End of pregnancy thoughts + my take on gender disappointment

by Kim on August 21, 2014

Well, we’re getting down to the wire here…T minus 2 days to baby’s due date!

I’m SO ready to see this view change:

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Baby’s room is pretty much ready to go, minus the wall décor that I’m putting off until he gets here.

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(He’ll be sharing a room with—the piano! You can kind of see it there to the right. That thing is WAY too heavy to move, even if we did have somewhere better to put it. Works for now…)

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The dresser is a hand-me-down from my grandparents that got promoted from the guest bedroom. I was thinking about painting it (since it’s really obvious how not-exactly-white it is right next to the stark white changing table), but I can’t decide whether to just paint it  white or do something funky, like grey or even turquoise. (Thoughts??)

I also can’t decide whether I care enough to do anything at all with it. So that’s a bit of an obstacle. (haha)

I’m excited that I still have tons of energy going into these last few days—nesting, I guess you could say. I spent the morning cleaning the house, with a little help…

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I’m very aware that things could start happening at any minute. Every time I go to the bathroom, I’m half expecting my water to break. Every time I eat, I’m like “is this my LAST MEAL?” (haha)

My mom is coming into town tonight, to be on the ready for emergency babysitting duties. What a relief!! All week, I’ve been so paranoid that baby would come early and I’d have to scramble to figure something out for Mason last minute. Last night, I was actually feeling some cramping at bedtime, and all I could think was, “NOT. TONIGHT!”

I’m definitely starting to get nervous about labor, now that I don’t have to stress about babysitting logistics anymore. I keep hearing that things go much faster the second time, but HOW MUCH faster are we talking, you know?

The other thing that’s finally squared away: pictures for my prenatal fitness program. I literally took the last one yesterday—featuring my thousand-week-preggo belly:

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(Prenatal barre on a park bench! I got some odd looks, as you can imagine.)

The next step is editing literally hundreds of photos (30 workouts, tons of different exercises per workout, multiple pictures per exercise…) and assembling them into easy-to-follow graphics. That shouldn’t be too hard with a new baby around, right??

So this morning, I was thinking, “what pregnancy-related stuff do I want to squeeze in on the blog before I’m not pregnant anymore?”

There’s really only one thing that comes to mind…and it’s the thing I was not, WAS NOT, going to talk about.

Gender disappointment.

This is a super loaded and touchy topic, for a number of good reasons. The biggest one, of course, is that with so many women out there who would LOVE to have a baby, ANY baby, it sounds so completely selfish and wrong for any mom-to-be to admit that she was hoping for a different gender than what she got.

But for the sake of honesty, I’ll put my story out there: yes, before I found out that baby #2 was another boy, I was fantasizing about little pink outfits. I’m a pretty girly girl myself, so I think that’s only natural. And, of course, I’d already done the boy thing, so I was curious about what it would be like to raise a daughter.

During my first trimester, I managed to convince myself that I was having a girl. I 100% DID NOT mean to, but the pregnancy felt different than my first, and lots of the old wives’ tales about gender lined up with a girl…yadda yadda.

So when I found out that we were actually having another little boy, I was completely blindsided by the overwhelming, totally unexpected feeling that my little girl had…died. I didn’t even realize how much I’d (again, unintentionally!) built her up in my head until she was suddenly gone. I literally had to mourn her, and open my heart to the little boy who was actually in my stomach the whole time. During that time, it was hard knowing that I wasn’t “allowed” to feel the way I felt, and thinking that I had to work out my feelings in private.

The only reason I’m comfortable telling you all this now is that once I had time to bond with a new vision of my next child, I felt completely different about the whole thing. I can honestly say that I’m over the moon thrilled to be having another boy, and wouldn’t change it if I had the chance.

For one thing, I’m very aware that my interest in having a girl was totally shallow and simplistic—I mean, pink dresses??

Now, I picture my boys as little buddies, and I’m so happy that Mason will get to experience what it’s like to have a brother (I never had a sister growing up and would have loved to). I picture two mama’s boys in matching polo shirts (come on—it can’t be helped) and—this might sound stupid but—I’m really excited to say “the boys.”

