If you've ever been expecting a baby, then you're familiar with the question. The first one that everyone, even strangers, will ask. The question on everyone's mind; the answer they're obsessed with knowing. Are you having a boy or a girl? Followed up with, "Which do you want?"
Everyone always says that they don't care whether it's a boy or if it's a girl—as long as the baby is healthy, then it doesn't matter. Let's face it, most of the time, it's bullshit. Obviously a healthy baby is the dream and it is the most important thing but you're lying if you say that deep down, you don't have a desire either way. I think it's because we feel like it's wrong to wish for one or the other. I mean, we should be grateful just to be bringing a new life into existence, it shouldn't matter what the gender, and it makes you a bad person if you want one over the other, right?
My husband and I are currently expecting our second child. It's been a long road to get here filled with months of trying, months of disappointment, and unfortunately, a devastating miscarriage earlier this year. To say that I am grateful for a healthy pregnancy so far would be an understatement.
We welcomed our first son in spring of 2016 and he literally changed our lives. He's the best thing we've ever done and I can't imagine my life (even the hard and miserable days as we have entered the terrible two's) without him. I loved everything about being pregnant. Granted, I had a pretty easy and healthy pregnancy with very little morning sickness or issues. I wasn't in a rush to find out his gender; I was perfectly content waiting until the big 20 week ultrasound and I can say that I genuinely didn't have a preference on his gender. Maybe that was because I had strong feelings very early on that he was a boy. I started telling my husband around 12 weeks that we were going to have a little boy and I became more and more excited about it the further along we got in my pregnancy. When it was confirmed, I felt nothing but pure excitement! I expected it to be the same this time around, especially after having the miscarriage. I was just excited to be having another baby! At least, that's what I thought.
I was wrong.
I tried pretty hard not to think too much about this pregnancy for the first several weeks. We even waited until we were through the first trimester to tell any family. As my 13 week checkup grew closer, I started to become more impatient about the gender so when they drew blood to perform the genetic screenings, I had them find out the gender as well. I had told myself all week that it really didn't matter either way. I was just excited to know! I realized that it was bullshit and I was lying to myself.
I received a phone call on a day I wasn't expecting it from a nurse at the doctor to let me know my blood work was back. The genetic screenings were all normal, which is wonderful! Also, a Y chromosome was detected. This means another boy.
My feelings took me by such surprise. I didn't even respond to the nurse; I just hung up the phone. It completely overwhelmed me to the point that I dropped to the floor and sobbed for several minutes. I was devastated. Heartbroken! It took me a long time to even grasp the sentence that was said to me, "You're having another little boy!"
There's nothing wrong with another boy. In fact, I think it'll be wonderful for my son to have this best bud to grow up with. But I've always imagined that I would someday have a little girl. I've saved so many of my childhood things in hopes of one day passing them down to her. I realize that we could always try for a third. However, I am most likely having a repeat c-section and I don't think I could physically or emotionally handle a third one. So, I felt the dream of my little girl slipping away and it just devastated me.
I expressed these feelings to my husband in hopes of support and all he could say was, "We have a perfectly healthy baby, that's all that matters. How can you be upset or feel disappointed? Is there something wrong with you today?"
He's not wrong. That IS all that matters and believe me, I am beyond thankful that this baby is even in existence and that he is, so far, perfectly healthy. But he made me feel wrong for saying this out loud. Like that somehow makes me a bad person because we aren't supposed to say these things out loud, right?
We need to say these things. We need to express these feelings we have to someone, even if we feel them only for a moment. We shouldn't feel wrong or like horrible people for feeling them! We need to let each other know that these feelings are real and they're okay to have. My sister did that for me. She let me know that she felt the same thing for a moment with her third baby but the moment he was born, the only thing that mattered was that he was here.
I know it's okay that I felt this. Even though it took a few days to settle in, I am already getting excited about this boy. I already love him fiercely and I can already picture the trouble and adventures my boys are going to have together. My husband and I finally settled on a name this week and I immediately felt more connected to him and I can picture his little face.
So it's okay that I felt disappointed in the first moment. I feel less and less disappointed every day and I know by the time he's here, it will be gone completely.
It's okay to have an opinion. It's okay to prefer one over the other. Don't ever let anyone make you feel like a bad person or an ungrateful person for saying something. The next time someone asks you if you want a boy or a girl, don't bullshit them by saying, "I don't care, as long as it's a healthy baby" (unless you genuinely don't care because I'm not saying that isn't possible). Tell them straight up, I want a girl or I want a boy! It doesn't make you ungrateful. It doesn't make you a bad person. And it certainly does not change the fact that you will love that baby regardless of he or she.