Gender disappointment - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 68 Old 09-10-2010, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious as to people's thoughts on this topic. Do you think gender disappointment is easier to deal with if you find out the sex of the baby during pregnancy or if you wait until birth?
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#2 of 68 Old 09-10-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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I ran a new mother's support group for many years. I feel it is way easier to get used to the idea of the "wrong" gender if you find out during pregnancy. Finding out at birth... it can compound the whole new mother sadness stuff that sits on some women when they are bone-tired and their boobs hurt from nursing.
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#3 of 68 Old 09-10-2010, 11:36 PM
 
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I would think it would be easier to deal with if you find out early; then you have the rest of the pregnancy to come to terms with the gender
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#4 of 68 Old 09-10-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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With my first, I was very dissapointed when I found out the gender in an u/s. I was upset until she was born, then I felt awful for being so upset. But my first was an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, so there were a lot more issues going on there. After she was born I felt awful for all those feelings, and all the hormones certainly didn't help. In my case, I think I would have fallen in love with her when she born either way, so I did regret finding out. That's just my experience though. I think it really depends on how much it would dissapoint you, kwim?

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#5 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 12:17 AM
 
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I wanted a gilr so badly with my second but we didn't find out. my husband was very worried about gender disappointment. I didn't feel any when HE was born it took me awhile to even fully realize that he wasn't a girl. I knew he was a boy but the thought of him not being a girl really never happened.

I kow some people have had gender disappointment when they find out. it really depends on you. But i think when you see that little one for me the desire of gender really faded with the love of a new baby

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#6 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 12:55 AM
 
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I think it depends, for those aware of wanting a particular sex I think knowing during pregnancy may be easier to get used to.

I think for those who didn't have a DEEP desire for either, but were disappointed when finding out via ultrasound wouldn't have had that same feeling if they had waiting until birth. Then its just what a wonderful baby.

I could be totally wrong, but I don't really have a preference...at least not yet ask me 4 kids from now if I have all boys.

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#7 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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Lurking here, just had to jump in because I think this topic is really interesting. I have more of the reverse situation... I really want a boy again, but would be just as happy to find out we're having a girl. On the other hand, though, I can't really connect with my baby-in-waiting without finding out the sex. Is that weird? I won't have disappointment, but I just can't really call a pregnancy real unless I know the sex and can say "my son" or "my daughter."

Possibly but couldn't help myself!

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#8 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 02:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MovnMama View Post
Lurking here, just had to jump in because I think this topic is really interesting. I have more of the reverse situation... I really want a boy again, but would be just as happy to find out we're having a girl. On the other hand, though, I can't really connect with my baby-in-waiting without finding out the sex. Is that weird? I won't have disappointment, but I just can't really call a pregnancy real unless I know the sex and can say "my son" or "my daughter."

Possibly but couldn't help myself!
LOL, I'm the same way. I hate thinking of the baby as "it" and would much rather call her a "she." It's just the way that the English language works, but it feels so impersonal to me to have to refer to the baby in a gender-neutral way.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#9 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I have believed that I am having a girl. When I think of the baby, I think "she, her", etc. I think of the baby as a girl. I don't know if it's intuition, or if it's because that's just what I am hoping for. I am planning to find out, because I'm afraid that if I go through the whole nine months attached to the idea of a girl, I could be disappointed or even surprised if it was a boy when baby is born. I also don't want to go through the pregnancy giving in to my shopping cravings and buying little girl clothes if all along I have a boy about to appear! I can't seem to stop myself from looking at all the pink baby clothing, I've even bought some already! Also, if it is a boy, I want to begin changing my thoughts from the constant "she" that goes through my head... before the baby is born preferably so the poor kid wouldn't have to deal with his mom referring to him as "she", lol! Of course, I have a slight fear about "what if" the ultrasound tech pronounces it a girl and then it's actually a boy and that will make it even harder to deal with. I have a 6 year old son who I love with all my heart but I really am hoping for a girl this time! Obviously, if I have another boy I will love him with all my heart also, but it wouldn't be honest of me to say I didn't have hopes for what the gender is.
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#10 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 04:25 AM
 
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*Background* #1 is my adopted son, and DH's biological son who joined our family when he was 3, we didn't know about him until he was 2 and #2 was 1 year old.

