Gender disappointment is a very real thing. It doesn't make you a bad mom to feel sad over the gender you feel like you missed out on. It makes you honest...and human!
I've felt gender disappointment to some degree in both of my pregnancies when each time I thought I'd be a girl mom but instead, it was a boy all the way.
Whether you're on your 2nd (like me) or 5th in-a-row boy, I'm sure you've received many (if not more) of the same comments that I've had once announcing there's another boy on the way.
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"I was hoping it was going to be a girl."
"You're going to keep trying for a girl, right?"
And let me just tell you- these comments hurt! I already feel as if I have to defend the worthiness of my little boy and he's not even out into the world yet.
And sometimes, what's even more painful, is that you're dealing with your own disappointment and then you're like, what, now I have to deal with yours too?
Being a girly girl and a fashion blogger, I always pictured myself with a girl. Especially coming from a family of 5 girls & 1 boy. A girl seemed like a no-brainer. Plus, I didn't grow up with tons of boys so what would I even do? I didn't know how to be a boy mom.
When I found out Will was a boy I was a teensy bit disappointed only because I seriously thought I was having a girl and that's what I expected. I even referred to my bump as she. Ha! So much for mother's intuition, right? I got over that quickly because I knew I'd still want "one of each" and who doesn't want a protective big brother born first? Plus, you're going to think your own babies are the cutest thing in the world and it's really hard to wish for anything but what you have when you get to hold them and see them smile.
With my second pregnancy, I wasn't as sure it was going to be a girl as my previous (incorrect) feelings, but for some reason, I still expected/assumed that I was meant to have a girl. We found out early this time, around 8 weeks, and I'm really glad we did.
Once I officially learned I was going to be a boy mom through and through I was disappointed at first. NOT because I didn't want a boy. Being Will's mom is so fun and sweet that I genuinely would have loved more and more boys. I was disappointed because prior to this pregnancy, Titus and I already agreed we didn't want a big family. Two kids may very well be it for us. I was disappointed because this means I would never be a girl mom.
And yes, you can "keep trying", but we made the personal decision after Will to never try specifically for a girl. First, there are families with 4+ boys in a row so I know that having a girl isn't guaranteed! And secondly, if we're going to try for a kid it's because we want that kid whatever gender it may be. Though things may change and never say never, right now we just aren't envisioning more kids for us.
Yes, people will tell you to foster. Though going into fostering with the idea of adopting a kid isn't usually the best motive as the goal of fostering is to reunite the kid with its family.
And yes, you can adopt. Which is easier said than done in my opinion. Even if you have the finances for it, it's not an "easy out" option. I've never experienced it personally, but through talking with people that have, it can be a very long, hard, and emotional process. Fostering & adopting can be seen as easy options sometimes. People will say casually, "Oh, well you can just adopt!" Opening yourself up to that may be one of the hardest options and it doesn't take away the disappointment you may be feeling now.
Family planning is very personal and specific. Some options may be better for some families over others and adoption is something we may consider in the future, but all of this is to say that this current pregnancy (boy #2) may very well be it for us and I had to come to terms with what it would be like to never have a girl.
I'll share how I came to terms with it below, but I'll just tell you, it worked! I went from being disappointed for about 2 days to then wanting it to truly be a boy so badly. Once the 20-week anatomy ultrasound came around and they confirmed it was a boy there wasn't a part of me that was secretly wishing the gender test was wrong and it was indeed a girl. In fact, I was relieved!
How I Handled Gender Disappointment
For me, it came down to two really big things.
First, I had to get really honest with myself and talk through exactly why I was disappointed and what I felt like I was missing out on. Going to give this a try? No matter how silly it may seem, give every thought a voice. Don't forget your man throughout this either. He may be disappointed too about certain expectations he thought would happen (such as giving his daughter away at her wedding). Talk through it and process it together.
Some of my reasons may be shallow, but they're mine, and I'll list them anyway to help you see how I overcame it. Maybe you can relate as well. The "truth" is the facts that I told myself.
1. I won't have a mini-me
Truth: I already have a mini-me... it's Will! I won't say he's my spitting image but we look pretty alike ( at least that's what people say) and we both have curly hair. Also, do you know how many girls don't look like their moms? I would have a whole other disappointment to work through if I did in fact have a girl but she looked just like her dad. (Haha but not really)
2. I won't have a girl to style
Truth: Is that really a strong enough reason to want a girl? Sure, it's fun, but should it be a big reason? And let's say I can style her for a little bit, but what about when she turns 3+ and develops her own style? What if she just hates fashion and clothes and I never get this anyway? I have control over my son's style and he likes to take photos with me so I already can style someone.
