Baby Blues – Dealing with Gender Disappointment

Dealing with gender disappointmentToday I am 32 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Less than eight weeks away from giving birth to a live human being! Needless to say I am pretty nervous and I admit I don’t feel totally prepared. I am sure all new moms feel the same, but part of me feels a little guilty that over the past few months I have not been as excited about my little bundle of joy as I should be. Since my 19 week ultrasound, I believe I have been suffering from what is called “gender disappointment”: a common yet under discussed issue that some women go through when finding out they won’t be having the baby they had always imagined.

I’ll start from the beginning: The day I found out I was pregnant. It was a hot day in June, so humid that there were torrential downpours outside making it dangerous to drive. But I was desperate to get my home pregnancy test, so I drove over to my local Walmart and sat in my car for 15 minutes until the rain subsided a bit for me to go inside.

When I got home, I peed on the stick, and with a shaky hand left it face down on the bathroom counter and shut the door. Ten minutes later, I begged my husband, Eric, to go and check the results. The test was easy enough to understand: it would either say “Yes” or “No.” I let him go inside the bathroom first and with a shocked look on his face said, “It’s a yes!”

I guess Eric and I were both taken by surprise, but secretly I was super excited, more excited than Eric was. We had been debating for a while on the right time to start a family and with my persistence and persuasion, I convinced him there was no time like the present. I had read several articles about conception and how it sometimes takes a while for couples to actually get pregnant, so I wanted to get a head start, assuming we would be pregnant by Christmas time. They say one in five couples will be successful on the first try, so I guess we beat the odds there or I attribute it to beginner’s luck! Although I was shocked and nervous, I felt it was meant to be and everything was how it should be.

The months preceding the pregnancy, I did a lot of research on conception. Not just on how to conceive successfully, but how to conceive the gender of your choice. From reading about the different sex positions, to the timing of intercourse, and even studying the Chinese gender calendar, I became obsessed with gender conception research, to carefully plan the perfect family I had always imagined. For me, that always meant having a little girl to call my own. She would be my best friend, my confidant, my little princess.

Throughout the summer, I was constantly nauseous and craving pastries and sweets. Even though I felt like crap, I was happy knowing that these two symptoms indicated a little girl was likely in my belly (according to the old wives tales I kept reading about). People would ask me if I had a preference for gender and I would sheepishly reply with the cliché phrase “As long as it’s healthy.”. I couldn’t let people know that I was really hoping for a baby girl, even though I was almost positive it was anyway.

As summer was coming to an end, I became impatient with waiting for my mid-pregnancy ultrasound a.k.a. the gender reveal ultrasound. The mid-pregnancy ultrasound is really to check up on how well the baby is developing and to identify if there are any causes for concern. Of course I was thrilled to learn that the baby was developing normally without any health concerns, but I was most curious about the gender. I was almost positive that we were having a girl, so much so that we already had her name picked out and nursery theme decided. My assumptions were based on multiple factors including the amount of females in both mine and Eric’s families. I have one sister, zero brothers, seven female cousins and one male cousin and Eric has two sisters and no brothers. I was also very confident in my conception planning. I had done everything the websites had said regarding the right positions and timing of intercourse. So on that sunny day in September when the sonographer asked me if I wanted to know the gender, I quickly answered yes with a smile on my face. I couldn’t wait for her to confirm that inside was our sweet baby girl!

So you can just imagine the look on my face when she brought Eric into the room and showed us all the baby’s body parts including its head, its legs, its arms, its stomach and its penis?! “In my opinion, it’s a boy,” the sonographer said in a very serious tone as she pointed to a turtle like image on the screen. I was in so much shock I couldn’t say a word. My mouth was dry and all I wanted to do was go home. In my head I wondered why she said, “In my opinion.” I was hopeful that maybe there was a good chance she was wrong, maybe she was looking at an umbilical cord or a swollen labia? The baby in my belly most certainly could not be a boy.

After we left the hospital, Eric seemed very happy. He was so convinced we were having a girl after all my analysis the months prior about all my confirmed “girl-like” symptoms and old wives tales theories. He seemed to be a bit relieved and more excited than I had seen him before. It was me who was secretly upset, but I couldn’t tell a soul. It sounds so silly and ridiculous, but at that moment, I felt like my baby had died. The baby that I had been dreaming of anyway. There would be no ballet lessons, no hair braiding, no mother-daughter spa days and no Barbie doll collecting. Instead, my life would be filled with cars and trucks, dirt and mud and superheroes and comic books; a world that I was very unfamiliar with. Since I am such a girly-girl type, I feared that I would not be able to connect and have a strong bond with my son.

The weeks following the ultrasound, I noticed a drop in my excitement about the pregnancy. I stopped writing in my pregnancy journal, I stopped taking my weekly belly photos, and I stopped writing in my pregnancy blog. I just felt numb. I was also convinced that the sonographer was wrong in her gender diagnosis. I was determined to go back for a paid 3D ultrasound a bit further along into my pregnancy to confirm the results. “It can’t be true,” I kept thinking to myself.