When I was pregnant with #2, I just KNEW he was a girl. I wanted a girl so bad and I could not picture myself with a son. We didn't know his gender until birth. When they said "it's a boy!" I had NO GD whatsoever, despite bonding with a girl for the previous 9 months. After years and years of infertility we finally got pregnant with #3. I wanted an U/S to determine gender to get used to the idea of boy #3 if he was a boy. My GD lasted just a few hours, then I got fiercely protective because it seemed like friends and family (and even perfect strangers) had NO problems expressing GD.

Then I got pregnant with #4, we paid out of pocket to find out as early as possible (16w5d) her gender because I was SO scared she would be another boy. When people learned I was "finally having my girl" they went insane... even criticizing my choice or homebirth because they could not believe I would risk my daughter's life like that. *roll eyes* People are always making stupid comments like "took you three tries, but you finally got a girl huh?" like my boys are just not adequate, or are consolation prizes.

We were surprised by baby #5, and we decided that we don't want to find out the gender this time. When we had our little girl we discovered how amazing CHILDREN are, not sons, or daughters, just all of our children. I feel very bonded with this baby, even if I don't know if baby is a he or she. I usually call the baby a he, but I don't really have any inklings, premonitions, or preference for gender. My husband alternates pronouns equally calling baby he or she.

My GD was strongest with #3 because I already had 2 boys, and having the u/s really helped me bond with him and get over the GD. But with #2 I skipped it altogether just because I was SO amazed that I was actually a mom. So I guess it depends on a lot of things, in my case when it was the first baby (at the time for us), not finding out made it so I had no GD at all. But I think when I already had one or more of one gender, finding out via ultrasound was the best thing I could do so I could mourn and then bond.

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#11 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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You know, it occurs to me to bring up the topic of gender vs. sex, and I feel it's an important distinction, but believe me, I am not trying to be at all critical. I'm a language arts teacher and kind of a linguistics nut, as well as a feminist, so I think it's just nice to bring up.

Almost every post here is really discussing the "sex" of the baby, as in whether what is born has either a penis or a vagina, or is intersex. The "gender" of any person is defined by that person, and has any number of options. Hetero- , bi - and homo- sexuality (i.e. "sexual orientation") and many other unique personal qualities that often don't reveal themselves until post-puberty and sexual awakening affect the development of a person's "gender." Often cultural qualities play a key role as well, like expectations of mandatory SAHMs or men working in "macho" jobs (as in, construction worker, not a nurse or preschool teacher).

It's a tough issue because pre-gendering a male or female baby can have consequences for their self image and self esteem. Some interesting resources I googled:

http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/index.html

http://gayteens.about.com/od/glbtbas...exsogender.htm

http://www.med.monash.edu.au/genderm...andgender.html

Just helping along the conversation - please don't take this critically, but helpfully!

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#12 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 06:23 AM
 
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We have never found out gender ahead of time. I knew DS1 was a boy before we conceived (or knew we had... things are fuzzy now!). I wanted DS2 to be a girl but had no GD that I recall with him. I was certainly DS3 would be our girl, and was quite shocked when his perfect little parts were BOY parts. Of course, he was gorgeous, perfect, adorable, and HERE. I really think that helped a lot. Though, I also had a nagging feeling that there was *another* baby somewhere. I loved, loved, loved the one I was holding - but where was the other one?! Looking at him helped a lot, though.

I have very much wanted to avoid the issues SumnerRain posted about. I actually considered finding out this time to give myself space to deal with it, but NOT telling anyone else. Seriously, I can't stand other people's thoughts and opinions on whether or not we'll have another boy or "finally" get a girl. The reality is we ALL really want a girl. But I know there are benefits to having all boys, too. And while either one will take some adjusting to we will be very excited to add this baby to our lives, regardless. The idea that my boys aren't "good enough" and that we had to "try for a girl" etc. make me very mama-bear-protective. My boys are *awesome* and are just who they are supposed to be!

