Yes, I Was Disappointed When I Found Out the Gender

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Image via Flickr/kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop)

At 18-weeks pregnant, I went with my husband to one of those 3D ultrasound clinics that specialize in determining gender. Yes, we could have waited for our 20-week anatomy scan, but we just couldn’t be left in the dark any longer.

With my oldest, we had an answer within 30 seconds. A girl. There was no mistaking it, according to the technician. This baby, however, seemed to be incredibly shy. Its legs were crossed and curled up underneath its little body, blocking any hope of getting a glimpse of the goods.

I walked. I bounced. I drank soda. I ate candy. I poked my belly from all angles. My husband twirled me in circles like we were dancing. And after three hours, the tech (with a second opinion from a fellow technician!) finally felt confident to tell me, “Girl!”

Queue pure glee. 

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Regardless of the fact that I told everyone, “Oh, as long as it’s healthy, I’ll be happy,” I wanted another girl. My sister is my best friend and has been since I was a teenager. The bond between sisters is something that can’t be replicated in any other sibling combination, and the same goes for that mother-daughter connection once they make it to adulthood. As long as I have my mom and sister, I am good to go, and learning that I was going to have my own version of that was amazing to me. Two little girls. Just as I always wanted.

For a month, I walked around on air. I patted my tummy, calling her by the name we had chosen: Samantha. I began going through my oldest daughter’s clothes, squealing over the things I had forgotten about, picturing the new baby in them.

Then I went to my official anatomy scan.

I told the tech that it was a girl, so she didn't need to worry about ruining the surprise by calling her a “she.” Within 20 seconds of rubbing the wand over my tummy, she said, “Well, it’s definitely not a girl.” 

WHAT?!

My heart fell, and my eyes began to water. I wanted to jump up from the table and run to the bathroom so I could cry in peace. The mental image of the family I had always dreamed of having disappeared.

After leaving the clinic and spending a good 10 minutes crying in my car, I made it home and turned to social media. I kept it light and upbeat and announced that, “Oops! She is a HE, now!” Short and to the point, with no mention of how I truly felt, which was completely disappointed.

I hid it as best I could from my husband and family, but they knew, and they could tell I was upset.

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A boy? Really? I knew there was a 50/50 chance of having one in the first place, but I always felt the universe knew what I was supposed to have. Not to mention the fact that I had zero experience with little boys—no brothers, no nephews, no boy cousins. I don’t even think I had babysat a boy.

As the weeks have passed, though, the shock has worn off. We decided on a name—Jackson Samuel—as a tribute to both my father and grandfather, which makes me light up when I think about it. I have begun decorating the nursery in steel gray, teal, and greens, and it’s really coming together.

I also started hanging out with a friend who has a 6-month-old son and have realized that, wow, baby boys can be cuddly! 

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From the minute I found out I was pregnant, I never even pictured myself with a boy. But now that I've had a few months to visualize myself as a mom to a little boy, I realize what an amazing adventure it’s going to be—something completely different than anything I’m used to. Plus, he’s going to have my husband’s darling features. I will have two handsome boys to love me and my little girl by my side. What could be better? 

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What do you think?

Yes, I Was Disappointed When I Found Out the Gender

Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to her 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and her 18-month-old son, Jackson. Her writing can be found all over the web, mostly detailing her own parenting struggles and triumphs, as well as her life as the military spouse of an active-duty airman. She also writes about her life as as a special needs parent on her blog, Tales From the Plastic Crib, and spends an unnecessary amount of time on Twitter. ... More

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59 comments

  1. Reo says:

    Wow people are being unduly harsh here. You shouldn’t blame someone for their feelings, and she never said she didn’t love her son, just that she had a fantasy in mind that got popped so to speak. For me people get way too caught up in the gender thing anyway. My husband and I knew we’d only have one biological child between us, he already had his thirteen year old daughter from a previous relationship. For us we decided that if we ever wanted more children we’d adopt or foster, because there’s a lot of kids in need of a good home out there. So with the decision to only have one we also decided we wanted our baby’s gender to be a secret until the day he or she was born. It drove all of our friends and family nuts, and they remained divided in their guessing, but we held out until the day she was born and I got to announce we had another wonderful daughter.

