How can I get excited about a baby boy?
July 25, 2017 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm pregnant! This is exciting. However, I have an intuition it's a boy, and I've always wanted a girl. Do you have any advice for me? It makes me sad that I'm not as excited as I think I would be about a girl.

1. I know that mother's intuition or whatever is possibly false, but it almost doesn't matter. There's a 50% chance this baby is a boy regardless of what my gut says, and it would be heartbreaking if I had a little boy and didn't feel excited about it.

2. So what now? I always dreamed about a little girl, to the extent that I hadn't even imagined the possibility of a boy (I know... statistics...)

3. Did you feel this way then have a boy? Help?

4. I'm 37, there may only be another chance to have another baby after this one - has anyone tried the sperm centrifugation methods, or microsort? I would probably not go so far as IVF for a girl.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'd never really thought about having a boy before I had my son. I have nothing in common with any of my stereotypes of boys. But you don't have a theoretical gender concept--you have a baby, which means that he has practically no effective gender for a long time. You fall in love with the baby (it took a few months for me), and then you love him as a person, for just who he is.

Whether or not you regret not having the daughter you imagine, I don't know, but you will love your boy, even if you hadn't imagined it.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:20 AM on July 25, 2017 [19 favorites]

You are putting your cart waaaay ahead of the horse. Find out the sex, either with a test/ultrasound or at birth, and then go from there. You are allowed to feel sad if it's a boy, and I promise you won't feel that way forever.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:30 AM on July 25, 2017 [24 favorites]

Oh, hi. That was me, only I was 36. I have many sisters, had never been around boy children, had zero interest in having a boy. I knew this was going to be my only kid, too. I also didn't want to know my baby's gender...but about 2 days before I went into labor an idiot at my OB/GYN's office let it slip that I was having a boy. Gulp. I was really, really bummed out. My husband (the only other person who knew about this) went out and bought my baby a cute, boyish shirt. And then I gave birth all faded away. *This* was my baby, and I loved him.

Bonus: boys are so wonderful. I love, love, love having a boy (still my only child). Boys are so much fun! I hate to feed into the stereotypes, but: boys are so much less drama than girls. And oh, do they love their moms.

Plus it's legit fun to raise a feminist boy these days. Teaching my kid about equality and watching it play out as he grows up? Priceless, and makes me feel like I'm truly making a difference in the world.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:36 AM on July 25, 2017 [40 favorites]

First of all, congratulations!

I have a little boy, and I wanted a girl. It wasn't as strong a preference as yours, but I kind of assumed I'd have a girl and admit I was a little bit disappointed to find out. It's okay to feel that way, even if your rational mind tells you not to. (I recommend finding out at the anatomy scan instead of waiting until birth, so you have half your pregnancy to process it if needed. You will probably not need that much time.)

But the cool thing is that they're babies first, and aside from putting them in camouflage onesies or gluing bows to their tiny bald heads, they're gender neutral for a long time. Babies and little kids are so engrossing and fascinating, the way they grow and learn and interact with people and mispronounce words and all that. Chances are you will be too wrapped up in BABY! to think too much about the little one's gender, and by the time they're old enough to have enough hair for a "boy" or "girl" hairstyle, you'll be solidly in love with them for themselves.

And if you were hoping to teach a daughter to be a patriarchy-smashing badass... you can do that with a son, too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:42 AM on July 25, 2017 [16 favorites]

Also, I'm glad I found out the sex before he was born, because by the time he came around I was at least resigned; there was no disappointment associated with the birth. That gave me room to like him when I first met him. My husband fell in love the day he was born; I felt mostly anxious responsibility for months. But when he was a few months old I realized that I loved him fiercely, and now (8 years old) he's just one of my favorite people, aside from being my son and part of my family.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:48 AM on July 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

I've posted something like this before, but before and when I was pregnant, I wanted a girl. I had a sister growing up, I went to an all-female high school, I didn't know anything about growing up with boys, had the girl's name picked out already etc., etc., etc.

Went to the ultrasound, found out I was having a boy. This is how my thoughts went.

1. We're having a boy.
2. (slight pause)

It never occurred to me to be disappointed after I found out.

(that boy is now 16 and is just plain awesome.)
posted by Lucinda at 6:57 AM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

[One deleted. Let's skip US election politics talk in here please, since this is the spot for answering questions and not debating with each other. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:59 AM on July 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

The kid becomes a Person specific to themselves. This happens sometime between five seconds after birth to six months after you meet them. You stop being able to see if they're pretty or ugly because they are just Beautiful, and you don't see them as a description but as Them. It's totally weird, like they just are marvellous for breathing and looking at things and picking up sticks and walking.