I wanted to share all this for two reasons:

  • To encourage anyone experiencing gender disappointment. People say that those feelings go away the second you see your baby for the first time, but in my experience, it happened way sooner than that. (And either way, it WILL pass.) I also haven’t just “gotten used to” the idea of having another boy—I’ve completely embraced it. I cannot wait!!
  • To give perspective to anyone who knows someone experiencing gender disappointment. I’d encourage you to be sensitive, even if you don’t understand or “agree” with what the person is feeling. It’s not as selfish as it sounds when you consider the fact that it can feel like losing a child. The imagination is a powerful thing.

I know many, many parents who don’t find out the gender of their babies until they’re born, and I’m completely cool with that. I’ve considered what impact that approach has on the gender disappointment thing, since you’re basically guaranteed to feel nothing but pure joy when you meet your new child, regardless of any prior thoughts about gender.

But for me, if we have another child, I’m pretty sure that I’ll opt to find out the gender during the pregnancy again. Not that I’ll be hoping for one or the other—I honestly can’t say that I will—but because I recognize that gender is part of my personal bonding process. I like to visualize things—I sincerely can’t help it—and since I have the choice, I’m all about having those visions be (to some extent) the “right” ones.

I feel incredibly vulnerable sharing all this (I’m actually terrified to hit Publish right now!) but if it helps bring even a tiny bit of clarity or comfort to anyone out there, it’s worth it.

Can’t wait to meet my little BOY!

Stay tuned…

xoxo

Kim

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki September 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I gave birth in June to my first, a boy, and I actually wanted a boy. A few months back, I went on a forum and read all about gender disappointment and I was kind of shocked. It was more bias towards boys. I guess women want girls. Not me, I grew up with a sister and wanted a boy. But for everyone, it is short lived. We all just want a healthy and happy baby!

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Emily @ More Than Just Dessert August 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I know that I am a ways off from having kids, but I appreciate you talking about the gender disappointment topic because even when I daydream about my future children, I even picture it going a certain way, when I rightfully know that I have no control! Good luck with your delivery, can’t wait to see the little man!
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Presley @ Run Pretty August 23, 2014 at 8:18 am

I 100% know this will happen to me if I haven another boy, so I’ve just accepted it. I “wanted” a boy the first time and I “got” him. Putting those in quotes because it seems so freaking weird to say. Anyway, we aren’t ready for the second yet, but I know I was spoiled by the first experience. I don’t even care if it sounds ridiculous, because it’s true. Now I have these ideas in my head that I would love to see Maddux interact with a sister. I’M NOT EVEN PREGNANT and I’ve chosen a gender. Try to top that level of crazy…

Thanks for touching on this topic. Clearly you helped me get some stuff off of my chest, haha. :)
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Fiona August 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm

This post is so honest and refreshing. I’m not a mom, but my friend announced the gender while camping with friends who haven’t been able to conceive. That’s a WHOLE another topic….buuut they had convinced themselves it was a girl sooo badly that they were disappointed. My other friends just sat there embarrassed by the shock and sadness that came over the parents to be. I can see how it would be so awkward being the couple not being able to conceive as well as being the parents to be having to adjust to the reality.
What a great post!

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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm

That is tough for everyone! So many things about pregnancy/parenthood are deeply sensitive and personal. Bottom line, we all have to be thoughtful when sharing our truths and aware of who we’re with!

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Jade August 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I always think it is funny that we have to sort of apologize for our feelings in regards to wanting a certain gender. On the birth boards I peruse, people got a very harsh lashing when they spoke up about being a little disappointed at the results. Aren’t we pregnant and allowed to have emotions?
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Haha yeah, the birth boards are ferocious places sometimes!!

