think the quote is good though, life is what it is but it is messed up by us making up what it should be. I really wanted to have a girl, and I did, but would I have been disappointed if it had been a boy? Probably, but you get over it. I think it is fine to experience mixed emotions over pregnancy, we always attach different hopes for the future and when they don't happen it is ok to feel sorry for it, you jut need to move on swiftly and accept life for what it is when you can't change it :)

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  5. Fiona,I just love your honest posts like this. Because, yes, I do feel many people experience this. Most just try to hide it. And it does effect men also.
    No matter what this baby's gender is, you will be the perfect family unit and be the best mum I personally know you to be.
    We always have that picture perfect story in out minds eye, and anything that knocks that out of sync can be confusing and take a while to get used to.
    You know I always say that I believe our life map is already drawn out well before our toes hit this soil, this always was your picture perfect. You just didn't realise until now.
    What a blessing!
    Xx

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  6. It is so hard and I really understand how you felt. I have 3 boys and the first 2 were exactly what I wanted. When I fell pregnant with my third I was hoping for a girl and was devastated when I went to a private scan and found I was having a boy. Made even worse by the fact that 3 family members were pregnant with girls. I remember just feeling this lump in my throat and feeling numb, like it wasn't happening to me.
    But then I got home and thought about it more and realised just how much better it would be with 3 boys. And now, a year after giving birth, I am so glad to have three boys and no longer long for a daughter x

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  7. I could really relate reading this I actually did a post of my own about 'daughter envy' and I talked about much the same stuff, I have two boys and i always wanted one of each that's just always what I had in my mind so when I was told I was having another boy it took me months and 3 separate scans to get my head around it and there were lots of tears and guilt I just thought I was an awful mum! But now he's here I couldn't imagine him any other way I would never be without him. It's just not a topic that is really talked about though is it so when it happens to you it takes you by surprise! I really enjoyed reading this though x

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  8. I'm virtually high living you for writing this post. When I found out baby number 2 is another boy I did have a faint wave of disappointment over me as it's always been my dream to have one of each. Hubby wanted another boy so he was really happy and so was Lamb. I didn't cry about it, but it took me a week or so to get totally used to it. We had a 4D scan on Wednesday evening and now I've seen what my little boy looks like I'm beyond excited to have another son, to be fair I've always said I'd make an awesome 'soccer mom!' I totally understand how you're feeling and it's definitely normal. xx

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  9. This is so honest. I had lots of different feelings about everything during my pregnancy with my daughter. My husband had two boys from a previous marriage and I knew that he wanted a girl, well I think his opinion was that it would be nice after having two boys, but it's not that he didn't want another boy (I hope I am making sense) and because I knew this I hoped for a girl, but when the time came and we were told, I couldn't believe it. And until that point - I honestly didn't realise how much I had wanted a girl - I think that was why I couldn't totally believe it when we were told. We had a few scans and they all told us the same thing, it was a girl.
    I can honestly say that I don't know how I would have reacted if we were told she was going to be a boy - before hand I would have said I didn't really have a preference, but from my reaction clearly I did!
    I hope that the rest of your pregnancy goes well and I can't wait to see your new little bundle when they arrive!

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  10. This is such a beautifully honest post, you're brave for writing it and I'm sure it will help others. We've got a son and are pregnant with a daughter, I knew my hubby wanted a girl whereas I didn't mind ether way although am admittedly terrified of having a girl for so many reasons. I pictured 2 boys and I was thrilled when we were told she's a girl, but also scared that I'll manage to mess her up xx

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  11. Well done for writing something so honest - I went through this, too, but was only brave enough to tell a few, close, friends for fear of the judgement I'd get.

    I knew this was our last baby so it wasn't that I was sad that he was a boy, it was sad that I'd definitely never have the daughter I always dreamed of having.

    It took me a while to Really, Truly and truthfully be able to sort my head out but I did.

    I look back, now, and I can promise you that those stories you read were true. My little boy is a week old today and I am so so grateful that he's him, I wouldn't want him ANY other way. Am I a little sad that we'll never have a little girl? Of course, who isn't sad about not being able to realise a dream they've had for so many years. But do I look at my baby boy and feel overcome with love for how amazingly perfect he is? Absolutely.

    I wouldn't change a thing.

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  12. I was so disappointed when found out i was having a girl because i wanted a boy now it i see it was meant to be but i did once want a boy.

