I was nine days post ovulation when I found out I was pregnant with my second child. I wanted to be pregnant so badly, I was testing daily from the night of suspected conception. This time around, getting pregnant took a bit longer than it did with our first, and while the timing wasn't perfect, we were beyond thrilled to be completing our family.
Almost immediately after the stick dried, I started having visions of the little girl I just knew I was carrying. My oldest, my son, was the light of my life, and I was positive he was a boy from the day I knew he was growing within me, and that felt exactly right. There was zero reason to doubt that my intuition would be off this time...except it was.
At 14 weeks gestation, I was offered the Materniti21 Test to test for any genetic disorders. As a bonus, this test can also reveal the sex of the baby. Since it was covered by my insurance, and seemed less invasive than multiple ultrasounds, I agreed. About two weeks later, the nurse called to let me know the results. I was incredibly relieved to hear that my baby was healthy and at low risk for the tested for disorders, and ecstatic when she agreed to call me back and reveal the sex of the baby on my voicemail so that I could listen to it with my husband and son later that evening.
For 6 agonizing hours, I stared at that notification on my phone. I was DYING to listen to it, to hear her say that our little girl would be here sometime in September. I had her name picked out, I was dreaming of her, I could practically see her. To this day, I can't quite articulate why I was so set on having a daughter, but it mostly had to do with the knowledge that this would be our last baby, and I desperately wanted the same mother-daughter bond I had with my own mom, who passed away when I was 17. My daughter, this baby that was in my belly, would be honoring her by sharing her middle name. I was in bliss.
That evening, my husband came home, and before he could even get his coat off, I was dialing my voicemail. The nurse's voice came over the speaker, bright and bubbly, and announced "You are having another healthy SON!" My husband was beyond happy. I, however, was frozen. A son? There must be a mistake. I'm having a girl! My mother's intuition can't be that off, could it?
And then I cried. And then I was crying because I was crying. I mean, what kind of mother is upset about this? My husband, my rock, gently asked if I was ok. My only response was that I was sure I would be, but I needed time to process. He ever so kindly told me that I was fine. To take the time I needed.
That day, my whole world turned upside down. This baby, this baby I thought I knew, I didn't know at all. Suddenly, it was if a stranger's baby was inhabiting my body. I now had to completely change everything, my thoughts, my dreams, everything.
A few days later, I realized that all of this disappointment I was feeling was also being felt by this baby. So, I made a decision. I needed to get to know this baby. I am a firm believer that something spiritual guides everything in childbirth, and there has never been any doubt that this baby chose us, not the other way around. So, after putting my son down for a nap, I found a quiet spot. I closed my eyes, breathed deep, and focused every part of me on the child that was in my belly. I started to picture what he looked like, what he was seeing, feeling, hearing. And then I apologized.
"My son," I said. "I need to apologize to you. My grief that you are feeling has nothing to do with YOU. This is all me." I went on to explain, the words I so needed to say, but had no one to say it to, started tumbling out of me. I am not disappointed in this baby. What I was grieving was the fact that I would not ever have a daughter. Not that THIS baby was a boy.
I continued this meditation with him for some time, until he sent a clear message to me that I needed to name him. I instantly knew that this would be my connection, the bridge that would allow me to get to know and love him unconditionally. Once the name was chosen, it became almost obvious that I would still be able to honor my own mom by changing the spelling of her middle name, and giving it to this child. From that day on, my baby and I had deep conversations, usually centered on all the ways that having two sons would be the most amazing experience of my life. This is what changed everything for me. Keeping the focus on him, my son, and strengthening our bond as deeply as I could before he came earth side. I didn't want him to carry that baggage; although he is much more attached to me than his brother ever was. I can't help but wonder sometimes if he's just checking. Just checking to make sure I still love him deeply, just for being him. And when I get that feeling, I tell him I do.
Fast forward three years, and I couldn't ever imagine my life being any different. Sometimes, I still long for the daughter that will never be. But I've got two gorgeous nieces that carry my mother's DNA that I can dote on, as well as some amazing young ladies in my chosen family. My sons love me more than life itself. I get cuddles, and artwork, and stuffed animal dinner parties, and they take care of me in ways that almost make my heart explode.
Gender disappointment is a thing. Its real, and we should be allowed to talk about it. However, as I peruse Facebook groups for new moms, or moms to be, its clear that we are afraid to even mention it. There are a few brave posts, that usually begin with "Please don't shame me," or something similar. When these posts ask if anyone else has experienced disappointment regarding the sex of their baby, there are tons and tons of replies, parents who are relieved to FINALLY have a chance to talk about it.
I'm here to tell you, its ok. Its ok to feel the way you do. Hopefully, you can find someone to reach out to and talk about it, someone who can validate you and help you work through it. I've just explained what helped me, but try to find your own way to connect with the baby that you are creating. This child, this wonderful, yummy spirit has chosen YOU. Take the time to get to know this little one, and I promise you, they will be ok. So will you.