When You Wanted a ______, But You Got a _______

A while ago I alluded to some disappointment that I felt when I found out our secondborn was a boy.  Friends know that I was also disappointed to find that our firstborn was a girl.  I know- I’m impossible to please.

I’m going to expand on that a little, mostly because I felt like the exception to a lot of mom-rules when it came to gender disappointment.  And maybe there are other exceptions out there, like me.

Our firstborn is a girl.  Gender disappointment number one.  Our firstborn was SUPPOSED to be a boy.  The big brother.  The protector.  The one who could weather the storms a bit, paving the way for whatever siblings came next.

Well.  That didn’t happen.  Chicken Little is a girl.

So I dealt with some feelings of mild disappointment.  Sort of like “Huh.  That’s not what I wanted.  This is different.”  And then I got used to it and was excited for our little girl, in all her little girl-ness.

Then pregnancy number two happened, and I was convinced I wanted another girl.  A little sister for the Chicken.  Best friends!  A bond that would last forever!  Seesters!!!!

Like we have done with all of our pregnancies, we had a sex party to find out the gender.  We invited people over, dressed up in their pink or their blue, then opened the envelope from the ultrasound for the big reveal.  My husband and I didn’t know what we were having until we opened the envelope with our friends.  I wore pink, he wore blue.

My friends knew I wanted a girl, and I am probably just as happy that there was no photographic evidence of the moment when I found out we were having a boy instead.  (Then again- I am that person who freezes up when I have to open presents in front of others, no matter how excited I am about the present.  I just get that self-conscious face on me and look weird).

Once again- disappointment.  This time was heavier.  Like, I seriously thought our second child would be a girl.  And seriously wanted another girl.  I had maybe one ounce of mental and emotional preparation for things not turning out this way.

Mothers everywhere can speak to the power of maternal guilt.  That feeling that, no matter what, you can/should be doing something different and better for your child.  You can imagine maternal guilt rearing its head in full force, as I dealt with feelings of disappointment over my not-even-born-yet little boy.  He had done nothing wrong, and I was already disappointed in him!  What kind of mother feels this way…

Here are few things I heard or read on the topic:

“I was so thankful to have a healthy baby that I didn’t care what the sex was.”

“It took a while to get used to the idea, but by the time he/she got here I was so excited I forgot about how I had wanted anything else!”

“Once I held him/her, I forgot all about those feelings of disappointment.”

Here is where I was the exception to so many rules I heard:  My feelings of disappointment did not evaporate when I found out that he was healthy.  Or as my pregnancy progressed and I got used to the idea of a boy.  Or (and this is a doozy) when he was born and I held him and got to know him.  This was the moment when I should have crossed over in utter adoration toward my precious little boy, forgetting that I ever wished for anything else.

Nope.  Still a little bummed.  Not gonna lie.

Did I love him?  Yessss.  Did I thank the Lord for him?  Yes.  Did I feel so thankful that he was healthy and lovely and ours?  Yup.

But I still felt disappointed that he was not a little girl.

Holy smokes it is hard to even write that because WHAT KIND OF MOM FEELS LIKE THAT?

This mom.

Anyway.  It was a process.  I love our little Monkey and these days I am so infatuated with him it is sort of ridiculous.  I have to restrain myself from grabbing him all the time and messing with him.  He’s just so cute and endearing.

But it took a while to get over my initial disappointment.  I had these great ideas about what it would have been like!  Sisters!!!!!  Besties for life!!!!!

I know disappointment can coexist with peace and with love.  And all of that was mixed in there together.  I just had to be patient with the process.  And believe what I would tell my daughter, when she (frequently) said that she wanted a sister: “God knows what is best for our family.  He has someone really perfect in mind for us.”

Because- ohmyword.  That little Monkey really is perfect for us.  I’m so thankful for him.  I wouldn’t trade him in for a thousand little girls.

(Not like you can even do that.  I mean- he’s not a used car.  But you get what I’m saying.)

