It goes without saying that I love my son to death. He is perfection personified (being totally objective, of course). Even when I have a lousy day, coming home to him is one of the few things that really, truly does make it all better. At almost five months old, he is already his own little person. He has these amazingly expressive coffee-colored eyes and arched eyebrows as if to say, “Whatchu talkin’ about?” He is my little man, my little dude. I couldn’t imagine being a mother to any other child. I would die for him.
But it wasn’t always this way. Before Sebastian was born, I grappled with feelings of disappointment, regret, and guilt since I had found out that the baby that I had kept referring to as “s/he” was a little boy.
I remember the day very clearly, as it was the day before Halloween. I went into the exam room at 16 weeks pregnant for a routine ultrasound and the doctor had the image on the screen. All I was hoping for at that time was a baby that was still healthy. “S/he” measured 10cm (almost 4 inches), in comparison to 6cm less than 4 weeks ago. The size, brain, heartbeat were all looking find, textbook perfect. I breathed a sigh of relief. I later remember thinking to myself that I should have quit while I was ahead, but I opened my mouth and asked the Argentine doctor in Spanish if he had any indication of the gender.
At first the legs were crossed, but then it was in a better position. Because I was only at 16 weeks and not 18, the doctor prefaced that he couldn’t “legally, 100%” tell me, but the doctor captured the image on the screen and told me, “It’s a boy, there’s a penis.”
My first verbal reaction was a profanity in English. I don’t know how much English that doctor knew (he was not my regular OB-GYN), but at least based on my intonation and expression, he didn’t exactly interpret it as, “Yippie, how wonderful!” I attempted to salvage what was left of my composure and put on a “smile.” I was actually trying to regain my Spanish and was contemplating seriously asking him to check again (just… you know, in case) and if he was sure. Before I could get a word out, he reiterated and repeated himself. “Yes, it’s a boy.”
I guess it was for the best that at that time it was just me, the screen, and a doctor who I never had to see again. Better than Fede being present, or worse, in the delivery room with a team of doctors, family, and cameras to capture the whole damn thing.
I thanked him and scrambled out of there. I couldn’t even get out of the building, I sat in the waiting room like he had just given me a cancer diagnosis. Then I called Fede. He was happy with the gender (he was pretty neutral about the whole boy/girl thing to begin with), but he detected how disappointed I was. I half-jokingly asked him if we could try again. He’s smarter than I give him credit for, because I know I put him on a Hell of a tightrope there. He responded, also half-jokingly, that “we’ll see.” Can’t say I blame him.
At the time, I remember thinking to myself, “ I don’t care right now if this makes me look like an ingrate and a horrible mom. This isn’t China, and if I want a girl, I should be able to have a girl.” All I felt was immense guilt. Here I was, having a perfectly healthy baby with the man that I loved. What was wrong with me to even consider feeling disappointment for having a boy and reacting like his penis was a “birth defect”? What a terrible person I must be, I felt… and what’s more, I don’t know anything about having a boy! I grew up with my mother and my sister my whole life, I can’t even teach him to go to the bathroom! I can’t read the “Madeline” book series with him or play dress up or Barbies, what on earth am I going to do with a boy???
Fast forward nearly 10 long months later, and the story has a very different, happier outcome than I had expected. Everything, my way of looking at the world, my sense of self, my sense of reason and purpose on this Earth, everything changed after the birth of my son. Everything changed for the better. I understand now more than ever that things happen for a reason. If I had to sum up my pregnancy and my beautiful, precious child in one word, it would undoubtedly be “serendipitous” for so many reasons. My son is my everything. I would not trade him for anything, not even for him in female form. Even if he is my only child, he is absolutely, utterly perfect, and I thank whatever God may be for choosing me to be his mother.
Besides, considering that Fede is his dad, and that once upon a time Fede was a little boy, how bad could having a son be?