It Comes in Waves…

I’m finding it hard to be enthusiastic right now, despite the fact I have every reason to be. Yesterday we had our big 16 week gender scan, which culminated in us finding out the amazing news that we are expecting a beautiful, healthy baby…..

16 week ultrasound of baby boy


And while I am over the moon about him being healthy, and I am excited at the thought of another gorgeous boy to add to our family, I am feeling overwhelmed with sadness. I know it’s selfish and completely disgraceful, and I loathe myself for feeling this way, but I can’t help being completely devastated that I will never have a baby girl. I will never know the joy of raising a daughter. I keep trying to focus on the fact that this baby is very loved and very wanted, but since the moment I saw the ultrasound, I have had tears that I just can’t stop.

Please don’t get me wrong – I am very happy about us having a boy. I am so grateful that he is healthy and that he is growing well. Everything about this baby makes me happy.

But it’s not what I HAVE that is killing me… it is what I never will have.

Mark and I agreed long ago that three was our limit. We seriously considered stopping after two. But when we found out we were expecting a third, we both knew that this would be our last – no matter what. Pregnancy is not easy on me. It is physically and emotionally very hard and extremely draining. And while we could adopt in the future if we really felt we needed to, I don’t see it happening. I am already overwhelmed with two kids, and this third is going to put a lot more stress on us that is going to be tough.

16 week ultrasound of baby boy, side profile of face

I spent all afternoon and evening crying yesterday, and I spent my whole night quietly sobbing while Mark slept. This morning I didn’t want to get out of bed, and even my kids and husband coming in couldn’t bring me out of my funk.

I’m sure you’re judging me right now – but probably not as harshly as I’m judging myself. I am beyond mortified that I can’t stop crying. I am shocked and angry that I can’t seem to get past this. As long as I focus on the baby boy that is coming, I can smile and laugh and look forward to the future. But as soon as I remember the girl that never will be, I lose my senses completely.

I had a beautiful name picked out. I imagined the clothes she would wear and doing her hair. I thought of teaching her one day to put on makeup. I looked forward (in a strange way) to the teenage tantrums of a girl who is just like me. I thought of how she would look. I imagined her whole life, and I have pictured for months exactly what it would be like when the sonographer smiled at us and said, “It’s a girl.”

I tried to be lighthearted when I told my mother the news. I drew it out with staccato texts. It’s….. A….. Healthy….. Baby………

As she waited and urged me to reveal, I swallowed hard and finished with “boy.” And then I added, “There, I said it. It’s real now.” And I sobbed.

I couldn’t bring myself to say much to anyone. All those friends and family who were waiting with anticipation to hear the news were probably surprised that I didn’t dress it up with any flowery prose or big important reveal. I posted the sonogram photos with a noncommittal “Well there we are then.”

16 week 2d ultrasound of baby

Everyone was enthusiastic, and it made me feel even worse. Why couldn’t I just be happy? Why couldn’t I just suck it up and realize that not everyone gets their way? I need to focus on the good – a healthy baby boy whom I will love with all my heart. I need to focus on the joy of having three brothers who will be the best of friends.

And yet, I can only focus on what I’m missing.

I’ve had a few people tell me, “Oh, but girls are all drama. You’re lucky to have boys.” Some have said, “But boys always love their moms best , and you’ll always be the most important woman in their lives.”

I know they speak the truth and from a place of sympathy and kindness. But none of it helps.

I am bereft.

And the more I cry and feel bad, the worse I hate myself. I genuinely can’t understand my own reaction.

How can I be so happy about the son we will have and yet so unhappy about the girl that never existed in the first place?

I feel so empty when I should feel full. I want this awful feeling to go away, and yet it stagnates. It sits in my heart like a block of ice, filling me with fear that I will let down this beautiful baby by not being as fully invested in him as I would have been a girl. And while I know that I will love him (indeed, I already do!), I worry…

I just want to stop crying now.


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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

19 Responses

  1. I’m sorry you’re feeling so sad. Gender disappointment happens more commonly than you think. You should google it so you can maybe feel a little better knowing others experience it as well. I have a girl. My sister found out last month that she is having a boy after wanting a girl so badly. She had even bought cute headbands and planned out her daughter’s first photo shoot in her head. I’ve watched her be upset about it. I know she feels bad too about feeling the way she does. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Just know that you’re not the only person that has ever felt this way. <3

  2. I think your reaction is completely normal. Let yourself mourn the girl you don’t have. You have two others, so you know you will love this one so much. It is a disappointment, and anyone who judges you is clearly a saint or something. Hugs!

