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Gender disappointment - please, no flaming

(79 Posts)

You can't possibly make me feel worse than I already do, trust me.

I am finally pregnant (34+4) after years of being told by docs that my endometriosis was too severe to successfully carry a child. I have had three miscarriages, two early mcs and one during second trimester. I suffered with PTSD and became fixated with the idea of having a baby. My DH has two children from a previous marriage, a boy (9) and a girl (14), both of whom are lovely and spend lots of time with us. He never really wanted any more children, seeing them as a big factor in the break up of his previous marriage, but he knew it was important to me and came around to the idea when he saw how much it meant to me and how different our relationship dynamic is to that of him and his ex wife.

All my life, I have pictured having a girl. I can't pin down why exactly. It was just me and my sister growing up, maybe that's why. Every time I dreamed I was pregnant, it was a girl. Every time I imagined being a mum (which was a LOT) it was to a little girl. All my cousins were girls, bar one. I found out that the baby I lost was a girl... I imagine what she would have looked like in my head all the time.

Now I am pregnant, everything is looking fine and dandy, we don't know the sex... but I'm convinced it's a boy. And I genuinely thought I was fine with this! All along I've called the baby "he" and told people I suspected it was a little boy, and not once did it upset me. But we went for our 32 week scan and I am POSITIVE I saw a little willy on the screen... My heart sank, absolutely plummeted, and all I wanted to do was cry. Hubby and I have not discussed it, as far as he knows I'm still convinced it's a boy and delighted with that fact.

I've had two weeks to think this over... part of me still knows and feels like it doesn't matter, I'm one of the lucky ones who has a baby after so many years of heartache... but I've had to take a good, hard look at my deepest thoughts and fears to try and work out why I am so upset.

I am upset because I know this is the only baby I will ever have. My husband is already talking seriously about getting his tubes tied (and who can blame him after three children) - and even if he were open to it, the chances of my body being able to do this successfully again are slim to none. This baby really is a miracle baby. So, there's no talk of "next time" for us. I am upset because I built up my idea of motherhood from such a young age around the idea of a mother-daughter bond... I have no idea what a bond with a son will be like, having never seen it around me as a child. I am upset because I look at parents and the relationship they have with their sons and daughters as they grow up and get on with their lives, and see that mothers are so much closer to their daughters than their sons. My hubby would easily go a month without speaking to his mother without thinking anything of it, whereas barely three days go by where I don't text or phone mine. We are so close, and I wanted that, so desperately!

I just feel so very suddenly overwhelmed and heartbroken, and feel even guiltier for feeling that way in the first place considering how long we've fought for our little miracle. It's not MY baby I don't want - I already love my little one more than life itself - what I am mourning is the idea of what I thought I would have, letting that go and being able to picture a new kind of relationship.

I am not looking to be judged, I just needed to put these feelings somewhere because I am afraid to tell the people I know, especially my husband. Does anyone have any lovely stories about boys as babies/children, or even stories about men and their mothers still being close? Any help would be very, very gratefully recieved, as I am still in shock that I feel this way after all this time.

BlackholesAndRevelations Sat 02-Feb-13 20:13:22

I am blessed to have a girl and a boy, but the relationship I have with my boy is very special. He's a gorgeous, cheeky, very affectionate bundle of fun. I'm even hoping dc 3 will be a boy because you know where you are with boys; my girl us already beginning manipulative and behaving like a teen!

All joking aside, I have no idea how it feels to go through what you have, but I just wanted to reassure you that boys are just wonderful, and like others have said, he will be YOUR baby. "he" may still be a girl too, of course! I wish you all the best x

BlackholesAndRevelations Sat 02-Feb-13 20:14:31

My son gives better cuddles than my dsughter, too; boys are very cuddly with their mummies smile

Emsyboo Sat 02-Feb-13 20:27:13

With my first child I was desperate for a girl but scan revealed a boy I burst into tears then felt worse because I felt ungrateful and a bad mum that I didn't want a boy.
Please don't feel bad and try to keep an open mind my boy is wonderful so living and as soon as I saw him I fell in love with him and he has made me smile every day since.
I had antenatal depression I don't know if that caused my feelings or if it just made my feelings worse - I think the latter tbh
I would hope when you meet your boy(if you are even having a boy) you will be over the moon but the thought of never having a girl may be something you need to get help with and come to terms with.
Is there a chance you could have another child? I'm not saying keep trying till you get a girl as any more mcs may be harder to deal with and you need the full support of your DH.
I am sure you will love your DC and be a fantastic mum hormones are funny things but if you continue to feel this way you may develop PND ESP with your history of PTSD I don't know you or have any qualifications but be open to talking about these feelings sooner rather than later so if you need help you can get it x x

Creamtea1 Sat 02-Feb-13 20:30:34

It's not a blessing to have a boy and a girl, it's a blessing to have 2 children. Infact it's a blessing to have 1 child, and any more children are further blessings.

