a confession.

baby shoesI debated whether or not to even write this, let alone post it publicly. In the end, I reminded myself that the whole point of this blog is to share my heart with strangers, and with that comes total and complete honesty, despite my occasional fears of what people may think. So, here goes a confession…

Friday night we found out that we are having a baby boy. We were elated, to say the least, and the transition from “it” to “he” has been amazing. I can actually picture our son, with his daddy’s eyes and perfect smile. I can vividly imagine Brett teaching him how to play basketball and the mere thought of that warms my heart in a capacity I didn’t know it could be warmed. We use his name regularly, and already went clothes shopping to celebrate. All weekend I was happy. Content. I could suddenly see our future so much clearer than before, like our family had been defined in a new way.

And yet, there was a part of me that still felt unsettled. That’s the best way I can describe this. I couldn’t really put my finger on it until Saturday night, when I worked up the courage to say out loud the feelings I had been suppressing. Brett and I were cuddled on the couch talking about our baby boy, when I blurted it out unexpectedly.

“There’s a tiny part of me that is sad we’re not having a girl.”

The second the words left my mouth, tears came streaming down my face so fast I couldn’t have stopped them if I tried. And then I was crying, really crying. That deep ugly cry where you shake and gasp for air and desperately choke on your own tears. I cried for everything. For our perfect girl name and the gold sparkly shoes and her hypothetical long eyelashes and all the headbands and dresses in the world. I cried for all of it. And as I cried, I hated myself. I hated myself for feeling even the slightest ounce of disappointment. In that moment, I felt so unworthy to be a mom. I felt unworthy to be blessed with a sweet baby boy. I hated the tears, and I hated myself for not being able to stop them.

Brett whispered in my ear over and over again “It’s okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to be sad.”

Brett is perfect in those situations. He always is. I honestly don’t know what I ever did to deserve him. I finally managed to pull myself together, and immediately felt better. I guess I just needed to get it out….to release the sad. I remembered hearing a story of a woman who wanted a baby girl, and cried when she found out she was having a boy. I remembered how I judged her without even knowing her, and here I was just a few months later doing the same thing. What was wrong with me?

All along I knew I was having a boy. And I was happy about it! I AM happy about it. I think I had only known I was pregnant a few weeks when I first told Brett our baby was a boy. He laughed it off and told me I was crazy, but I was convinced. Which is probably why I didn’t cry on Friday when we cut the cake. The cake only confirmed what I already knew. And yet, that blue slice was so….final. If I had the tiniest inkling or any bit of hope at all that our baby could be a girl, it was gone. In an instant. At the same time, I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I didn’t have the ability to process what that meant until 24 hours later.

The next morning Brett and I were lying in bed as he started rattling off all the reasons why having a boy is a great thing, as if I needed to be reminded. He told me that now I’m going to have two boys to protect me. Two men to keep me safe, instead of one. Two men that adore me, instead of one. Two men to take care of me, instead of one.

Maybe I did need to be reminded, because I haven’t stopped thinking about my two protectors, and how lucky I am to have them both. How much I love them both.

You think you’ve met a momma’s boy? You just wait until May. This little guy has no idea what’s comin…

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33 Responses to a confession.

  1. Becky says:

    I really appreciate you sharing this. I know a lot of women who admitted later after the pregnancy was over and their kids were growing up that they were a little disappointed – and they still felt guilty about admitting it. I agree with Brett – I think it’s totally okay to feel this way – you can be disappointed but still excited! And two protectors? That’s awesome.
    Becky´s last blog post ..Ice and cookies

  2. Oh that reaction is so normal…let me tell you we were trying for another boy but kept getting girls. I am glad that we have girls but I do think it would have been nice to have another boy in the mix. Yes my boy and I have our special moments.
    Julie@my5monkeys´s last blog post ..Antiquitas Lost Book Review

  3. SushiMama says:

    I think it’s completely natural to have a little disappointment that you won’t be experiencing the other side this time. The other thing is, before you KNOW what you’re having, it almost feels like you’re having both because you get to imagine life with either, so having the finality of one sex over the other is a loss of what might have been. I’d be willing to bet almost anything that if you had discovered you were having a girl, you’d have a little part of you sad to not be having a boy, either way, I appreciate your honesty and good job to your hubby for being there for you too!
    SushiMama´s last blog post ..19 Weeks!

