Gender disappointment, on top of worry of Post partum psychosis for this 2nd pregnancy- anyone else experienced this?

This may seem a bit off topic, but we just found out yesterday baby no 2 is going to be another boy. It took serious deliberation and counselling for me to feel prepared to go through it all again after going through post partum psychosis after my first son, and I really longed for a little girl to complete our family.

I am of course thrilled by my 1st son, but have had a long held desire for a girl and some more female influence in the household. Because I was really unsure whether to put myself through it all again, this feels another blow as I know if it had been a little girl I would have felt so happy right now.

This pregnancy has also been very hard because I suffer from the pain syndrome fibromyalgia, which makes pregnancy extremely painful at times, as the baby gets heavier and is a horrible thing to endure.

I cried all last night and feel really disappointed and wondering if we should have stuck to one, as it's going to be hard enough post delivery with the possibility of the psychosis again.

This probably sounds terrible dramatic, and I'm wondering if I should go on an antidepressant again- I needed them after the post natal depression I got straight after the psychosis- as I'm feeling really low again since this news (and horribly irritable in the last 2 weeks prior) so I do feel like I might need a bit of medication. But don't want to harm the baby.

I am sure once he comes I will adore him, so I am feeling guilty on top.

I don't know if anyone has experienced this or has any empathy for the situation, it prob sounds like I'm being ungrateful. I can only talk to very few people about this as i had a lot of pressure not to have another one in the first place, so my head feels a bit mixed up.

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  • Hi Joanna,

    I'm really glad you've asked this question as I think more people experience this than admit to. I'm sorry you're having a really tough time at the moment - I guess all these things just add to the already existing worries of another baby after PP. I really don't think you should feel guilty at all, I'm sure it's perfectly natural to want one of each & feeling saddened or let down when that doesn't happen. I'm also sure it'll pass soon, once you've adjusted to thinking of having two boys & the wonders they'll bring you & you'll be thrilled just as before.

    Give yourself time to get your head around having two boys - really try to go easy on yourself & I'm sure you'll feel different in a day or so. If things don't ease up, yes it'd be good to have a chat with your GP. The fibromyalgia must be really tough too, I can imagine it really wears you down - so even more reason to take it easy & rest up! I've heard some really positive outcomes though from pregnant PP women who also had it - so there's definitely lots of hope there!

    Try to focus on the good things (easy said I know!) & imagine your happy family together in the future once all this worry has gone - that's what I'd do anyway :-)

    I hope you start to feel better soon, we're all here for you x

  • Thanks very much. I feel bit better again, it comes in waves. But seeing little girls and girl babies makes me sad.

    On the plus, I like an easy life after all that happened, and it will be easier as they can share a room, clothes, toys etc and I know how to do boy stuff. I also won't have the worry of the boys getting PP one day or to some degree fibromyalgia (boys get it less commonly- there is a hormonal link).

    I miss my antidepressant as I feel more level on it and def feel hormonally a bit imbalanced this time around, plus it really lowers my pain levels, so it's hard to be in pain to a stronger degree again. I will see how I go. And discuss it with perinatal psychiatrist next week as we have the care plan meeting. Nervous to add drugs into the mix, unless absolutely necessary, and maybe I'll cope okay once got used to idea.

    I'm interested about other ladies with PP who also have fibromyalgia and what helped them. would love to hear from them.There must be a link with FM and PP, as I know neurotransmitters are involved in both.

    Thanks Andrea. So glad for this site.

  • Hi Joanna,

    I'm just about to post a reply at the bottom of this thread, but wanted to let you know that I too have fibromyalgia and so can empathise with your situation.

    I'm interested in the links with FM and PP, also the treatment for both. Weirdly, while I was on anti-psychotics (first for the PP and secondly as a preventative) my pain levels were very low and my sleep was so much better. Anti-psychotics affect levels of dopamine which has a role to play in FM too I believe - I know that they are researching the link between that neurotransmitter and fibromyalgia.

