I Had Gender Disappointment & Here's What I Wish My Partner Would've Said To Me
Pregnancy comes with a lot of questions, including the sex of the still-forming fetus. Sure, plenty of soon-to-be parents choose to wait until their little one is born to find out the sex, but others aren't big on patience and want to know sooner rather than later. I was one of those people, and after that anatomy ultrasound I felt something truly surprising: disappointment. In that moment there were more than a few things I wish my partner said to me when I experienced gender disappointment.
I had zero expectations the first time I found out I was pregnant. I was simply thrilled, so every moment was another new and exciting experience. I was, however, afraid that I couldn't be a great mom to a boy. I grew up with a younger brother who, I think, shaped my view of young boys in a seriously negative way. So, I decided that if I was going to be a mom I would be a mom to girls. Since I was one myself, I'd know how to deal with one, right? At the end of that pregnancy I gave birth to a daughter.
Years later, when I was pregnant with my second child, the anatomy ultrasound went a little differently. When the technician revealed it was a boy, I couldn't do anything but cry. Hard. Yes, I know gender is a social construct and the sex of my baby doesn't determine their gender, but my fear became stronger than my rationality. I was disappointed in my baby's sex, because I thought it meant I would inevitably fail. So, yes, in that moment I absolutely needed my partner to say the following things, if only so I could remember that, in the big scheme of things, the only thing that really mattered was that my baby was healthy.
"It's OK To Feel Sad"
When you have a vision in your mind, only to realize that vision isn't going to be your reality, it's hard to feel a tad let down. I wish my partner told me those reactive feelings were normal. A lot of moms go through it, actually, and they eventually get over it. I wanted him to let me be sad for as long as I needed, remind me that it would pass, and re-enforce the point that nothing was wrong with my feelings.
"What Can I Do To Make This Easier?"
When you find out your baby's sex isn't what you'd hoped it would be, your partner can be the person who helps you readjust your view. I wish my partner would've asked how he could help, even if there was nothing he could have done. At least, in that moment, I would've known I wasn't alone.
"Focus On The Baby's Health"
There may have been a time or two when my partner reminded me that our future baby's health was priority, but in the moment I couldn't hear him. My mental health and anxiety were at odds with the news that my baby's sex wasn't what I had hoped. So, honestly, I wish she would have continued to say it, over and over again, until I realized that while my feelings were valid, they weren't necessary.
"You Get The Best Of Both Worlds"
Being a mother to a girl already, I guess one could argue that I should've been thankful for the chance to have a completely different parenting experience. I was afraid, though, and truly worried I'd fail. I wish my partner would've highlighted the positives, instead of letting me dwell on the unknown and focus on the fear.
"You Will Love This Baby Regarldess"
Of course I was going to love my future baby regardless, but fear is a funny thing, my friend. I don't think I let my future love for my future child come into play when I found out the sex and felt, well, blindsided.
About a month later, though, and once my son started really kicking, I grew more attached to him and my pregnancy than I ever thought possible. And, on the day of his birth, I was instantaneously in love. He was, and is, the light of my life. To think I ever doubted I'd be a good match for him is astounding. Because now? Well, now you can't pry him from my arms.