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Baby's Sex Ultrasound Reveal Wrong

It’s a Girl! Oh, Wait…It’s a Boy?

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

I’m currently at 25 weeks of my first pregnancy (love your pregnancy calendar by the way). At 19 weeks I had my first official ultrasound and we found out we were having a little girl. Since then I’ve been daydreaming in a sea of pink ribbons and sweet and spice, and everything nice. It wasn’t much of a surprise because everyone said from the moment we announced our pregnancy that we were having a girl. So when we found out the sex, it just seemed like confirmation of what we already knew.

Fast forward to now and during my second ultrasound they announce…. It’s a boy!
Now I understand that this is an over-reacting hormone induced analogy, but I feel like someone has taken the little girl I’ve been bonding with inside of me and replaced her with a boy. I’m shocked and having trouble switching gears. I’ve started returning all our pretty pink items, but I’m finding myself unenthusiastic to start replacing the items with blue and … I don’t know trains?

I’ve heard that this can happen, but the stories I’ve heard usually have the parents surprised when they are holding their bundle of joy in their arms and the amazingness of the birth experience overshadows the shock. I’ve found out at the super anxiety, nesting, over planning, first time mother stage.

I’m asking for your help because I know you are madly in love with your boys and I was hoping you could use this time to gush about your love for them and shed some light on how awesome they can be. I’ve always imagined a mini-me with matching long unruly hair and pink ruffle bloomers. Please help me find the same love for the little man I need to get to know inside me and to let go of my dream of a little girl.

Thanks,
Expecting Mom

I could go on and on about what it’s like to mother a son and how it’s amazeballs and transforming and how my boys have truly helped me become a better woman, feminist, wife, human being, all that. And it would all be true! But I don’t know how much it would really help you navigate the complicated emotions that you are (understandably) going through right now. We’re all supposed to say, “Oh, I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl, I just want it to be healthy” and blah blah THRONE OF LIES. Lots of us care. Lots of us have a preference.

And lots of us get the opposite.

I wrote about this, once Noah was older:

I spent a lot of my first pregnancy feeling guilty about my disappointed reaction to the “it’s a boy!” ultrasound, and my ongoing ambivalence about having a son. I wanted a girl, or at least some idealized Gilmore Girls fantasy version of a girl — now that I have actual children in my house, I can laugh about my completely unrealistic expectations that a girl would automatically equal a little mini-me and a boy would be some kind of foreign, unfamiliar species of human. My boys are a lot like me in some ways, a lot like their dad in others, and yet are all completely, 100% their own separate selves and it has nothing to do with the color clothing they wear or the toys I buy them.

And that’s something you’ll figure out eventually. You’ll look at your son and realize that he was never the girl you thought you’d have…but he also isn’t the boy you thought you’d have. You’ll realize that even if you did end up with the originally expected genitals, you STILL wouldn’t have birthed the particular little girl you invented in your head. And one day, you might find yourself making an involuntary gagging face at the mere mention of “pink ruffle bloomers” and thank your lucky stars that you were forced past the idea that babies are adorable little dress-up dolls and bought your kid some practical, easy-to-wash clothing.

Above all, you’ll realize that the boy or girl thing is not actually a zero-sum, either/or scenario, and your son will absolutely enjoy many of the things you were dreaming of a couple weeks ago. Screw that sugar and spice vs. frogs and snails BS. Boys and girls are all of the above

(Do you know how many times we’ve seen Frozen? And listened to the soundtrack? Do you? I’m asking because I’ve honestly lost track.)

But here’s the thing, and forgive the caps lock: IT’S TOTALLY OKAY THAT YOU ARE NOT THERE YET. IT’S TOTALLY OKAY TO FEEL THE WAY YOU ARE FEELING.

I’m a big believer that the more we fight to suppress our anxiety and guilt — the more we try to simply mash it down and force ourselves to ignore it — the stronger the anxiety and guilt becomes. It bubbles under the surface and makes your chest hurt and wakes you up at night. “THINK ABOUT ME RIGHT NOW,” it whispers at 2 in the morning. “THE MORE YOU TRY TO THINK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, THE ANGRIER AND POINTIER I GET.”

It’s so totally okay that you feel disappointed and whiplashed right now. Please know that feeling this way has absolutely no bearing on what kind of mother you will be and does not speak to your future parenting capability or bonding skills. I want you to breathe deep and repeat those sentiments to yourself. Out loud, even. Write them down. Pregnancy is already a roller coaster and you just got yanked backwards and upside down right when you thought the ride was slowing down. Don’t wallow, but don’t be afraid to feel your feelings. Come to peace with your ambivalence.