RubyrooUK Sat 02-Feb-13 20:37:22

My belief is you want the child you have.

I have a 2 year old DS and he is incredible. Most importantly, he is himself. He is not any old boy or any old girl, he is my hilariously funny child. When he puts his hand and mine and tells me he loves me, I could die with joy. If I could only choose one child in the world ever, I'd choose this one I have already.

I have a close relationship with my mum. But so does my brother. Actually he phones my mum all the time for a chat - not because he is tied to her apron strings, he just likes her! He likes sharing stuff about his life with her.

I am now pregnant with DS2. I was just overjoyed to have another child and the thought of his gender didn't really come into it. Now these will be the only two children I want in the world.

Don't beat yourself up, OP. It's fine to have a moment of sadness now for something being different from your expectations.

Then start getting excited because your DS will be the love of your life and you'll look back and laugh at the idea that you could have ever wanted anything but him.

RubyrooUK Sat 02-Feb-13 20:39:02

I meant...his hand in mine....sorry, stupid phone.

blush

SavoyCabbage Sat 02-Feb-13 20:42:41

I think the way you are feeling is completely normal, really it us. I would consider going for a private scan and finding out for sure. I did this and it gives you time before the baby comes to adjust.

rrreow Sat 02-Feb-13 21:14:40

I so totally empathise with how you are feeling. I grew up as the only daughter to a single mum, and to top it off my mum died when I was 15. Having never had many men around in my life (and been bullied severely by boys throughout my childhood) I felt deeply uncomfortable and scared at the prospect of having a boy. With DC1 when we found out at the 20 week scan that it was a boy.. I felt disappointed. I felt scared and worried about what my relationship with him would be like, how I would relate to him and understand him. During the time between finding out at the scan and him being born I was able to come to accept it more (and just to be clear I was never disappointed with HIM, just disappointed with not having the daughter I so longed for). He's now 21 months and he's delightful. I experience him as his unique self, not as a particular gender.

So, now I'm pregnant with number 2 and just had my 20 week scan this week. Whereas with number 1 I was mostly scared of the unknown and scared about connecting with a boy, I now know I don't have to worry about that, but I really really really still wanted a girl this time around. I'd love to have one of each and experience the unique relationships. Gender and its place in society is a fact and (obviously amongst many other things) it does influence the type of person someone becomes and how they relate and are situated in the world. Both from seeing it on the screen myself and the sonographer confirming it: I'm having another boy.

So yeah... absolutely gutted. The disappointment this time is even worse as we weren't ever planning on more than 2 (both for practical and emotional reasons). I know I am lucky enough to be in the position to at least be able to consider a third, but I never really wanted three and even if I did I couldn't conceive again if I didn't positively know that I'd be OK with a child of either sex (as I wouldn't want DC3 to have to suffer for my disappointment if it turned out as a third boy).

I have a friend with two boys who also really wanted a daughter (and who can't have any more kids for health reasons) and talking to her was very helpful. She said it felt like grieving, and that's how I've experienced it too. On top of that it's so difficult to express these feelings because you'll be met with so much 'as long as it's healthy' and 'you should be happy' blah blah. As true as those things are, they don't take away the feelings we're feeling. So there's that added feeling of guilt as well.

I don't have any practical advice but I hope that sharing my story and feelings helps. On Thursday when I found out it was a boy I felt so down and I did some googling on gender disappointment and I found it really helpful to read about so many other people's similar experiences.

ElliesWellies Sat 02-Feb-13 23:23:00

Remember you are really grieving for the loss of something that you have built up in your own mind... it isn't real, it is only what you imagine having a daughter to feel like. You don't know how your relationship will be yet... with a son or a daughter.

Thank you all for your thought-provoking replies.