While I really do hope we'll have the opportunity to raise a daughter, it has nothing to do with a preference for girls. Really, I disdain so much of our culture's image of girls and femininity that I am more repulsed by most "girly" things than attracted to them. But the "girls are to be desired" mindset is pervasive in our culture. I don't want to spend my entire pregnancy fighting it, whether from the side of, "Oh, great, you finally got a girl! Now you can be done!" or from, "Gee, so sorry, another boy..."

So, we don't find out and will learn about this baby when s/he is out. It may or may not be harder for me, but I also can't wait for that moment of discovery. And it's just much easier to smile and say, "We don't know!" than to deal with everyone's reactions.

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#13 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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Lurking here, just had to jump in because I think this topic is really interesting. I have more of the reverse situation... I really want a boy again, but would be just as happy to find out we're having a girl. On the other hand, though, I can't really connect with my baby-in-waiting without finding out the sex. Is that weird? I won't have disappointment, but I just can't really call a pregnancy real unless I know the sex and can say "my son" or "my daughter."
This was me. Prior to conceiving my daughter, I had struggled with infertility and a previous pregnancy loss. Knowing "who" was inside me helped me bond, but more importantly, it helped me believe that it was all real and that maybe I could relax a little.

We also called her by her name and referred to her as she.

FWIW, I know of someone through another friend, who has 4 girls. Her youngest was born within the last month. They didn't find out beforehand. When the baby was born and they realized it was another girl, the mother started crying hysterically and the dad left the hospital room and didn't come back for awhile. For that little girl's sake, I hope her parents never realize how poorly they reacted at her birth.
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#14 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, it occurs to me to bring up the topic of gender vs. sex, and I feel it's an important distinction, but believe me, I am not trying to be at all critical. I'm a language arts teacher and kind of a linguistics nut, as well as a feminist, so I think it's just nice to bring up.

Almost every post here is really discussing the "sex" of the baby, as in whether what is born has either a penis or a vagina, or is intersex. The "gender" of any person is defined by that person, and has any number of options. Hetero- , bi - and homo- sexuality (i.e. "sexual orientation") and many other unique personal qualities that often don't reveal themselves until post-puberty and sexual awakening affect the development of a person's "gender." Often cultural qualities play a key role as well, like expectations of mandatory SAHMs or men working in "macho" jobs (as in, construction worker, not a nurse or preschool teacher).

It's a tough issue because pre-gendering a male or female baby can have consequences for their self image and self esteem. Some interesting resources I googled:

http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/index.html

http://gayteens.about.com/od/glbtbas...exsogender.htm

http://www.med.monash.edu.au/genderm...andgender.html

Just helping along the conversation - please don't take this critically, but helpfully!
Yeah, when I started the post, I knew you were supposed to call it the sex of the baby. But, with the post title "sex disappointment" I just thought people would start reading the post with a different topic in mind
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#15 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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I think it depends on how devestated the person would be. I think it's normal to have a preference, and I think most people will deal fine if they find out at birth. However, I think if someone is very distraught over the possibility of have a different sex than they're wanting, finding out earlier might be beneficial, since it gives them time to work through their feelings and accept it. I was just talking to a mom from my co-op about this, she didn't find out with her 5th and was convinced it was a girl, to the point she only had girl names and brought all pink to the hospital. Yeah, it was a boy. She had a hard time accepting that he was her baby, because she had been so sure she was having a girl.
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#16 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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I did get my desired gender, so YMMV. But I think it would have been awful if I didn't find out beforehand.

For me the certainty that it was a boy was so strong that I wouldn't look at girl clothes, name etc. i couldn't picture myself with a girl.

My birth was extreamly traumatic, and there was a seperation, and when I saw my son, all I could think of was that doesn't look like my kid. I'd hate to think how I woudl have felt if he came out the 'wrong' gender, and I didn't know beforehand. I think people who wait to find out (when they have a strong preference) are counting on a blissful birth (or at least getting to hold their baby) that may not happen.

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#17 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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Most of the time when I talk about this online, the consensus is that it is better to find out early. My MW said in her experience, this has been true, too. She says she has been to some births where the parents were more upset at birth, the mom was apologizing for producing the wrong gender, etc.

I had a definite preference with #3 (got my desired sex) and #4 (didn't get my desired sex.) We found out both times and I am glad.

