The sex: to know or not to know?

January 28, 2015 Written by Helen

Not, we've decided. And this time around I can honestly say I don't mind one bit. With my first baby, and in the immediate aftermath of my mum's death, I am afraid I did mind rather, and it bothered me terribly that I minded. I felt guilty. But I wanted a daughter, and in those early weeks and months after she died it comforted me to know that I might be carrying a girl, with whom I could share all that my mum and I shared together. I wanted that relationship back, even if it meant I had to be the mum this time around.

In truth, I was scared of having a boy; scared that I wouldn't love it the same way, that I just wouldn't really know what to do with it. My mum would have been the first to tell me it didn't matter. She never minded what she had (three girls) and she didn't think other people should mind either. She always said she just felt lucky to have children, it didn't matter what kind.

So we wrestled with whether or not to find out last time. Our amazing hospital with its super clever scanners could have told us as early as 12 weeks. In the end I let myself off the hook, relaxed a bit, and came to understand that I loved this baby growing inside me, be it boy or girl. It was a baby. The details really didn't matter.

So this time, we really don't mind: lucky us if we get a boy, lucky us if we get a girl. We are up for the surprise. There are very few true surprises left in life. This is a real, proper surprise, and we are excited! I have of course been happy to indulge those (nutters) who profess to be able to tell the sex of your unborn child using their sorcery and magical powers. After dinner last night I lay on the couch in the kitchen while several (slightly drunk) people dangled my wedding ring suspended on a strand of hair over my huge white exposed belly. Sure enough, it "rocked" from side to side. Conclusive proof, apparently: girl. I actually felt like we were about to do a Ouija board, such was the level of preparation, intrigue and suspense in the room. And then there is the bloke in the post room at work. He's about 7'5", and I remember him taking me by the wrists when I was pregnant with Eve, feeling my pulse (which is supposedly different in each wrist - what?!) and declaring he had a 90% success rate at predicting the baby's gender. He was right, incidentally. I must pop in and see him tomorrow...

And as for not knowing what to do with a boy, correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine that one newborn is pretty much the same as another. Feed it, hold it, love it, and I think we'll be ok.  I hear there's a different wiping technique. I'm sure I'll learn...

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4 thoughts on “The sex: to know or not to know?”

  1. Fiona McKee says:

    Hi Helen
    A friend told me about your blog . My Mum passed away when I was 34 weeks pregnant with my second child . My daughter is now six years old and my son is nine . On the day of Mums funeral I remember thinking that the worst thing that could ever happen to me has happened and yet my son still needed his breakfast and still needed his nappy changed . In the midst of this grief I still had to function as a mummy . The early days of a new baby who’s crying and you don’t know why, to the sports days or school plays ,these are all the things that I can’t share with my mum and perhaps only another mummy without a mummy will understand. Anyway I just wanted to wish you well with your pregnancy and the blog and I look forward to following your progress .best wishes Fiona x

    1. Helen says:

      Fiona, how kind you are to leave a comment. Thank you. It must have been so desperately hard to be so far into your pregnancy and to suffer such a terrible loss. I can’t imagine the pain of that.
      Thank you for understanding, and for being in touch.
      Helen. x

  2. Jo says:

    Hi Helen

    It’s Jo – P&S friend I saw they linked this and wanted to say how touching what you write is. You are and will continue to be an amazing mother I have no doubt. I’m not far away in ol London Town if you ever fancy a coffee? X

    1. Helen says:

      Jo! It’s lovely to hear from you. Thanks for reading, and it would be great to see you. x

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