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Melissa @ Fit 'n' Well Mommy August 22, 2014 at 11:29 am

Thanks for being so honest. We didn’t find out what we were having for both of our children which was fun to have that surprise. It worked for us because it helped us not get so attached to one gender. We had a boy first and 6 months ago, we had a little girl (very much a surprise as everyone in my family thought we were having another boy). Although I was okay with either gender as long as our baby was healthy, I have to admit, I probably would have been a little disappointed if Mirella would have been a boy. But, I do believe things happen for a reason and we just have to find the silver lining, even when we can’t understand why.
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for your honesty! :)

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Carrie August 21, 2014 at 9:26 pm

I really truly thought I was having a girl because like you this second pregnancy was sooo different. I didn’t find out the gender so when the baby came out I heard the Dr. say “she” & I turned to my husband beaming saying “It’s a girl!” I asked the Dr. “What is it?” Just to be sure & he responded with “It’s a boy!!” Shock, complete shock. But as soon as I held him, all was right. ( : I guess he was referring to me when he said she. Oops!
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Oh my gosh! Crazy!

If we hadn’t found out at 20 weeks, I’d probably still be sitting here now 99% sure it was a girl. :)

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Giselle August 21, 2014 at 8:13 pm

I think I would go through the same emotions if I were pregnant with a boy again. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I found out The Love Nugget was a boy and not a girl. However, now I wouldn’t change it for the world :-) I love that you are being open about your feelings though because I think it’s something a lot of women go through but are afraid to say anything out of fear they will be judged. It’s totally natural as a woman to desire a little girl especially if you didn’t have a sister growing up like me or you :-)
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm

So refreshing to hear you’d feel the same way, especially given what you’re going through now! Like I said in the post, it’s hard when you feel like you’re not allowed to feel the way you do. I certainly didn’t want to feel that way about something that’s already such a blessing!

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Kim August 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm

First – you are completely justified to have the feelings you do and certainly to share them here!!! I think that what you described is very normal and natural. Do you read Coach Daddy? Eli wrote a post awhile back his dream of having a boy (he has 3 daughters) – worth checking out just because from the comments he got you will realize that you aren’t alone!!!

http://coachdaddyblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/youll-always-be-my-boy/
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Thanks for the link Kim! I’ll check it out!

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Danielle August 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I like the idea of turquoise for the dresser too. It looks like such a cool piece already, but in a bright color, even better!

I can totally understand your initial feelings of gender disappointment. I had hoped our 2nd would be a boy, and I was really surprised when I found out we were having another girl. But after we found out it was another girl, I thought to myself, my little brother drove me crazy as a kid, how great will it be to have sisters close in age?! The girls are 20 months apart, and it really has been wonderful to watch them become little friends. I was pretty convinced baby #3 was a girl for most of my pregnancy, and I was right. I also started to get a little defensive about having a third girl because SO MANY people would comment about how we were “trying for a boy.” It is a little sad to think that I more than likely won’t have a son, but my three girls are wonderful!
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Yes! I’ve actually had some defensive moments as well, when people will say things like “going to try for that girl next then?” Even if there’s some validity to what they’re asking, I think the only reaction people should EVER have when it comes to this topic is pure, innocent excitement. :)

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Danielle August 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I feel bad now that I’ve probably made similar comments in the past. Now I’m so on the side of the best response being excitement that there’s a new baby on the way!
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Heather @fitncookies August 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I think this is all totally realistic and I love hearing it given you don’t hear about it. Everyone just says “I just want a healthy baby” which is fine and I’ll probably say that, but it’s hard not to fantasize a little! I know I want a girl, but would like a boy first. I also know I don’t get to choose any of this! However, it just is nice to read that people do have a hard time sometimes finding out what they are having, and then being super excited about it!
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm

That’s exactly why I wanted to share–it was a shock at first, and I honestly never thought I’d end up being THIS pumped about the way things turned out! :)

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries August 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

First of all, I appreciate your honesty SO much. I’m sure that wasn’t easy to write, but I can imagine it helped a lot of other mamas not feel quite so alone in their feelings and thoughts.

And about that dresser…paint it a turquoise or even yellow! Bold colored pieces of furniture are all the rage right now. It’d add a little color and be super fun for a kid’s room.
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Kim August 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Thanks Ashley!

Sounds like everyone is feeling the turquoise!

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Katie @ running4cupcakes August 21, 2014 at 3:40 pm

ahhhhh I. cannot. wait. Soooo excited for you guys. And I vote turquoise for that dresser. ;)
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Kim August 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I think you’re right on the turquoise thing…I just have to work up the courage!! :)
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