  4. Allison says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if every woman secretly (or not so secretly) wishes to have a little girl first, especially women who like soft light and use a script font on their blog 🙂 I wouldn’t be embarrassed or feel guilty. I’m pretty sure most men want to have a little boy first! I think it just takes time to get used to the idea now that you KNOW. It’s clearly not like you are going to love your little boy any less!
    Allison´s last blog post ..Janela :: Maternity Teaser

  5. San says:

    So you just have to have a little girl after that…. and the world will be right again. 🙂

    But honestly, I can understand your feelings (although I’ve never been pregnant before) – while everyone says “I want a healthy baby, that is all that matters”, everyone also secretly hopes for one gender or another. I think it’s perfectly normal, but this feeling also will pass….. at the very latest when you hold your newborn son in your arms!
    San´s last blog post ..My Christmas Wish List

  6. Sarabell says:

    Oh Ashlee, I completely get why you would feel guilty about this but I have to admit, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a woman who DIDN’T have this reaction at least a little bit when they found it wasn’t what they were hoping for. You’re a great woman and you’ll be an awesome mama… and your sparkly shoe-wearing little girl will be more than lucky to have you, Brett and her big brother looking out for her.
    Sarabell´s last blog post ..Weekend Recap.

  7. I don’t have children, but I have lots of family and friends with children and your reaction is completely normal, Ashlee (for both men and women!). You’ll get your girl in the future, anyway. 🙂 Congrats on baby boy!!
    Laura Marcella´s last blog post ..Monday Quote Day!

  8. Debbie says:

    wow, you’re so brave for sharing this. I mean, I am nowhere near getting pregnant but I always wonder if I could have some sort of reaction like this (I’d just love love love a little girl)?

    if I ever do, thanks for telling me that this is normal. And I hope you know that you are so so blessed to be having a baby boy.
    Debbie´s last blog post ..jewelry box

  9. Ashley Gray says:

    And just think your little girl, with her gold sparkly shoes and adorable headbands, will now have a big brother to protect her.

  10. Elle B says:

    I think it is absolutely normal to feel a little unsettle about not having a girl. I had always knew I wanted a girl when the time comes to have kids, in fact, I prefer to have two girls. I was beyond the moon excited when we found out we were having a girl. I think no matter what, that feeling will go away as soon as you hold your boy, if not already…
    Elle B´s last blog post ..Week 69: You are already naked

  11. Ashley says:

    I really admire you for writing this. It takes a lot of courage to even allow yourself to think these thoughts, let alone say them out loud, and I envy your strength. I went through the opposite last year when I discovered we were having a girl. Like you, I knew it was a girl from the start, however that finality of “you’re having this and NOT this” is a very sad realization to come to. And when I get my little boy (and you your little girl) it will be that much more special.

    Congratulations to you and your hubby… I just love watching your pregnancy move along!
    Ashley´s last blog post ..Cousins Say Hello [& other updates]

  12. Lesley says:

    Love your willingness to be honest. I can relate…as I was very obvious in what gender I hoped for and I’m sure would have had my own teary moment had she been a boy. And I can relate in feeling guilty for having those thoughts.

    I am just glad he will have the chance to marry one of the little girls in this bunch of friends. 🙂
    Lesley´s last blog post ..Our Love Story: Part III: How Bono Sang a Love Song

  13. Paulette Hawes says:

    Ashlee – This post is so sweet and so you!! At two years old you mothered your baby brother – singing to him, putting the pacifier back in his mouth, playing with him. You are going to be an amazing mother to your son, and Brett is going to be an amazing father. I am still picturing baby Gadd with your long eye lashes and Brett’s smile!!