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#18 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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I think it's easier finding out at birth, because during pregnancy the child is basically an unknown entitity. Whereas at birth, here you are with this particular child and you love him or her because of who they are regardless of gender.

But I think finding out before birth is like spoiling the surprise anyway.


ETA that I was convinced that dd was a boy the whole pregnancy and really wanted a boy as we had no boy in the immediate family and found out at birth she wasn't. It took like 2 seconds of seeing her and well that was that.
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#19 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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i cant stand not finding out. with the last baby, DH really wanted a boy. he has only fathered girls. knowing ahead of time allowed us to get over that disappointment and get excited about having her. babies are beautiful but it is easy to be disappointed when you have your heart set on something and it doesnt turn out.

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#20 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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I would think it would be easier to deal with if you find out early; then you have the rest of the pregnancy to come to terms with the gender
That's why we chose to find out with the last one... He was the only one we had a really strong preference for (we wanted a girl) and wanted to have time to process before he came. It was a good idea and it worked. When he was born I double checked because I had come to terms with it and was looking forward to HIM...

This is a tree on fire with love, but it's still scary since most people think love only looks like one thing instead of the whole world. *
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#21 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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I didnt find out because I did really want a boy, and I was too afraid of being disapointed. When she was born I held her in my arms for over three minutes before I heard someone refer to her a "she". It was only then that I pulled her away from me enough to look and see that she was a girl. By that moment ,I loved her so very much that I didnt care at all that it wasnt what I had orignially wanted.

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#22 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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I think it is something that could vary from person to person but ime knowing ahead of time gives you time to really except & then get excited for the baby that is coming.

A friend of mine didn't find out with her first & really wanted a girl. She was visibly disappointed for weeks after he was born & I still feel it affected how she bonded with him & he's now 6.

It took us 6 years to get pregnant & I'll admit I did want a boy. We found out & I was mildly disappointed at first but by the time he arrived I was head over heels in love & totally excited about a boy. I think my reservations about a boy were that I was worried I wouldn't know what to do with a boy 'cause I know girls so well.

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#23 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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Just wanted to clarify that I am elated to be having a baby, whether it's a boy or a girl. I think something that's difficult though is that gender preference is frowned upon, to the point where I see people who clearly desire to have a baby of a certain gender lying and saying "I don't care, I just care that I have a healthy baby" because it's the "right thing" to say. I think we should be grateful that we are having a baby, period. But I also think it's ok to admit that you are hoping for something, because it doesn't mean you are going to love the baby any less if it is different than you expected. Just as people say "I hope my baby has curly hair", and it doesn't mean they will love a baby with straight hair any less, you know?
I hear a lot of people saying that you will bond with the baby at birth either way so it's beneficial to wait until birth to find out, however I feel you can bond just as strongly when the baby is still in the womb. For me, the moment of realization and super strong bonding came during my first pregnancy at about the 5th month if I remember right, and I went to the doctor with a rash that they thought might be rubella. The doctor freaked out because she was pregnant and thought her baby could be harmed too. I spent a whole day (until the next day when I found out it was a normal pregnancy rash) not knowing if my baby was going to be ok. At that moment, all I could think was "I love my baby so much, I just want it to be alive. I don't care if my baby is deformed or anything different than what I dreamed of, I don't care about anything else except that I want my baby to be alive!" So from my point of view, if I have a moment of "gender dissapointment" or maybe more accurately "gender surprise" (because I feel strongly it's a girl) at the ultrasound, that moment will quickly pass and the bond with my baby will continue just as it has been for the past 3&1/2 months!
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#24 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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I was convinced I was pg with a boy, and everyone else thought so too. I had nightmares, literally, about having a girl. I took a gender prediction test, and it said: GIRL. I was devastated for weeks,even had panic attacks, because I really wanted a boy. I even bought mostly second hand boy clothes because I couldn't fathom having a girl. Well, guess what I had, a GIRL! And like a PP, I didn't even care! I was head-over-heels in love with my baby, I was just so happy. Now, I couldn't imagine having a boy because I'm so grateful that I had a girl! For me, finding out would have been difficult and I probably would not have handled it well.

