Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 14.15.58I have huge respect for Ellie AKA @when.harry.met.finn.and.pops for writing this list. We are taught that we must not show gender preference when it comes to having babies. But you can’t help the way you feel..

For example, I always pictured having a daughter first. I don’t think it was rooted in gender bias, more that I am the oldest of my siblings and I just assumed that history would repeat itself. So there was a pang of ‘oh right, thats not what I expected’ at our first scan when we found out we were having a boy.  That surprise quickly turned to joy, but for some the change in mindset isn’t as quick.

Here’s Ellie’s very honest account of experiencing gender disappointment:

  • It’s the elephant in the scan room.

  • You’re there for an anomaly scan, and whilst (obviously) the most important thing is the health of your baby all you can think about is what gender they are.

  • Girl or Boy. Pink or Blue.

  • The sonographer spends an actual lifetime looking at the screen, checking measurements, typing into their computer.

  • You’re trying to look for the famous ‘potty shot’ (you pretty much class yourself as an expert because you’ve looked at approximately 79,386 of them online)

  • It’s a boy.

  • ‘Wow, that’s so exciting, a little brother for H’ – you don’t even sound convincing to yourself

  • You leave, get in the car, it’s all a bit quiet.

  • Neither of you really want to say anything. But it’s there, the undercurrent of disappointment, after all, you were only having two, a boy and a girl would have been nice. The pigeon pair.

  • You we’re going to go shopping to buy the baby something after, there’s no need now as he’ll just live in H’s hand-me-downs.

  • You check your phone, ‘any news???’ ‘Well…. Was I right?? Is it a girl’ ‘The suspense is killing me!’.

  • How to reply to these without sounding like an arsehole? You go with ‘H is going to have a little BROTHER! We’re so pleased’ (insert cheesy grin/heart eyes emoji here).Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 14.15.02

  • You go home, get on with your day but its there. You know he’s a little boy now, and that’s fine, you were expecting it, you’re never ‘that lucky’ but it hurts.

  • You hate yourself for feeling this way, for wishing the little person inside you was somebody else, but it’s there nonetheless.

  • Whats wrong with you.. Boys are lovely. You know this, you adore his older brother, just like you’ll adore him.

  • Whats this feeling in the pit of your stomach? Does it go away,  or will it always be there now? That longing pang.

  • Gender disappointment is seriously isolating.

  • You feel like the most awful person on the planet, you feel like you don’t have the right to feel this way, you haven’t had to undergo rounds of grueling fertility treatments, you haven’t experienced the heart break of baby loss.

  • You can’t tell anybody because you’re greeted with ‘two boys is lovely, I wish I had two of the same’ or ‘there are people who can’t have kids at all, you should count yourself lucky’ – Yep… thanks. Like I didn’t already feel like a massive dick.

  • You find yourself seeking validation on the internet, scanning forums of specific gender disappointment websites, looking for a ‘cure’

  • You google ‘how to bond with my unborn baby’ – in your mind that makes you a completely shit mum, who doesn’t feel connected to their growing baby? They’re literally a part of you.

  • What if this turns into post natal depression, what if you go all crazy and set fire to a car like Ashley Peacocks wife off corrie.

  • Weeks pass, it gets easier.

  • You pick a name, ‘he’ becomes Finley, you buy him some new bits of clothing, you get the moses basket out the loft. He’s a lot more active now, you can feel him kick, you know his pattern, you know he gets hiccups every evening.

  • You’re starting to get quite excited about meeting him, your 34 weeks now, not long to go.

  • Then your friend announces she’s having a little girl. It’s like a kick to the gut. Guess you weren’t so over it after all.

  • You see, what you feel like screaming at (the very few) people you’ve told your true feelings too, it’s not just the fact that babys gender is X or Y, if you’ve yearned for a daughter your entire life, if you know this is your last pregnancy, it’s like a form of grief.

  • You grieve for the daughter you’ll never have.

  • You grieve for the wedding you’ll never plan (seriously, who lets their mother in law get all involved?)

  • You grieve for the dresses you’ll never buy, the hair you’ll never plait.

  • You grieve for the best friend (genetically programmed to love your flaws) that you’ll never have, the cocktails and spa days that won’t ever happen.