My two oldest really are besties.  When we drop the Chicken off at preschool, the little Monkey usually says “I miss Sister.  I want to play with her”.  (I will refrain from spelling out phonetically how he pronounces all of that, even though it’s so cute you will throw up from the cuteness.)  They crack each other up and can play together for hours on end.  They share a room and will talk nonsense until they fall asleep, then they start again the next morning.  Also- Chicken shut Monkey’s fingers in a drawer the other day.  (Totally on purpose.  Just figured I should add that for the sake of keeping it real.  It’s not all sibling bliss).

So.  I might hide this post one day and file it under “over-sharing” and “why did I say all of that” but for now I’ll put it up and let it ride.  Currently filed under “I’m glad I got what I got”.



19 thoughts on “When You Wanted a ______, But You Got a _______

  1. I love love LOVE the honesty of your posts and how you combine it with humor and encouragement and insight…. Just wanted to let you know that it makes my day when I see one of your posts in my inbox 😉 Keep on keepin on, and keep on keepin it real!

  2. If more moms would write how it really is to be a mom, more moms would be better moms. Any mom who is being honest will understand both your disappointment and your complete besottedness (is that a word?) with your son. (When I finally became pregnant after years of infertility, I was beyond ecstatic just to be pregnant–but I also wanted what I wanted with regard to gender. Seemingly conflicting things co-exist all the time.)

    • “If more moms would write how it really is to be a mom, more moms would be better moms. Any mom who is being honest will understand both your disappointment and your complete besottedness” <—-YES, what she said!! 🙂

      Love this whole post and think it's great to you're brave enough to put it out there. Surely your kids (if they are ever to read this in the future) will see the entire thing oozing with love and respect and adoration for them, which completely obliterates any disappointment you felt at one time or another.

  3. I love my children…my boys…but there are still days when I am sad that I don’t have a little girl to dote on and hang out with and do girly things with. I was convinced my first was a girl. I had named “her”, picked out what I wanted for “her” nursery. When they said, it’s a boy I began crying and didn’t stop for at least 48 hours. Then, for the next several weeks, I cried again anytime anyone asked and I had to say it was a boy. I explain it like this…I was in mourning for the girl that I had always pictured in my life that would never be there. I feel guilty sometimes, so it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I love my boys and know that there are a lot of great things about them that I would never have with a girl (doesn’t mean I don’t wish for someone who will shop with me)! Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes! Mourning- that is what it is. I had this vision of what things would be like, and then it was all going to be different.

      Thanks for commenting. I like hearing that other people have the same experience. It’s comforting.

  4. Oh my word I felt the same way! I mean, we just had our first but I was convinced, hoping and praying that she was a boy and when we did our gender reveal I was wearing blue! All the firstborns in all branches of our family were boys. I felt like…I owed it to my family or something. Like it was the responsible thing to have a boy first (I know, right?!?). Now that we have our little girl (born in August) I love her to pieces!!!! She is so perfect for us and you are so right about the Lord knowing exactly what we need. Now am I setting myself up by wanting a girl next? I mean after all, I never had a sister and would love to give my daughter that gift I never had… Hmm.

  5. I desperately want a second girl. I have one daughter and want to have two children, two girls. Had a miscarriage and then 6 months later, was able to get pregnant with baby #2. I am 18 weeks pregnant and just had an amnio this week for baby #2 and was hoping, praying, believing that I was going to give my sweet 2 1/2 year old daughter the sister she wanted so much. The baby girl I want so much. When I found out from the sonographer that we were having a baby boy, I went numb. I couldn’t even look at my husband, I was heartbroken. How terrible did I feel for being ungrateful. How would I ever tell my daughter that it was going to be a baby brother. I have not been able to stop crying, being a complete emotional wreck ever since. It’s been 4 days now. I have this knot in my stomach, can’t eat, can’t sleep. I have tried to talk to friends that have boys and get excited about having a boy, esp. because I do have a girl already, but this is not what I had planned. Not what I pictured in my head as my life. I’m sorry for sounding so selfish and ungrateful, but how do you stop your feelings? I listen to what everyone says about little boys, how sweet they are, how much fun, but all I think about is how close Moms and Daughters are through life versus a Mom and her son when he is an adult. This breaks my heart to even think of this. How do I cope?