    I'd be very happy to chat more and share stories etc if you would find it helpful at any point.

    Natasha x

  • Hi Joanna

    Thank you for being so honest and articulating what many of us have felt when going through second pregnancies! There is more of a pressure in a way to get the 'perfect mix' as a second pregnancy feels such a risk to take at times.

    I struggle sometimes with knowing that a 3rd pregnancy would be, frankly, a bit reckless (!) and seeing the upset it can cause my husband now that our house is even more full of pink... and he sees the lovely Star Wars Lego in toy shops, or a dad proudly carrying a new son in a Baby Bjorn.

    There will always be, I guess, a sadness over not being able to give my husband the son that he longed for. And it's really OK if there is a lingering sadness for you too sometimes over the daughter that you hoped would complete the family unit. However, finding out during pregnancy for us was a really good thing to do and gave us time to adjust and admit the disappointment to each other. There are bonuses from having 'two of the same' that we couldn't have imagined at the time, you've pointed out lots of them such as sharing toys and a room and I think there will be lots more as our kids grow up. You could get a lot of exercise with two active boys to run round the park!

    I hope the meeting with the perinatal psychiatrist goes well next week. It is a fine balancing act with meds and pregnancy, but it's also good to go with your gut feeling and if you know your wellbeing is suffering, talk through options with the psychiatrist as openly as you can. I held out on medication until 7 days after baby #2 was born, and it did make that period pretty stressful with monitoring every mood for signs of relapse.

    Thinking of you lots - keep talking to your partner & perinatal psychiatrist, and give yourself time to adjust. You could chat to other friends with two boys also, to find out some of the highlights.

    Here for your whenever you need to chat

    Naomi

  • Hi Joanna,

    I can totally empathise with you, as even now 5 years on, after having two boys, I still have days where I 'crave' a daughter and can't help but look in the baby girls department at the 'pink' clothes and wonder lots of 'what ifs......'.

    However, there are so many reasons to be grateful for two boys (excluding the wee around the loo seat). They share similar interests, swap toys and books, spend time and have sleepovers in each others bedrooms, laugh together at toilet humour and NEVER argue over mirrors or makeup! The youngest always has an endless supply of hand-me-downs, but you still get to enjoy buying new clothes for him too.

    Looking to the future, I'm expecting them to go the same school, perhaps have a drink in the pub together and just be 'best mates' who will look after each other. Fingers crossed! LOL

    I don't know if you have any friends who have girls, but I find buying them something small and pink, helps on those 'bad days' and to be honest now I've seen my friend's house I'm quite glad I don't have to have lots of large pink plastic toys in EVERY room.

    I'm sure when he arrives you'll also find lots of reasons for enjoying two boys. Talk to your care team though about how you feel and discuss your options with regards to medication.

    Good luck x

  • Hi Joanna,

    Wow, where to start! I can truly empathise with how you are feeling because my husband and I went through the same disappointment when we found out at 20wks that our 2nd would be another boy. Such a hard thing to admit to, almost taboo, but the emotions are totally genuine and understandable. It helped us to find out during pregnancy, to have the time to get over that sense of loss in a way, which like you I felt guilty about.

    For me and for so many others who have had PP I guess, having a 2nd baby is such a huge risk, that contemplating a 3rd or even a 4th just to get the longed for girl is out of the question, so is it any wonder we initially feel that we want to have one boy and one girl to bring balance to our family? I think if we were all more honest, we’d find that many people have felt the same as you are now and travelled that rollercoaster of emotions upon finding out the gender.

    Something that truly helped me after the scan was deciding on a name and calling baby by his given name from that point. This really helped me and my husband get used to having two boys and process the disappointment by replacing it with excitement. It became quite lovely to think about my son having a baby brother called Samuel, who very quickly became Sammy! It helped too that 2 of my friends were also expecting second boys, but I did feel pangs of guilt and jealousy when other friends had girls. I think I’ll always want another baby and always want a girl, but as Naomi mentioned above in another comment, it would feel reckless for us as a family to put ourselves through the stress and difficulty or another pregnancy and the beyond, but it is a very personal decision. I am so sad to hear that you have had pressure put on you to not have another, that must be doubly difficult when you need support not judgement.