    Love you, Mom aka Future Grandma

  14. I would probably feel the exact same way, and I think it’s awesome and courageous and honest for you to post this!
    Kate (Embarrassment of Riches)´s last blog post ..The 24 Days of Christmas

  15. Amy says:

    I don’t know one of my friends who didn’t get what they “wanted” who wasn’t sad. My own mom admits that she wanted a boy first (I’m the oldest!) and I think that’s normal and okay.

    I will say, however, that all my friends who’ve had boys are bowled over by the amount of love and joy they get from being mama to a little boy. It’s so special in a different way.
    Amy´s last blog post ..Listening to my body…

  16. Liz says:

    You should talk to my mom…who kept trying for boys & kept getting all girls–5 to be exact 😉
    Your little guy is going to be way too cute. Of course all the Ashle{e}{y}’s in my life are having boys LOL
    Liz´s last blog post ..Link Bytes 12.9.11

  17. Carri says:

    Coming from someone who wanted a boy and ended up with a girl- trust me when I say it will all work out and these feelings will go away. I cried too, I am a tomboy, and my biggest fear was to have this little girl of mine just want to wear dresses and wear pink, and play with dolls and go to ballet lessons. For the first few years of her life I never put her in dresses- I wanted her to be a tomboy like me(heck- she even has a boys name!)! And then I finally let her be who she wanted to be. She wants to wear pink, she never wants to wear pants, she only wants to wear tutu’s… and still, I love her just the same. Heck, even I started wearing more dresses because of her. I’ve come to realize that a child just adds what is missing from your life. I literally sat on my daughter the other day while I wrestled with her, trying to get her to wear pants to school because it was cold. After a couple days of wrestling every morning I learned my lesson- just let her wear what she wants. And a couple days after that- she learned, that mommy was right- it was cold! My point is (and I have one!), this is just the first of many disappointments you will have, there are many more to come, and they usually all work out for the best. I wouldn’t change my daughter for anything.
    Carri´s last blog post ..Brrrrrrrr….. Baby it’s Cold Outside!

  18. Mom says:

    God is in control of your baby gender, but I can imagine your disappointment. I used to think that if I could only have on sex, I would want a boy. I forgot to mention that a mix would have been okay. Ashlee, you see how Brett and his brothers are supportive of their Mom. There is nothing like that. I cannot imagine without your little girl one day, but meanwhile know that your are blessed with the love a son has only for his Mom! I feel like the luckiest woman on the earth with my boys!!

  19. Penny says:

    next time we are together I will tell you the story when I found out we were having a girl … thank goodness we found out early … it took me a while to adjust to the thought … I think it’s natural friend … and the best part … us modern mommies get some time to adjust before we have to change their diapers!! xoxo

  20. This was such an amazing and touching post… My first that I’ve read of yours. Found your blog thru Liz @ explore dream discover blog. We are both Sacramento girls it seems??

    Hugs from Holland! x
    Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl´s last blog post ..Random Thoughts Wednesday

  21. wildchild says:

    i can understand your disappointment. even though i’ve never been pregnant, i think you always have your heart set on one baby, so when the reality is a little bit different than your dreams, it’s hard to adjust. but seriously, having a little boy first is perfect. now all of your babies will have a big brother! i can’t remember if you have a big brother or not, but let me tell you, it’s been one of the biggest blessings in my life. your babies will always have someone to stand up for them at school and scare off the bad boys, and teach them how to punch and wrestle and stand up for themselves. having a boy first is such a blessing. just you wait 🙂
    wildchild´s last blog post ..a peace offering

  22. Angeline says:

    Thanks so much for sharing so openly. Brett is right—it is totally okay to be sad, and we know it doesn’t lessen your love for your baby boy even a little bit. We all have our own preconceived ideas of what our lives and futures will be like, and it’s hard when God throws us a curveball. But just think…if you do have a baby girl down the road, she’s going to have an awesome big brother to protect her and love her! Loving and praying for you!
    Angeline´s last blog post ..It’s been fun, folks…

  23. donya says:

    Oh, I’m late reading this, but I had to comment that I was THE SAME way. In fact, part of me thinks I expected a boy only because that way I’d be less sad about it when it was a boy. And it was. A beautiful little boy. And 21 months later, I’m so glad we had a boy. I’m not saying I’m not hoping for a girl next time, but at least now I KNOW that if we have another boy, he’ll be sweet and adorable and loving.

