Gender reveal

toddler holding balloon string

Last chance to place your bets!

Baby #2, due at the end of February, is a…



gender reveal with balloon BOY!

Did you guess correctly? I didn’t.

No, I thought we were having a girl this time around because my first trimester symptoms were different than when I was pregnant with Levi. For example, instead of feeling queasy and slightly seasick, I had constant stomachaches and more intense nausea. Rather than having an aversion to chicken, I was obsessed with chicken fingers (I even ordered them at the movie theater once!), and I didn’t break out on my chest and upper back like I did with Levi.

Not only did I think I might be carrying a girl, I had really, really hoped it. JB did, too. We both envisioned our family including a daughter.

gender reveal with balloon Upon seeing the baby’s boy parts on the ultrasound, I experienced such sudden and intense feelings of gender disappointment that I sobbed for the duration of the session and then throughout our appointment with my OB/GYN immediately following. Truthfully, I was so despondent I couldn’t even focus on the most important news – our baby was healthy.

I cried in bed, on the couch, and in our backyard hammock for the remainder of the day and most of the next day. It felt like I was in mourning, and in a way, I was. I was mourning the idea of the special mother-daughter relationship I had hoped to have with this child.

So the reason we waited nearly two months for the gender reveal was because we were still processing the information ourselves. It’s taken a long time for me especially to come to terms with the fact that our family – for now – will look different than we had imagined. Never did I think I’d be the mother of boys – or that I’d be the sole female in the house. (Yes, even our dog is a boy!)

gender reveal with balloon Am I thrilled to be having another boy? Honestly, not yet.

Am I grateful and relieved he’s healthy? Absolutely.

(Do I feel a little bit shitty expressing disappointment over the sex of my baby when others I know are dealing with infertility issues? Yes.)

Meanwhile, Levi still doesn’t know he’s going to be a big brother. I know some people think that’s strange. We haven’t told him yet because we didn’t think there was really any benefit to him knowing so early. He’d just be asking about the baby for that many more weeks in advance!

I have no doubt that Levi’s going to be an amazing brother. He loves all babies, from his cousin Max to his friend’s younger siblings. He would have loved a baby sister as much as a baby brother, but I’m hoping one benefit to having another boy is that he and Levi develop a close relationship. I know it’s a not a guarantee with brothers (or even sisters), but I’m crossing my fingers it happens for them.

maternity photo baby bump As for me, I’m actively working on accepting a future of trains, LEGOs, sporting events, and video games instead of dolls, tea parties, dance recitals, and makeup. And who knows, maybe I’ll actually make a better mom to boys than I would have to girls.

The hard part is now trying to come up with a second boy name. We already used our favorite boy name for Levi! So if you have any suggestions for boy names that are definitively male, not super popular, and without any obvious nicknames, I’d love to hear them!

And if you have any tips on raising two boys, I’m listening!

(photos by Hooton Images for Bunny & Dolly)


21 Responses to “Gender reveal”

  1. Allison says:

    As someone who grew up with a little sister just like you – having two boys was also a little bit of a shock. I definitely envisioned days of shopping and gossip. I’m so close with my mom that I would have loved to continue that relationship with my own daughter. Honestly, I fell in love with my second boy instantly when he arrived and the relationship between my two sons is really fun to watch. I never excepected to be in a house full of boys when I grew up in a house full of girls. I know that it will be challenging later on, but boys really do live their moms. I have friends who only have boys and also don’t have sisters. I’m thankful that I have a sister to turn do when there is too much “boy stuff” going on. I know I’m rambling, but you’re not alone. I think all girls imagine having a daughter. The best gift you can give your child is a sibling – brother or sister – and you will be so happy they have each other down the road. Since your sister used my first son’s name, I’m going to suggest Reid as a name. Haha.

  2. Esther says:

    Congratulations on a healthy baby boy! As a mom of two boys, I know the loss you’re feeling. I still have the barbies I always saved just in case, and the bridesmaids dresses stowed away for a dress up bin etc… also a Pinterest board of girls clothes that I would buy for the nonexistent baby girl. But I love my boys with all my heart. Each one individually and as a pair of brothers. And you save a lot of money with them sharing toys and passing down the clothes :)

  3. Your honesty is completely refreshing. I’ve never gone through this experience, but I’ve never quite believed those people who say they completely don’t care one way or another. You have every right to mourn the life you thought you’d live, even if the reality is promising too. Glad to hear your baby boy is healthy, and my thoughts will be with you as you acclimate to the idea of having two sons.

