When we found out, quite to our surprise, that we were expecting our second child, we were thrilled. My husband drew a big question mark next to where I had written "Baby Boy" on the notepad months before. Every time we went shopping and I saw the little board shorts or infant sized suits, my heart leapt at the prospect.
Then came time for the anatomy ultrasound, where we would finally find out what we were having. Our little one was very cooperative and had legs spread wide so that we could see, without a doubt, that we were having a baby girl. My heart sank. I had to pull together my strength to keep it together in front of the ultrasound tech. Tucking my heartache and disappointment in the back of my mind to put on a happy face.
Those feelings of disappointment aren't an indication that I will love this child any less than wholeheartedly. It's mourning the loss of a son I will never have. It's letting go of the daydreams that I had foolishly let occupy my mind. It's feeling an emptiness instead of happiness when I see the baby board shorts. And it's okay that I feel that way.
The first step in overcoming gender disappointment is to accept those feelings. So many women feel such intense guilt when they have these feelings, because according to society you should just be happy that you have a healthy baby. Gender disappointment is just another piece of fuel in the mommy wars, but no one else can tell you how you should or should not feel. Your feelings are real and valid and you should not have an ounce of guilt for feeling them. There is no need to censor or deny your feelings.
It can be helpful to talk through your concerns with someone you trust. Discuss your feelings with your spouse, your therapist, a good friend, someone who you can trust not to judge you for your emotions. Try to get to the root of your disappointment. The one place I don't recommend opening up - on a forum of internet strangers. That would be opening yourself up to unnecessary criticism and rude comments from hardhearted individuals.
Trust Yourself to Love
You may worry that you'll have trouble emotionally connecting with your little one, or that you won't share common interests, or that you won't be as good of a mother as you could possibly be. But try to trust in yourself and your maternal instincts. Once your little one is in your arms many, if not all of those feelings will simply fade away.
The feelings of gender disappointment may come and go, even after your baby is born. Next to the words "Baby Boy?" on our notepad are now two small sad faces, one drawn by my husband and one drawn by myself. We will love both our daughters wholly and care for them to the best of our ability, but it's okay to grieve.