Gender Disappointment. Yes, It Is Real.by Elizabeth MacDonald
My beautiful baby boy. My third boy in a row.
Oh, how I wanted a girl. He laid across my lap, smiling in his sleep, slightly cooing. My goodness, his snuggles are still amazing 6 years later.
But, I prayed for a girl. So hard I prayed. I cried even – begging his pregnancy to be a girl. We had a daughter, our first born – the one who made us parents. Two boys followed her, and we wanted her to have a sister beyond words.
Now, we have 3 boys. They range in ages of 6 years up to 10. There are more conversations about penises being exposed in our home than I care to share here. Wrestling and passing gas is something I try to contain to the playroom.
OH my – there are so many boys. Do not get me wrong, my baby boys steal my heart and take my breath away. Handsome, intelligent, and ornery; they take years from my life and make me beam with pride within a 2-minute period.
We had a miscarriage. My fourth pregnancy (before our third boy) ended at 10 weeks. We were on the fence about having a 4th baby, and then we were pregnant. When our baby grew wings, we realized how much we wanted to expand the family. Then we realized that a baby girl would complete us. Girl-boy-boy-girl. It was perfect. We had never learned our babies’ genders prior to my his pregnancy.
This baby though, I knew it was a girl. I needed this baby to be a girl. I don’t know why, but I did. I dreamt of bows and ruffles. I wanted my daughter to have a sister, and my sons to have a little sister. I wanted one more girl. The 20-week ultrasound was close and my husband told me that I needed to find out. That I needed to be okay if this baby was a boy.
At first I laughed him off – because this baby was a girl. Why did I need to find out? Then the days rolled by and I realized he was right. I did need to know. The gender was put inside a sealed envelope that we opened once the other kids were in bed. I cried. I cried big hard sobs. Even my husband teared up. We were so thankful this baby was healthy, but yet we were so sure it was a girl. How wrong we were. This was the moment that I understood gender disappointment.
I always thought people were selfish, but no – no, it is not selfishness... it is something so different. I felt immense guilt. I had just lost a baby months earlier; what right did I have to cry over a gender? But I needed to cry. I needed to morn. I had planned for a girl, and that girl was not coming. I cleared my Amazon cart of headbands and pink socks. I pushed the hand-me-down pink things back into their tubs.
I took my daughter to the American Girl store, and we had our nails painted. We shopped for tiny boy items and ogled the tiny dresses, setting them back on the racks. We shed some tears together. She wanted a sister so badly; just as badly as I wanted her to have one. And then we bought tickets to the ballet. We created a list of everything we could do just the two of us -the queens of the castle.
My waistline grew. We named the baby. I bonded with him in utero. We prepared to welcome him.
And then he arrived. In all of his crazy-fast, early arrival glory, he was born. In that moment, all was right. There are bigger plans; plans we will never understand – and this was one of them.
This boy – Ollie Jack, our “Beloved Peacemaker” rocked our worlds. Being number 4, you would think we would be done. Maybe that’s why we had Ollie? A girl would have shut us down from the baby-making business – but with Ollie, we held the option of one more. What's a 4th boy after 3, right?
We were meant to have Ollie... and then we were blessed with a surprise baby #5 shortly after. A sweet little, unexpected girl. The funniest part is that we truly didn't care the gender of our last sweet one.