A boy! What would I do with a boy? I felt terrible. There are many people in the world who are not even capable of having children, or have babies with chronic health problems and here I was with a beautiful, healthy baby boy growing inside of me and I could not be grateful. There was no telling anyone my true feelings of disappointment for fear of looking like a terrible mother who didn’t deserve to have a child.

I went on my days with a smile on my face acting as if a baby boy was what I had wanted the whole time. It was hard to keep a smile on my face, especially when I had many rude and unsolicited comments from people such as “Oh no, a boy? You’re screwed!” or “Aren’t you sad that you aren’t having a girl?” I couldn’t believe some things people had to say, but it made me angry. After all, it’s not like you get to choose, so why would people say such mean things? They made me realize that, maybe a lot of us are living in a superficial world of gender stereotyping. Who says that having a girl will automatically mean they will like the colour pink or princesses? And why can’t boys enjoy tea parties with their mom or dance classes too? If anything, these negative comments gave me ammunition to fight these stereotypes. I was happy to be having a child at all, and I was determined to prove to myself that having a little boy would be just as much fun as having a daughter.

To help deal with my emotions, I researched this phenomena of gender disappointment and was relieved to find that it is more of a common issue than people realize. It just isn’t really talked about because what woman (or man for that matter) would ever want to admit to such shameful feelings? I found comfort in knowing that I was not alone in my messed up feelings of sadness. It was reassuring to read about other women who initially felt the same way as me, but got over it as soon as their sons were born.

I am still a little sad that I am not having a girl, but I have learned to accept what God has given me and I am looking at the positives. Having a boy will also be fun. It will be different than what I had planned or imagined, but I am looking forward to raising a little man. I try not to focus on my stereotypical gender thoughts and think of my baby as just a gender neutral human being. He will be my world. And even though I am entering unfamiliar territory with a boy, I know I will learn how to engage with my son in a special way that I never thought possible.

As I am getting closer to my due date, I am getting more excited to meet my little man. From picking nursery décor and deciding on names, it makes everything seem very real. I’ve learned that you can’t always control things in life, no matter how hard you try, but you can control your behaviour and your attitude and just embrace what God gives you. I know that the day my baby arrives, all my worries and fears will be pushed aside and I will immediately fall in love. My life will change, maybe not in the way I had originally imagined, but in a wonderful, beautiful way nonetheless.

On Boudoir and Self Love

View More: http://melyssagphotography.pass.us/tashboudoir

As I slip into my brand new white lace panties and adjust my matching push up bra, I feel empowered and naughty all at the same time. Who is this scantily clad girl looking at me in the mirror? I wonder. I can’t believe I am actually posing for boudoir photos.

Normally I would never allow anyone to see me in my underwear, let alone snap photos of me in it. Call me a prude, but I always feel self-conscious when changing in front of people, even my fiancée! It’s hard to get comfy in your own skin when you are self-conscious about your body.

Boudoir photos are beautiful and I always wanted to have them done. They are sexy, fun and classic. Whenever I see these types of photos I feel liberated, inspired and proud to be part of such a beautiful sex of human. I decide to get these photos taken for two reasons:

  1. I am getting married in two months and wanted to have a sexy, fun gag gift to give to my groom.
  2. I am vain and want to have some hot photos of myself to look at when I am old and wrinkled.

As I untie my silk robe, the photographer instructs me to sit on the bed while looking at the camera and tugging the inner straps of my bra. I am sitting in my all white bridal lingerie along with my veil, tiara and some four-inch sparkly silver heels. I feel sexy, happy and feminine as I laugh and pose seductively for the camera. As the shoot goes on, I start to feel more confident and slowly start to let go of my inhibitions. These photos will only be seen by me and my fiancée so I let myself just have fun with the pictures. I know I am not a Megan Fox or Marilyn Monroe, but I am beautiful in my own way and want to showcase myself in a way that I normally don’t.

After a few shots of me on the bed, I make my way to the floor where the photographer instructs me to drape my legs over the edge of the bed. This definitely feels like a porn star pose and I instantly start to giggle. It’s hard to keep a seductive face when looking at the camera. I always feel awkward and vulnerable when a camera is directed at me, like the lens can see through all my insecurities.

As I pose in my lingerie with my hair tussled and makeup all done, I am proud to be a female at this exact moment. Although my body is far from perfect, I am happy with my small frame, curvy hips and bubbly butt. I deserve to feel just as sexy as any super model or actress does.

I deserve to feel just as sexy as any super model or actress does.

After the photos in my bridal lingerie, I change into my second outfit which is comprised of plain black panties and matching bra, along with one of my fiancée’s dress shirts. When looking for boudoir inspiration on Pinterest and Google, I notice many shots of women in men’s clothing. I thought this was hot and definitely something I had wanted to include in my session. Throughout the next slew of photos, all I can smell is my fiancée’s cologne on the shirt and it makes me feel special, knowing that I am the only girl who will ever get to wear any of his clothes.