If you don’t want to buy blue, don’t buy any. Buy lime green and purple and red and orange. Get onesies and bibs with your favorite nerdy/pop culture references on them instead of trucks and the “Daddy’s Lil’ All-Star” crap. Buy him a baby doll and cute hats. Raise a big middle finger to gender stereotyping. Make jokes about the next ultrasound hopefully not revealing twins, but don’t feel pressured to pretend that this situation was fun or ideal, because it wasn’t. People find out the sex because they want to know the sex. This was frustrating and disorienting, no doubt.

I still sometimes can’t believe I have three boys and zero girls — I really did think I would have at least one daughter and each subsequent ultrasound reveal was met with OMG REALLY?s and then some rueful laughter, because gahhhh so much penis — but any “disappointment” over it is…well, not really “disappointment” at all. And it’s not merely just “acceptance,” either. It’s perfect. It’s happy. It’s chaotic. It’s just…my life.  And it’s absolutely the one I was always meant to live, even if I originally had other ideas.

********

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Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Karen
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Karen

Ditto to everything Amy said!  I am the proud mom to an almost 17 month old boy and I, too, had that bit of “huh, okay” moment when we found out that it was a boy.  I’ve had a girl’s name picked out since I was 10… What on earth was I going to do with a boy?  But then I decorated his nursery and started picking out clothes and thought how great it would be to see my little guy bond with his dad and it all fell into place.  And now that he’s here I could not imagine… Read more »

Kirsten
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Kirsten

Oh my goodness, I send you so many Internet hugs and good thoughts and sympathy.  I was so SURE I was having a girl.  I didn’t have a mistaken ultrasound, but I just knew.  I was calling my baby by the girl name in my head.  I mean, I’d try not to, but girl! I always knew I’d have a girl!  So we went to the ultrasound and… boy.  And I tried to be happy, and I mean, I WAS happy, sort of, healthy baby, but still.  There were Complicated Feelings.   I can only imagine how much more difficult… Read more »

Bren
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Bren

I was completely opposite in that I always AlWAYS assumed I would have a boy and instead had 2 girls! After the shock wore off during the first pregnancy I just tried to go with the flow and be happy that my 40 year old body had given me a baby of any kind. The second pregnancy ultrasound was much easier to laugh off as I figured I was just meant to have girls! 

Liz
Guest
Liz

We chose to wait until the actual birth, but I did get the baby girl I always dreamed of my whole life.  But guess what? She’s nothing like me.  She looks exactly like my husband’s mother, and not at all like me. Her development, her likes, her personality are the opposite of me and my own childhood.  We all joke that I wasn’t even there when she was born, and where did she come from?  There have been moments of disappointment but I slowly realized, she is HERSELF, not mom or dad, not a replication of anyone.  She’s 3 now,… Read more »

Tricia
Guest

Oh my good LORD did I want a girl! And I got a boy. I had those complicated feelings too because I didn’t have the first clue what I was going to do with even more testosterone in my house. So it was the craziest thing when he turned out to look just like me! I’m going to blame Dad for the stubborn insistence that we all get up at 6am because, seriously, that’s not me!  Once I started thinking about the little dude that I get to turn into a good man all of those feelings faded and now… Read more »

Jen
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Jen

Well said, Amy! My first son is 5 and a half right now. Since I was a little girl I always dreamed of having a daughter and dressing her up and having a mini-me….but at that u/s where I found out my so-wanted princess was a prince…I was pretty heartbroken. Yes, it was my first child and MAYBE i would have a girl later down the road….of course I also felt such guilt for wishing my baby was a girl. I went and bought some super cute preppy stuff for my little man, sucked it up and got over it.… Read more »

Emily
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Emily

So I have two kiddos and now expecting #3. I wanted a #3 because I felt like our family was missing someone and that someone was a little girl and I had her name picked out and everything. Just like Kirsten! Whelp, I’m having a boy. Still haven’t gotten used to the idea honestly. But I’ve been through this before and agree with the advice to just let it sink in, don’t force feelings. What would help you be excited for a boy? There are some super cute boy clothes and shoes (and ditto on the “Daddy’s All-Star, hate that… Read more »

Tasterspoon
Guest

I remember my first mid-term ultrasound and we wanted to find out, but when people would ask I’d say, quite honestly , that I’d be *disappointed* either way. Because until then I could look forward to these dual possibilities in my head and any definite answer would mean I’d have to give one of them up. Anyway, fast forward three years, I have one of each, and as others have said, my daughter is NOTHING like me and drives me crazy and is always telling me to go away and my son is exactly like me and can’t get enough… Read more »

