Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Lesson 19: What You're Not Allowed to Wish For

Last Tuesday was 20 week scan day. Lying on the bed, smothered in tummy jelly, I once again felt the butterflies and slightly anxious knotty feeling that something might be wrong. Baby might not be healthy. They do, after all, call this the 'anomaly scan' and I'm sure all parents have a pang of desperate hope that everything remains anomaly-free. 

We have one healthy child already. Our beautiful whirlwind of madness, Hurricane Henry. All anybody would wish for would be an equally healthy sibling. Right? 

Well I did wish for that. But I also wished for something else. Something seemingly far less important but all-consuming in the run up to that scan. 

I wished for a girl.
I wanted a girl.

And when the moment of truth presented itself, it was clear to see that this wasn't to be. There wasn't any searching between baby's legs at this scan. Half the bloody screen was willy and balls at one point. 

So we have been blessed with a second son, and all is well. We are so very lucky. 

And yet I cried

Not at first. At first, I delighted in the healthy baby news and laughed at the obvious gender identification. Another little monkey like my Henry. 

But outside the hospital, I burst into tears and more tears came later that afternoon and later still in bed. 

I wanted a girl.

How pathetically selfish of me to be disappointed. I am so very angry at myself for reacting in that way. But that is how I felt. 

I sneer at people on TV who keep trying for more children until they get the sex they have been longing for. I will not be one of those people. As sure as anybody can ever be, I will never have another baby. 

I will never have a girl. 

And that, I believe, is where the upset came from. Growing up as one of two girls I only ever imagined having daughters. I have spent 27 years dreaming of pony club outings and ballet. Of spa trips and chats about boyfriends. Perhaps losing my wonderful Mum as a teenager heightened this longing to have a daughter of my own. Perhaps I just thought it would be special.

So you see, when I felt disappointment at the news Baby Two is to be a boy, this was not at all because I don't want another boy. If you have met my glorious Henry you would understand how very fond of the Mother-Son bond I have become.

I just felt a temporary (but at the time overwhelming) sense of sadness that I will never have a daughter.

And no, I don't think that is an unfair thing to say. 

To say I WOULD HAVE LIKED A GIRL is not to say I don't want my boy. 

My Dad would have liked a son, and as his second (and last) daughter that nugget of information has never lessened my sense of self worth. He loves me unconditionally, as I will love Bump 2. 

Lesson 19: You can't help how you feel. Perhaps we should allow ourselves to 'have a moment' rather than bottling up the unsaid. And then move on, counting our wonderful blessings.

The Unmumsy Mum


  1. Glad everything went well. I think it's ok to cry. It's not that you're ungrateful, it's that life suddenly has mapped itself out and you know what somewhat what the future looks like. (And what it won't look like) and that's a lot of information to deal with in a short about of time. Hope you're ok though xx

  2. Thank you - you're spot on, that us exactly how it has been. Thanks for reading :-) x

  3. What you write is absolutely spot on - also cried at 20wk scan to see a second boy but not for what he was, just a recognition that I wouldn't experience parenting a girl. No one ever has put it like that before and I was chewed up for a long time by guilty feelings. Thank you for your honest and insightful blog xx ps my second is a year old and I can't imagine my family having been any different now!!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, so lovely to hear that I was not alone in my original reaction, and even better to hear how great things look in a year or so :-)

  4. I had my LP nearly three years ago and wasn't fussed by what sex the baby would be. We had a girl and when I got pregnant again I wasn't fussed but a little part of me hoped for a boy. We had a boy and every so often I now get a pang wishing that LP had a Sister, feeling bad that, like me growing up, LP will never have a Sister.
    I don't think we are ever 100% satisfied and I think we always want more. The way you feel is completely natural! x

  5. When I found out I was expecting, I longed for a girl. Not because I didn't want a boy, but I wanted to buy girly dresses and arrange dancing classes and practice different hair styles. We found out the sex of our baby at our 20 week scan too and I was really disappointed to be carrying a baby boy. I hope to have a little girl in the future but I wouldn't change my son for the world. He's so awesome, intelligent and loving! X

  6. I only found your blog recently so I am going back and reading the posts I missed (normally on my phone during the night feeds). Thank you so much for posting the reality of being a mum. This post in particular struck a chord with me. I have two daughters and I found out the sex of both at the 20 week scan. With my first I was delighted. I had always wanted a girl. With my second I hoped for a boy and when I got told I was expecting another daughter I felt really disappointed. I have NEVER admitted that to anyone, I didn't even put it in my diary for fear that someday it would get out. My second daughter is currently asleep on my arm in a milk coma and I love her to pieces. However, I think I'll always be a little sad that I will never have a son. This post made me realise other mums have felt the same way and I don't feel quite so guilty anymore.

  7. hear hear! when I found out our second was a girl, I cried my bloomin' eyes out! I was SO sure it was a boy. and I wanted another boy. Now she's here wouldn't change a thing (but would willingly throttle both on regular occasions!). and count my blessings I have two healthy, great kids. there won't be a number three for us either. after my horrendous secons pregnancy. NO EFFIN' WAY!!

  8. We went through this twice. Found we were having twins, two girls to add to girl number one. Sadness for the son that would never be. And then at 33 weeks one baby revealed a penis! But then we were sad to have to say goodbye to a girl we had named and a future that had been, for weeks, 3 girls running along a beach etc. Altogether a very strange xperience To grieve for something that never was.

  9. I have 2 boys and went through the same feelings at our 20 wk scan, to the extent that I had to stop seeing some friends with baby girls as it became all about my self preservation. I would never change my gorgeous boys, it was more about mourning something that I would never (but was convinced I would) have. 3 years on my feelings have faded. It is so hard to find anything online about this issue, and when you do, you run the risk of being vilified by people who don't understand and can't empathise. Thank you for sharing, it was really brave thing to do.