I think I am now considering a) finding out the sex of my baby for sure, to give me time to accept it, and b) talking to my midwife about my feelings. My mum suffered severely with postnatal depression and I know these things can be genetic so I'd rather take the precaution than feel unable to cope when baby is actually here.

I am very aware that, as many of you said, my feelings are based in my own perceptions of what my baby would be like, and that it most definitely is NOT my actual baby that I feel disappointment with. Your experiences have helped show me I'm not isolated in having these feelings, and that no matter how I feel, once that baby is in my arms I won't care a jot what's between it's legs smile

Thank you again for listening, just being heard has helped.

TheGrandPooBah Sat 02-Feb-13 23:48:14

I have a 6 year old son who is incredibly loving. When we finally fell pregnant with our second child, I was crushed to find out that she was a girl, and not the boy I had already named and pictured growing up alongside our first son, not the little brother he so wanted. I had to mourn the loss of this imaginary child before I could fully embrace the idea of a daughter - and I was more than ready for her when she was born. She is deeply loved by her big brother, and every day I give thanks for her - both kids are such a blessing, we are bloody lucky! So don't be too hard on yourself. Understand your disappointment, then let it go and move on.

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 03-Feb-13 06:06:35

Oh I know two children are a blessing, regardless of gender. I am just incredibly lucky to be able to have both in my life, thats all I meant. Having lost a baby since having them, it has hit me even harder how blessed I am (even though I knew it already). Babies are miracles.

lotsofcheese Sun 03-Feb-13 08:35:58

I think your plan sounds good, especially finding out the gender. I

I've struggled to bond with my current pregnancy, after DS was born very prematurely (I'm facing that again) & 2 m/c, one of which was a molar pregnancy. It's all been very traumatic to get to this point.

I found out the gender & it has helped tremendously, from a psychological point of view.

After everything you have been through, it's really important that you ENJOY your baby. Take whatever steps necessary to help you do that. Good luck.

Ps you will love your baby, no matter what gender

orangetickle Sun 03-Feb-13 12:49:05

I'd definitely find out the gender. I was struggling to bond with this baby (#2) for various reasons, and finding out the gender (we hadn't with #1) has really really helped, and given me 20-odd weeks to get excited about the baby arriving.

And once you know, would shopping for some gender specific items help? Maybe that would help you construe an image of the 'new normal' in your head (assuming it is a boy) and get excited about what lies ahead?

And I think children's relationships with their parents is much more influenced by upbringing than innately dictated by their gender: there is no reason at all why you shouldn't be incredibly close to your son.

whyno Sun 03-Feb-13 14:02:34

I am so excited for what a shock you will have if you get a boy as you won't believe how unbearably in love with him you will be! I had a boy after wishing for a girl so I know. smile

Christelle2207 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:26:27

I sympathise, not had such a horrendous journey TTC as you but I did struggle, am now fairly convinced I am having a boy despite wishing I was having a girl. Although having another baby in the future would be a possibility, given how hard it was to get to this stage I'm not counting any chickens.
I'm not feeling heartbroken as you are - as other posters have said I am 100% certain your feelings will change when he (if a he) arrives however I would say that thinking of my immediate circle of friends, the guys I know on the whole have better relations with their mothers than the girls I know. My dh speaks to his mother daily and sees her weekly, I rarely speak to/ see mine (we get on, we're just not close and growing up I was definitely a daddy's girl). So I really would not worry about that aspect. Finding out for sure sounds like a plan, I would also like to, but dh is dead against.

fallingandlaughing Sun 03-Feb-13 15:40:06

Stories of boys close to their Mums....

I consider myself close to my mother. I ring her at least twice a week, see her at least once a fortnight.

My oldest brother lives "at home" along with his wife and kids. Sees our Mum every day, they are all planning to go on holiday together. Close enough?? grin

With all you've been through, it is only natural you should feel a bit shaken when what you have wanted for so long is finally happening, but might not quite fit the image you have in your head. You will adore this baby, your child, whatever the sex.

BT a lot of people talk of adoring your child from birth. My DD is 18 months and the absolute love and centre of my life. But when she was born I didn't have a whoosh of love, I can't really explain it but I see it now as the love was there from the start, but revealed to me gradually. So don't bank on instant euphoria on giving birht, doesn't mean there is something wrong if you don't have it.

TwitchyTail Sun 03-Feb-13 15:51:31

I would definitely recommend finding out the gender.

