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But soon, the mild sadness intensified into an overwhelming feeling of depression and loss.
Kicking up a storm beside her was her little brother, who was noisily trying to shove a square puzzle piece into a round hole.The first words out of my mother’s mouth when I told her I was having a boy were, “Better luck next time.” My husband and I called her with the news from our cell phone after getting our 20-week ultrasound.I was so relieved the baby was healthy that my mother’s comment did little to damper my happiness.But by the next day a quiet yet growing sense of disappointment had crept over me.At first, I attributed the feelings to the usual letdown that can follow an exciting event (this was the first time I had actually “seen” my baby since he was a tiny smudge on my fifth-week ultrasound).I had little experience, and even less interest, in sports, action figures, and video games.
Instead of filling me with joy, the prospect of parenting a son left me feeling like a first-time explorer without a road map. My secret preference for a girl filled me with guilt and shame.
Unlike my sister-in-law, who had endured nearly two years of agonizing infertility treatments, I had become pregnant quickly.
It was at that moment that I realized everything I had been looking forward to in having a child was intricately tied to having a daughter.
Dressing her in frilly clothes, braiding her hair, eventually helping her plan her wedding, and spending countless hours chatting over mimosas at fancy day spas—all of it gone in the instant it took the technician to cheerily chirp “it’s a boy.” Also, the prospect of having a girl eased my fears of motherhood.
I truly believed that our shared chromosomal makeup would guarantee me a magical and effortless connection to my child.
But with a boy, I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what to do or expect.