*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Finding out you're going to be a parent for the first time is such an exciting moment, but how should you react if you particularly wanted a boy or a girl and it turns out different from what you expected? Is it ok to pretend you're happy, or should you speak out your feelings regardless of how they'll make your partner feel?
My friend Nancy has been married to Andrew, her husband, for two years. They dated for four years in college and then moved in together after graduation.
"We were always together, even when we were little. We lived on the same street and played together every day. His parents made my breakfast sometimes when mom and dad left too early, so we were connected a long time before we dated," Nancy said.
While they were in college, they went out several times, and they had mutual friends, so they always found each other at different parties. They also celebrated their parents' birthdays together and learned how to cook with them.
"It was like we were all a big family. I felt that way since I was little because mom and dad were friends with his parents, so there was no difference between being at my house or theirs," Nancy added.
Time went by, and as they both finished college, Nancy and Andrew decided it was time to move in together. They rented an apartment and began life together as a couple.
"We realized some of our habits were different; for example, I wake up very early, and he'd rather sleep in. But we both want the place to be clean and tidy and will always pay bills on time and cook at home to avoid spending too much at restaurants," Nancy said.
Six months after living in the same place, Andrew proposed, and Nancy said yes. The wedding took place three months after.
"We invited our friends and families and had a quiet ceremony to celebrate our love. It was enough for us; we'd never thought about a big party or anything like that," Nancy said.
They kept on living in the same apartment for a while, but then they thought about having pets and raising a family, so a house seemed like a better choice.
"We wanted to have a garden and our porch and to make a barbecue whenever we wanted to. A house would be all that, and we could have pets playing in the backyard and a pool," Nancy said.
They chose a three-bedroom home and moved their things, excited to change their lives and become parents. In a few months, Nacy found out she was pregnant, so they began getting ready to welcome their baby.
"We bought toys, painted a room in neutral colors, told everyone, and we had a party, too," Nancy said.
They didn't discuss whether they wanted to have a boy or a girl, and Nancy always assumed it didn't matter that much. As it turns out, it did matter to Andrew, and he particularly wanted a son.
So, when Nancy learned their baby would be a girl and came home to tell him, he didn't feel that excited.
"She told me our baby will be a girl; I'm disappointed; I want a son. I didn't tell her, but I felt sad. Why couldn't it happen the way I wanted it? It already took long enough," Andrew said.
Even though she didn't know that he wasn't thinking about having a girl, Nancy did feel he was a bit disconnected from her.
"He didn't hurry to tell everyone as I did, and when I said let's buy clothes in colors for girls, he said he was too tired to go to the shops with me or look online. It's like his enthusiasm is gone. He said it's because of the overtime he's been doing lately, but I'm not sure," Nancy said.
The four grandparents were all happy to learn that the couple would have a daughter and promised to take turns helping Nancy.
In the meantime, Andrew spoke to his mom about the way he feels, and she told him to try and be positive because their second child might be a boy.
"But what if it doesn't happen, and I just waste time trying? Can I just go from pregnancy to pregnancy and hear something I don't want?" Andrew said.
How do you think this situation should be handled? Is it fair for Andrew to avoid telling his wife how he feels about having a girl, or should he speak his mind? Is his mom right in saying there's still a chance for the couple to have a boy too?
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