I have friends who wanted girls and got boys and are so happy, and vice versa - it just becomes Your Kid. The ones who are miserable and chase having a specific gender (Hi, Dad!) are people who don't want a kid so much as a trophy and don't really want to be a parent but to tick off a box on their life plan. They don't like being around actual kids or the experience of parenting, but the public attention they get for having a child. I know a couple who did this and they got their girl (quite a few adopted girls are this result) and both children are pretty neglected although they are all over Facebook in cute outfits.

You want to be a parent, so you'll be fine. Seriously, it's nerve wracking, but give yourself six months - it'll probably be more like six hours or less - and you'll fall in love.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:00 AM on July 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hi! We really wanted a girl - especially my husband. So, we decided to find out the gender at the 20 week anatomy scan so that there would NOT be a disappointing surprise in the delivery room. We found out it was a boy. We were disappointed. We took about 2 days to wallow in our disappointment, and then we said - hey! we're having a boy! And started really imagining ourselves with a boy. And picking out names. By the time he arrived - heck, well before he arrived - we were solidly in boy mode and thrilled with his arrival.

It's OKAY to hope things will be one way and feel disappointed if they don't. But it does make it much easier if you anticipate this and plan so that your disappointment will be over and done with by the time of the baby's arrival.

If you find out at 20 weeks and then take a few days to be disappointed, it won't be too long after that that you really start to feel the baby kick and move and that is OMG SO EXCITING, so it can conveniently overwrite the disappointment sectors with HEY FEEL THAT? THAT'S OUR LITTLE BOY!!!!

You'll be fine. Once your baby comes you'll have your own special relationship with it that has nothing to do with anyone else's gender ideals.
posted by telepanda at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

If you're 37, your insurance might cover early DNA screening, which will let you find out biological sex very early.

I did this last year. I found out that I was going to have a boy. I was disappointed, to tell the truth. I'm glad I found out early, it gave me time to adjust my expectations. Now I have a four month old baby boy and I couldn't be happier. I probably won't have another child but now I'm very happy with the one I've got.
posted by ewok_academy at 7:22 AM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really wanted a girl, because I had kinda cherished small warm hopes of being able to pass on my best-beloved girl lit to him, like A Little Princess. Plus, I have a sister that I love fiercely, and there was some part of me that really wanted to be able to give a little girl the kind of supportive, close parent-child relationship that I wished I'd had.

But we found out that we were having a boy, and I was sad for a little while, and then got over it, because:

- There was nothing I could reasonably do about it.
- I could raise a feminist boy.
- Little boys need love and support too.
- gideonfrog is absolutely right. For the first bit, the baby effectively has no gender. Like, the baby doesn't even have object permanence for the first few months.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:24 AM on July 25, 2017 [23 favorites]

I'm the parent of a 5 year-old-son. I had initial misgivings about having a boy which of course I got over--pretty much everyone does because BABY! And babies just are babies, they don't have gender expression. But there's also a greater lesson I've learned, that took longer and has had more impact on me as a parent:

Kids are not clones of you. Nor are they a chimera of you + your partner. They are complete individuals, and are that way from the moment they are born. As they grow and develop, you'll have to keep confronting the many, many ways that your kid will defy your expectations. You love to do X? There's a high degree of probability that your kid will have zero interest in X, no matter how hard you try. If you want a girl because you always cherished the idea of teaching your little girl to love all the same things you loved as a girl, know that having a girl actually guarantees nothing along those lines. Kids are who they are.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:42 AM on July 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

There are many things you have imagined your child will be that will turn out differently, whether it's a boy or a girl. Children are immensely talented at crushing our preconceptions, right from the start, and one of the most important (and frustrating and delightful) things we can do is parents is to be attentive and open-minded so the child can show us their own personality and needs. Their chromosomes and body parts are just the start.
posted by adiabatic at 7:45 AM on July 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

First of all, you don't actually know the sex, and your intuition is 50/50 to be wrong. So don't worry about it now.

