My first pregnancy, I didn’t want to know what I had. I desperately wanted to have a girl first, but I was convinced it was a boy. I just didn’t want to know for sure. A lot of mothers have a preference for one or the other, but we don’t quite get to choose our baby’s gender. So what happens when you have a baby and it’s the ‘wrong’ gender? How do you handle it?
First, ask yourself why you so desperately want one gender over the other. Often, it’s a sense that you’ll be able to do something specific with your child. You’ll be able to teach your son to throw a baseball or get mani-pedis with your daughter. While you probably won’t be getting mani-pedis with your son unless you live someplace where the metrosexual thing is in, you can certainly throw the ball around with your daughter.
There are other reasons. Some people want a son to carry on the family name. Others want ‘one of each’ or a same-sex sibling for their other child. These reasons are all valid, but they’re quite a burden to put on someone who hasn’t even seen daylight yet.
The next step is to accept that you may not be able to get everything you want from your child. It’s OK to mourn that. You might need to mourn the daughter you wanted in order to love the son you got.
Depending upon your family situation, you may want to ‘try again.’ Give yourself some time. Some research indicates that children born less than two years after an older sibling are slightly more likely to have autism, though the risk is still less than 1%. Some doctors believe that a woman’s body is depleted of folate during a pregnancy and needs time to rebuild its stores. Spacing of children is ultimately a personal choice, but your doctor should give you the ‘all clear’ before another pregnancy, particularly if you experienced any post-partum problems, including post-partum depression.
Finally, remember, you have a baby. Hopefully, your baby is healthy. Hopefully, your baby will give you smiles and giggles and coos, and one day, this baby will look at you and say “Mama” and you will be so happy in that moment that you won’t even remember that you once wanted a different baby.