Gender Disappointment

As a little girl I always wanted a sister. I was very young when my brothers were born but I never gave up hope despite dad being “fixed”. I was absolutely certain if nothing else one day I would wake up to one of my realistic baby dolls being alive. No such luck. My brothers were always close and I envied that closeness because I saw that same dynamic between sisters.

As I grew older I desired to be a mother, I had other aspirations and still do, but being a mommy was always high on my list. It dawned on me over time that maybe boys were a better fit for me. After all I was used to brothers and I know how I acted as a teenager so why on Earth would I ever want to repeat my own history?

All three of my boys were surprise babies in their own ways.
I found out over Thanksgiving 2012 that my oldest was a boy, I was stoked! I was terrified I wouldn’t know what to do with a daughter and in a way he was a replacement for the relationship I had had with his biological father. He was the first guy I loved and that love was transferred to my son. Everything I loved about his father I could now love in him and move on from my past relationship and brace myself for single motherhood… My closest friend Shawn told me he wanted to be his daddy so one month before R-Dog was born we got married.

Around the time my oldest was nine months old I decided we should begin trying for a sibling. I had this feeling it was going to take a long time for us to become pregnant intentionally, sure enough two years and one ectopic removal later we got pregnant with our second baby. My heart filled with desire for a brother for my sweet boy. It took over my mind to the point that I was completely convinced that I was bound to have a daughter. Dread filled me, I was scared and incredibly guilt ridden over my distress at the thought of a girl.

My best friend (Biffle) made me personalized glitter packed gender reveals for me to use with our family on Christmas Eve. Due to a time crunch Biffle made reveals for both boy and girl, they were wrapped in individual boxes labelled #1 and #2. Box #2 was the winner!
Convinced that the male pronoun always comes first (Mr. and Mrs., He said She said, Boy and Girl) box #2 meant I was in fact having a girl. We taped our reactions and to my joyful and glittery surprise we found out we were having a second boy, and more glitter.

Baby C is a boy!

After struggling with infertility we figured our risk of getting pregnant was extremely low. Much to our surprise I found out I was pregnant two days before Shawn’s birthday. Baby C and Baby #3 would be 22 months apart, not even a two year gap. Oops…

After being so convinced of Baby C being a girl I realized the thought had grown on me. Even my oldest was beginning to ask for a sister because his best friend’s mommy was also pregnant and finally having her girl after two boys. How could I possibly have a third boy?
So to add to the excitement of my third pregnancy I decided to not find out what I was having until baby was born. Let’s go team green!

For months I hoped and prayed that I would have a girl. I was finally ready to meet my daughter. I bought her two outfits for the hospital. I bought boy outfits too trying to keep the score even because technically it could still be a boy.

Christmas rolled around and I couldn’t stand it any longer, I was growing more and more anxious at the thought of having a boy and being unprepared emotionally for his arrival. I needed to know who was growing in me. I was almost 30 weeks pregnant and I was spiraling. I was constantly writing in my journal, going through all my emotions good and bad. I had become so anxious I asked Biffle to send me a picture of the card I had sent to her from my anatomy scan. Being the good friend she is, she refused to tell me until I proved that I had already sent a message to my OB requesting the gender.

I had bought a nice cute card thinking how perfect for finding out I’m having a girl, something to keep and cherish in the baby book.
A cherry on top…

It’s a boy.
Horror and disappointment washed over me.
No one wants to be disappointed in their unborn baby.

There is no one to blame for this version of jealousy. It’s painful to talk about because we all know someone struggling with something that seems far more significant. Someone in our lives who can’t get pregnant. Mom’s who have gone through countless miscarriages or worse stillbirths.

But I was broken, shattered to dust. I cried constantly for days and weeks. I didn’t let anyone besides my husband see how much this affected me. There was no light to my days or lift to my spirit. I told Shawn very seriously multiple times that I could not have another boy and we must put him up for adoption. Adoption.

How could I justify my “bad attitude”? I felt like a disgruntled toddler.
I told my husband it’s not fair. Why can others can have a girl and I can’t? Why does she deserve a daughter and I don’t?
I carried on in my broken spirit hoping that tomorrow would be better, but tomorrow wouldn’t come.

I wrote down my anger, my fear, my loss, my grief.
Because that’s what it was. I grieved the loss of my daughter.
No mani-pedi dates, no prom dress shopping, boy talk, how to apply makeup, no discussions on how to know “he’s the one”…

I called and messaged as many friends I could think of who were disappointed by their baby’s gender. How did you cope? How do you move on from this? When did you start feeling better?

It weighed me down so much more than I expected. I told my OB at my next appointment about how it had been weeks and I was still crying like I found out yesterday. How I wrote down my feelings and could plan my depressive episodes every week, because there was that solid of a cycle. I mentioned to her that I wanted to give the baby up because I was so devastated.

As I sat there bawling my eyes out in her office while my toddlers played with the special no touch light next to the paper covered bed, she soothed me. She explained what I was feeling wasn’t uncommon. However I was showing several severe markers for pre-postpartum depression. I didn’t even know that was a thing, I’d had PPD before but it was always resolved naturally with time. She explained that my disconnect needed to be taken seriously to prevent being the mom who drowned her baby in the bathtub. Wow.

It was heavy news but I knew she was right. I asked for my options. Therapy, medication, and keep writing everything down. Keep talking about it and process with other mom’s who have gone through similar situations.
I chose to start therapy and Zoloft that week. Within two weeks I felt better and after two months I was overjoyed to be welcoming my newest baby boy. My life was saved and so was his.

I still have some days where that lingering sadness creeps in. Not having a girl doesn’t reduce me to tears anymore. Cas has been the best and most mild mannered baby, I know there couldn’t be anyone better than him.

If you have ever felt this way my heart aches for you, I’ve been there and it hurts. It’s devastating and it causes a grief that comes with feelings of guilt. Feel those feelings and don’t trap them. You have to process your loss and come to terms with it. There is help out there and it is so important to ask for it. Your life and well-being depends on it.

Call a friend or your doctor. It’s as simple as I’m not okay.

Caarin Torsitano

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