Friday, February 26, 2016
Gender Disappointment | An Honest Experience ♥
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?
© Dolly Dowsie | All rights reserved.