If, when you do actually find out the sex, you find yourself disappointed, give yourself a break and don't worry about it then either. That feeling will go away. I was surprised and disappointed when my first pregnancy turned out to be a girl - I had been so sure it was a boy! And I knew that a girl would be more personal responsibility for me - but the feeling dissipated quickly and now I am grateful every day for her exactly the way she is. That "oh, not what I hoped" feeling isn't a meaningful thing. Just feel it and let it float away. You'll forget all about it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:50 AM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you don't find out gender until the baby is born, you'll spend a lot of time worrying, hoping, and second-guessing yourself; and a lot of time feeling guilty for it, and will generally stress yourself out. Saving the gender surprise for the delivery room is only for people who think it's fun to wonder and exciting to find out in the moment. It sounds like you'll be much happier if you do a gender test as soon as possible.
posted by aimedwander at 7:50 AM on July 25, 2017

Even once you find out what genital configuration your kid has, who even knows what its gender will turn out to be?
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:51 AM on July 25, 2017 [37 favorites]

It's worth thinking about the fact that you do not find out the gender of your child at the ultrasound, or at birth. You have an initial speculation. I'm not saying you have to raise your kid in a genderless way or anything, but all of it is just guesswork until your child can communicate well enough to start telling you about their gender identity. It seems like the best thing you can do is just live in the moment. Raise the child you have. Let that child tell you who they are when they're old enough to know. No amount of observation of your baby's body parts or chromosomes is going to be a binding determination about the kind of kid you wind up raising, and trying to make the kid fit your preconceived notions isn't going to be any better for a girl than a boy.
posted by Sequence at 8:33 AM on July 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

Also, hah, I finished writing that comment and then got info I needed for work so got back to stuff, so hit post without preview, so yes, basically, what Shmuel510 said.
posted by Sequence at 8:34 AM on July 25, 2017

When I was pregnant (over a year ago now!) I also really wanted a girl and, before we found out the sex, I was really anxious for exactly the same reasons you are ("what if it's a boy? What if I feel disappointed in my baby for something that is 100% not his fault?") and two big things helped:

1) Thinking about actual, not theoretical, little boys I've known, especially my younger brother who was an unbelievably sweet, kind child. I realized I'd been letting some stereotypes creep into my thinking and that what I was picturing was not a real kid but the cultural conception of "boy". Actual little boys are sweet and wonderful and charming and fun and very sensitive and you will definitely, definitely love him.

2) I realized that part of what was happening was that I was just unbelievably, overwhelmingly anxious and terrified about EVERYTHING. Pregnancy comes with SO MUCH uncertainty and I was focusing a lot of my generalized anxiety on the specific question "boy or girl?" because stressing about that felt more manageable than thinking about all the huge terrifying changes that were happening to my body and also my life and my relationship with my husband and all the things I couldn't control. Everything's been great for us, but pregnancy is tough and and scary and if for you, as for me, uncertainty is really hard then take a moment to be kind to yourself and realize that it's okay to be anxious about anything you want right now. When your kiddo comes you will love him or her and they will be great and wonderful and special and precious and a lot of the anxiety will drain away because the uncertainty and lack of control parts largely end when you actually give birth and you will feel SO MUCH better.

Everything about being pregnant made me crazy and I also hated that I wanted to stress about the same basic things over and over but not bore any of my real life friends. Some MeFites very, VERY kindly read and even responded to my anxious MeFi mails being like "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING HOW DOES ANYONE SURVIVE THIS" and so I want to say, very genuinely, if it would be helpful to talk to someone who's been through the same thing and won't judge you don't hesitate to MeFi mail me just to vent or whatever. I wouldn't have gotten through it without the kindness and support of other people and I would be honored to help in any way I can.

Very very best wishes to you and your family! With pregnancy and giving birth and children lots of things won't go the way you have pictured them but you will love your kid and any disappointment you feel will fade.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:47 AM on July 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

My wife is one of four sisters, and she had never grown up with boys as close family members. We found out the gender of our first kid into the pregnancy, and while I don't think she had reservations, she was uncertain as to how to be a parent to a boy.

Fast forward almost 6 years, and we have two boys now, which is plenty, thankyouverymuch. People ask my wife if she wants a daughter, and she's quick to answer that we are happy with two boys, both in terms of their gender and in the total number of kids. They're a hoot, but also a handful. (I'm an older brother, who grew up primarily with one younger brother, and we adopted my sister when she was 6 and I was 16, so the idea of having a daughter was daunting to me.)

I agree that you should find out the gender before trying to feel one way or another, because if you change your expectations now, you might find you have to change again.

