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Confessions of a working mother: How son’s health problem cured me of baby girl blues

By Karen Ireland

I am thinking about fashioning a sign saying ‘Baby factory closed but perfectly content!’ As recently as last week a relative stranger who saw me with my three boys said, “You’ll go again and try for your wee girl won’t you?”

I’ve been asked this question so many times in the last few years I want to scream. Then this week I watched a Cutting Edge programme about women who suffered from a psychological condition called ‘gender disappointment’.

The programme, Eight Boys and Wanting a Girl, featured several mums of multiple boys who were so desperate for a girl that they were trying everything from diet and lifestyle changes to extreme and expensive, invasive medical intervention.

This got me thinking about the whole issue again and I realised its sensitivity for some people.

I have to admit that for a long time I desperately wanted a girl — when my mum passed away and I got pregnant several months later I was desperate for it to be a girl so I could once more share that mother-daughter bond.

We learnt pretty early on, however, that it was another boy, so we had plenty of time to prepare. I was delighted for Jesse that he was going to have a brother just two years younger than him.

I thought my family was complete at two. I still had that longing for a girl but accepted it wasn’t going to be in my case.

However, when I miraculously became pregnant for the third time I was convinced that it had to be a girl and I wanted that more than anything at that stage.

So convinced were we that this was the case that there was a very small pink babygro from a trip to Disneyland in Paris hidden away at the back of our wardrobe.

We were building our house at the time and one of the bedrooms was called baby Mia’s room — the name we had chosen for our girl.

At the time a close friend, who had three boys, was also pregnant. We joked we had done our bit for the male population and that we had to be carrying girls.

She is now the proud mother of five boys.

When the time came for Teo to be born, we were ready to meet our daughter and very excited.

Growing up as one of three boys, Tom desperately wanted a daughter too.

And when the doctor delivered the baby I thought Tom was going to faint — all I remember was him stuttering out: “I-it’s a boy!”

He was visibly crushed.

However, fate intervened and didn’t permit us to dwell too much on what was or wasn’t to be.

Our new baby was very sick and was whisked away to intensive care — I was in Lisburn, and my new baby, which had no name and which I was convinced was feeling unwanted, was rushed to Antrim Area Hospital.

In the hours that passed as we waited to be reunited with our sick baby, we quickly realised that all that mattered was that he was going to be ok — any disappointment was quickly replaced by fear and anxiety.

I have stayed that way to this day. All that matters is that my three boys are happy and healthy.

I honestly can’t imagine what my life would be like now with a girl in it. I love the closeness the brothers have and aside from matters such as the lack of toilet flushing — I have now instigated a 1p per flush method to try to train them for future women in their lives — living in a majority boy household suits me just fine.

So, next time you see a same sex family — think before you utter those words — as you just never know what their story may be.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph