I haven’t yet written more about my feelings around carrying a boy this time around, but I’ve been processing it all along. Nobody wants to admit they felt disappointed at the assigned sex of their unborn baby, but I KNOW it’s a thing. A totally valid, fair feeling to experience. Luckily, by finding out in advance, I have plenty of time to work through my issues, start to bond with the idea of who this little one might be, and start to get excited.
Yes, I was disappointed when I first found out. But, I was also in a really positive state of mind at that moment, watching him dance around in there, and I had my wife and daughter on a video call so they could watch him dance too. I didn’t really feel the disappointment right away. I had also been pumping myself up before the ultrasound to be happy with whatever anatomy they reported.
It wasn’t until the next day when I started to really think about it (overthink about it, really). I was nervous about my capacity to love a boy since I didn’t have much experience being able to love men in my past. I was sad that my daughter wouldn’t have a sister-bond (a disappointment based on assumptions of how much closer sisters would be than opposite-sex siblings).
It has been a little over a month since I found out, and I’ve come a long way. I’ve been bonding with him, imagining him in my arms, and falling in love. His anatomy doesn’t much matter to me anymore… Yes, I’m still nervous that he’ll have stereotypical “boy” energy and I’ll be extra exhausted and not be able to keep up. But more and more I’m coming to expect him to be just like Avery. He could, like her, be a quiet and curious, bird watching, green-thumb who loves to colour and snuggle and read books. He may not be any of those things, either, but his anatomy doesn’t determine that.
As for the disappointment I felt over Avery missing out on a sister-bond, all of that has dissipated through seeing her bond with him already… She loves him. She will be almost 5 years older than him, and I think that age gap would have impacted the type of relationship she has with a sibling of any gender. She’s also an INCREDIBLY nurturing, maternal, and mature child, which almost makes the age gap seem bigger. Even with a little sister, she’d be more interested in protecting them, teaching them, and nurturing them than having a BFF do-everything-together kind of relationship. Also, who’s to say he won’t share all her interests and they won’t be incredibly tight BFFs. Sex or gender doesn’t dictate that.
Another thing I was mildly disappointed about was the gendered clothing and toys we might end up accumulating. While I’ve always been a fan of neutral (and dressed Avery in neutral, too), people like to gift gendered baby clothing and toys (why are there blue Duplo blocks and pink Duplo blocks marketed to different genders??? Argh). And as they grow up, kids develop their own tastes and clothing styles that are heavily informed by social expectations and gender stereotypes. I dislike the navy and green striped sweatpants marketed to boys as much as I dislike the pink frilly “cutie pie” clothes marketed to girls.
One thing that has helped with that disappointment has been to acquire all of his clothes for the first 6 months of his life (thanks for the hand-me-downs and gifts, friends and family!!) We’ve been able to sift through copious amounts of hand-me-downs and pick out only the neutral items, and our friends have gifted us with some of the sweetest little neutral baby clothes. We also dressed Avery in pretty much only neutral clothes (before she developed her own style), and although we sold a lot of our old baby clothes, we kept a few gems that I’m so excited to see in use again.
So I’m feeling a lot better about having a boy. There is still some nervousness around the unknowns – needing to learn about male health, sexuality, hygiene, and adolescent social behaviours… But right now I can honestly say I am so excited to meet this boy. I wouldn’t trade him in for anything.