And anyway, gender is fluid, so your daughter may be more into mud puddles and monster trucks than you'd expect, or your boy may be happiest playing dress up and wearing makeup. In fact, our boys have done plenty of both - they're happy to be messy little monsters, and they have gone to school with some makeup on, because they want to be like mom when she's putting on eye shadow. Some of the kindergartners were unsure what to think of the older boy wearing makeup, but then he said he was a sky tiger, and everyone said "OK" and ran around like animals.

Sleep well, eat well, and enjoy all of this crazy process as best as you can, because it's all fleeting (and it's going to be tiring, especially the first few months to years). In a few years, you'll be running after a little one and having a ton of fun, trying to remember how everything felt last year, or last month, when your little one was a different person. They change fast, and your experiences with them will, too. Congrats!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:54 AM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Even if it IS a girl, raising her will likely be nothing like you are imagining. Raising a boy too is nothing like you imagine. We chose not to find out the sex for all three of our children (Two boys and a girl). I can safely say that with all three children, I had to legitimate idea what it would be like raising them. I could speculate, but that was all it was, speculation. My kids are in their 20s now and I am still trying to figure it out. I am surprised daily still.

I am very confident once your baby is born, if it is a boy, you will not be disappointed. Right now, you are focusing on a dream, a perception of what you think raising a girl will be about. Once baby is born, you will immediately realize (give it a day at the most) that raising child is nothing like you were picturing it.
posted by AugustWest at 8:55 AM on July 25, 2017

I think it might be worth thinking about why you would prefer a little girl. I initially wanted a boy, because I had the idea that little boys are somehow less complicated. More carefree, less...less like me.
I guess it was a generous mixture of self-dislike and internalised gender stereotypes.

Maybe it's not like that for you. And figuring that out might not change your feelings, but it does help put your feelings into perspective.

Btw now I have two girls and it feels amazing and soul changing to love them so fiercely the way I do.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:56 AM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

First, congratulations!

We had a similar experience to the one you're apprehensive about. My wife had had dreams about having a girl and had a strong intuition about it being a girl. We resisted the temptation to find out the sex before the baby was born, but we were both sort of expecting a girl and had thought a lot about what it would be like to have a little girl, so we were definitely a bit surprised when we ended up having a boy. I'll even admit that I felt a twinge of disappointment initially. But, as other people have said upthread, that only lasted a short time. Once you have a living, breathing, little tiny person there with you, all of your preconceptions go out the window and you only have room for dealing with what's happening right here and now in front of you. You'll love your baby no matter whether it's a boy or a girl or halfway in between.

Since you seem to be worried about it, I'd suggest finding out the sex ahead of time. That also makes it 50% easier when thinking about names!
posted by number9dream at 9:44 AM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

My husband and I both wanted a girl (though we couldn't admit it out loud) and we didn't find out the sex before the birth partly because we wanted to be surprised and secretly because I thought I would care less if I didn't get my long-dreamed-of daughter because I would be so caught up in the hormones and drama of birth. And we were pretty sure we were only having one child so this was our only shot. Oh, and I also had an intuition that it was a boy (My husband pointed out that I ALWAYS called the baby he or him when I was talking about it) and had two dreams that I had a boy and so did my mom.

I had a boy. I think we were mildly disappointed for about two minutes? Then we had a beautiful, lumpy-headed baby boy with my husband's sweet face and long monkey toes who was made of magic and science.

Now I don't regret my dream daughter. I have a real son who loves his mama and still smells like Heaven and he is the joy of our lives. He's real and he's wonderful and better than any imagined baby.

I take seriously the raising of a boy in our society. It is something I think about and worry about a lot. But I also know that we need more good men in the world and someone has to raise them.
posted by Aquifer at 10:04 AM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

With my first pregnancy, I had an intuition like yours and I was completely wrong.
I have found there is some truth to the cliches about the bond between moms and sons (I also think there's truth to the father/daughter connections). I have an intense connection with my little boy that I did not expect and have trouble describing. I also have a daughter and OF COURSE I'm equally bonded with her. But there's something about raising a boy and having an intimacy with a boy and watching a boy become a man that is incredibly amazing. I wouldn't change my kids for the world. I wish I could go back in time and reassure "new mom" me that the baby's gender is so unimportant and such a small piece of them and that all genders have wonderful advantages.
I hope it's also okay for me to say that if your reservations continue, it might be highly worthwhile for you to find out the gender in advance of the birth. If you think it's going to be a mental hurdle for you to jump, better to do that now then when you're also recovering from labor.
posted by areaperson at 10:41 AM on July 25, 2017

I didn't care about the sex with my first. After my first child was a boy, I wanted the second one to be a girl, both to have "one of each" and because I had spent a lot of time over the years thinking about how to parent a girl in ways that encourage interest in STEM fields, etc.