Brittany
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Brittany

Some of these comments bring tears to my eyes because they exactly describe my experience! I grew up picturing myself with a girl, had girl names picked out and had a bunch of friends who all had baby girls. Then I got pregnant and the little girl I imagined was a boy. It threw me for such a loop. Between hating all the blue things (his nursery is green and brown and adorable) and having a terrible time thinking of any boy names I liked, I couldn’t imagine what I would have in common with this boy I was carrying.… Read more »

Christy
Guest

I wanted 3 boys. Child number one: Girl! She is her own self and utterly perfect. I wanted 10 more girls, just! like! her! Because sisters. Child number two: Boy Utterly perfect. He is her best friend and I could not imagine them being closer even if they were the same sex. By the 3rd one we were wise enough to see that it really is about the individual kid and that to us, the sex truly didn’t matter. We got another boy and {surprise!} he’s pretty perfect too :). I did feel disappointment with the first two US though,… Read more »

Sarah
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Sarah

I have three boys, I only found out the sex with the third and when they said ‘boy’ I admit I was disappointed. I knew it would be my last and I had to give up my fantasies. The funny thing is that I’d always assumed I’d have a girl (I was an only child, obviously a girl, and I suppose you always imagine the family you make will resemble the one you grew up in), but the first two times I found out I had a boy was when he was handed to me and it didn’t occur to… Read more »

Jenn
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Jenn

Just wanted to reiterate with the hugs and the “I Know!!!!” Mine was the opposite – I wanted another boy so badly and did NOT want a girl.  All I could think about was drama and princesses and the fact that she’ll instantly loathe me the minute she turned 13 no matter what.  All hosed down with pepto-bismal pink.  And you know what?  I still dread those things.  But it just stops mattering at all.  Your baby will be your baby and you won’t believe how much you love him.  And it’s okay to feel that way, it’s totally normal.… Read more »

Shelly
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Shelly

Every time I comment on this site people hate my comments, but I just cant resist continuing to comment.  When I found out after five years of trying that I was pregnant, all I wanted was  a healthy baby, but when I went to that sonogram and there was no mistaking the twig and berries, I was disappointed , for all of five minutes.  I immediately realized that boys are never going to be 13 year old girls and that is an amazing thing.  I also (be prepared for the politically incorrect comment and prepare your offended response) heaved a… Read more »

Grammy
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Grammy

Count me as another of the ones who spent my young years envisioning the little girl I would some day become mother to and getting a boy instead. In those days (48 years ago) we didn’t have ultrasound to give us a head’s up so it was always a surprise. I can tell you the very instant the doctor said it was a boy I felt a flush of joy that I can’t describe — you’ll know it soon enough. There’s just something we’re given that lets us love whatever baby we get. Years later, I acquired a daughter by… Read more »

Jeannie
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Jeannie

My first was a boy. And I panicked. I know nothing about boys! I only had a sister, and my dad is anything but stereotype alpha male (an academic!). I couldn’t raise a boy! I had no idea what I was going to DO! And he was (and is) perfect. He’s seven and I adore him. We have a special bond — I remember reading that boys and moms have a special bond, and it certainly seems true.  I now have a daughter too, and she’s still nothing like me and nothing like what I imagined having a girl would… Read more »

Eiko
Guest

I’m so, so sorry for what you’re going through. I bet you have a lot of people in your life telling you to just be happy you’re having a baby! You’re so lucky! And you are, but as Amy says, you have every right to feel disappointed.  I always pictured myself having a boy. I have better relationships with men than women, and my younger sibling is a boy (man) whom I’ve always felt maternal towards. But when I got pregnant, I sensed that I was having a girl, and I was right. And even though a boy was what I’d… Read more »

df
Guest

I couldn’t agree more with what everyone else has already said, which is basically go easy on yourself and let yourself float on those feelings for a while and work them out in your own way. It’s not shameful or bad. My first child (a boy) was a total surprise and I didn’t really have expectations. When I was pregnant the next time, my son was nearly five and couldn’t cope with the idea of just a ‘baby’, he had to know if it would be a brother or a sister, which meant we found out at that second ultrasound.… Read more »

Autumn
Guest
Autumn

It’s okay to grieve for what could have been.  Let this be so to speak a miscarraige in your mind.  The little girl you had isn’t going to be here, and it’s okay to grieve for that.

But you also are going to have an amazing little boy!  Full of energy and life and love and still willing to have tea parties and silly make believe and be more wonderful than you ever imagined.  My daughter looks like a mini-me, but her personality is nothing like mine.  