  4. Mari says:

    I’m so proud of you for talking about an issue that all of us face when the gender is revealed. I was terrified when I was pregnant with Birdie that I would have a boy. In fact, I demanded that the ultrasound tech confirm several times that she was as close to 100% certain that it was a girl so I wouldn’t be disappointed later! And whenever I think about having a second child, I have to remind myself that it could be a boy – and what the heck would I do about that?!
    But think also about this, having a girl isn’t all makeup and tea parties. In fact, I worry so much about keeping her from being totally girly that I find I’m pushing dinosaurs and trains and other non-girl things at her constantly. I know you will come to terms with this and you don’t need my advice – since I don’t have a boy! – but still, there have to be ways to keep your boys from being so “boy” that you can’t relate to them. Don’t be afraid to go outside the “boy” box when raising your boys – does that make sense?

  5. Mari says:

    OH – and I LOVE that animated gif with the balloon! Brilliant!

  6. For what it’s worth, I’m the oldest of two sisters. My parents had a bucketful of boys’ names they liked but had the hardest time coming up with a girl’s name for me. Finally, they decided on Elizabeth Sarah. Then, two years later, they had another girl… and still couldn’t come up with girls’ names they liked, so she’s Sarah Rebecca! You’re not alone :)

  7. Rachael says:

    PJ, when I found out that Daphne was a girl, I was immensely disappointed. I love my son SO much, and I envisioned him with a little brother with whom he would play rough and go through boy scouts, etc. As for adjusting: Daphne is getting to the point where she asks for pigtails and always wants to wear my shoes and necklaces, which delights me. I think I am just now starting to get over the disappointment.

    Someone reminded me that even if I had two boys, they wouldn’t be exactly alike. I found that to be helpful, and I hope that maybe it will be for you. Also, I think the primary reason why we didn’t find out what we’re having this time is because of how negatively I responded to the news last time. Know that you are not alone.

  8. Jess says:

    Thank you again for being so open and honest! I’m just through my first trimester and I’m trying SO hard not to allow myself to hope it’s a girl. As the only child of a single mom, who had all single mom friends who had all daughters, I’m nervous to think I could have two sons and no daughter… Nervous probably isn’t strong enough. I know that I will find out again so that I have time to process the news in either direction. Especially knowing our plan is to only do this twice! Thank you again for your honesty, it is so helpful!

  9. Lynn says:

    Great photos!

    You know I’m not the girliest of girls, but the thought of being the only female in a house of dudes still terrifies me. The boys already have so much fun together, and that makes it a bit easier to accept. It’s also good to remind myself that I need to build a support circle outside of my home, of friends with similar interests who can nourish the parts that make me Me/Not just mom. In some ways I think having two boys is going to make me a better-rounded adult. A better-rounded adult with a good collection of outdoor gear!

    Congratulations on a healthy scan!

  10. Julia says:

    First of all- congrats, congrats, congrats!!! I am expecting my 2nd little boy any minute now. Like you, my second pregnancy has felt very, very different from my first. I had horrible heartburn the first time, none this time. Nausea the first time, none this time, etc etc. Needless to say I was convinced #2 was a girl. Lo and behold, he’s a boy (though now I am convinced he is just very different from his big brother). Anyway, I can’t tell you why, but I have always pictured myself as the mommy to boys (I remember someone asking me at Seth’s bris if I was going to try for a girl- I responded that it didn’t matter because it would be another boy anyway). Because the 2 pregnancies felt so different, I was surprised when I found out #2 is a boy, but not disappointed. I am very practical by nature, so I immediately thought of the cost savings- we moved to a larger house this summer and I have 3 enormous boxes of boy baby clothes- score! No need to buy tons of new clothes. We have gobs of “boy” toys- score! No need to buy more! Plus now I tell Seth that he already knows who the best man at his wedding should be. Beyond all that, you know how much boys love their Mama!!! The one striking similarity I have to you is the name question. With Seth, we both loved the name instantly, however this time is proving more difficult. We had a great girls name picked out but nothing for a boy. I asked hubby what his favorite by name is- his response “Seth.” Already taken. Stay tuned.

  11. Rach says:

    Thanks for being honest (you so rarely find that on the Internet these days!) And hey, you look amazing!! Very cute photos.

    I don’t have any kids (and also find myself desperately wanting girls when the time comes, which I know means I will only end up having boys) but here’s my thought: gender doesn’t predict everything. You could have ended up with a tomboy girl or a girly boy or even a child with gender identity issues. In fact, I think (despite my total predilection for the color pink) that it’s good not to give into gender stereotypes too much with kids. We’d probably have a lot more female engineers and female CEOs if we treated both sexes equally. Just my two cents. Congrats on a healthy baby – hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly.

  12. Brandi says:

    Congratulations!!! I love the balloon gif. Sending hugs to you. I went through something similar when we found out we were having a boy because of the set planned family name. All firstborn sons share a name in my husband’s family, which I knew going into it, but still I felt very conflicted and had a hard time with it. It is a loss for you to mourn. You have to in order to move forward. Thank you for sharing all those feelings with us.