3. I won't have a girl to play quiet games with
One of the fun (and sometimes not so fun things) about being a boy mom is all the rough and tumble games. It can be fun, but sometimes I just want to sit down yet still interact, ya know? Around the time I was feeling this my son didn't want to sit and color for more than 30 seconds it seemed. But now, it's become a thing where we can color multiple pictures at a time!
Truth: Whether a kid likes to be rough or sit down and color is not necessarily a gender difference. It's the personality. These things can be taught and grown over time. A girl can be a tomboy and hate all things art!
4. I won't be apart of a girl's wedding day
Truth: Even on my own wedding day I got to see that things don't always happen according to plan. Things got busy/ hectic (as they do) and sadly, I don't remember seeing my own mom that much and we didn't have any special photographs/moments. So just because I have a girl doesn't even mean I'll be all that involved with her wedding.
5. I won't have a girl to do her hair and pass on beauty tips
Truth: No, I won't ever get to do pigtails or headwraps, but I do have a kiddo with curly hair that needs attention! Will likes to watch me get ready and though I'll never pass on my makeup tips (ha ha what makeup tips) to a daughter, he likes to use my moisturizer, and well, that's pretty close. 😉
There were a few more reasons, but I hoped this showed you to think and talk through each reason why you want a specific gender. It may work out that these reasons aren't actually as important as you thought. Or at the very least, it will help you understand why you feel a certain way about things.
Personally, I was starting to realize that all of these moments I thought I really wanted with a girl I was already having and could have with my boys. Sure, it won't be 100% the same, but in my want for a girl, I was overlooking the family moments I already had.
You could have a boy and he hates sports or a girl and she hates fashion and getting her nails done. Your girl could prefer to hang out with her dad instead. Your boy may be the one that ends up looking just like you. My biggest takeaway from this exercise is that nothing is guaranteed and getting that specific gender you wanted doesn't mean that all your hopes, dreams, and expectations will come true.
Now, on to the second part and the key to what helped me handle my gender disappointment.
I decided to trust who I believe is the ultimate family planner. God knows best and God gave me two boys. That means that two boys are best for my family and I don't want anything but the best!
Another thing, life is really hard to plan so I'd rather just take what I'm given, ya know? If we're only going to have two kids then the same-sex makes sense to me. I love the idea of brothers and having a bud for life! And hey, if they want to be famous like the Hemsworth brothers or the Jonas brothers then I won't be mad hehe. 😉
But what if instead next we had a girl and then neither had a same-sex sibling? Does this mean I need to try for 4 kids and have two of each? But then what if they all hate each other? Ahhh!
Point is, I don't want to be the family planner. God knows our wants, needs, future, and family dynamics more than anyone and especially myself. I want what's best and that's what God is giving me. Truly, enough said!
Never for a second have I ever wished Will turned out to a girl. There are so many pros to being a boy mom and I truly see this second boy as another big blessing. I'm a firm believer that you get what you need, not always what you think you need, but what you need, and in the end, it's the best thing of all.
Will is sweet, funny, caring, helpful, clever, silly...I could go on. Take the clothes and the hair bows out of it for a moment- I seriously couldn't want more in a child! I mean...maybe fewer tantrums. 😉 I'm hopeful this second boy will have all of those same qualities & more. What truly matters in a child isn't restricted to a certain gender.
Though these examples are mostly personal, here are additional things you can do to help you handle gender disappointment:
Find someone to talk to. Whether it's a sister, best friend, or even your doctor. Don't deny your feelings or stuff them down. Voice them! You are truly not alone and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel once you can talk it out.
Take steps to get over it. This isn't to say that you need to force your feelings down, get over it, and move on. This is taking baby steps that will help you process this and come to a place of acceptance, then joy!
Write down all the reasons why having a boy would be awesome. Start a private Pinterest board and save all the most adorable baby boy and toddler photos. Think of a cute name. Shop for the nursery. Buy new baby clothes. Whatever it will take to have you start getting excited. For some reason, mommy and me outfits are a big deal to me. I did some online searching and found these adorable matching jumpsuits. I didn't buy them (yet), but it gave me hope knowing I can still match all my boys. Even little things like that can really help!
Give it time. Depending on how deep the disappointment runs, you may not be able to get over it in 2 days, 2 weeks, or even 2 months. Everybody has their own specific things they're grieving when it comes to gender disappointment and sometimes time is just simply the best healer.
If you're reading this post because you've been dealing with your own gender disappointment just know that it is way more common than you think. You're not a bad mom for feeling this way and nobody doubts your ability to love your child.
If you've just learned that you're going to be a boy mom for the first time then get really, really excited. You're in for a wonderful ride.
Up next: Get excited about that boy fashion! Check out my post on how to put together the cutest toddler capsule wardrobe for fall...and a lot of these clothes can work year-round!