REAL STORIES | Gender Disappointment – It’s another boy…

1st May 2019

It’s a boy…again.

Gender disappointment – a topic no one wants to really acknowledge. I mean how can you without sounding like the most selfish mum in the world. But you’re not, and I’m going to put my neck on the line and say I’m pretty sure it’s normal.

I am a mum of three boys and have been for 19 months, and still, it is a shock to me so I definitely get why I am like a walking tourist attraction wherever I go. I assume part of the shock factor is that they are so close in age and I’m hoping once they get older I will become a less unusual sight, but at this stage in life, it’s inevitable I get a lot of questions. And all the questions are usually rounded off with….and they’re all boys. Yes, they are all boys. I often really don’t know what to say to that. I try not to just say “yeah….” As it usually ends up sounding disappointed but what can I say? Yes, I have had three babies and each one has been a boy. (Disclaimer, I also don’t want to sound peed off that people speak to me because I love it, I’ll talk to anyone.)

Gender Disappointment

When I was pregnant with Ted, my oldest I didn’t find out what he was and I was desperate for a boy, I don’t know why but I had several friends pregnant at the same time and nearly all of them had boys. With each boy that was born, I despaired to my husband that we would never have a boy because we knew so many boys that have been born (If only I’d known). But lo and behold along came Ted and we were thrilled.

And then a short three months later, pregnant again I was fairly certain we wouldn’t find out the sex of the baby. Until the 12-week scan showed some worrying results and we had to have some tests which took a sample of the placenta. Thankfully the results were fine but at 13 weeks we were given the option to know what the baby was. It was a boy and again I was thrilled, two boys born within 12 months of each other, they’ll be so close, can share everything. I have two older brothers and in my head, we would get over this surprise of a very small age gap and in a few years time we would have a girl and we would all live happily ever after.

So imagine my surprise (yes there is a theme here) when Boy Number 1 and 2 had just turned two and one to find out I was pregnant yet again. I will add a disclaimer here that I fully appreciate how lucky I am to get pregnant so easily, I know so many people have horrible struggles to face and it breaks my heart to think of this. But in the interest of being honest and I know I won’t be the first person to have felt this when finding out they were pregnant; I was not happy, I was terrified.

Gender Disappointment

Terrified of having three children under the age of three, already bone tired looking after a one and two year old and terrified as to how I would add a newborn to that mix; wondering how our house/car/bank balance/my body and sanity would accommodate another. Thanks in some part to my husband (the most laid back man in the world which probably explains why we were in this predicament) I slowly came to terms with Baby Number 3’s imminent arrival and even got a little bit excited, but one fear still lurked….it’s going to be a boy.

I chose not to find out on the basis of thinking that if I found out at the 20 week scan I’d be gutted and spend the rest of my pregnancy gutted, if I found out after labour I wouldn’t care and I would just be so happy the baby was here I wouldn’t mind if it was a boy or a girl.

Turns out I was wrong. I was crushed when he was a boy.

I remember feeling so cheated and just thinking this isn’t right. I am not having three boys, how can I be a mum of three boys. The conflict of emotions is a horrible experience, you love your baby, you’re excited to meet them and you take in all their details, but oh my god – it’s another boy. I spent the first weeks after Monty was born in turmoil that he was a boy, I struggled to choose his name because I didn’t want another boys name, my husband was going for the snip and I made him cancel it because I couldn’t cope with saying goodbye to any chance of ever having a girl. I’ve always been the type of person that if I something was bothering me I would find a solution or change something, but this wasn’t something I had any control over and I felt horrendously guilty that I didn’t want a boy.

But if you don’t already know this, and if you are a mum you do; babies are clever, clever creatures. They have a magical ability to make you fall in love with them even if they are in a blue sleepsuit. They don’t care what gender they are, they just care that their mum is there. You watch them learn to smile and learn to sit up and learn to eat, they need you and they want you and before you know it’s not just another boy, it’s lovely Monty with his wild head of hair and cheeky smile.

Gender Disappointment

Don’t get me wrong that longing for a girl won’t ever go away, at Christmas when I have to completely bypass the ‘pink’ aisle and have to go and buy three cement mixers my heart hurts a little bit or when I see pink sparkly DMS and I’ve just bought three pairs of boring navy boots, I still get that longing for a girl. I joke to my husband that we’re going to Cyprus for gender selection but in reality, I would never do that. Life has given me three lovely boys for a reason and I feel like the luckiest mum in the world. But they better pick nice girlfriends.


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  1. Suzanne

    When we found out our third baby was going to be our third boy some awful colleague at work laughed that I was never going to be the mother of the bride, I was destined to be the mother of the groom who is always left out of all the plans on the sidelines. No bride really wants their mother-in-law at her hen do or helping her choose the dress, she’s the mother-in-law! There’s a reason there a so many mother-in-law jokes!!
    I went home and cried all night and didn’t tell a soul. I don’t think my husband really got it. I felt horrendously guilty. This poor little baby hadn’t been born yet and he deserved all the excitement and fanfare the older two had received when they were born. Not to mention the guilt for all those couples desperately trying to have even one child.
    I knew number three would be our last, I was coming up to forty and physically and financially a fourth wasn’t an option. I had just always pictured I’d have a girl.
    I would plait her hair and buy her sparkly clothes and talk to her about boyfriends. In amongst my tears I actually googled this and struggled to find anything relevant. I concluded I was probably just an awful ungrateful person.
    My youngest is 2 now and he is such a happy gorgeous character that of course I wouldn’t have it any other way. But yes, I too get the odd pang when I walk past the pink section (which is always twice the size of the boring blue and brown clothes section in the shops!)
    And I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked when people look at my boys, “Are you going to keep trying for a girl?” I have a few stock phrases I reel off in response and laugh it off. Thanks a lot knob head, we hadn’t thought of that! (Not being one of my polite replies but usually thought on the inside)
    So thank you for your article, it was spot on and a comforting read xxxx

    • Helen Suddes

      Suzanne – so glad you enjoyed with this article. It does resonate with so many and we should not feel guilty. We both have three gorgeous boys and that is all that matters. The knob heads can do one! 😉


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