Ever since I was 13 years old, I had a perfect blueprint of my family. I would get married at 26 years old, have two dogs, a cat, a baby boy, and then a baby girl just one or two years younger.
So, as you can imagine, when I found out I was expecting a boy for my first child some 14 years later, I was ecstatic. After having him, I never had my period until he decided he didn’t need mummy’s boobs anymore at around 15 months old. I knew about the chances of getting pregnant while nursing, but we were hoping to have two kids close in age, so as soon as we were given the OK from our doctor, we didn’t use any protection. Hoping maybe, just maybe that we’d get lucky with my baby girl very quickly.
Baby 2 was more difficult than we had thought
However, we did not get pregnant at all. I was then offered a new job which I quickly took while agreeing with my partner to hold off making our little girl for the first 6 months as I get settled in my new workplace. During this time, I researched all kind of natural, and some pretty whacky ways of conceiving a girl. In order to increase our chances, I also began measuring my Base Body Temperature (BBT) and playing my cervical mucus multiple times daily to make sure that we time everything perfectly. I probably did everything by the books, to increase our chances of having a baby girl.
On our son’s second birthday was the same day I found out I was finally pregnant. I remember waking up super early in the morning, my temperature that night (I was using a wearable thermometer) showed it’s the third continuous day that I’ve hit 37 degrees, plus there was a single-day temperature drop before the rise to 37 in what was possibly an “implantation dip”. Then, it happened, the second red line. I was immediately convinced this must be a girl. I did everything from timing it to the Chinese gender calendar, to eating everything that was considered ‘acidic’, and timing sex based on the Shettle’s Method, it cannot not be a girl.
My perfect family is finally becoming a reality.
But what’s a story without a twist?
How the story continued, you’d probably guessed it by now. As soon as I was 10 weeks 5 days, I excitedly asked my doctor to order some bloodwork. I knew I’m having a girl, but it was always good to have a solid confirmation.
And of course, the result came back “XY” — yep, it’s another boy.
I still remember receiving the call just before my lunch break at work. I could not believe it, I did not believe it. I then began Googling the possibilities of an incorrect gender result from blood tests. There was a very small chance that it could be wrong, but most of them are the result of a very recent pregnancy with another boy, or that the mother is carrying multiples— which I know I’m not from an early trans-vaginal ultrasound I insisted on doing.
The following days all became a blur as I had to deal with the reality that I am not expecting a baby girl, the baby girl that I thought I was certain to have, while also feeling guilty about having even the thought of not wanting this baby boy that I was already carrying. I’ve never admitted this, but I was (and honestly, I still am, just a little) jealous of all the other mothers who had a daughter, even more so those that already have a boy and are expecting a girl instead.
I was sad, but I was also guilt-ridden for feeling sad. I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to feel disappointed.
As the pregnancy went on and been shown multiple photos of the baby’s penis, it completely shattering the last little hope of the doctors being wrong. I finally began to accept the fact that I was expecting another boy. And my big baby Hunter was getting a little brother. While I was disappointed at the fact that I may not be able to share “girl talk” and “girly moments” with my baby girl. But on the other hand, Hunter would have a little brother who he would be able to share everything (including a bedroom and clothes) with, and a little brother that would look up to him.
While disappointed and sad, I was also guilt-ridden. What if I don’t love my baby boy? Am I a horrible mother for not wanting another boy? Are people going to judge me for being sexist? I mean, I should have been happy to be pregnant at the first place, and he’s a healthy baby. That should be more than I should ever hope for. But at the same time, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I may never have a daughter in my life.
The relationship with our own family plays a huge part in why gender disappointments happen.
But the truth is, it is ok to grief for gender disappointments. We may never become the “boy mum” or “girl mum” that we had wished for, but most of these wishes are built based on our own perception of different relationships.
Using myself as an example, one of the reasons why I wanted a girl so much, is because of my relationship with my own mother. It was never the best, being a first-generation immigrant family in Australia meant that most of her time was spent on working hard in trying to put a roof over our heads and food on our plates in a completely foreign country. Our relationship has only gotten a little closer now that I’ve become a mother myself. My mum never spoke about puberty and sex with me either, so I actually learnt everything off Girlfriend and Dolly magazines back in the early 2000’s.
I envisioned myself to be a very different mother than she was. And perhaps that is the reason why I desperately wanted to have a daughter. So that I can prove to her, and myself, that I can be the mother I’ve always wanted to have. A mother that is close with her daughter, one that was more like a best friend.
As I slowly begin to accept the reality, I then realised everything that I’ve envisioned, were based on my own experiences thus far. Likewise, another woman may want a daughter for the exact opposite reason. She might have the perfect relationship with her mother, and so she may simply want to replicate the same for her own daughter.
Our children’s relationship with us will be unique from ours but be greatly affected by our actions and choices.
I then began to understand that even without a daughter, I can still be the best mother I’ve always wanted to have. Everything from now onward is how we make it, our actions are what creates the perceptions in our children— just as our habits are going to affect our own children (and our subscription bags will certainly make things easier for you along the way). We are no longer on the receiving end anymore, as mothers, we are the ones shaping someone else’s world. While it is perfectly ok to feel upset over the reality that may seem far from the ideal, we won’t love our babies any less, even if they may not be exactly what we envisioned them to be. Because genders aside, they are a completely different individual to ourselves. They will have their own relationships and experiences completely different from ours.
After Luka was born, all negative feelings immediately vanished. I was holding the most precious baby, regardless of the gender, this baby was, and is perfect. Just as many mothers in the past have said, when you hold a new child, your love won’t be split, instead, it will only double.
But somewhere deep down, I still long for a daughter, although I’m at peace now. But even without one, I know I will do my best to be the best mum I can be for my boys.