  • You feel bitter. You’ve started to avoid baby groups, its becoming annoying every time somebody asks ‘do you know what you’re having’.

  • 38 weeks. Its showtime. You’ve got pre-eclampsia and he needs to evacuate sharpish, no time for induction.

  • They’re taking you down to theatre and all you care about now is getting him here safely and holding him tight.

  • You hear his cry, your endorphins are racing, your riding that hormonal high and he is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen and suddenly you can’t imagine him being anyone other than himself.

  • You go home, it gets easier. You’re relishing your role as a mum to two, finding solidarity with other mumofboys

  • Time passes, it’s a lot easier, you love your rabble tribe more than life itself, but its still there. There’s still somebody missing.

This list was written as a blow by blow account of how I felt whilst going through gender disappointment. If you feel like you’re experiencing this, go easy on yourself, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it definitely doesn’t make you a horrible neglectful mother. Don’t bury your feelings and talk, talk to whoever will listen.

Since writing this Ellie has gone on to have her much longed for daughter Poppy.Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 14.12.19

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  • Reply Charlotte Stein February 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    I think it’s so important to be able to be honest with our feelings as you will never be alone with these thoughts. I hope this can help others who have had a similar experience. You have such a gorgeous family x

  • Reply Hayley coney February 28, 2018 at 7:12 am

    I felt exactly this way, my husband has now had the snip and there’s no possible way of a daughter so I guess I’ll always be wondering what life would of been like with a daughter 😢

  • Reply smahan85 March 1, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    It’s hard to express that kind of feeling, the fear of being judge is too much. But you’re never alone in these situations, you really just need to let it out and people will come and follow your lead…I can’t say I understand the gender disappoinment feeling, but I do wish you/her all the best in your lives. You deserve it for being this brave and addimiting to your own feelings, that’s one of the most important things for a good mental health.

  • Reply Nora Russell March 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

    This is such a great list! I empathise with a lot of it and definitely had it with my second. But then I realised that so much of what I was hoping for was based on my own relationship with my mother, which was wonderful. What a huge amount of pressure to put on yourself and a little one to live up to and be. Who’s to say she’d want to do spa/wedding planning etc? It’s such a construct. One that we are all affected by. There is nothing that says you can’t enjoy an really close relationship with your sons (in fact in my experience the mother-son bond is almost stronger!). My friends with girls are already battling generder stereotypes and poor attitudes towards their daughters as young as 3, in that sense raising boys seems so much freer. I’m glad you got a little girl to complete your family in the end!

  • Reply Anja March 4, 2018 at 9:23 am

    I have two boys, thought it was the worst case scenario, as a teacher I’d only get helpful girls visiting my classroom. I only have a sister (who has boy/girl/boy) I read how to have a girl & plotted my ovulation to try for a girl as boy sperm is 100m runner & girls are slow & steady & ate the supposedly right foods to encourage the girl sperm to make it. Didn’t work though. Cried for days when they measured the nub. I looked up gender selection which was 15grand in Thailand & 30grand in California…wondering if posh spice went for that 🤔
    Think because I lost my mum when I was 18 to cancer I was hoping to relive the closeness I had with her. I didn’t want a girly girl, just a sparky climbing trees little feminist. I have got that with my creative loving cuddly boys, but I’ll always have a hole and that wondering. Girls give you access to grandchildren I heard, I’ll just have to hope they marry a cool wife who I can bond with. Girls look after you & come home, boys leave you. We’ll see. Anyway, it’s my job as a mother to boys to teach them equality & to pick up a mop when they’re older. …lucky future wife 😁👍🏼 x

    A wise person once told me that I was picturing a certain type of daughter which I probably wouldn’t get anyway ☺️

  • Reply Jenny March 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Oh my goodness. This is completely how I felt.. & feel. Although I cried on the scanning table pretty much as soon as we were told we were having another boy. Which was totally unexpected. I didn’t realise how much i had expected/wanted a girl. I will always regret not being to experience the mother daughter relationship but then I also like to think that I am creating and establishing a bond with my boys that will be as close as one i might have with a daughter. Why shouldn’t that be the case?

  • Reply Natalie March 14, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    I’m so glad I read this post as it describes exactly how I felt and to some degree still do feel. I’ll always wonder what life with a daughter would have been like but then I’ll always be grateful for my two lovely boys.

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