It’s not something you are suppose to admit out loud, that you have a gender preference for your unborn baby. But I had a preference, with both pregnancies and I never had the courage to admit to myself or anyone else.
Even before I fell pregnant with Pinky I thought I wanted a girl then a boy. Truth be told I wasn’t that fussed at the boy at that point but I absolutely wanted a girl first. Hubby and I always knew we have more than one child, so as far as I was concerned all I really wanted was a girl first. I was the oldest sibling and only girl and I liked the idea of having a daughter as the eldest. I can’t really explain it anymore than that. Although Hubby is also the oldest of his siblings he always says his little sister is like his big sister really, they just got their birthdays the wrong way around.
I was 6 weeks along when I found out I was pregnant with Pinky. I never really voiced my preference for a girl with her pregnancy because I just knew she was a girl. I didn’t doubt this fact for a moment so when we had the sonographer do a gender check at the 20 week scan it came as no surprise she was indeed a girl.
The second pregnancy was a little different from the beginning. I suffered less with morning sickness (or ‘all fucking day sickness’ as it actually was with Pinky), but I was more nervous about this pregnancy. There were various factors that made me nervous but one of those things was the fact that I had convinced myself I was having a boy, although I believed this with much less conviction this time. It was what I always thought I wanted. It is what everyone else tells you you want, as if it is some superior combination of children, “one of each and then you can be done.” (an actual quote from a colleague). I tried to look at new baby stuff, things I knew we would need that had been over used with Pinky. Plus various double pushchairs. But I just couldn’t look at any of it for more than a couple of minutes without getting fed up and frustrated for no apparent reason.
Maybe it was just intuition, maybe I always knew she was a girl really. Once we had a gender scan at 20 weeks and it turned out we were having another little girl I really relaxed. Now I know there is a chance those scans are wrong but on this particular occasion that little girl had her legs spread and out the way! There was absolutely no chance of a boy coming out as far as I was concerned.
On the way home from that scan was the first time we discussed names properly, by which I mean I got involved in the conversation rather than just responding to Hubby’s suggestions with ‘No I don’t like that name.’ or ‘Literally never going to happen! Don’t mention that name again.’ (I know, bitch right?) Now I was relaxed, calm and open to suggestions. I was full of excitement, another little girl for us. A little sister for Pinky.
I started looking at baby products for hours at a time and constructed a list of things I thought we needed and where we could get it from for the best value of money.
Maybe this was never a true ‘preference’ but just a mothers instinct that I was ignoring, but, truth be told, I never wanted to have a boy as much as I thought I did. I used to hide this fact from everyone because I know it’s not something you are supposed to admit. That is not to say that if I had had a little boy I would have loved him any less than Pinky or Perky. I would have loved him with all my heart, I really would have. I really can’t explain it anymore than I just wanted girls. But this in itself was not something I would admit. My own mother can tell you that I had a conversation with her once in which I stated I very much would not want two girls. This phone call took place in the early stages of pregnancy number two when I still thought I was having a boy. I think I said it mostly to try and convince myself. If I felt if I said it enough I would believe it.
Sometimes I understand why people get a little uncomfortable if you claim to want a particular gender. It’s not anything we have control over, and even though science is developing methods to give us control over these things I don’t think we should get to choose. I don’t believe for a moment that mothers or fathers love their children any less because they ended up with all boys or all girls. Nor do I think parents with the gold dust ‘one of each’ have been dealt a better hand than other parents. You get what you get and the parenthood journey will be just as challenging whatever that is. Having said that I think it should be ok to give an honest opinion when asked. People love to ask expectant mothers if they mind what they are having, and every expectant mother will always respond that they don’t. How often is this actually true? Are those expectant mothers simply trying to protect themselves and the question asker from an awkward conversation?
Would I have been disappointed if I had had a boy? NO! I simply wish it had been ok for me to talk about this whilst I was pregnant, I may have found someone who was able to put my nerves at ease, perhaps help me get my mind to a place where I genuinely didn’t mind.
Is this just me? Am I the only person who had a gender preference?