  13. Emily Peck says:

    I’m so very excited for you guys! I think I was secretly hoping for a girl at some point and was slightly disappointed when #2 was yet again…another boy. But, now that he’s here, I love my boys so much. My thoughts of girly things has been replaced with two brothers who (I hope) will be best buds and images of them growing into wonderful men who will take care of me when I’m old. :) The great thing about boys is that they LOVE THEIR MAMA’s for ever and ever. Thanks for sharing your honest feelings! :)

  14. congratulations, pj! and thank you for your honesty. as you can see: you are so not alone in this — and it takes a lot of courage to share your true feelings. there is no doubt you will love this little kiddo so so so much (and i know you know that!).

    i love what one earlier commenter said: there is no way the two boys will be the same. and you will get to relish in this little person who will throw you surprises and curveballs all along the way. it won’t be just like raising levi. and who said you couldn’t have tea time with your boys?! i say go for it ;)

    love to you, friend. and enjoy your baby moon!

  15. Courtney says:

    Oh, PJ. I’ve known since you said you were pregnant that you were having another boy – don’t ask me how – and I definitely relate to your feelings of loss and grief about discovering the baby you’re carrying is not what you expected. I, too, had pictured my family as being “one of each” and was shocked to find out it wasn’t going to be the case. A good friend of mine had the same shock last year when the baby she “knew” was a girl turned out to be her second son.

    I’ll tell you what my friend told me, which has become true in my own experience as well: once the baby is born, those feelings melt away. Three months in, I now have a hard time imagining our family to be different than it is now. I wouldn’t trade my second daughter for anything, even though at the time I was totally stunned and shaken by the news.

    And you can take this for what it’s worth, but you strike me as just the right kind of person to have boys. Seriously – you’ve already done a bang up job with one! When my husband and I talked after finding out we were having two girls, he said, “Don’t worry about me being disappointed. I love being a father to our first daughter, so I’d imagine it’ll only be better having two of them.” (Admittedly, he is a philosophy professor and overly rational. But still!) I hope that, one of these days, that feeling will wash over you, too.


  16. Suzi says:

    Hello, PJ. I have never read your blog before but was directed towards this post via my friend Courtney. (I am the friend she spoke of with the 2 boys) I can so deeply relate to the shock and strange mix of emotions that you are most likely experiencing. I had a “feeling” that my second was a girl, and everyone around me said the same. Except our son (2 at the time), who kept insisting that he was going to have a little brother. He was right, of course. The day we were to tell our family the news of the gender was Mothers Day, and I was expected to have a reaction that I just was not up to. I bawled in the shower for 15 mins before our family arrived, after 3 days of crying off and on. My MIL was the first one to assign the word “grief” for what I was going through, and she was completely correct. I was grieving for the daughter that I wanted, that daughter that I dreamt of having a relationship with and the things that I wanted to watch her do. Someone on a message board said “at least you don’t have to have the period conversation” and that just made me cry harder. I WANTED to have that conversation! I wanted to do so many things with this girl that I imagined and I saw that dream shattering. I wasn’t even excited to pick out a name because I had a girl’s name picked from my previous pregnancy that I could no longer use.

    So, that was super depressing. But it’s important to let yourself grieve and to not feel like you HAVE to be happy because your baby is healthy. It’s okay to be sad, to feel like you are missing out, etc. Because, as Courtney said, once that baby comes, it truly doesn’t matter what is between his legs. I could not have loved my son more in the moment I pulled him onto my chest. I could not love him more than I do every day. I still grieve, looking at my friends who have daughters and the things that they get to do with them still hurts, but what makes it easier is that I honestly could not imagine not having these two boys. There had to be a reason why I had them, and why they were meant to be siblings, and every day I’m reminded of that in the way that they play together, the way that they say each other’s names, the smiles that are only for each other as they greet the day together. All of the play fighting, super powers, trucks, and trains are just a small part of watching their relationship blossom. There is something super special about two brothers, and I’m seeing that more every day.

    Being the only woman in a house full of men is very strange (like you, we have male pets. 2 cats + 3 human males. then there’s me.) and I do sometimes feel like I need some more female energy, but then I go talk to my friends and I feel better. I hope that you give yourself the time that you need to process this information, and that you will look back on this one day and feel as I do, that the two boys that you have made are meant for each other. Congratulations and I look forward to reading and following along with your journey :)

  17. Adrienne K says:

    I’m surprised too! I also thought you were having a girl. And I totally GET your feelings. I am pretty resigned to the fact that I will be having another boy if we have #2 b/c Eric’s family is all boys (we have 3 nephews). I really wanted that first girl, but hey, I guess everything happens for a reason. I do know I couldn’t be a mom to a girly girl.. I am horrible with hair, makeup, fashion, etc.. so while I thought I wanted a girl.. the boy is easier b/c I can use my limited fashion sense to make him look adorable and I don’t have to worry about hair and makeup.
    Of course.. now I am adjusted to boys.. the next WILL probably be a girl b/c … I have also found you tend to have the opposite of what you WANT. Anyways, congrats and enjoy him. :-)


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