As of now, I’m about 23 weeks pregnant, past the point when most women have gotten ultrasounds and found out if they are having a boy or a girl.
A few people have asked me if I know if I know what I’m having, and have been surprised that I said I don’t know because I try to avoid ultrasounds. In this day and age, that’s become increasingly uncommon! Why I have concerns about ultrasounds is a topic for another post; I did have one with my first two children (before it ever occurred to me to question standard obstetrical procedures), and then again with my eighth (when I was well-educated about obstetrical practices and their alternatives).
With my eighth pregnancy, it was the only time that I found out what I was having in advance. At that point, I was five months pregnant when we were told by our midwife that there was a strong likelihood we were having twins. Even though she said she couldn’t be sure, there was still disappointment when one month later we learned there was only one baby. So much so, that knowing many of us were hoping for a girl (since we had four boys and three girls at that time), I wanted everyone to be emotionally prepared in case it was a boy. I had an ultrasound to determine with certainty that there was only one baby (though my midwife was positive at that point), and what it was – and it was a boy! I did miss the feeling of surprise of finding out at the actual birth, but it felt like the right thing to do in that situation – we all had time to shift gears mentally and look forward to our baby boy.
With this pregnancy and the boy:girl ratio at 6:3, there’s definitely a preference on almost everyone’s part to even things up a little! At the beginning I was really hoping for a girl and was convincing myself that all the signs were there for a girl. But it’s more likely that we’re having another boy (based on looking at the objective facts in addition to all the old wives’ tales! – though I can’t be positive). The first night when I was honest with myself about the likelihood of a boy, I honestly felt sad. You can say it’s silly or superficial, but that’s how I felt. My youngest girl will be almost 12 when this baby is born, and I’d love to have another daughter.
But however shallow it seems, I think that experiencing minor to severe gender disappointment isn’t an uncommon feeling for many pregnant women when they find out what they’re having. Along with the disappointment there’s often a feeling of guilt – we all know the most important thing is a healthy baby, so, we tell ourselves, how dare we be anything but happy regardless of what we’re having?
In my opinion, it’s important to allow ourselves to feel the disappointment without any self-criticism, which makes it possible to then go on to embrace what the reality is. It doesn’t matter that your dream of pink or blue may seem immature or selfish or downright wrong to others. You’re entitled to your emotions, and when you allow yourself to feel your feelings, you can move through them and on to a positive place in your mind. And from there you can move to a place of genuine appreciation for what you have.
Something else that helped after that point was focusing on what we’ll have instead of what we won’t have – there’s nothing cuter about a baby girl than a baby boy, really! Every baby has its own sweetness, and every baby is a special blessing. Dd15 commented that it will be so cute to have a group of little boys running around, and thinking about the sweetness of all of our boys was helpful, too.
How do I feel about having a boy at this point? It took about three days to let go of residual feelings of disappointment about not having a girl. But at this point, I’m one hundred percent at peace with the idea. More than at peace – I’m really looking forward to our newest baby’s arrival!