Every soon to be parent tells people that all they want is a healthy baby, no matter the gender.
I repeated this mantra to myself as I laid back with (thankfully) warm jelly squeezed on my exposed belly. It was time for the gender detection ultra sound. The lights were dimmed and soothing, almost nauseating instrumental lullaby music played in the background. A giant pull down screen was before us as we watched our little one move around.
First look was for the beating heart, and sure enough the baby’s heart was a steady 150 beats per minute.
Phew! The breathtaking idea of a child growing inside you is countered with the fear that the child will suddenly stop growing. It’s such a relief to actually see on a monitor that, yes, this child is alive and kicking … in more ways than one.
Now, even before getting pregnant, I always had this picture in my mind that we would have a girl. Even Jeremy had this idea in his head, and actually had a dream once.
“We’ll have a girl, I just know it,” he would assure me.
I come from a lineage of girls: I have three sisters and my dad was the only boy of three sisters. Even Jeremy’s mom was one of three sisters. The female gene was the only thing we knew. But, there was this nagging feeling in the back of my mind, a sort of “new mother’s intuition” that this baby, was in fact, a boy. I pushed that fearful thought far, far away. After all … it will be a girl …
The magic wand (as I would jokingly call it) slid around looking at different angles of the baby. No one ever told me that ultra sounds would be physically uncomfortable as they press quite firmly into your gut. I had to concentrate on the black and white image before me in order to bypass the pressing pain.
But, what I had to concentrate more on was that original mantra, “I’ll be just happy if it’s healthy … I’ll be happy if it’s healthy … don’t cry … be happy …”
“It looks like it’s a boy,” the technician said as she focused her magic wand on the baby.
“… be happy … don’t cry …” I pressed into my thoughts, “she could be wrong …”
I couldn’t even look at Jeremy. I gritted my teeth and fought back the tears that billowed below the surface, waiting to pour, as more detailed images squirmed and kicked before us.
Yep, definitely a boy,” the technician confirmed as she pointed to the baby’s obvious appendage.
“Oh God, don’t cry …” I pathetically and desperately told myself.
I never could listen to my own advice.
The tears started to fall. This baby girl I had dreamed about, was crushed by my surfacing gut feeling that was evident on the screen. I felt heartbroken and disappointed. And, to make matters worse, I now already felt like the worst mother on earth. How could I be sad about this baby? Why can’t I be overjoyed that the baby’s just healthy? Why am I being so selfish? My dreams of a little girl were squashed right there on the table, listening to a cheesy rendition of Rock-a-by Baby.
“Oh, honey, don’t cry, be happy,” my sweet and understanding husband said as he stroked my hair and handed me tissues. Obviously, he wasn’t as crushed to the idea of having a boy as I was.
I am happy,” I choked.
The ride home was somber. I felt numb the entire day. Even calling family and friends to tell them the good news was heart wrenching for me. I feigned excitement, but doubt it came across that enthusiastically over the phone. Instantly, that “baby high” I felt for the first months of this journey was bottoming out.
“Oh, you’ll forget all about that when you finally hold him in your arms for the first time,” everyone would tell me.
I was beginning to get tired of people’s intentions of how I should and will feel. I began to shut them out. How could they possibly understand how I’m feeling?
Once I finished my pathetic mourning over the next couple of days … weeks, I had to finally sit back and think, “what’s depressing me most?”
One was obviously that I had always figured I was going to have a girl, and I suppose, I would miss doing all those girly things; playing with their hair, pick out cute clothes, tea parties ... Doesn’t every soon to be mother desire that? I thought so. I didn’t want a clone of me; Jeremy couldn’t handle Elly Jr.! I just wanted a daughter to simply bond with, like the great relationship I have with my mother.
That brought be to what really haunted me about having a boy: that I wouldn’t have the same bond with a boy as I would a girl. Jeremy would be able to teach him video games and baseball and all that other boy bonding stuff. I simply felt left out even before this child was born.
I sought advice and other women’s experiences like mine, and amazingly, I wasn’t alone. They reassured me that even though they hoped for a girl, they couldn’t have imagined life without their little man. Long lists of “great things about having a boy” helped slowly perk up the baby high I lost. The list contained things from “boys are always more cuddly with their moms,” to even, “boys can take out the trash and kill bugs for you without question.”
The idea of having a boy wasn’t sounding so bad. But, I still had this fear of not becoming close with a boy. I simply had no clue about boys or how to even raise them. “How do you even teach them to pee standing up? Something about Cheerios?” I thought I heard somewhere.
Jeremy saw my growing depression and helped add to the list. He reminded me of one important fact I forgot, “Elly, you’re a tomboy. Of course you’re going to bond with this boy!”
Oh yeah … how can I forget who I really am? I’m no girly girl. I mean, ever since a kid, I was always more interested in Lego’s, building forts, climbing trees, making science experiments ... How could I not bond with this boy? Call me a geek, but if he’s anything like me, we’ll get along famously!
And, so the baby high began to rise over time. I admit, it took quite a while, and I’m still getting back to the top, but, I now had a fresh new perspective on this child. I wasn’t fearing those idealistic thoughts as I once did. I was starting to picture my future as a family with a little boy. And that idea wasn’t as scary I originally imagined.
Now, if we don’t get a girl on the next try … well, we’ll come to that when that happens.