I always wanted a girl, and have no problem admitting I felt a bit disappointed when I was told at my 20 week scan that it was a boy. But knowing for sure allowed me plenty of time to adjust. Part of the problem was that I'd never pictured myself having a boy, which I think is quite common among women - it's outside of what we have experienced ourselves. But most boys and men I know are very close to their mothers and even more loyal than daughters.

I can't tell you how many people have squealed with excitement when I said I'm having a boy and told me lovely stories about how brilliant boys are and how much they love their mummies smile It really has helped. As has looking at stupid gender-stereotyped blue stuff with trains on it grin

Viviennemary Sun 03-Feb-13 15:59:41

At first when I saw your heading I didn't sympathise but when I read you post yes I do see your point. But I think it's all in the mind. What we perceive a daughter will be and what we perceive a son will be. And the reality is quite often different. Hope this makes sense.

Springforward Sun 03-Feb-13 16:05:35

FWIW, my 4 year old DS is the most affectionate child you could imagine. He adores his dad, and spends lots of time with him playing football etc. But when it really comes to it, when he's ill or tired, only mum will do. I've spent most of the afternoon baking cakes with him. Boys are lovely too.

Dogsmom Sun 03-Feb-13 16:17:39

I agree with the others about finding out.

I too had a preference for a girl, I never even wanted kids until my 30's but knew that if I did I'd want a girl, purely irrational, stereotypical reasons and being girly myself.
It took us 3 years to conceive and I too called the bump 'he' and made myself go around the boys sections in clothes shops to try and make myself as excited about a boy but always ended up glancing at the girls stuff wistfully.
Of course health was most important and the main worry before the 12 week scan was just hoping there would be A baby there with a heartbeat growing as they should but once that was confirmed my mind focused fully on the gender and it was spoiling my pregnancy and I knew that the feelings would be there right up until the birth and I really didn't want to have it hanging over me during labour because I knew there would be a pang if it was a boy.

In the end we had a private gender scan and it showed we are in fact expecting a girl which was then confirmed at the 20 week scan, naturally we were both over the moon (DH wanted a girl too) and I've gone on to enjoy my pregnancy but I know that I needed the time before the birth to get my head around it all, I also know that had it been a boy I'd have been fine with it once we'd named him, bought things for him and I'd been given the chance to look at the millions of positives that there are.

greenpostit Sun 03-Feb-13 16:23:26

Definitely get a gender scan ASAP. Then you will have certainty and a few weeks t get used to the idea before te baby comes. You could buy the baby some bits and pieces and finalise a name if you know the gender. All this sort thing will help you adjust to whether your baby is a girl or a boy.

Christelle2207 Sun 03-Feb-13 16:36:18

Also, do try and discuss your fears with your dp. X

beckie90 Sun 03-Feb-13 16:37:12

I always saw myself having a daughter, 1) I wanted that bond that me and my mum have.
2) been a little girl and always a very girly girl, I always dreamed of having my own.

But then I got pregnant tbh I didn't care what the baby was just aslong as evertything was fine but I knew I'd have more then 1 child I had a boy, 2 years later I had another little boy we found out with both at the 20wk scan, 2nd I was a little bit like aww no girls for me then I thought that was my lasr baby, but by time I gave birth I was totally fine with having a boy didn't cross my mind st all, I did get Aww bless you I bet you wish it was a girl don't you, my answer was no I don't care this little person is mine no matter of the gender. I'm so glad I had 2 boys together they are so different to each other and there both mummys boys, cudnt imagine it any other way.

However I'm now pregnant with number 3, this definatly is my last I start midwifery course in September, so don't want no more, and now I know deep down this is my last, I won't lie I do want a girl, BUT I know given OH family (just about all boys been born.90% of them) the chances are very low of me having a girl. I kind of accepted that a long time ago, Il be happy no matter what there all there own little person. And I have no doubts that when your baby arrives you will adore it no matter what the gender, I promise you smile also the feelings are very normal. Please don't feel bad.

The best of luck to you smile xx

pmgkt Sun 03-Feb-13 16:40:08

I can relate to this but the other way around, I wanted a boy. Both pregnancies. Everyone assumed I would want a girl, especially second time around. With ds2 we did find out so I had time to get my head around it. You will love it either way, don't panic if you don't get that rush the moment its born, that often doesn't happen. Talk to your other half though so he knows how you feel, he can help you talk it through and help you if you do get a boy, and make sure you are alright.

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