Emily Duncan said that she grieved for a week after learning the gender of the baby (Picture: SWNS)
A mum has said that she felt so disappointed that she was expecting a girl that she needed to have therapy.
Emily Duncan, 26, wanted a son and a daughter and felt sure she was pregnant with a boy following the birth of Sophia, four.
The eldest of six girls, Emily felt pressure to provide a grandson, but was shocked when she found out she was having another girl at her gender reveal.
She spent the rest of her pregnancy digesting the news, did therapy and painted the nursery pink to help her heal – but now she says she couldn’t imagine having boys.
Emily gave birth to Alice in July 2022 but felt ‘numb and disappointed but so determined to love her’.
Now the mum-of-two is very happy with her daughters and no longer feels any disappointment.
Emily, a stay-at-home-mum, from Santaquin, Utah, said: ‘I’d always pictured having a little girl and having a little boy.
Emily pictured with Alice – she now says she can’t imagine life with a son (Picture: SWNS)
‘I had this expectation for my life and that I was going to have a son.
‘When we opened up that box and saw the little pink balloons it was quite shocking and not just to me but everyone in the room.
‘I went straight to bed and bawled my eyes out. Everyone around me told me it was silly and stupid, and I should just be grateful for having a baby.
‘I never felt ever like I didn’t love my child. I only ever felt disappointed. When she was born, I was numb and disconnected but so determined to love her.
‘Now my daughter, Alice, is my best friend. It’s a joy and pleasure to raise two baby girls. I’m not disappointed at all.’
Emily and husband Koby held a gender reveal (Picture: SWNS)
Emily was surprised to fall pregnant with her first daughter after being told it would be unlikely she would have children due to her polycystic ovary syndrome – which affects how the ovaries work.
She said: ‘I’ve always been a dreamed of being a mum. I really wanted one of each. I am one of six. We have a joke that we have a generational curse.
‘I was very excited about having my first baby. I wasn’t upset as I wanted a girl first.’
After having Sophia in January 2019, Emily and her husband, Koby, 27, a city inspector, tried for their second child.
They struggled to conceive naturally again so tried intrauterine insemination (IUI) – a fertility treatment that gives sperm a better chance at fertilising an egg.
Emily, Koby and their daughter Sophia when Emily was still pregnant with Alice (Picture: SWNS)
Emily fell pregnant in October 2021 and was certain she was having a boy.
She said: ‘I already had a daughter. It was important to break the curse. There was a lot of pressure put on me to be the supplier of a grandson. We were sure it was a boy.
‘I had different cravings – my demeanour was different – I checked off every single one of the old wives’ tales.’
But at the gender reveal in December 2021 the couple found out they were having another girl – which disappointed Emily and her family.
They opened a box to reveal pink balloons – and Emily put on a brave face to her disappointed family – who had also been hoping for a boy.
She said: ‘It took me a full solid week to grieve. Infertility did not take away my desire to have a son – if anything it made it stronger.
‘I had the whole pregnancy to do some therapy and digest and get to know my little girl.
‘You can feel disappointed and feel love.
‘We can allow ourselves to have feelings and we don’t have to make a decision based of how we are feeling.’
Emily felt it was important to get all her feelings out before Alice arrived – and healed through therapy and doing up the nursery.
She said: ‘I wanted to get it all out so that when she came, I could give myself to her fully and have no reservations.
‘I was 30 weeks pregnant when I was finally like ‘we’re having a girl’ – then couldn’t imagine having a boy.
‘I had always pictured painting the nursery blue.
‘When I painted it pink and put a rainbow on the wall, I fell in love with having a little girl.’
Emily gave birth to Alice on July 16, 2022, but struggled with postpartum depression for the first six months.
She said: ‘When my little girl arrived it took me a little while to get to know her. I was still grieving.
‘I was afraid that I already disappointed her and failed her as a mother. It was really important to put aside my feelings and choose to love her anyway.
‘Now my baby is so loved and so cherished.’
Emily is now a happy mum of two girls but hopes gender disappointment can be normalised.
She said: ‘Now after having two little girls I can’t imagine having a boy. It’s never okay to shame anyone having emotions.
‘I’m very into not shaming ourselves. It’s not shameful to grieve losing your dream job or being unable to purchase the house of your dreams.
‘It shouldn’t be taboo to be upset over wanting your family to look a certain way either.’
Emily added: ‘Our life is so much better. I’d never trade it for the world.
‘The sister bond my daughters have is so amazing and so fun to watch.’
It took Emily a week of ‘solid grieving’ to come to terms with her child’s gender.