    PS. so many of my friends with boys told me right away how cuddly boys are and it’s so true.

  24. Selena says:

    Hi Ashlee,

    It is absolutely ok to be a bit sad about your dream of having a daughter. I think it’s totally natural for any mama-to-be to wish for a daughter. We are girls… and love being that.. so, what would be more amazing than raising a little girl?

    This is a subject that my sister, mom, and I have talked about a lot. As you might know, Bryan & I have two sons.. and my sister and Joe have four sons…not to mention my brother who has 2 sons.. so, between us we have EIGHT BOYS!! So, let’s just say that I could totally relate to you post here. People don’t understand.. and I will tell you that if you have two or three or four sons one day.. that feeling will always be there. This is one thing in life that your really have no say in….believe me… we have tried! It’s in God’s plan… and it’s hard to not be able to have a say in this matter.

    Boys are wonderful. We can’t believe how much joy we have in raising our sweet boys… and yes.. mama’s boys are the BEST! Our boys are already the best of buddies and make us step back and smile on a daily basis. I think you are really brave to share your feelings with the world.. and can expect the people who don’t understand to say.. you should just want a “health baby” {OBVIOUSLY!!!}…. oh, and just get ready for when you are going to embark on this journey again and go for #2 if you do… it will be “Your going for you girl now, right?”…. ugh.. obviously NOT!

    I think that it is SO cool to find out the sex of you baby before the big day… It gives you TWO special days and the rest of your pregnancy to dream about your perfect little boy! So, thank you for sharing your big reveal with us… Sometimes life surprises you… and there is plan… and if you asked me if I could be the mom to an all boys household.. including our bulldog Oscar.. I would have said “no way!”… but, I am the queen and it feels really nice.

    {{{Hugs to you Ashlee}}}
    and boy clothes have come a LOOOOONG way! Just go shop at Koukla Kids on J and you will feel better;)
    Selena´s last blog post ..Welcome to Annie & Isabel’s New Web Site and Store!

  25. sarah says:

    A long time ago I read this story in Guideposts about a mom of four boys who was pregnant again and desperately wanted a baby girl, finally. when she found out it was yet another boy, she was crushed at first but in the end sees that God knows best and has a plan — which in her case was to allow her to instill her boys with a gentle sweet spirit. I’m not married and don’t have kids, but I’ve come across the story a few times since then and it makes me cry every time! I hope this isn’t you, and you do get a little girl someday, but even if you don’t, I hope this woman’s story inspires you that there is a reason for everything and your son and/or future sons will have an amazing mom 🙂


  26. Ana F. says:

    Oh hun, I think it’s so normal what you felt. Girls dream about having little girls, so we can dress them in pink, do their hair, take them to ballet classes. When we are kids, we play with girl dolls, we (usually) have no interest in what boys do. I haven’t had kids yet, but this whole year, I’ve been taking care of boys and my perspective definitely changed! Boys are so much fun to hang out with. They’re fearless, they get dirty and more independent (as far as my experience). Sometimes, I stop to think about my husband and a little boy watching football or playing baseball together. And that melts my heart. And honestly, I think about having to deal with a teenager with PMS. That doesn’t make me so happy. In the end, the important thing is that you’ll have a healthy little baby that will be loved anyway and that will love you back 😉
    Ana F.´s last blog post ..Sparkle and shine Friday’s Fancies, by av {Long Distance Loving}

  27. Rachel says:

    So glad you are able to be honest here… While girls are absolutely amazing, my son is the one who has truly stolen my heart! Boys love you, they protect you, they think you’re beautiful no matter what! You will love having a son and seeing your husband with him will be even more breathtaking! Enjoy your journey of being pregnant!

  28. mj says:

    This is a truly beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!!