Elle
Guest
Elle

What Amy said. I totally hear you on this disappointment/anxiety, I experienced that when we found out #2 was a boy and my daydreams of sisters happily frolicking together hand-in-hand, sharing secrets, best friends forever… brutally squashed with that screenshot of a penis. Realistic-me realizes that my kids’ genitals won’t dictate how close their relationship is, but realistic-me also knows that boys and girls experience life differently because loathe it as I may, people really do treat them differently from the day they’re born. Hey, this is probably a blessing in disguise, because that girl you thought you were having… Read more »

Bethany Freitag
Guest
Bethany Freitag

This exact thing happened to me! I was told at my 20 week ultrasound that they were 80% sure it was a girl. I was thrilled! I grew up with sisters and girl cousins and couldn’t imagine having anything but a girl. I had a name picked out that I started calling her and everything. I knew I was going to be a single mom and thought having a girl alone would somehow be easier. Then I had another at 28 weeks, and SURPRISE!! I was honestly devastated. I didn’t know how to do boy stuff. I never pictured myself… Read more »

Oh, crap!
Guest
Oh, crap!

I am like Liz, I got the girl I always wanted but it’s not as I’d expected. I’m learning to accept her as the individual she is, not the clone of me that I daydreamed about, but I have honestly been disappointed at times that she looks nothing like me! She’s six months so were still getting used to each other.

Be gentle with yourself, it’s ok to be disappointed. Feel the feelings but rest assured, you are going to love him so much!

Totally Understandable
Guest
Totally Understandable

I am 39 weeks +1 day today and while we knew at 20 weeks that we are having a son (well, hopefully =) ), I’ve been mourning the loss of ribbons and bows and all things glitter since then.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t love or won’t love our son with all my heart or even that I didn’t want a boy.  It’s just so different.

I can’t imagine having my heart and mind set on a girl and then having that taken away.  I’d say a normal grieving period should occur here!

Lots of love and prayers your way.  

Jill
Guest
Jill

Just want to reiterate that even if you got the girl you wanted you have no way of knowing what she would be like.  We have 2 boys, wanted a third boy and ended up with twin girls.  My boys both look just like my husband so I was sure the girls would look like me.  Nope.  One looks like my father-in-law and the other looks just like her older brother.   I know a couple of people this same thing happened to, and they both got over the disappointment once the baby was here.  As far as buying blue… Read more »

liz
Guest

Ditto what everyone above said about not necessarily getting what you expect even when you expect a gender! 

Don’t go all blue, unless you particularly like blue. In the meantime, may I suggest some Superhero bodysuits

MR
Guest
MR

Amy hit it on the head, as usual. OP – Your feelings are normal. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I actually got a girl who looks JUST LIKE ME. It is pretty much the first thing everyone comments when they meet her. It makes me feel like I always have to point out that she is her own self. She isn’t me. She will make choices I would never make, and do things I would never do, and all that is ok. It is HER choice to make. And personality-wise, she isn’t all that like me. And that’s ok.… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

I have two girls. When I was pregnant with #2, I was a little disappointed when I heard I was having another girl. I knew we only wanted two kids, so that was that. But boy do I love her! And it’s amazing because she is SO different from her older sister. Their personalities are just night and day. My younger daughter is a climber, pushes limits, doesn’t seem to hear the word no. My older daughter is just mellow (most of the time), complacent, and happy. My friends with boys say that I have gotten my boy, but then… Read more »

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

Amy, your words were incredibly kind and delightful. Thank you for your response. I know if that was me, that would make me feel so much better.

Lindsey
Guest

I had a somewhat similar experience, although they got it right during that same appointment. When the tech said, “Oh no, that’s definitely not a girl,” I cried…a lot. 

I didn’t know how I would do with a boy. I have three younger sisters but had absolutely no experience with little boys. In my experience, little boys are incredibly loud but they are very sweet. Give yourself grace – you will fall in love sooner or later. 🙂

Kim
Guest
Kim

We didn’t find out with my first, and I thought I didn’t have any pre-set ideas or preferences.  Then they placed my baby on my chest, and I thought, huh, a girl.  Really? Really.  And a beautiful, amazing, warrior princess she is. Then I got pregnant with my second, and I really, really wanted one of each, and this time we did find out.  And the minute my husband told me she was a girl, I felt a wash of joy and relief.  And now I have sisters, and we have hand me downs, and they are awesome together.  Except when… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

I figured I would just go ahead and add my “Ditto” here. I wanted a girl; I only wanted a girl. I didn’t even know what to name a boy, let alone what to do with one. Now I have two and I could not be happier with them. Now I don’t know what I would do with a girl. Go figure. Boys are awesome and once they start throwing up and pooping on all of their clothes, it will be a relief that those clothes aren’t beautiful, cherished, and expensive. Good Luck!

