Gender Disappointment, Unanswered Prayers, and Getting Lost

Today I looked at my sweet boy and I realized that there is simply no way to express just happy he has made me.  He is sweet, he is soft, and he is incredibly affectionate.  I cannot believe how lucky I am to have him and to be the mother of this baby boy.

I haven’t always felt this way.

When we had our nuchal translucency test at twelve weeks pregnant, the sonographer was certain that we were having a boy.  I remember feeling as though she had punched me in the stomach.  {I had honestly never even contemplated having a boy.}  I was choked up, but managed to hold it together until I was safely in the hallway with my husband, at which point I completely fell apart.  I had just been told that we were having a healthy child and I was crying like a lunatic because that healthy child was a boy.*

Then I remembered reading that those early ultrasounds were unreliable, and we couldn’t possibly know for sure what we were having until we were eighteen weeks along, at the earliest.  I told myself that if the baby was, in fact a boy, we would, of course, accept him and love him.

A friend of mine, when her child is pouting or having a tantrum over something, says, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”  This is the mindset I had, I reminded myself to be grateful, but it the back of my mind, I prayed that we would learn that we were having a girl afterall.

Then, at the eighteen week ultrasound, the sonographer showed us the irrefutable proof that we were having a son.  There was no doubt. 

As I was coming to grips with the idea of having a boy and grieving the fact that we weren’t having another girl, I told myself that we would have to try for another baby.  I felt as though I wouldn’t be complete until I had another daughter.

Then, after a long pregnancy and many difficult months after his birth, I grew to love this little boy every bit as much as I love his sister.  This didn’t surprise me, as I never questioned whether or not I would love him.  I had just always questioned whether he would be enough.  Day by day, the love I feel for him has grown to a point where I shudder at the idea that I was ever disappointed. 

In the About section of this blog, I described my love for my children this way:  “Katie is everything I always knew that I needed and Matthew is exactly what I always needed, without knowing that I needed it.”  I couldn’t have known how my heart would swell at the thought of him.  

There is a part of Garth Brooks’ song, “Unanswered Prayers” that speaks beautifully to the way I feel now.  He sings:

     Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
     Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
     That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
     Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

This is exactly what Matthew is–one of my greatest gifts.  I could have never imagined just how much I needed him and how much he would fill a spot inside of me that I didn’t realize was empty.

When I was young, my mother used to say that the best part of going on a road trip was getting lost.  She said that when you stray from your route, you see and experience amazing things that you hadn’t planned for.  She couldn’t have been more correct. Though Matthew wasn’t on the route that I had mapped out for us, he has proven to be the most amazing of surprises.

Would I trade him for a girl? Not in a million years.

We never lost sight of just how fortunate we were to be having a healthy baby.  We miscarried a child just three months prior to getting pregnant for Matthew and we were so incredibly grateful to be given another chance.


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13 responses to “Gender Disappointment, Unanswered Prayers, and Getting Lost

  1. KLZ

    oh God, all of this makes me tear up. so gorgeously written.

    • Thank you so much. Life has a funny way of working out, though, doesn’t it?

      I think that this is just one example of why I should NEVER be left in charge of making plans! 😉

  2. brandy

    Do you remember meeting me at Panera and what I said then? Told you so – in the most wonderful of ways! 😉

  3. Nancy MacDonald

    I love how you’ve described how life’s little disappointments can turn out to be the most incredible blessings. And I love that Garth Brooks song! It makes me think back to how many times in my life I KNEW what I wanted and thought it would be one of life’s great tragedies if I didn’t get it… and then later realized how lucky and grateful I was that I didn’t get my way. On a related note, I have heard from Janelle today that your little bundle of sweetness is everything you say he is and more!

    • My grandmother always told me not to pray for anything specific, but rather to pray for what is for the best. She is so wise.
      Matthew brings me more joy than I could have imagined. He and his sister are magic in their own beautiful and individual ways.

      Yes, Matthew is a bundle of sweetness. 🙂
      And Katie is enamored with her Uncle Sean and Auntie Jel. We miss them already.

  4. So sweet. I assumed my first baby was a girl, maybe because I have no brothers. I was wrong. Then we wanted another boy, we were/are so enamored of our son. I was disappointed at first to learn we were having a girl, which was surprising. But again we readjusted. And now I can’t imagine it any other way, these two perfect children. Thanks for sharing your feelings, I’m sure many will relate.

    • I was so sick with Katie and spent my entire pregnancy on anti-nausea meds. Then, with the baby that we miscarried, I wasn’t sick for a single moment. So, of course I assumed it was because that baby was a boy. Then, I was deathly ill again with Matthew, so I thought for sure it was another girl. I think that played a role in just how shocked I was. The pregnancies felt the same–all of my symptoms were exactly as they had been with Katie.

      As you know, having one of each is such a blessing.

  5. I was completely shocked when the ultrasound tech said, boy. I just always thought we’d have girls. But E is perfect for us. And we did have a girl, 2 and 1/2 years later. But it didn’t change how our son is exactly perfect for us.

    • I often wonder if our parents’ generation was lucky, in a way, not knowing what they were having.
      Once the baby is here, there is no time–or energy–to express a preference for another gender.
      I truly believe that we get what we need. At that early ultrasound, my husband, who had actually wanted another girl as well, pointed out that having a boy would allow us to have a richer parenting experience. He was so right. I would have been robbed if I had never felt the love of a son. Matthew is so lovey, so tender, and I am so incredibly blessed.

  6. When I met Brian, I had a boy and a girl and he had a boy, so when we got pregnant I wanted very, very badly to give him a daughter of his own. I barely concealed my disappointment at the ultrasound.

    And then he came and of course you know it was complicated by so many other things, but he was so thoroughly and completely HIM, so very Carter, that he couldn’t have been anyone else.

  7. A) I LOVE that Garth Brooks song.

    B) This post is so awesome… so raw and honest, to admit that kind of disappointment. It’s also interesting to me because if I do have munchkins, I KNOW I want one of each, and I think I would be so disappointed to have two of the same gender… but this kind of puts it into perspective and makes me realize that’s probably ridiculous, and I’ll be thrilled to high heaven with whatever happens. 🙂

  8. With each of my pregnancies, I had this issue.

    I was desperate to have a little girl the first time. so desperate that I believe I would have wept in the hallway if they had told me I was having a boy. And even now? The memory of my desperation for a girl? Makes me feel guilty.

    Mark was disgusted with me when I told him of my fear we would have a boy. Sigh.

    And the second time? I was positive Kallan was a boy. I wasn’t worried one way or the other about which I was having, but I was just positive she was a boy. And I was wrong.

    Being a mom is difficult. Even before it really starts.

  9. Pingback: Alli 'n Son » Blog Archive » My Bloggy Buddy

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