I found out I was having a second boy relatively early thanks to the genetic testing involved in being an older mom. I was kind of disappointed for a couple of days and had to sort of reorient my picture of myself as a mom helping a girl grow up, but I got over it pretty quickly and as everyone has said, I adore my actual sons much more than any theoretical girl, and I've switched my focus to bringing up boys who are aware of and resist inequalities. They have pretty different personalities, too, which is a good reminder that when we envision having children we are not doing anything other than fantasizing.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 11:00 AM on July 25, 2017

Contrary to what others are saying, I think it's awesome that you're trying to deal with this early. Of course your intuition might be wrong - you say as much in your Ask! - but that's no reason not to make some mental preparations for your "what if" scenario.

Having a boy presents you with, IMO, a really cool opportunity to make the world a better place. With daughters you have to make sure they're empowered, independent, and know that their heart and mind matters more than their beauty, all in the face of Barbie dolls and Disney princesses etc. With a son, you have a chance to raise a person who will respect women, who will treat others with kindness, who will be comfortable experiencing and showing emotion, who will buck stereotypes and teach his children (if he has them) to do the same.

None of this is to minimize the importance of parenting daughters! I'm a product of feminist, progressive parents and I'm grateful for that every day. But with a son, you aren't raising them to overcome things like misogyny; you're raising them to not perpetuate things like misogyny. And that's pretty cool, I think.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 12:18 PM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I know exactly how you feel.

We performed the non-invasive prenatal genetic screening at around 13 weeks, so we found out the baby's gender quite early. Up until then, my boyfriend and I were convinced we were having a girl - don't ask how or why - we just had a strong gut instinct that it would be. We were excited about it. I started daydreaming of mommy-daughter lunches, of how she and I would have this amazing, close, relationship that my own mother and I never had. I knew exactly how I'd raise this little girl. My boyfriend joked about how he'd have his own little best friend and that he was going to be her superhero forever.

Well, one morning the nurse called, and she said, "Do you want to know what you're having?!" When I said yes, she yelled excitedly into the phone, "IT'S A BOYYYY!" Two years down the line I remember that conversation like it was today, and I remember how I felt. Disappointment. Complete and utter disappointment. Some anger. Some disbelief. Some four-letter words swimming around in my head. I called my boyfriend and told him, and although to this day he'll never really admit it, I believe he was disappointed too.

I went to work and Googled "disappointed about having a boy" and other similar phrases. It was stunning how many hits came back - forums upon forums of mothers lamenting their impending baby boys. And then the tears came: guilt, because this baby I was carrying was precious no matter what gender it was and here I was googling this bullshit and for chrissake what the fuck was wrong with me for feeling this way; sadness, because there seemed to be so many people who were so unhappy that they were carrying baby boys; and a few other emotions because I felt like I didn't know how to proceed with LIFE.

I then called my mom, who, for once in her life, made me feel better. She was ecstatic. She'd lost a stillborn baby boy when I was 15 years old, and she'd been hoping and praying that I'd have a boy. She started gushing about how amazing this news was, and what she was going to get him, and did we have names picked out because she had some suggestions... and I sort of just let her carry on, and let myself feel what I needed to feel. And I felt better because here was at least one person who was instantly excited about this precious life.

Eventually, I accepted it, although, until he was born I can honestly say I was never really overjoyed or excited about the birth of a boy. My boyfriend was much more resilient than I was, and he embraced the idea wholeheartedly, giving me confidence that we'd be great parents to our son despite our initial misgivings - I am an only child, so I only had my own upbringing to draw from, whereas my boyfriend has both a brother and a sister, a nephew, and several male cousins.

