It’s something no parent ever wants to admit; that they’re taken aback or disappointed once they find out their baby’s gender. It wasn’t something I ever thought I’d experience but when I discovered last week that our next baby would be a boy, I felt upset. I’d imagined another girl, a little sister and best friend for Nella. I feel so guilty and a terrible mother for even admitting to having these feelings. My poor little boy, waving at me on the scan having no idea his mummy was feeling so sad. I should have been thrilled that he was healthy, which of course is the MOST important thing rather than what was between those tiny legs!
I’m not an irrational person, I know I’m incredibly fortunate to have one healthy child and another on the way. And most people’s dream is to have one child of each sex. There are many people struggling to even conceive whom I’m sure would be furious that I could even feel this way. I’m furious at myself but for being so ridiculous. I know I am being ridiculous because I already love that little boy so much, he’s part of me and our family.
I have a brother and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. No-one can take the mickey or relentlessly tease as well as a brother! Because of him, I’ve never been easily offended. It also prepared me for the reality of what boys are truly like (pretty disgusting at times, being farted on anyone?!). I’m also lucky enough to have a sister too and all three of us get on incredibly well.
So what is my issue with having my own boy? I’ve been trying to challenge myself as to my preconceived ideas which I’ve realised all revolve around gender stereotypes. I’d imagined Nella and her little sister playing ‘nicely’ together and not fighting, having little tea parties and playing school and dress up. The truth is, I have no knowledge of what it’s like to have a sibling so close in age. I’m sure girls fight too but I never fought with my sister, there’s an 11 year age gap so there wasn’t anything to fight about. Growing up, I adored her and she looked after me so well and was so kind and sweet. Of course that mainly comes down to my sister’s personality rather than anything else. Selfishly I wanted a house of girls, full of dollies and princess castles rather than cars, trucks and trains! Yes I know these are gender stereotypes and of course not all girls are ‘girly’ or boys into these things but in my experience most of them are.
A lot of friends have said to me they’ve found their boys easier, more affectionate and loving. It’s just in my own head, I have the reverse idea and I don’t know why. I worry about crazy things like, ‘will he join the army?’ ‘What if he’s autistic?’ (Statistically he’s more likely to be as a boy!) I then worry about him growing up and not needing me, that old adage of, ‘a son is a son until he takes a wife. A daughter is daughter all of her life’.
Of course having been in tears, I googled to see if other people especially mums felt the same way. I found that gender disappointment is very much a ‘thing’ and I am not alone. One thing I learnt from my googling is that it’s better to not bottle it up, allow yourself a bit of time to wallow and then reset and reframe the vision you had. Some of the things I’d read were quite shocking; mothers saying they didn’t want their child any longer and didn’t want to continue the pregnancy. I am certainly not in this camp. Having had a week to reframe my mindset, I am excited (although still slightly daunted) about bringing up my own little man. I am the first woman in his life and I hope to teach him how to treat women with love and respect. It’s a big responsibility but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I have recognised a lot of my negative feelings stem from my own insecurities and I’m also blaming my hormones being out of whack!
To my little boy, my son, roll on November darling, your mummy can’t wait to meet you. I’m sorry I cried, I have always loved you and I always will.