Skip to main content

Mom Confession: "I Wanted a Girl!"

One moms tells why proclaiming "as long as he/she is healthy" wasn't entirely the whole truth during her pregnancy, and cuts others some slack for knowing which gender they're hoping for.

By Amy Levin-Epstein, Babytalk

You hear it all the time: "As long as my baby's healthy, I don't care if it's a boy or a girl." But many moms do care. Take Stephanie Lewis, a mom of six from San Diego. After giving birth to a boy, she tried several noninvasive gender selection methods (a fancy way of saying that she tried to choose the sex of her baby). She ate a diet rich in calcium and tried ovulation timing and even a few unsuccessful bouts of "sperm spinning." Eventually she became pregnant again -- with twins! Lewis was thrilled when multiple sonograms predicted a girl-boy pair.


Fast-forward through boy-girl showers, nurseries and coordinating outfits, to the day of delivery. "After the doctor delivered baby number one [a boy], the room fell silent, and I saw my husband's head bow down. Then a nurse said cheerfully, 'And ... it's another boy!'"

Lewis laughs now, but she remembers feeling extreme confusion and disappointment at the time. "What happened to the baby girl who was so real in my head and heart?" she says. (These emotions inspired Lewis to write a novel about gender disappointment called Lullabies & Alibis.)

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Women like Lewis need to know they're not alone, says New Jersey-based therapist Joyce Venis, author of Postpartum Depression Demystified. "I'd say eight times out of 10, women who say, 'As long as it's healthy,' are not happy about having that sex." Accepting your emotions is the next step. "You're allowed to have those feelings. It doesn''t mean you're not going to love your child." In fact, bottling up disappointment can lead to postpartum depression and even resentment toward your husband, warns Venis. Friends, online support groups, your doctor or even a therapist can be objective and point out the positives.

For Lewis, it was her husband who immediately offered solace. "He said, 'If you still feel this strongly when the twins are 5 years old, I promise we'll adopt a baby girl,'" says Lewis, whose maternal instincts eventually took over. "I started to breastfeed, cuddle and love, and [thus] I began to bond with my babies."

A few years later, the family adopted a baby girl from Korea. It was a turning point for Lewis. "I love my eldest daughter more than I can express in words," she says. Although her first marriage dissolved shortly thereafter, Lewis and her new husband welcomed a second baby girl and another boy into their family.

A blood test confirmed Lewis' new point of view regarding gender selection. When she became pregnant with her fifth child, a daughter, "some blood work came back elevated, and Down syndrome was mentioned. I rushed for an amniocentesis. I cried when the results showed that everything was fine. For the first time, I understood the phrase, 'It doesn't matter what the baby is, as long as it's healthy.'"

Read more great articles in BABYTALK.


SK_BE_Big Sister

On the Day You Were Born

I obsessed over every test, pain, or dream despite having a completely healthy pregnancy. The funniest moments occurred when the book suggested I create a birth plan.

Mom and Daughter

Preparing for New Siblings

Big sibs may need some help when it comes to welcoming a new baby.


To My 12 Remaining Embryos, Sincerely Your First Mom

My body went through a lot just in hopes that God would give me one of you. So when the Doctor called to tell us there were 14 of you, we were in shock.

Bonus Baby

Last night I did what I ordinarily do around eleven o’clock. I shut down my laptop computer and put it away, then closed the book I was reading and set it on the lamp stand next to the sofa. I brought my water glass and my wine glass into the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher. While my husband went outside to smoke his last cigarette for the evening, I climbed the stairs and readied myself for bed.

Trust and a Motherhood

So often throughout pregnancy and new baby-hood, mothers are bombarded with ways in which to “be.” I value learning however I feel as a society we have forgotten one valuable ASSET we have as mothers, our GUT.


8 Times Your Pediatrician Wants You To Call

How to know when the less-obvious, puzzling symptoms are worth picking up the phone and calling the doctor.

Confessions of an Imperfect Mom

"You can forget about being a perfect mom," my mother said to me over the phone when my husband and I arrived home from an emergency clinic where my two-month-old daughter had received a shot of strong antibiotic for a bacterial infection she'd caught on the plane a few days earlier, and my two-year-old son had been diagnosed with yet another ear infection.