Fast-forward to now. My son is 16 months old. He is an utter joy! I ache to hold him when I have a stressful day at work, because just looking at him makes me forget how awful work was. We go on mommy-son dates. The three of us will be out walking sometimes and if I'm lagging, he'll stop and come running back to hold my hand and walk with me. While I don't subscribe to most gender stereotypes, I have conversations with friends who are parents of daughters, and it seems that my own personality is much more suited towards mothering a son. I laugh at myself for ever feeling like I'd not enjoy him. Even at the height of my post-natal depression, not once did I think that having a girl would have been a better option. He is a source of amazement and wonder with every step he takes, every new thing he learns, every expression in his little, chubby, smily face. I'm tearing up as I type this, because I can't imagine life without him, and it hurts that I once thought I didn't want him. If he's asleep when I get home today, it will be disappointing, like it usually is when that happens. He's my treasure - I am disgustingly happy, and he's a major reason for it. We haven't decided yet if we want another child, but if we did, guess what? I'd want another boy! That's how much the pendulum has swung.

TLDR; I felt how you feel, but things turned out to be nothing like I expected. My heart explodes almost every time I look at my son. While I believe I couldn't possibly love my son more, but I'll likely prove myself wrong there too. (Apologies for all this gushing sappy cliche stuff... but it is 100% true.)
posted by Everydayville at 12:45 PM on July 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

#3. Yep. I was POSITIVE I was having a girl. 100%, no doubt. Even though the ultrasound showed boy. I was devastated. And, not to put too fine a point on it, and not to belittle anyone, but I felt so, so stupid after my son was born. He was (is) awesome!! How could I have ever wanted anyone but HIM?? I know it's cliche, but I really fell in love the minute I held him. And, since we're putting all of our cards on the table here, I wasn't even sure I wanted kids in the first place. My husband and I just sort of agreed to let the pregnancy progress and all of a sudden, I'm someone's mom. I adore my son. I can't imagine not having him in our lives. I just can't.

#4. Didn't do any of that but our second child was a girl. But, and this is so important: I would have been perfectly happy with another boy, because he would have been MY KID.

My son is 20, my daughter is 17, and I love them both more than anything in this world. It wouldn't matter to me if they were both boys, both girls, transgender, aliens from Venus, WHATEVER. They're my kids. I love them.

Also, it might be worth investigating why you want a girl so much. If it's because of society's pictures of "what girls are/what girls do" you really should nip that right in the bud. It's better for the world if we raise our children to be human beings rather than shove them in gender roles. Maybe your boy will like sports, maybe he'll like opera. Maybe your girl would have loved tea parties with mom, maybe she would have preferred fishing with Nana. So. Yes. Delve into what your expectations were and, probably, throw them out the window. That's the best lesson for new parents, anyway: hardly anything ever goes according to plan!
posted by cooker girl at 1:30 PM on July 25, 2017

When I was pregnant the first time I wanted a girl, too, mostly because I felt like I knew how to help a girl navigate sexism and feminism better than I would know how to help a boy navigate toxic masculinity. I had a boy.

Obviously this isn't everyone's experience, but I got a vehicle-obsessed boy who also loves pretty dresses and can't bear the thought of anybody getting hurt. He likes explosions and wants to wear barrettes in his hair. He's not cuddly but he loves deeply. His idea of a perfect day is a bike ride, a baking project, some board games and some Minecraft. He loves to play dollhouse but instead of dolls he uses hotwheels.

I don't want to make some huge overarching point about gender here because it's really complicated. But the child I got was so, so, so, so much more than a boy or a girl and I haven't wished he was different, ever.
posted by Cygnet at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Update from the anon OP:
I am so moved by these powerful, warm, insightful and supportive comments. This thread has made me tear up several times, and grow so excited for the possibilities of any baby that may come. Thank you for all of your reminders of the complexities of life. It was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you all.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:29 PM on July 25, 2017 [11 favorites]

Add me to the 39 years old and knowing I only wanted one child, I was all in for having a girl. Little boys were honestly a mystery to me, I was one of two daughters, all of my friends had daughters, I was going to have a daughter--I just knew it. When I found out my son's gender at 11 weeks pregnant, my heart sank. All of the images in my heart and mind were of my little girl... the little girl I was never going to have. About an hour after I found out I was having a son, I cried and grieved for that little girl.

I had most of my pregnancy to adjust to the reality of a son, but I would be lying if I was far from enthusiastic picking out the far less adorable boys' clothes and was still a little baffled at the thought of raising a son.

But the moment he was born, he was my Sun, my Light, my Life, MY SON!!! From that day to this one---almost 8 years to the day he was born -- I know I had the right child. He is all boy and he is all love--Little boys are like that!