  3. I hear ya..I’m the mom of two boys. Took five years of trying (naturally and artificially) to even get the second. But…a lot of your anguish is hormones…and it’s natural. Moms of all one gender will ALWAYS wonder what it would have been like to have one of the missing gender.
    Over the last 8 years, I’ve found delight in my friends’ girls…as they’ve found in my boys. We talk about how we’re glad we have ___s. We commiserate with each other. And I admit…I do go home glad I only have to worry about ONE penis (or two, actually) rather than all the rest. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And remember..all our kids are SO different. Each one will not be like the other, no matter the sex. So, rather than contemplate what isn’t going to change, think about how this one will be…which inevitably will be completely different from your other two. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And not having to buy all new things will save money, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Enjoy your last baby….I made a huge conscious effort (and still do) to enjoy every moment I can, knowing that my birthing days are over. I delight in my last child’s delight, in a way I missed with the first. And it’s all still wonderful, even the second (or, I imagine, the third) time around..still new, still fun.
    This regret will pass as you find delight in your pregnancy. Remember to take a breath and enjoy every moment you can; these will be the things you will grow old with, remembering. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Hey, you’re grieving. Whether it is a loss of what was or what could have been its still grieving. Allow yourself the time and then you can move on. I know from experience that time heals. Not much consolation now but I promise. Just give yourself time to grieve.

  5. I am most definitely not judging and I do understand. I have 4 kids and although I have one daughter I was really hoping that my last little one was another girl. I think I may have been more sad for her as I know how badly she wanted a sister and now has 3 brothers. I think in your situation how you are feeling is okay. I do understand that you are happy and excited that your new baby boy is healthy and that you are able to have him at all but I can understand that you feel like your missing out because you will never have a girl. Good luck hun and I wish you all the best

  6. I have two boys right now. I would like to try for a 3rd in a few years. When we first started I didn’t want girls. I wanted all boys. But now that I have two and all my friends are having girls I can’t get the idea of having a daughter out of my head. I still have a year and a half before we start trying of these little girl fantasies floating around in my head. So when the time comes if they say “it’s a boy” I will probably feel very similar to you right now. Not because for one second I will not love another son. But because I will as you said lose out on the chance to be a mom of a daughter and do all the girly things. Yes I hve nieces but it just isn’t the same. You’re not alone and it’s ok to feel a bit of a loss โค๏ธ

  7. Oh Katie please don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t forget that pregnancy hormones have a lot to answer for right now too. It’s ok to feel sad about what may never be now, it doesn’t mean that you don’t love that precious boy any less- as you said yourself. You’ve had a shock and a disappointment but you will get over it and you will be ok. I had a feeing last night that you may be feeling this way but I didn’t want to express my concern for you. You now what matters here and you will be ok x x xx x

  8. I do not judge you the slightest, actually, I admire you for admitting your disappointment. I think almost every parent has their heart set on a boy or a girl and I don’t doubt that they feel he same crushing disappointment as you when it doesn’t turn in their favor (expecially when its their last child). The difference between you and them is you are brave enough to admit you’re upset about it, and that is very commendable in my eyes. Talking about it, venting about it will help you get past it. Im sure you will always feel a little sadness when you think of the little girl you never had, its completely normal, but I know you will get past the worst of it. Allow yourself to feel this way, allow yourself time to grieve, its much healthier than lying to yourself and fooling yourself into believing you’re okay…and eventually, when you’re ready, you WILL be okay ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Not judging at all. I understand the way you feel, I also have 3 boys and did have a flicker of these emotions in my 3rd gender scan but then I pushed past it and now having 3 little boys is great, there is something so nice about having a whole pack of boys running around doing their boyish things! As you feel so strongly do you think maybe it will help to leave the door open for more kids and never say never, rather than telling yourself you will never ever have a girl – because you never know? Adding more kids is always tough but if its something you really want, you could keep it at the back of your mind as another option for later?
    Congratulations on your 3rd boy! I wish I had some better words and advice. 3 boys together will be awesome though!
    Also, if you don’t have a daughter don’t forget there may be granddaughters down the line. My mil is also a mum of 3 boys only and now she has two lovely granddaughters. It’s not exactly the same but you can still have a close bond and do all those girl things there down the line if that was the case

  10. I’m not judging you. I’ve been in your exact spot. In fact, just days after we found out we were having our third boy and final child, it was my SIL’s baby shower for the baby girl she was expecting (just a few months before me).