Betsy
Guest
Betsy

Boys are better than you could have ever imagined. Pre-children, all I wanted was a girl and all my husband wanted was a boy. My first child was a girl, and I was elated! Estatic! So incredibly overjoyed! And she was awfully cute in pink and piggy tails. When we tried for another, I said I didn’t care about the gender, though secretly hoped for another girl. I loved what I already had after all!! We learned baby #2 was a boy, and I was pleased for my husband when we learned the baby would be a boy, but not… Read more »

Lori
Guest
Lori

I never found out what I was having with either pregnancy.  Didn’t want to know–and especially not after our OB/GYN confessed he read his own wife’s ultrasound incorrectly.
We painted bedrooms yellow and bought a lot of green and white and we took what we got because whattareya gonna do?  Send it back?
I wish you young women didn’t NEED to know.  I get it, but I just wish you didn’t NEED it.

Britt
Guest
Britt

Weird addition to the comments. If you don’t feel immediately bonded to your little guy the moment he comes out, that’s fine! I know that I took a couple weeks to stop feeling like my first was a total stranger. If this happens to you, it likely has much less to do with being bummed over his sex, and much more to do with the fact that some of us need time to start having those firework-type moments. I just don’t want you to expect that it will all feel right after that last push, and then panic if it… Read more »

Mud
Guest
Mud

Happened to me too! 18 weeks – girl. Private US at 34 weeks? BOY. Dude, I think it is legitimately a mourning process. My husband cried in the restaurant when we went out to breakfast after, talking about the daughter he’d wanted to walk down the aisle. obviously my boy – my perfect wonderful crazy boy…it turns out it was always HIM in retrospect, and I love him so much. Also, then I got pregnant again, unexpectedly, and it turns out that it was TWIN GIRLS. Umno. Not only did I not think I could handle one more baby, but… Read more »

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

I would just like to second (or twenty? a lot of people have said it) the idea that you are going to be absolutely FLOORED by how soon your baby boy turns out not to be a mini-his dad or a mini-you. With both of our kids, we were amazed by how young they are when they start having very distinct personalities, and while there are definitely traits where you can say — “he gets that from me” or “he gets that from his dad — there’s also stuff that will make you say “where on earth did THAT come… Read more »

Cara
Guest
Cara

Oh Lord.  My sister cried at her gender reveal party when the cake was blue.  She didn’t have any idea she was going to react that way, but there it was.  (And I learned that maybe gender reveal parties where the parents are also surprised are a bad idea.  A little privacy would have been great right about then!). For two years she’d been playing with and shopping for my girl, and it turned out she had ‘girl cute’ in her mind without even knowing it.  I used that week to scope out who had the most adorable baby boy… Read more »

lindswing
Guest
lindswing

Amy, your response was perfect.   I was so sure with my first that my husband described our gender ultrasound as “going to find out the baby’s a girl.” Until that baby had a penis. I didn’t have the ultrasound oops, but I did have nearly every old wives’s tale sign of a girl; complete strangers would come tell me i was having a girl.  I was SURE. We’d had girl names since we were dating, and we couldn’t agree on a single boy name. I cried when I got in the car. It wasn’t helped by my sexist stepdad… Read more »

Kittin
Guest
Kittin

I have to admit, I was exactly the same as a lot of the commenters  here. We were so sure we were having a girl. We’d had “our” girl’s name picked out before my husband even got his visa to move here, where as we only settled on a boy’s name about a month before I finally got pregnant. We spent the first 19 or so weeks of the pregnancy referring to our baby as “she” and “her”. Thankfully, we didn’t buy any gender specific nursery bedding or blankets – and strangely, the only “gender specific” clothing we bought was… Read more »

VG
Guest
VG

Maybe the “element of surprise” isn’t such a bad thing? Just don’t find out. Didn’t hurt our grandparents, though there may have been disappointments, but you get what you get. Be grateful that you are able to bare your own child(ren).

AmyRenee
Guest
AmyRenee

I’m a little late to this, but I want to add – it’s ok to mourn your “lost” girl. I have 2 boys, and I love them, but for both of them I was expecting (in my mind, not by ultrasound) a girl. Finding out they were boys crushed me for a little while. For me, one thing that helped was to mentally bury the girls name I had in mind with each of the pregnancies (a different name for each pregnancy). I’m not saving the names for another future baby – that name belonged to my dream-baby girls that… Read more »