I actually convinced myself during the first 20 weeks of my first pregnancy that I didn’t have a preference. Obviously, it’s a 50/50 thing and you want to be happy with each outcome.
So I told myself that boys adore their mothers more than daughters and that they would be much easier as teenagers. Those reasons seemed to outweigh doing my daughter’s hair and dressing her in cute clothing.
In the end, when it came time for the 20-week ultrasound, it didn’t matter what I had said to myself beforehand — every time anything resembled male genitalia on the monitor, my heart sank down to the floor.
When the technician finally revealed that we were indeed having a girl, I was so elated that it took me a second to remember that my husband was having the exact opposite reaction.
He had always dreamed of having a son.
I asked him if he was okay and he said he just had to process it for a bit. I knew I would feel the same way so I totally understood his need to digest this life-changing information.
In fact, one of the reasons we found out what were having at 20 weeks was because neither of us wanted our first reaction to our child to be anything resembling disappointment. I know to some of you that might seem horrible (every child is a blessing, we know this as well as anyone having had numerous setbacks and scares while trying to get pregnant and throughout the pregnancy), but we were also both being honest.
And I don’t think we are the only ones.
A good friend of mine actually burst into tears right on the ultrasound table when she found out she was having a boy. She felt horrible about it but she was hormonal and her feelings were real. She is now delighted to have a son and currently in shock that she is pregnant with another.
She says one of the hardest things is that whenever she tells people she is having another boy, they react sadly, like they know this must not be what she wanted. That makes her feel even worse.
I worry the same thing about my husband.
I am now pregnant with our second girl. And we had never planned on having more than two. This means that Mike has to go through a bit of a grieving process to accept that he will probably never have a son. And the last thing he wants is friends giving him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder when he tells them our news.
I believe there are a lot of us that would prefer one gender over the other in our hearts, whether we admit it out loud or not. And I think that people in general assume women want girls and men want boys and react to their news accordingly. Which can be annoying to those who don’t have a preference, but even more so to those who do.
Every parent wants a healthy baby. But it’s okay and healthy to admit that you had imagined something different. That’s why finding out ahead of time can be a very good thing for soon-to-be parents who not only need to accept the news, but change their frame of mind.
I know that by the time our first daughter was born, my husband was absolutely thrilled to welcome her to this world. And now that she is here, he adores her more than anything.
I imagine it will be the same with the baby girl I am currently carrying.
Are you or your spouse secretly hoping for one gender over the other?