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#25 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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I believe most everyone has posted that while they may have a desire for one gender over another, that everyone is or will be happy with having a baby, period. This is definitely a touchy subject, but it's a very real one that needs to be treated with respect.

The reality of "gender disappointment" (and I don't know that I like the term, but it seems to be accepted) is actually very much like losing a child. When and if you spend a full pregnancy (or half a pregnancy, or years before you finally get pregnant, or whatever the case may be) expecting a certain baby to arrive and then a *different* child arrives (and honestly this can be related to other factors and not just gender, but gender is the most common, I think) you can actually go through a process of grieving the loss of the *other* child. It's not a matter of not wanting or loving the one you HAVE, but of missing and longing for the one you were expecting.

While this topic may not touch a very large percentage of the population, it is still one that should be respected as far from petty for those who DO deal with it.

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#26 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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I can understand feeling disappointed at not getting the gender you want. It think for most people, it's usually about some ideal they have (raising one each gender, having a boy first, having a daughter, whatever). I've only known a couple of people who seemed to have such strong gender disappointment that it risked affecting their relationship with the baby.

If I had a gender preference, I would try to find out at the ultrasound. I feel like I would want to know ahead of time to have a chance to get used to it. I wouldn't want to risk having those emotions at the birth.

However, my friend felt the opposite and chose to find out at the birth even though she had a strong preference for a girl. She felt that she would have much less disappointment at the birth and she didn't want to cloud the 2nd half of her pregnancy.

So I think it might be different for different personality types.

Laura, married to Daniel 12/16/2000
Claire b. 6/29/06 and Andrew b. 4/20/08 and #3 due 2/8/11!!
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#27 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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Long before I ever got pregnant, I had visions of the future. They had my children in them. So, I already knew my children. I knew what my first child would be like.

If I had found out that he was a she, I would have been very upset that she was not the child I knew and loved. I would have felt like he had died, because he was already a part of me.

But, he turned out exactly like in my visions, at least so far. And we'll see what happens this time around. I don't feel so certain I remembered correctly whether the other son was next or if the daughter was in the middle. They were close in age in my visions, and numbers weren't mentioned.

Leigh, mama to Rostislav homeborn Aug 9 2007, and Oksana homeborn Feb 24 2011.
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#28 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 09:30 PM
 
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I will differ from everyone here (I think) and say I think it's better to find out at birth.

First of all, you can enjoy the pregnancy free of gender expectations. You aren't already making assumptions about the baby you're carrying, based on its gender. You aren't going through pregnancy with that faint (or overt) feeling of disappointment in the background all the time. You can just enjoy being pregnant with a baby.

Second, although there is that initial disappointment at birth (believe me, I've been there), in my experience, the reality of an actual, live kicking crying nursing baby is so viscerally real and so vastly different from anything I'd been imagining while pregnant, that the gender thing fades into the background. Confronted with the reality of a new human, the fact that it's not the gender you wanted isn't nearly as significant as you might have expected. At least, that's how it was for me.
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#29 of 68 Old 09-11-2010, 09:53 PM
 
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Hi all! I've deleted a post from this thread that was taking issue (and subsequent posts quoting that post).

If you don't agree with the topic of this thread or just don't get it, please feel free to view other threads that do resonate. Please note the guidelines for the I'm Pregnant forum, especially regarding support. Thanks.

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#30 of 68 Old 09-12-2010, 02:30 AM
 
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When I got pregnant with DD, DH really really wanted a boy (he still does!). We did end up finding out that she was a girl because he wanted to come to terms with it and not cloud her birth experience. I'm actually really glad we did, because some of the sweetest pictures I have from the day of her birth are when DH met DD for the first time. He was just head over heels in love with her, and it showed all over his face.

She's totally Daddy's little girl, btw.

Now that we are having #2 after 3 losses, *I* am the one that needs to know - I am having the hardest time bonding already, with no inklings or intuition either way (and honestly, we'd be happy either way after all the angel babies) so we are going to find out. We might not tell anyone though - haven't decided yet.

Rachel, knit.gifwifey to 2twins.gif (3/06), tandem nursing mama toenergy.gif(7/08) & babyboy.gif (4/11) and missing brokenheart.gif (7/09, 2/10, 7/10) 
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