The last photos we take is of me standing and facing the wall with my head tilted down and smiling while hanging onto the side of my panties. I feel satisfied with all the shots we have taken, and I can’t believe an hour has flown by already. I am sad that it’s over, but excited to see how they all turned out. Even more excited to have them printed and made into a book for my fiancée on the wedding day!

Even if you aren’t getting married, Boudoir shots are something I recommend all women to do. This experience for me was a real self-esteem boost and made me feel like a star. People may say it’s vain, but I say it’s admirable.  A woman who loves her body and herself is sexy. All women are beautiful and should be proud of their sex. And sometimes the only person that needs to be reminded of that is YOU!

Natasha Pavlovic is a writer and beauty blogger. Check out her other writing on her blog

Book Club: The Average American Marriage

the-average-american-marriage

The Average American Marriage is the latest novel from filthy non-fiction writer, Chad Kultgen.

Kultgen is easily one of my favourite novelists. His raunchy, risqué writing style keeps me peeling the pages until the wee hours of the morning until I pass out.

With each novel he has written before this, they all seem to have a common theme: Sex, Sex and more Sex. Whether he is writing from the perspective of a teenager, a man or a woman, he makes all his characters come to life with real life issues and everyday questions.

In his latest installment of filthy literature, The Average American Marriage, we are taken on a journey through the eyes of a 30 something male, married with 2 children, seeking sexual pleasures outside of his marriage with his 21 year old intern.

Throughout the whole novel, we are never given this man’s name. I am not sure if Kultgen kept it this way to go with the secretive, risqué theme, but I thought it was neat. It was halfway through the book when I realized this.

As I read this book, it made me start to think about my upcoming nuptials in October, and the years of marriage ahead. Will my relationship with my significant other always be the same? Will everything be the same as it always is? Or will there be lies, deceit and shame? I hope not. But I began to wonder, just how marriages end up in such ruts? And how do you recognize the signs of danger before shameful, family-breaking acts occur?

While the idea of weddings are fun and exciting, from dress shopping to cake tastings, it is easy for couples to get wrapped up in the idea of a wedding but not actually think about the marriage. A wedding is one day, a marriage is forever (ideally).

I admit I am one of those girls who have been dreaming of my wedding day since a tiny tot, playing “house” and walking down my stairs covered in toilet paper and tutus. But what happens after it’s all over? After the dress is packed away and the pictures are all taken?  And the wrinkles set in, and the kids start popping out, and there is hardly enough time to breathe, let alone be intimate with your significant other? Will the relationship always be as fun and exciting as it always has been? I believe every person’s perspective is different and I whole heartedly believe that it stays exciting, but in a different way.

Like the character’s in Kultgen’s novel, after the children come, your lives are predominately about them and your priorities needs take a back seat (including sexual needs).  But for most people this is a new sense of excitement, getting to relive everything again through the eyes of your child. Sexually things may slow down a bit, but I believe there are ways around these lulls without risking the breakup of a family.

In this story, once the main character has committed the awful deed behind his wife and children’s backs, he develops an insatiable appetite for this “forbidden” and “risky” sex with his intern. The sneaking around and lying only makes him more enticed to continue this façade for as long as he can.

Meanwhile, this whole time his wife urges him into therapy where they can discuss their sexual issues openly. During these therapy sessions, the main character expresses his frustration with his wife’s lack of sexual interest. The therapist then agrees with the main character that being sexually active in a relationship is very important, and advises the wife to be more spontaneous with sex.

This part of the novel made me sad, seeing this poor character suffering emotionally. She wants to be sexy and attractive for her husband, but she doesn’t feel it, which I think all comes down to self-esteem. You have to look good to feel good. But again, when your priorities are pushed back, because heading to the gym every other day is probably not going to happen for new mothers.

The worst type of affairs is an emotional one. In this novel, clearly the main character was only after his 21-year-old intern for one thing, but he still loved his wife.  While this still doesn’t make it okay, in my opinion, it is more hurtful when a significant other is emotionally in love with someone else.

We see this cycle of marriage and children and cheating and deceit over and over. If we know it’s bad, why do we still do it? If we take all the things we know about losing sexual interest, becoming too busy with children, then why aren’t more people doing more to prevent these types of situations?

I have made a promise to myself that no matter how many kids I have, I will always make time for me. Even if only for a 1 hour a day, I will take a moment to breathe, exercise, relax, read…whatever…just to keep my sanity. If you let your kids run your life, then you will grow to resent them, and possibly blame them for your significant other’s cheating ways.

I realize this is a fictional novel but the whole theme of cheating and promiscuity makes me sad for our generation. The instant gratification society we live in today makes cheating seem like an almost acceptable idea. Even though there are bound to be bumps in the road, hopefully they don’t get rocky enough to swerve off the course. Stay strong and keep your eyes on the journey at hand and the destination ahead .

Natasha Pavlovic…