    To give you hope, you are right; you will adore your son’s baby brother when he arrives and having two boys is wonderful. I honestly love it! There is something special between two brothers. Samuel, my youngest, idolises his brother and follows him around everywhere. It’s beautiful to watch at times but they do test my patience to the limit when they fight! Also, I have been blessed with two very energetic boys and that energy and enthusiasm is contagious, something that I need to lift me out of the fog of FM pain most days. You will have lots of fun with two boys, and in my opinion boy’s toys are much more fun that girl’s toys. I love having the house full of Lego, hot wheels cars and scalextric. Of-course we do have some traditional girl toys (doll & pram) much to my husband’s horror!

    This post is getting a bit long so I will break it up into two replies …. I do have a tendency to write too much!

    Take care,

    Natasha x

  • Reply part 2 :-) ....

    Hi Joanna, it’s Natasha again!

    My empathy also stretches to the pain you are enduring because as I said earlier I too have fibromyalgia (as well as chronic migraine). I came off the antidepressants I was on for pain and sleep during my 1st pregnancy (after which I had PP) and that was very hard. I used them throughout my 2nd pregnancy on the advice of my care team. That was a very tough decision though, but it is important to do what is best for you as a Mum too. Increased pain & insomnia while pregnant and looking after another little one is soooo challenging to say the least – big hugs for you.

    I hope you have lots of support so you can get the rest you crave when you need it. What good timing that you can discuss all this with your perinatal psychiatrist next week. Do tell them all about how you are feeling, physically as well as mentally. [My psychiatrist was ever so helpful getting pain relief sorted for me after the birth of my 2nd, I often forget they know all about physical stuff too!]. I’m sure you will talk about all your concerns about taking meds during pregnancy too. When making my decisions ref meds I arranged to meet with a neonatologist to discuss implications for my baby – it’s always an option to get as much advice and second opinions as you need.

    I think it is important to remember that your increased pain levels will affect your mood too. Sometimes I get so used to the pain, that it’s easy to dismiss how it might affect my emotions. I found the second pregnancy to be such a rollercoaster for my moods (anxiety about PP, the gender thing, will I cope with 2 children and the FM? etc). I hope the appointment next week helps you feel comfortable with whatever you decide ref medication. You may find you get by without it, and I agree that once you get used to having another boy you'll feel a bit brighter – I found it such a blessing to not have to face the disappointment of gender at the birth by knowing in advance.

    Really pleased to have met you online, and I hope we get to chat more. It’s certainly not everyday that I come across someone with such similar experiences, PP & FM!

    Be kind to yourself :-)

    Oh and just one more thing - you don't sound ungrateful at all, you just sound like me when I was in your shoes! We're only human after all.

    Take care

    Natasha x

  • Hi Joanna,

    I have two boys and I feel very grateful. But it didn't always seem that way. After having PP and depression in my first boy (it lasted two years, with ups and downs!), I decided to have another baby, because I didn't want my first one to feel alone (I myself have a brother and a sister). I won' t say it's easy, in my situation I had again PP and depression in no2, but it didn't last more than 8 months. Anyway, I too felt regrets about having another baby, as my first son was seing me in that situation. I felt like I ruined my family. But now, I am sure that it is the best decision I took in my life. They play together, even thought they are 7 and 2 years old, I didn't have to buy clothes, toys etc. and I also know the boy psychology. It is so much easier than the first time and they have one another. Just be patient, everything happens for a reason and even if you don't see it now, some day you will feel very happy for your family. It just needs time and no regrets. You are doing the best for your family and that shows how much you love your first boy.

