By Guest Blogger Cybill Eckelmann
June 5, 2016. The day we decided it was time to try for another baby. October 26, 2017. The day I saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test. January 29, 2018. The day my heart broke when I found out I was having another boy.
All my life I had dreamt about having children. A boy and a girl. I had girl names picked out. Madison Eileen or Savannah Grace. I would day dream about taking pictures of my baby girl in my wedding dress and eventually going wedding dress shopping with her. Day dreams of headbands and bows and tutus and glitter and sequins. So, so many dreams. And now they were gone. Completely shattered. Because this baby was our last baby. And it was another boy.
From the first time we were able to detect a heart beat, baby’s heart rate stayed in the 160-170’s. Even my doctor mentioned the myth of a higher heart rate meaning a girl. Our older son referred to the baby as a girl. And you know what they say about children being about to sense these things! This pregnancy even felt different. I was so certain it would be a girl. Because that was all I had ever dreamt about. A boy and a girl.
And then we found out, right there in the doctor’s office during our routine anatomy scan. The second she put the Doppler to my swollen belly, I heard the heart rate and saw it said 143. I knew. Before they even saw his little boy parts, I knew. I didn’t say anything. I just watched. And then she excitedly said, “It’s a baby boy!” And I felt the tears streaming down my face. I don’t even remember what my husband said to me. I just remember the silent tears. Then we were told to wait in the waiting room until the doctor could see us. I didn’t speak. We just waited. And then my husband said, “Are you okay?” I just shook my head and let the tears roll down my face.
We made a gender reveal video with our son that included a cupcake filled with blue icing. We announced it to family and friends and coworkers. Every single time my heart broke. I had to endure the question of “Oh, so then you’ll try for a girl next time, right?” No, there won’t be a next time. “Were you hoping for a girl?” Yes, I was, thanks. But I remained silent. I didn’t want people to think badly of me for feeling this way. I couldn’t walk by the baby girl clothing at the store. I couldn’t talk to people about my pregnancy because I didn’t want them to ask about the gender. I couldn’t even talk to my husband about it without crying.
I know I should have been excited. To this day I still feel guilty about it. We had tried so hard for this baby. We had endured so many doctor appointments and eventually fertility treatments. I worked so, so hard for this baby. So why couldn’t I stop crying? And I’m not talking about getting teary eyed. I’m talking about sitting on my bathroom floor, shoulders shaking, tears streaming down my face, not being able to breathe, actual sobbing. I wasn’t crying because I was having another boy. I was crying because I was mourning the loss of a baby girl that didn’t exist, had never existed, and would never exist.
It’s called gender disappointment. It’s real. And it hurts. A lot.
But… I’m writing this to tell you that it gets better. I allowed myself to mourn. I allowed myself to cry as much as I needed. I started talking to people about it, including my husband. I talked to friends who had all boys and no girls, friends who had gone through something similar. Eventually I got up the courage to look at my older son’s baby clothes and started to imagine my next baby boy in them. And then I allowed myself to go to the store and look at boy clothes. And then I allowed myself to delete the baby girl names and add some new boy names to my baby name list. And then we worked on the nursery. And then I hung up all the sweet little boy clothes. I began to prepare myself to be a boy mom. It was hard and it was slow moving, but I took everything one day at a time.
And then.. June 23, 2018. The day my sweet baby boy was born. The boy who makes my world spin. The boy who completes me and completed our family. He was born via scheduled cesarean and the second I heard his little newborn cry.. my heart shattered. But this time, it was because I was so happy. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face. But this time, it was because I was so relieved. All this time I had been worried I wouldn’t love him as much because of all my initial disappointment, but I was so, so wrong. I immediately knew he was exactly who I was meant to have in my life. And I felt, and still feel, so lucky that I was chosen to be his mom.
My older son is obsessed with his baby brother. He sings to him and makes him smile and rubs his head and gives him gentle kisses. He tells his friends that he’s the only one allowed to touch the baby’s head because it’s HIS baby brother. Every day it makes my heart swell to see the love between them. I wonder how I ever doubted myself or the love I would have for this baby. And yet, I was so worried I would feel incomplete and heartbroken, but all I feel is happiness and contentment and love. So, so much love. For my boys. Momma’s boys.
Being a mom is such a crazy thing. It’s full of so many very strong and very real emotions. It’s okay to feel disappointment and to feel angry and to cry real tears. It’s okay to lay on your bathroom floor and sob while thinking about everything that could have been. It’s okay. You’re not a bad mom or a bad person for feeling this way. It might take until you hear your baby’s first cry before you understand, but it gets better.
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