Gender Disappointment: The Girl We'll Never Have
One mom finds relief from the guilt of wanting a baby girl in a family full of boys
I always knew I would love being a mother. I imagined a house full of energetic kids, laughing and playing. I dreamt of a baby girl. If someone would have told me they would all be boys, I would have laughed. Not if I wanted to keep my sanity! But here I am today, blessed with the pregnancy of our third baby boy. The sadness I feel over the baby girl we’ll never have is overwhelming. At times I wonder if I’ll ever be able to accept it.
I didn’t feel disappointment with my first baby boy. We were both young and wanted more children. We eagerly awaited the arrival of our little one. Finding out my second was a boy left me with a somber feeling. The months were hard as I tried to process the thought of another little boy. Hearing, “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” was devastating. I had assumed it would be a girl. I found myself sobbing in the ultrasound room.
We decided to try for our third baby after a great deal of reflection, in hopes of a girl. From the moment I found out I was expecting, I refused to let myself go through the grief I had before. I refrained from talking gender. I quickly pushed all thoughts of a baby girl from my mind. I had completely prepared myself for the possibility of a boy. I convinced myself I would be at ease with it, or so I thought. Everything was great up until one week before my ultrasound. All thoughts went to a little baby girl. In one week I had designed her room in my head, dreamed of frilly dresses, headbands, dance classes and girl days — the thoughts were unavoidable, they kept creeping back in.
We had waited patiently those 19 long weeks, silently wishing for a baby girl. It couldn’t possibly be another boy, could it? Not even five minutes into the ultrasound the tech said, “It’a boy!”
I laughed. Of course it was a boy! No tears came this time — I had prepared myself well. My husband squeezed my hand; I felt okay. He on the other hand looked like he might cry. Here we had another healthy, active baby growing inside me, yet we felt as though we were mourning the girl we never had. A girl we would never have.
I can’t count how many times I heard, “You can always try again!” Those were the hardest words to hear. We wouldn’t get another shot — this was it. The risk of a third c-section was already high and a fourth was not an option.
The illusion of happiness faded as sadness slowly crept over me. I couldn’t hide it from myself any longer. I knew in my heart this was the way it was meant to be, but the pain was too much to endure alone. I was left feeling many emotions, the strongest of which was guilt. Guilty for wishing for a girl. Guilty for even thinking of this while I had been blessed with another healthy baby. Guilty for not being overjoyed. I felt alone. I didn’t want anyone to know how hurt I really was, for fear they wouldn’t understand. I believed they would confuse my sadness for a baby girl with regret for another boy. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I loved this baby unconditionally. Regardless of gender.
With a heavy heart I knew I had to let it out. Keeping these feelings to myself was too much to bear. That moment I decided to share my feelings, I felt a huge relief. I received overwhelming support and advice from everyone around me — exactly what I needed at that moment.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be fulfilled with not having a girl but I do know that I’m not alone. Plus, I know my house will always be filled with love and laughter.