parent opinion

'When I found out I was having a baby boy, I sobbed for hours.'

When I found out I was having a healthy baby boy, I burst into tears and sobbed for hours.

This pregnancy had felt so different to my first with my son Patrick. I thought I had been sick the first time around, but it was nothing this time. My skin was all weird, and there was no sign of the lovely pregnancy hair I'd had the last time. As much as it's possible to tell at 10 weeks, I even felt like I was carrying differently.

I had convinced myself that I was having a girl, so it genuinely shocked me when my OB told me I would soon be the mother of two boys.

I am happy to admit that I am your stereotypical, basic b*tch girly girl. I like clothes, shoes and makeup. I like the colour pink and Disney. I have always played netball and danced, and to this day one of my most traumatic childhood memories is being required to attend my brother's cricket games. I do not like toilet humour, have zero interest in cars or construction vehicles and can barely tell the difference between a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus.

Watch: Being the mother of a son is like someone breaking up with you really slowly. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

I also have an amazing relationship with my mum. We have similar interests in books, TV, movies, art and travel and genuinely enjoy spending time together. I had always assumed I would get to recreate this relationship with my daughter. My mum and my brother have a great relationship too, but it’s very different. He's unlikely to want to go away with her for a weekend hiking and antiquing or have a wine and cheese night watching Gilmore Girls.


I have always dreamed about coaching my daughter's netball team, watching her play a hazelnut in the Christmas production of The Nutcracker and going shopping with her and my mum on Boxing Day (call us crazy, but we actually love the chaos).

In a flash, I felt like that was taken away from me. My mind went from tutus and tea parties to the bathroom at my all-male cousin's place which was always covered in pee.

And look, I know how silly most of this is. I know that sex is no guarantee of personality, or even what gender a person will identify with. I know that having a daughter does not necessarily mean I would have this idealised relationship with her.

But I still think that, realistically, it's fair to say that my chances of having a child who will want to take ballet classes and go to high tea with me are better if I have one with two X chromosomes.

In the midst of my self-pity, I moaned to my husband that having another boy meant I would never get a Christmas, birthday or Mother's Day present unless and until the boys got married. I didn't want to wait that long (which probably says a fair bit about the gender dynamics in my family, and my role as the "elder daughter" which should be unpacked elsewhere).

I cried to my mum that I remembered how bad my teenage brother smelt throughout his teenage years, and how was I going to cope with two of them? Mum helpfully pointed out that his teenage smell was nothing on my teenage attitude, and whilst showers and deodorant helped my brother, I'm still lucky they had the opportunity for her to give me away to another family never arose as she couldn't have said yes quick enough. This made me cry even more, because what if I am never able to comfort my own daughter as she is in the midst of an irrational pregnancy-induced freakout?


At the same time I was feeling disappointed, I was feeling horribly, horribly guilty and hating myself for my reaction. I am acutely aware how fortunate my husband and I are to have fallen pregnant relatively easily with not one, but two healthy babies. This little boy growing inside me is perfect just as he is, and he needs parents who will love him for that. The fact that I wished he was a girl felt deeply ungrateful, and like such a huge betrayal of him before he was even born.

To their eternal credit, not one person I shared my feelings with made me feel bad for them. My OB said that, in her experience, most mums hope for a baby girl and my feelings were far from uncommon. She also pointed out that it can be hard to bond with a baby that's making you feel sick constantly, and things would be very different once I was holding my little boy in my arms.

A surprising number of other mums told me they had experienced similar feelings. They said that it was ok to grieve the loss of an imagined future and reassured me it didn't make me a bad person, or a bad mum.

For me, finding out the sex early was the right thing to do. I know myself well enough to know that I will always want a daughter, and I didn't want my first feeling upon meeting my baby to be that of disappointment.


Listen to The Baby Bubble where the hosts talk about gender disappointment and how to deal with it. Post continues below.

I have had the time to process my feelings and come to a place where I am genuinely excited to have another son. I did let myself feel sad for a bit and tried (unsuccessfully) not to beat myself up too badly for it.

But since then I've been focusing on the amazing side. Firstly, the blessing of another healthy child. Secondly (and probably less profound), the chance for all those super cute Osh Kosh overalls Patrick grew out of in a split second to get another wear. Thirdly, giving Patrick a brother. Of course, the relationship between a brother and sister is special too, but I think there's something extra nice about the relationship between siblings of the same sex. One of my husband's brothers got married recently, and as I watched the three of them standing up there together, I had a flash of joy for the relationship Patrick will get to build with his little brother.

Lastly, it's also helped not to close the door entirely on a third child. For a lot of valid reasons, my husband isn't entirely sure. And obviously, we would both need to be in a place where we wanted another baby - not just a daughter. But having that remain as an option has helped shift my mindset from viewing this pregnancy as the end of a possibility I still very much hope for. I am able to be excited to meet this baby for his own sake without putting my hopes of a potential mother-daughter relationship onto him.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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