Funny thing--after he was born, we thought about possibly trying for another child since Kid Murrey was so amazing (and relatively easy). During that time, my husband asked if I hoped to have a little girl if we did try. My words and my heart resoundingly said no...I would want another boy. We ultimately decided to stay with one child, but I will be honest -- I sometimes grieve not having and knowing my son's brother.
posted by murrey at 11:44 AM on July 26, 2017

I really wanted a girl, and so we asked to know the sex after the amnio. I needed to re-orient my head to having a boy, if that's what we were having.

By the delivery date, I was pretty much OK with having a boy. Having months to get used to it helped. My pregnancy wasn't easy but some friends had very hard pregnancies, and that goes a long way to "I"ll take what I get!" Plus, the amnio gave us some good news: my son doesn't have my mother's genetic condition (I'm a carrier).

He's my guy, but really, he's his own guy. Without firm ideas about what a son of mine would be like (other than very liberal), it's been a joy to see him grow into himself. There are a lot of his interests he's gotten from us (a nerd! no surprise, and he bakes and bikes with me) and other that came from somewhere else, like the Phils (we think his godfather, actually) and Pokemon and basketball and swimming at camp all the time. He's sweet and loving and not macho (like his Dad) and loves potty humor and epic battles (like every other middle-school boy).

posted by JawnBigboote at 4:16 PM on July 26, 2017

I just learned via Adam Ruins Everything that fertility dropping drastically after 35 is a based on studies from about 400 years ago, so definitely possible to have another one after the first without doing anything special.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:19 PM on July 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Think of all the things you imagined doing with a little girl, whatever they are -- reading her the books you loved as a kid, teaching her to draw or sew or throw a punch or make a paper airplane or put on makeup or make up stories with her dolls -- and then DO THAT WITH YOUR SON. do not deprive him of the best half of child culture because he's not a girl. Cater to his personal tastes once he's old enough to express them, but never ever censor the impulses you would have had with a daughter because you think he's not worthy of them or they're not worthy of him. He deserves this as much as any girl.

and every time someone compliments you or tells you how lucky you are to have a boy because they are low-drama, tell them to go fuck themselves with a sweet smile on your face, and then tell your son how much you love his drama. you will be the best mother a boy could ever have.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:01 PM on July 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you're reading this anymore, but I came across it searching for something else, so there we are. I was just like you -- I really, really wanted a girl. I took the opposite position of people on this thread -- I DID NOT want to find out the gender, because I knew I would be disappointed if it was a boy and would spend all my pregnancy stewing about it. And at the same time I KNEW I would adore my baby once I met him/her. I also had a strong feeling it was a boy.

So I didn't find out, and I think I was totally right about this. When my baby was born, my husband told me it was a boy. I was SO THRILLED! I was so excited! I started to call him by the name we chose for him and it felt so wonderful! My SON was so perfect! And then -- it turns out it was a girl. My husband had looked at the genitals, which, FYI, get all puffed up from the mother's hormones, and thought it was a boy. (Yes, really -- the doctor had to correct him.) So we actually had a girl, which was what I wanted.

Let me tell you, I DID NOT CARE! I was no more excited than I was when I thought we had a boy. I just switched the names, and for a second, I even said goodbye to that little boy I was having. I was just SO IN LOVE with this little being that had just come out of my body that caring about the gender just seemed ridiculous.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wanting a girl is really just gender bias of a different kind. I wanted to do girly stuff, like take my daughter to the Nutcracker and have deep conversations about relationships, and have her color and read by my side while I made dinner or braided her hair. These are just perceptions of girls that we have that we project onto them -- I catch myself projecting girly stuff on my daughter all the time -- and I'm not even a girly person. It's dangerous and makes me a bit sad. I would love to take my son to the ballet and a women's soccer match. I agree with queenofbithynia -- do all the stuff you wanted to do with a girl with your son, if you do have one.
posted by heavenknows at 2:18 PM on August 20, 2017

Close friend REALLY wanted a girl, and for Reasons, she knew she would never again get pregnant. She decided to find out the baby's sex by ultrasound, specifically because she knew she'd be disappointed if the baby was a boy, and wanted to give herself enough time to get over it. When she discovered it was a boy, she was sad for a month or so. Then she had an awesome boy, who is now 4 years old and very boyish... and she loves him to bits and doesn't care at all about his gender.

All this to say- if you have any kind of unexpected or not-ideal news about your pregnancy, it's ok to have Feelings. They won't last forever. Your kid will be your kid, and they will be perfect, and you will love them.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:23 PM on November 3, 2017

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