    I was so devastated that I almost skipped the shower but I loved my SIL and went for her. I picked out a lovely selection of fun girl clothes for my new niece and made several large flannel blankets for her and went.

    During the shower, as my SIL was open my gift my (now ex) MIL said to me “you’ll never be able to buy girl clothes, will you?” Basically rubbing more salt into the already raw would. I paused a moment and said to her “I’ll be able to buy them for my niece” and I walked out of the room to go cry. My SIL joined me in the kitchen and we shared a private laugh at the expense of my MIL but the feeling, even 7 years later is still there.

    Now my boys keep asking for a sister and I have many excuses for them on why it won’t ever happen and they’ll have to be content with girl dogs to dress up.

    I guess my point is this: you aren’t alone in your feelings and it’s okay to feel that way.

    And when my youngest was born, I loved him immediately with my whole being. Because he was meant to be my boy and me his mom.

  11. Hi hun, i totally understand how you feel. I am desperate for a girl and i know if we have another boy i will be slightly gutted. However i think after a few seconds of holding that baby in your arms any feelings you still have like this will be forgotten.

    I always say as long as the baby is healthy thats all that matters, however i am desperate for a girl too.

  12. Ah you poor thing, I can sympathise and I think don’t be too hard on yourself. Your feelings are real and you will work through them in time. Hubby is one of three boys and as gender is all related to the daddy’s side I am trying to prepare myself for only having boys. But that may not actually be possible because I know I would love a girl, and honestly I don’t know how I would react if I found out for sure that that would never happen. You’re little boy will be so loved but you are allowed to feel a little sad right now, and I’m sure the wonderful preggo hormones are contributing a bit too! Take care xx

  13. Honestly? I get it. I was CONVINCED that we were having a boy when I was pregnant with Ari. We called “him” “chap”. (We were reading the Dark Tower series)

    Well you know how it ends. I was devastated in part of my heart. I still sort of mourn the fact that I’ll never have a boy. Don’t get me wrong…I adore all my girls, but you know…

    And to go for child #5 at the age of 39-and-not-counting would be stupid.


  14. You are in good company with other boy moms. Congratulations, first off, on hearing he’s healthy. Second, it’s not something people are “supposed” to hoping for a certain gender but it does happen. I mourned that my second boy wasn’t a girl but I grieved internally until one day my husband said he was a little sad that we weren’t having the little girl he wanted. It was nice to hear him admit it. In the ideal world it would have been nice to have a boy, a girl and whatever else life brought us (we agreed on four kids).

    Thank you for sharing!

  15. never say never) we had pretty much same emotions when we found out we are having a girl, we desperately wanted a boy and planned a boy, and it was a shock, i felt as if i failed, but now i cant wait to meet my precious little girl

  16. It looks exactly like how I felt on June 2nd when I had my 20 week scan. I was hoping for a girl too. I couldn’t believe it when I felt devastated when I saw we were having a boy. I have cried and wailed for the whole past week. Today is the first day I have not cried yet. I was crying so much that I couldn’t even breathe. Its my first pregnancy. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives. And my husband also wishing this one to be a girl did not help me either. He also was sad but he recovered quickly. I am the one who is most affected. Everyone else is feeling happy. My MIL was on cloud nine. And all I could do when my husband was conveying the news to my MIL was cover my face with my hands and cry uncontrollably. I don’t have anything to suggest because I understand how you feel, I am in the same boat too and it even feels like losing a child though she wasn’t even conceived. It breaks my heart to see the other little girls out there wearing frilly outfits and imitating their mother. I want to experience the joy of raising a daughter and the emotional drama which happens when she goes through her teens. I don’t mind if she acts like a jerk during her teens. I want to see that happening. I want to go through all that. I want my husband to have his daughter, his daddy’s girl, to lift her up, carry her on his shoulders while she joyfully eats cotton candy. I myself don’t know any way out of this sadness. All I can say is time will heal everything and we should take our time to grieve for what we lost or what will never be ours.

  17. Awesome post! Definitely very understandable there are certainly a lot of very complicated feelings and hormones going on when you’re pregnant. On the bright side it is certainly a delight to be able to get a 3d scan of your new little one and see their face. Thanks for sharing!

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