  29. diana says:

    I’m super behind on blog reading and just catching up. This is a great post but the best thing about this is you will raise a gentleman who will take care of his mom forever.
    diana´s last blog post ..Guest Post for petit pas: Favorite NYC Reads

  30. Felicity Freeman says:

    I recently came upon this posting through a friend. She had a pretty strong reaction to it, as did I, and I can imagine others do as well even though their comments might not be publically revealed.

    I’ve been thinking about your “confession” for a few days and decided to reply offering a different kind of voice to your thoughts. I have yet to be pregnant but I’m convinced that for those who are able to, it is one of life’s greatest miracles. A miracle not only to conceive… but to carry a child to term, and give birth to a healthy baby. I imagine you and your family are experiencing many of those joys now.

    In my career, I’ve spent a lot of time around families, primarily mothers, who have not had that experience and yet chose to be incredible, selfless parents to children who have had medical, cognitive, or developmental complications. I am often reminded that a healthy child is hardly the rule, but rather an exception for so many families in our communities. I wanted to share this with you because I assume you are quite aware of these happenings and yet your posting creates an idea that gender really matters (or has mattered) and yet I question whether it ever really matters? The ability to create life is such a privilege, certainly not granted to everyone, and unfortunately it appears that it is taken for granted by this post, whether that is your intention or not.

    It is evident that from the comments you choose to post, people have appreciated your honestly. I’m curious what it would mean to your husband, your family, his family, and your friends to keep this private? Let your pregnancy be your joy and your families joy, not something to be shared with people who will never know you or quite frankly, care. What would it mean for a private, intimate conversation with your husband about your so-called disappointment to be something you two just share?

    It is my hope that in the future you will consider the effects on others, whether they are your friends or people whom you will never meet about what you choose to say, write, and post publically. I wonder about the effects on men and women who may stumble on this post and could be crushed by your lack of consideration, sensitivity, and admiration for the many realities of being a mother.

  31. iris ashley says:

    Ashlee I hope you are never dissuaded from being open and honest on your own blog. Yes unfortunately there are babies who aren’t born 100% happy and healthy and will have to struggle through life so in that respect it may seem silly to be dissapointed over gender. However, that being said, there will always be someone out there who has it worse than us. That’s doesn’t mean that something that is hurting you or bothering you is any less significant or unimportant, because in the end it matters to you. You shouldn’t have to hide it in order to give this image that motherhood in pregnancy is perfect and wonderful all the time. There will be times of hardship and if, by being honest, you can have even one other person breathe a sigh of relief because they’re not alone in their feelings, then that’s enough.
    iris ashley´s last blog post ..1 for me 1 for you giveaway

  32. Kat Lagrue says:

    Ashlee, I would just like to add my voice to Iris’s in saying that I hope that you never stop being your true self here on your blog. You have always said on here that you felt that it was a place where you could be honest and not be judged by the people who read it. Reading your blog always puts a smile on my face because of the joy and honesty that shines through with every post you publish. It takes a brave person to admit what you did in this confession because it is something so many people would have been too scared to say. But the fact that you felt better after posting this and seeing the wealth of comments you received from peple who care about you and want you to know that what you were feeling is normal is definitely enough reason to have posted it. I feel like I speak for a lot of your readers when I say that sincerely hope that you continue to use this blog as it is intended to be, an outlet for your feelings and a way of making friends.
    God bless Ashlee 🙂 xx

  33. Ashlee says:

    Hi Felicity,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s obvious that you put careful thought into your words and I want you to know that I have done the same. I hope you can read this response with an open mind and an open heart.

    First things first, please know that I publish EVERY comment, on EVERY post, 100% of the time. That will always be the case until the day I receive a hateful, racist, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive comment here. Fortunately, that’s not something I’ve ever had to deal with. The comments you see here are the only ones I received on this post, in addition to a number of e-mails and private messages, all of which were incredibly supportive. My blog is always open to dialogue, and I have never attempted to hide or prevent conversations here.

