Last weekend, my husband and I decided that we wanted to go for a gender reveal scan to find out the sex of our twins. From the moment we discovered we were having two babies we were absolutely bursting to know what they were (and to be honest so were all of our family and friends) Yes, having twins has generated great excitement for everybody we know.
Since we announced our news, many conversations have taken place about what we might we having. And they have all generally gone the same way. As we already have two daughters everybody has been speculating that we might have a boy (if not two) and how exciting that would be. I can’t lie, the thought had crossed my mind too. It’s not that I ever particularly yearned for a boy or imagined that one day I would definitely have a son, but when I found out that I was having twins, for the first time I began to consider the prospect seriously.
After all, with two of them in there the chances were likely, right?
The problem is (and I’m sure most mums and dads out there have fallen victim to it) that when you begin imagining in your head that you are having one gender over the other, your mind can run away with the idea. You begin to visualise this little boy or girl that you believe you might be having. You might even start to fall in love with the idea. And it can be very difficult to switch off these dreams and fantasies that you have been conjuring up in your head.
So as the day of the gender scan was approaching I began to feel very nervous. For one, I hadn’t seen the babies on screen for weeks and I was anxious to see that they were okay. But I was also getting very nervous about the big reveal. In my mind (no matter how hard I tried) I could not stop focusing on having a girl and a boy. I kept thinking about how lovely it would be to have one of each and for the first time I realised that I loved the idea of having a little boy.
When the day arrived I was a complete bag of nerves. In fact I was so nervous I was almost ready to back out of it. I started thinking that maybe I would prefer to just wait until they were born to find out. The pressure I was feeling from others and the pressure I was putting on myself was starting to get to me.
But as soon as the sonographer began and I could see my little babies on screen I breathed a huge sigh of relief. There they were, lovely and safe, doing little tumbles and swaying their arms through the amniotic fluid. The sonographer made sure to point out to me that they were showing great movement and that both had steady, healthy heartbeats. It was incredible to watch and massively reassuring.
But then the question came.
“Are you ready for me to tell you their genders?” she asked cautiously.
I glanced at my husband who was his usual calm, collected self as I took a huge deep breath.
“So, twin one is a….girl” she revealed with a wide smile on her face.
Then there was a slight pause while she continued to scan around to focus on twin two this time. My heart was pounding. What was she going to say?
“And twin two is…..also a girl”.
I was stunned. I lay there smiling but inside I was gobsmacked. My heart kept pounding and my mind was racing. No boy? I almost wanted to ask her was she sure but I knew there was no point. I hated the fact that I was lying there feeling so deflated but I couldn’t make the feeling go away.
We thanked her and took the pictures that she gave us to bring home. As we both walked out in silence I took a quick look at my husband. And for the first time I could see it. He looked how I felt. Disappointed.
“You were hoping for a boy, weren’t you?” I gently asked him.
“Sort of”, he replied.
The drive home was quiet and not full of the excitement and enthusiasm I had been expecting. I hated myself for feeling this way. I felt so rotten and guilty inside for not being overjoyed with my news.
We talked about it a lot that night and for most of the next day. I started to realise that I had been putting all of my focus and energy into thinking about this boy that had never actually been there instead of focusing on the two healthy girls that were busy growing and developing inside me.
But then I also realised that as shocked and taken aback as I had felt after the scan, I remembered what had really mattered to me after leaving that room. It had been seeing the two of them moving around so clearly and watching their hearts beating steadily.
And I then knew that this is what really matters – it’s not the not having a boy but having two healthy babies.
I started to let go of this pre-conceived notion that I had built up in my mind and the guilt that went with it and began focusing on my twin girls. Yes, we are going to have four girls! What am I going to do?
More to the point, what is my husband going to do? He is completely outnumbered now.