The help desk: Learning to accept what you're expecting

 

Dear Louisa

Q. My pregnancy was not planned – I'd only known my boyfriend for seven months when we found out. But we love each other and were moving in together anyway so decided to go ahead, even though it's a bit of a shock and is all happening rather earlier than I would have wanted (we're both 26). Now I've discovered at my 20-week scan that this baby will be a boy and I find that I feel really disappointed. I always wanted to be a mother of girls. I adore my two little nieces and I grew up with three sisters. I'd never admit it to anyone, but I've always felt a bit sorry for parents of boys – their children just seem more difficult and unruly. I know I should be grateful for a healthy child, but I'm just scared I won't be able to love my baby enough. How can I prepare myself?

A. Reproduction really is the weirdest thing. For months ahead you know that you are due to meet someone you will one day love passionately and unconditionally. And yet that's the only concrete piece of information you have about that person. Imagine if dating services worked like this.

The one nugget of information we can get is the baby's sex, so that's what we focus our expectations on, and what everyone around us talks about – in the process casually spewing out stereotypes that would normally make you send for the PC police: boys are noisier/lazier/more difficult, girls more loyal/sensitive/cute.

But, of course, the other thing about having a baby is that it's a terrifyingly huge step and, for you, grappling with the surprise factor as well, the leap feels even bigger. I wonder if the issue about pink versus blue is really a manifestation of your ambivalence about summoning up feelings for this baby who's made your life swerve down an unexpected path.

There can't be an expectant parent in the world who hasn't looked at someone else's baby and wondered whether they will find it in themselves to devote their lives to one of these mewling and puking little humans. But nature sees to it that not only do you dote upon your baby, you truly believe you have somehow landed one who's cleverer, better looking and more interesting than any other. So not only will you love your son, but his maleness will be part of what you love about him.

It's true that boys are not nearly as satisfying as a consumer experience – all that World of Warcraft and workman-like underwear. But I've known many mothers who wanted daughters and to whom nature gave sons, and I know none for whom this meant loving their boys any less.

The daughter in your head, the thoughtful, easy child you've always wanted, is not real. And nor is the rambunctious, exam-flunking boy. But the real thing will sweep you off your feet.

Your problem shared

Have a dilemma? Email your predicament, no matter how big or small, to Louisa at thehelpdesk@independent.co.uk

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Systems and Network Support Analyst

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Systems Support Analyst

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

    £30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests