I have never made it a secret that I always imagined having a daughter. I have one sister and an extended family full of girls and I have always been surrounded by them. When I was pregnant with my older son, we chose not to find out the gender prior to birth, I didn’t feel the need to and I was rather excited about finding it out at the actual time of birth. I won’t lie, there was a tiny part of me hoping that it would be a girl, but when he arrived, I was totally over the moon to have my little pudding. And anyway, I always wanted two children so it’s bound to happen next time, I thought.
I have always wanted to have a girl. I don’t know why. I can’t even explain why I wanted to have one. I’m not disillusioned into thinking that girls are easier than boys, or that all girls are generic in any way. But the way in which I struggled to understand some of the behaviours my son displayed as a growing toddler which were later explained as very normal ‘boy’ behaviour, I think I felt I would experience a sense of familiarity having a little girl.
When I became pregnant for the second time, I instantly felt unbearably excited that this little sprog could be the little girl I had imagined. I already named her, ‘Amelie Honey’. When we had our 12 week scan, we asked the sonographer to try and decipher the gender of the baby. This time I didn’t want the surprise at birth, this time I felt that I needed to know in advance. Mainly because I wanted to be able to protect and prepare my emotions. I had only ever wanted two children and the emotional trauma of the rounds of IVF cemented that I never wanted to go through it again, I felt very clear that this was going to be my last child. The sonographer said that she couldn’t be certain but it seemed that it was a boy. I can’t say that my heart sunk, it didn’t because I was also totally over the moon that I was actually pregnant. Since discovering that the embryo transfer had worked, I had done 4 pregnancy tests but has still managed to convince myself that there was a chance that my body had been so desperate to be pregnant, it was all a hoax and I was actually having a phantom pregnancy. I had had several premonitions prior to the scan that the sonographer was going to say that my womb was empty. So, the fact that there was an actual baby growing inside me trumped the gender reveal and the tears I cried were of utter joy, I could finally stop these fucked up mind games I was torturing myself with and just live the pregnancy.
At my 20 week scan, it was again confirmed that we were in fact having a boy. My little side dream of a baby girl was well and truly over. For me, finding out the gender on this occasion was so important. I needed this information so that I could process my emotions, accept that baby Amelie wasn’t a reality and treasure the little dude that was going to fill my heart. Processing those emotions was important for me, I wanted to try and approach the birth feeling content about the arrival of my boy and I was scared that if I didn’t find out, negative emotions about gender might overshadow the joy of birth. For me, I was at peace with my baby’s gender when he arrived.
I think it’s important to clarify that at no point was the gender linked to my capacity to love my baby. It was never about love or attachment. It literally about the gender and the desire to parent a girl. I know what it’s like to have boys and I think I crave the difference of energy that girls can have. Don’t get me wrong, my sons are both very different so I understand that there isn’t a generic code for all boys, but I can see the differences between gender.
I do still wonder what little Amelie might have been like. I know it’s not a reality, but I often do crave that slight difference in parenting that girls can warrant. I see it in my friends with girls, I see it in my nieces. It’s something that I recognise and there is still a mild curiosity about having a girl, but not at the expense of my sons obviously.
Did you find out the gender of your baby? Did you have any emotions linked to gender at all? Have you had any struggles with this? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Peace and testosterone,