When I was growing up, my mother and I shared a very special relationship. I had two younger brothers, but I felt that the relationship that my mum and I shared was particularly special. I also listened to her speak about the bond with her own mother the same way, so I wanted to be another link in the chain.
When it was my turn to have babies, my first was a boy. I wasn’t concerned at all by this – I wanted to have a baby and it had taken my husband and I about a year to conceive despite some fairly enthusiastic trying (think ovulation tracking vs mindless banging). When that baby boy was in my arms, I never wanted to let him go. He’s now almost four and he is my kindred spirit. He’s like me in so many ways and we fully understand each other.
When I got pregnant again, it was for the ‘last time’. My husband and I had only ever wanted two children. From the start I convinced myself this child was a boy, because I didn’t want to believe it could be a girl. But in the back of my mind, I was hoping to have the nice ‘surprise’ of expecting a female baby. I told everyone (including myself) that it didn’t matter what the baby’s sex was, that I would be thrilled regardless. I built myself a Donald Trump sized wall to avoid disappointment.
Watch: ‘The time I felt like a bad mother.’ (Post continues below.)
Yet when I saw that tiny little penis on my 20 week scan, I wailed.
I wrote a letter to the ‘daughter I would never have’, soaking it in floods of tears. When anyone asked me if I had ‘wanted a girl’ (despite being pregnant with a boy), I went on the offensive and became abrasive, asking why on earth I would mind what sex I had, when I was so lucky to have two healthy children. Yet behind closed doors, I fervently researched ‘gender disappointment’ and ‘how do I deal with not having a girl?’ I asked myself why it was that so many people around me seemed to have ‘pigeon pairs’, yet I couldn’t manage it myself.
I’m sure you might be disgusted by this reaction. In truth, I disgusted myself. I felt so much shame about the way that I felt, but I could not shake the feeling that I wanted that girl.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want my boys – I knew I would love this new boy, and now he’s here I adore him with every fibre of my being. I don’t regret him for one second – it was just that I also wanted a girl. And knowing I felt this way, whilst in the midst of people who had tried to fall pregnant for years, and people who were enduring round after round of useless IVF, made me feel like the world’s biggest a*sehole.