    • oh my. well… i know that first stretch of the new reality is really really hard. i hope that you are feeling somewhat better about things now. but- i don’t think you should try to stop the feelings. just go ahead and be sad about things turning out different than you hoped. and trust (because it is true!) that you will love this little boy. and your daughter will too. it might take some time to change gears and embrace this new normal, but be kind to yourself in the meantime and remind yourself of what you know is true. you will love this little one. it might not be immediate and warm and fuzzy in the same way as it was with your daughter, but you will- i have no doubt.

      and- lastly- try not to borrow trouble that isn’t here yet. there are many, many adult men who have really great relationships with their mothers. really! it is true! 🙂

      it is hard to want something so so much, and have to adjust to something else. it just is.

  6. Just found your post, and am in the same boat. Pregnant with #2, and have a beautiful girl at home who is begging for a sister. I don’t know what I’m having but mentally preparing myself and (attempting) to prepare my daughter for a boy. My mom grew up telling me that when I was born (the second girl in the family), her mother told her “good, every girl should have a sister”. I guess I just held that to be true all my life, and now that there is the chance that my daughter might not have a sister, I am dealing with the impending disappointment. I feel so blessed to already have a girl, and know that I will grow to love my second child just as much as my first (boy or girl!), but giving myself permission that it might take time to get over any gender disappointment, the same way it took time for me to bond with my first (which doesn’t happen right away with everyone!). I am struggling with these feelings, but doing my best to give myself permission to have feelings of gender disappointment, with the knowledge that this too shall pass…

    • again- i don’t know how this comment slipped through and i missed it! by now you know what you’re having and i hope you are feeling peace and joy with your little one:) those statements like “every girl should have a sister” are very hard to NOT carry around as a personal responsibility. when, clearly, it is not something we can control.

      glad to hear you were being kind to yourself with the process. hope that has continued:)

  7. I absolutely loved this post! Thank you for your honesty. I am pregnant with baby #4 (yes crazy I know). I have 3 boys already, and this was a total oops pregnancy. I’ve had it stuck in my mind that I was finally getting my little girl. That somehow I was being ‘gifted’ the daughter I’ve always dreamed of… Well I just had my ultrasound last week and boy #4 is on his way. And I have been crying non stop. First out of disappointment and then guilt. I adore having my boys, they are so much fun, but I always imagined that daughter in the mix as well. It has had me completely heartbroken and filled with so much guilt at the same time that I have been a complete wreck! I’m having the hardest time processing my emotions and coming to terms of being a crazy household of all boys. But then at the exact same time I am filled with so much guilt. How can I feel this way about a beautiful healthy baby that’s in his way? How can I be disappointed in him before he’s even born?
    I loved the comment about conflicting coexisting feelings because that’s exactly how I feel. I’m praying that time will help me grieve and accept and love unconditionally this baby on HIS way.

    • Four boys! Wow! I can totally, completely “get” where you’re coming from– even though it is not in our control and does not make sense, I would also feel like I was due a girl. Totally get it.

      And- yes. You will love this baby. Of course of course. The same way love our babies when they keep us up at night, throw tantrums, ruin things in our house, speak horribly to us/each other, etc etc. Right? On the one hand there is disappointment and some grieving. On the other hand, deep love for the baby that we have been given. Those things strangely co-exist.

      Four! Congrats! We will welcome number four in a couple of months:)

  8. I have 2 girls and I’m expecting another girl, but I wanted my Lil boy I still feel upset that I’m having another girl I love her, but wishing it was a boy! I get jealous when I see family members have their baby boys! Its bad I know! 😣😦 but we are happy to at the same time.

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