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  13. I completely agree that whatever gender you have is the gender you're 'meant' to have. I've always thought of it like that which is why I decided to be team yellow and not find out this time round. Even if I did have a slight gender preference (which I did) I knew that at the end of the day whatever gender I had this time round is what our family unit was supposed to be xx

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  14. Great post. I was terrified of Gender Disappointment with my second. I knew it was a very real thing. So I asked my husband if we could just wait until delivery. You are so excited to finally see your baby that you don't care either way. I'm glad we did it. And whatever sex your baby is, they will be wonderful.

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  15. Thank you for writing this post. When I was pregnant for the second time, after having a son, I did the whole "I really don't mind what we have!" when really I wanted a girl so we would have one of each. We booked in for a private gender scan at 17 weeks and it was confirmed that we were in fact having a girl. I was overwhelmed with happiness and I do feel a bit guilty thinking that if I had been told she was a boy, I may not have felt as ecstatic (as awful as that sounds!)

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  16. it's not something I have experienced (I wasn't really bothered either way with my 1) but if I were to have another I definitely have a preference so maybe it might happen to me! (my nan went through this though, she ended up with 4 boys - that she loves (obv) but she always wanted a girl)

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  17. Very honest post and one I think most women can relate too if they're really honest with themselves. I had 2 wonderful boys now 7 & 8 and we decided to try for baby no 3. Before trying I was happy with whatever I got as I really didn't I would even fall pregnant. However with 2 boys everyone told me they thought I was having a girl and deep down that's what I really wanted. Going into our Gender scan I was so nervous thinking if it was another boy everyone would be disappointed and so would I, this was to be our last baby. We all have an imagine in our mind of what we would like our family to be like. We shouldn't feel guilty for that.

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  18. I know for a fact that many mothers feel disappointed when they were wishing for one sex to find they had been given another I own and run a huge Facebook group for mothers and its a very common topic that comes up - I am lucky that I have 3 boys and 3 girls but a close friend of mine has 5 boys and she was gutted when her 5th was a boy

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  19. This is such a beautifully written and honest post. Thank you for writing it. I am 19 weeks pregnant with our second child and next week we have the anomaly scan and we will ask about gender. I have had four miscarriages and a gorgeous little girl. I have convinced myself that I can't carry boys and as such I have always seen us having two girls. I don't know how I will feel if I find out we are having a boy. I know that I will love the baby. They will be our longed for second child. But I think it will take me a while to get used to the idea that we aren't going to be parents to two girls. Thanks for writing such an honest post, I was feeling so guilty for all the thoughts going round my head. Hugs Lucy xxxx

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  20. I truly hope that people understand gender disappointment is a real thing, it can lead mothers to feel depressed, anxious and feel guilty just like you described. Just know that we are all here for you and I praise you for being so honest!

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  21. Aw hun, I love this post and I am sure you are not alone in how you feel at all x

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  22. Although I have never heard of gender disappointment before, I completely understand it. When I was pregnant, I was really hoping to have a girl, however when we had a scan I found out we were having a boy. I even asked the midwife if it was possible that she made a mistake, hoping she would say yes. Needless to say, I love little man more than anything! Now we are hoping for a girl next time! :)
    http://lilinhaangel.com/

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  23. I understand where you are coming from, after two boys I really wanted a girl and I cried when I found out I was having another boy, however that sadness soon changed to excitement and I wouldn't be without my little man now

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  24. I love this post, and it makes me realise how much the world has moved on. When I was expecting my babies, gender reveal was not an option. We had scans, but the hospital I was at wouldn't as a policy reveal gender unless there was a definite medical reason for it.
    I believe this to be a good idea at the time, and I still do. I don't understand the need to know (this is an age thing I think) and then when the baby is delivered, the first question answered is what have we got, the second is everything ok. However, even then I know that some parents have experienced disappointment, with friends of mine who 'tried' for a girl and got a boy to add to their brood of 4 boys already. In my experience, it is the people around who don't help by asking are you disappointed, are you going for a girl/boy next time. Every baby is a blessing, as you say. Good luck with your pregnancy and getting to know your new arrival for the individual he or she is.

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  25. I love your honesty. Not many women or men are brave enough to admit they would like a child of a particular sex. I longed for a girl and I was lucky to get my little princess. I know not everyone get their dream

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  26. Honest post my lovely, sending you a hug.

    I think the second time round for me I will feel a little disappointed either way? It's strange. Part of me wants another boy, two boys would be perfect but then at the same time a girl would be nice. So boy or girl I will be slightly disappointed either way. Does that make sense? It's strange.

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Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I appreciate all your comments and try to reply whenever I can.

Peace & love,
Fiona
xo

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