  • Thanks ladies you are all so lovely. I really appreciate your kindness. I felt better yesterday and now today am teary again and feeling a loss. Will reread all your emails again over the weekend as they are such a boost, then write a proper reply when I get a sec. We are off now to spend day and night with a good friend with 2 little girls. Will be testing but I can't hide away from little females forever (wish I could ;)Thanks again and will be in touch with you Natasha particularly in regard to the FM. xxx

  • Sorry to hear things have been tough again today, but it sounds like you're doing the right thing by acknowledging how you feel & what it is about. So glad you're not bottling it up, which is so easy to do.

    I hope you can enjoy your time away despite the reminder of your struggle - it'll be nice to be at someone else's house where you don't have to do all the work, with another pair of eyes to watch over your little one too.

    No pressure to reply with a "proper reply" - we're all just glad to be a help & support to you. Look forward to hearing from you again in your own time. Take care, Natasha x

  • Hi Joanna,

    Sorry you're having low spots and the pain of FM. My first son was born by emergency c-section in the early 70's and PP followed. It was such a traumatic experience that my ex-husband and I did think of adopting. However, five years on from the birth of my son, our second son was born by elective c-section. PP followed again. I do remember thinking before the birth how nice it would be to have a girl (my sister had one of each!).

    Anyway, my sons have been a joy and were able to share so much together, going to football practice, football matches, fishing, holidays and a good circle of friends. The bonus was that as they grew older they went out at night together, so in a way I didn't worry so much as they looked after each other (could never sleep 'til I heard their keys in the door though) The icing on the cake is they now have their own families and I have four treasured, tiny grandchildren ..................two grandsons and two grandaughters, so I now have pink in the house!!!

    Take it easy.

  • Aw, that's so lovely to hear Lilybeth! :-)

  • Although I haven't experienced PP I did feel disappointed when I found my second pregnancy was another boy, I didn't think it was possible to feel that way and was horrified at myself for feeling it, it took me two weeks to get used to the idea of another boy even though I had never really wanted a girl I just thought I would get one of each as my mum had! But now at 4 and 6 my two boys play wonderfully together yes they have their moments but its great as they always have each other to go off and do boy things together eg building tents, packing their back packs and going for an adventure where the stairs are a mountain to climb. When you have same sex siblings they always have a ready made friend, they make me smile everyday and I hope this is something you will feel too. I send you love and hugs and I'm sure you are going to love being a mum to two boys.

  • thanks xx

  • Hi Joanna,

    Thanks for talking about this, I have just had exactly the same thing this last week. I am feeling just the same! I have just had my 20 weeks scan and we are having a second girl, which I know in the end it will be great and my daughter will love having a sister. But I feel a bit like I'm grieving for the boy I won't have, as I just don't think I can go through pregnancy again (having had hyperemesis for the 2nd time!) and of course the risk of being ill afterwards. It's also complicated by my own history which having a girl and my own childhood has affected my mental health.

    How are you doing now? I hope you're feeling more positive now.

    Jo x

    How are you doing now?

  • Hi Singingmumma, sorry to hear of your sadness. I'm a bit up and down with my feelings about it but am getting there. Seeing little girls in pretty frocks still hits my heart, but I'm just letting myself grieve.

    It has helped talking to my friends who have had two of the same sex, who have seen that having two the same is so much easier in every level and very importantly so much better for their children, as they will always have common ground and play well together.

    We have also given our little boy a name, and my son is so excited about his baby brother coming, which also helps.

    I'm also doing pregnancy yoga which gives me time to concentrate on the pregnancy for an hour a week, as with your 2nd pregnancy you never get time, do you, as you are running around after the 1st.

    I am very close to my mum, so really expected to have a little girl and have that same relationship, but there is no guarantee of that. I know I adore my first born so I am sure once the baby comes, a lot of it will be forgotten. I was also excited about getting new clothes for a little girl, so have bought some new bits for this baby instead, to get myself in the frame of mind.

    Take every day as it comes, but it will be a great blessing to have another. And as someone who has a younger sister, I know that that relationship is a fantastic one, so it's great your daughter will always have that. But it's normal to feel sad but it will eventually pass.

    Take care xx

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