I Experienced Gender Anxiety During My Pregnancy


Six years ago, I was told that I would be very unlikely to conceive a baby naturally. I felt sure I would never experience the joys of motherhood. After several years of struggling with infertility and eventual IVF, I had the joy of discovering I was pregnant. So it was really hard for me to admit to close friends that I was anxious about having a boy. I hadn’t asked for these feelings, and it wasn’t that I felt I would love a boy less, I had simply always pictured myself having a daughter.

Aside from people going through similar feelings on Mumtastic’s Baby and Bump forums, nobody I told understood how I felt. Worse, some people I opened up to even made me feel really bad about it. Surely, having gone through fertility treatment, I should be grateful I was pregnant at all, right? Of course I was grateful and of course I would love my child unconditionally, but it didn’t change the fact that I’d always dreamed of having a little girl.

As it turns out, all of my worrying was unnecessary. I did have a little girl.

If I’d had a boy, would I have loved him the instant I set eyes on him? Yes. I’m 100 percent sure I would have, and once he was in my arms I wouldn’t have cared what gender he was. However, if I had found out that I was expecting a boy when I’d always pictured having a girl it would have been an adjustment for me. From the moment I saw that “pregnant” line on the test (and even before), I had a girl’s name in mind and I imagined having a daughter growing up with me. Try as I might, I just couldn’t picture having a son. Even after I was told in a scan that my baby was a girl, I still didn’t relax; I had the technician check again at each subsequent scan, because I was so worried there had been a mistake.

My gender anxiety was mainly due to the fact that I worried I’d be no good as mum to a boy, if I couldn’t even picture myself having one. I’d grown up with an image in my head of becoming a mum one day, and the baby was always a girl. I even had my daughter’s name picked out when I was still in school, and hadn’t even considered the possibility I might have a son. It was just the way I’d always imagined my life.

My experience with gender anxiety lasted my entire pregnancy and certainly marred my enjoyment of being pregnant somewhat, as my worries weighed heavily on my mind. Looking back, I feel quite silly for having had the worries I had!

Once my beautiful girl was born, I knew that it wouldn’t have mattered whether she’d turned out to be a boy or a girl. I was so in love with her. If you’re pregnant and experiencing gender anxiety, I want you to know that you’re not alone and feeling the way you do doesn’t mean that you will love your baby any less!

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Image: Getty