Pre-Baby Blues: Dealing with Gender Disappointment

There are a few surprises one can expect out of life. Basically from the moment you get engaged, to getting married, to learning you are pregnant, big life changes often come as surprises. 

However, in our situation—going through IVF for our babies—most surprises went out of the window once modern medicine intervened. 

Though science was telling us everything happening with my body, there was one surprise left when it came to baby #2…the sex. We did not have our embryos genetically tested, so with each transfer we knew there was still a little suspense left in this journey. 

I share all of this because of what happened to me after I had my 13-week blood test, which among genetic abnormalities, also reveals the baby’s sex. I have to say that while they were telling me how healthy our baby looked and that the tests came back normal (which truly is all that matters), the thought going through my mind was, “Ok ok ok, that’s great but tell me WHAT AM I HAVING?!!”. 

Reality Strikes—Gender Disappointment Hits

Now leading up to this three-minute phone call, I knew in my heart that I was having a boy. How did I know? Well, let’s look at the facts. I already have one son and also a twin brother who has all girls, so my chances of life giving us all boys seemed pretty high. I also knew deep down, even if I don’t want to admit it, that the world could only handle one of me, so if I was to have more children they would more than likely be boys. 

Knowing all of this, though, I still had a 1% hope that by some miracle we would have a little girl. My pregnancy has been way different this time than with my son and all of the old wives’ tales pointed to the possibility that this could be a girl. However, I didn’t even entertain the thought that it could be a girl and even refused to talk about girl names with my husband. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t secretly dream of the girl moments I couldn’t wait to experience one day.  

So while hanging on every word the nurse was sharing with me when she told me the gender of our baby, I was almost emotionless. I was dropping my son off at school and when she shared the sex, I reacted in a way as if someone told you they found a great deal on a pair of jeans. “Oh, that’s great…” with somewhat fake excitement. 

We are having another boy.

After calling my husband and hearing his uncontrollable joy, I started to let my true thoughts take over and went down the terrible path of the “what could have been” moments: 

I will never get to go wedding dress shopping with my daughter or help her pick out a homecoming dress. I had secret plans for fun mother/daughter getaways, but what happens to those now? Will my life be dirt, sports, and burping now? I have such a special bond with my mother; will I have that with my sons? 

Am I A Bad Mom-To-Be?

I let my mind wander down this path for a good hour, but Googling the “benefits of being a boy mom” and reading articles from other boy moms helped lift my spirits. All of that, though, could not fill this void I was unprepared to deal with by not having a little girl. 

I jumped straight into work mode to take my mind off everything. I was in a fog and a true place of sadness for a good few days. It wasn’t until I went out for lunch several days later that it hit me smack in the face. There in front of me in line at Jersey Mike’s was a mom my age with two sweet boys. It was as if life was showing me this is the path I am supposed to be on.  

It was so surreal seeing my future right there in the deli line during a time I was doubting every second of it, but after ordering my sandwich, and watching this awesome boy mom with her sons, I now know that this is going to be an amazing journey with my boys. 

Coming Out on the Other Side of Gender Disappointment

So what have I learned going from gener disappointment to acceptance, and now excitement?

  1. While I still wish for the mother/daughter activities and events, other amazing moments will be, and I have to be open and ready for them. 
  2. It’s ok to be sad and doubt when you find out what you are having. It doesn’t make you a bad mom to be. Through it I found—and I know you will, too—that there is a purpose and reason you are having a boy or a girl. Don’t let the “what if” moments take away from the “what will be” ones. 
  3. Try not to fixate on the things out of my control. While going through fertility treatments was a very controlled environment, through this process I have learned the tough life lesson to let go of things that are truly out of my hands, such as picking the sex of my baby. 

How am I now? Content. I am sure I will still have those moments of “If only I had a girl,” but I happy to say I have embraced my role in raising future gentlemen.

Paige Dungan
While not a native Texan, Paige has spent many years living in the Lone Star state. She most recently enjoyed a few cooler ones living in Denver, Colorado with her husband and 2 1/2-year-old son before relocating back to Frisco in the middle of 2019. Paige graduated from Illinois College with a degree in Business Management which catapulted her into a marketing and public relations career working for top national brands and media publications. Having a true gift for gab she hasn't met a stranger and loves connecting individuals to see how we can all help and support one another. Most recently she has taken on a new role of entrepreuer with the launch of her website, Modern Maternity Leave , which she co-founded with her best friend to help guide women through maternity leave and into their new normal while building their "Momfidence" to craft the life that they want as "mom". Most days you can find her learning a new skill off of YouTube, consulting with her clients, trying daily to master the working mom role, and squeezing in an episode or two of Real Housewives.