Last year in all the hubbub of expecting our first child and the seeming millions of decisions to make, E and I were on the same page regarding finding out the gender. We both, independently, wanted to wait until delivery to discover baby’s gender. It was a good thing A ended up being a boy because even as we started the induction we had not agreed upon a girl’s name.
My perspective from Griefland is quite different than that of my former life. Regarding this particular topic, I am quite torn about whether to find out Dragon’s sex at the 19-week anomaly scan. Obviously my first wish is for a breathing baby. My second is for a healthy baby. Even those two desires seem selfish and I dare not tempt fate, but I cannot help but have a bias. I really want a boy.
Part of this desire, I’m sure, stems from the story that has been forming since A was stillborn - what it would have been like to parent a son, how a firstborn son would have affected the family dynamic, how E and his son would bond, the unique gifts and challenges of raising a boy. Having another son doesn’t right the wrong of A’s calamitous death, but it would fulfill a part of the story that I want to be my story. Since we were actually blessed with a son, it now feels as though we ought to have one.
Additionally, I am quite terrified of having a daughter. Even during the blissful preparations of my first pregnancy, the thought of raising a daughter spiked my anxiety. I think much of this originates in the complex and tumultuous relationship I have with my own mother. I would be much more comfortable rearing a son. And god help us all if I have more than one daughter because the complicated sister dynamic is a baffling mystery to me.
So back to the issue at hand, again this pregnancy E would like to wait until Dragon’s birthday to find out. I feel strongly that this is the right thing to do. Because it is tradition, because I don’t want gender to matter, because it’s difficult for me to keep a secret. However, if this little stinker does end up being a girl, I will have to sort out all of those feelings (including, sadly, disappointment) while trying to bond, nurse and care for my newborn. If I opt to find out at the anomaly scan, I’ll have a 4-month head start in preparing myself emotionally and mentally.
I’ve also heard from a BLM whose son was stillborn at term 12-years ago and who went on to have two living sons, that she found out during both subsequent pregnancies because then she could name her children and make the most of her time with them in utero in case that was the only time they would have together.
I admit I do not think of Dragon as obsessively as I thought of A during my pregnancy with him. Perhaps this is common for all second pregnancies, babyloss or not. Perhaps the novelty isn’t there since I know how it goes now. But I just don’t dwell on Dragon all day every day like I did last time. On top of that, much of my focus is still dedicated to A and grieving him. Maybe finding out Dragon’s gender will help me feel more attached. Or maybe that will naturally come later one once I start to feel Dragon moving around and developing a personality.
There are pros and cons to both choices. Whichever I choose, E will support. If I do decide to find out early, I won’t be sharing with anyone (sorry friends). I still have a few more weeks to weigh the options but gosh it’s tough.