    In your comment you question whether gender matters and I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that. Of course it matters. There are a million differences between boys and girls, men and women. Gender is the difference between a mother-son relationship and a mother-daughter relationship. It’s the difference between brothers and sisters. Gender will not only determine and affect the relationship I have with my child, but it will also define our firstborn and thus impact our future children and family structure as well. If gender “didn’t matter”, one would assume that having a son is exactly the same as having a daughter and I for one, don’t believe that to be the case. Does gender affect the unconditional love I have for my child, my ability to cherish and protect him or her, or my overwhelming gratefulness for their existence? Absolutely not.

    It saddens me to think that someone, even a complete stranger like yourself, could think that about me. And yet it’s ironic because as I mentioned in this post, six months ago I was sitting where you are. I, not yet pregnant and never having been pregnant, was in a meeting with a colleague listening to him tell me about his wife, who had cried at her ultrasound appointment when she learned she was having a boy. I, like you, judged her from afar, without even knowing her, and echoed many of the same things you said here.

    And then I got pregnant. I got pregnant after knowing for 25 years that I was put on earth to be a mother. I got pregnant after eight months of praying that God would bless us with a baby when we were ready. I thank Him every day for blessing us with this child, and continue to pray that he will be healthy—something we cannot be sure of until the day he’s born.

    When you’re pregnant, before you know what you’re having, you sort of picture yourself with both. You pick out names for a boy and a girl, think about nursery themes, and daydream about what he or she will look like. Throughout my pregnancy, I felt confident that our baby was a boy (dreams, craving red meat, not sure why….), but there was still a tiny part of me that pictured a girl. When we found out we were having a boy, that part of me vanished in an instant. Any fantasies of baby dresses and ballet classes and helping her get ready for prom were gone. It took me a full 24 hours of being on cloud nine about our baby boy to realize this. And when I did realize it, I was sad. Since you’ve never been pregnant and you’re not a mother, I don’t expect you to understand the emotional toll pregnancy takes on you. But let me be the first to warn you—your emotions are 100 times stronger when you’re pregnant. My reaction was based on raw emotion….emotions that God gave me, and emotions that I will not apologize for.

    Why did I choose to share that reaction? Because I thought that somewhere, someone else might have struggled with the same thing and might take comfort in the fact that they weren’t alone. I also thought it would be a good story to share with women who aren’t pregnant, but plan to be someday, so they can also know they aren’t alone if they experience similar feelings. And I suppose I also wrote it for people like you (and me before I was pregnant), to offer an honest and transparent perspective on the raw emotional reaction that might occur when you learn the sex of your baby. I believe it is our job as women to support each other, those with children and those without, and that starts with understanding and empathy.

    Since it’s obvious you don’t read this blog on a regular basis, or know me at all, please also know that my family, friends, and husband are this blog’s top supporters. They value my honesty and transparency as much as anyone else who reads this blog. If that wasn’t the case, I most certainly would not be writing here. My husband reads 90% of these posts before they’re ever published, especially those that mention anything intimate or personal. This blog has always been a creative outlet for me, and a place to share stories—including the joys of my pregnancy. People who “don’t know me, or quite frankly, care” have a choice to come here or not. The positive comments that you read on this post were left by mostly strangers, who I suppose….care a little.

    And with that, I will leave you with a snippet of an e-mail I received the day I posted my confession, which reaffirmed my decision to do so and will hopefully, open your eyes to the “effects on men and women who may stumble on this post”…..

    “I cried all the way through your confession. I did not even wait until after any kind of party to realize I had my heart set on a girl. I walked out of the doctor’s office after finding out, called my mom to tell her, and started crying right on the street in front of my mother-in-law and husband, with my mom on the phone across the world. Ashlee, I’m still not 100% comfortable with the fact that I’m having a boy! And I’m 7 months pregnant. But I don’t think that makes me a bad mom, I think it makes me human. And I think it gives me a chance to FULLY trust God. Because I couldn’t feel less prepared or equipped for this job to be a mother to a son. And that’s where Jesus gets to get in here and get his hands dirty. It’s where I get to meet Him in a real way and I’m excited about that. I’m so thankful that you shared your heart and your disappointment and your brokenness with us. It’s so brave and so touching. You’re not alone. And because of your blog post, I know I’m not, either. So, thank you.”

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