  2. Felicia says:

    I understand being disappointed. My husband and I have 2 children. My husband had wanted a girl since our first, but we got a boy. Neither one of us was upset by that. Our second child was born 15 months after our first and he was a boy too! I was a bit disappointed when I found out he was a boy but not too much, and that went away quickly. He is such a momma’s boy and the sweetest thing! My older son now has a playmate for life. I love my boys more than anything. Now that they are 4 and 5 years old we are having our third and possibly final child. We desperately want a girl. I don’t want to get pregnant again and our family doesn’t feel complete without a little girl. I will love my child regardless but we will probably be a tad disappointed if we don’t get a girl on our final try.

  3. Jessica says:

    With my first pregnancy the moment I saw the positive test I had hoped for a little girl I’d walk around stores and plan what I would buy as soon as I was told that it was in fact a girl had my name picked out and every thing, my boyfriend was like it’s not a girl it’s a boy becaus boys kinda run strong in both of our family I wouldn’t listen to him I was mind set it was a girl. I had insurance problems because my insurance said I was still cover by my dad’s insurance so I didn’t get to a Dr until 28 weeks at 30 weeks I found out I was having a boy I started crying infront of the sono technician and my boyfriend. Of coure I lied when my boyfriend ask why I was crying( I said becaus its the first time seeing the baby ) I was sad for the rest of my pregnancy he was born 2 1/2 weeks early now I have one boy and two girls…

  4. jessica says:

    My first was a little boy. I knew it was going to be,I could feel it,but I think in my heart I hoped for a girl. But now I couldn’t be happier with my little man ^_^ Now that I’m expecting again they say its a little girl.

  5. Aubrey says:

    With my first, there was no doubt from the time I got pregnant till delivery that he was a boy. With my second I was hoping for a girl so bad since the pregnancies were like night and day. All my ultrasounds said girl too. A week to the day of delivery, a final ultrasound, and baby rolls over, splays legs and there’s the turtle…. BOY! I cried. I had gotten tons of girl stuff from family and friends and found a rummage sale with all these cute girl clothes and I bought her out. So I couldn’t even exchange 3/4’s of what I had gotten for that baby. Turns out my son’s genitalia had taken their sweet time descending and at a year he had surgery to bring his testicle out of his abdomen. By the time I had my 3rd child, I kinda figured I was out of luck for ever having a girl, and I was right. 3 boys, tubes tied, and trucks, guns and dirt for 17 more years. Oh, and teaching them how to aim as we potty train. My best friend had a girl though, so I buy her the girly toys and clothes that I can’t buy for my boys. Love my boys endlessly 🙂

    • Aubrey says:

      And yes, I bawled my eyes out when I left the appt with #2. I was by myself, no one at the appt with me, broke and couldn’t figure out where I was going to come up with all the boy stuff to replace the girl stuff that I couldn’t return. Took me 20minutes of sitting in my car crying before I was able to calm down enough to drive home. Plus, I had (I found out) 1 week to come up with a boys name!

  6. Dianah says:

    Man people are really being tough on you! We just went through something similar we have a girl, and really were hoping for a boy, nope another girl! While I was happy to give my daughter a sister, I still cried and my husband sulked for a day but we accepted it and look forward to the little lady arriving. Gender disappointment happens and it is ok to feel like that. We had a lot of trouble conceiving both our children and we are grateful to have any child but I wouldn’t scold someone for their feelings- ESPECIALLY a pregnant woman who we all know can be a little extra emotional 😉

  7. Stephanie says:

    I was split on what I wanted, but I think I was a little relieved that it was a girl. My sister on the other hand was devastated when she found it she was having a girl, she wanted a boy so bad that when they told her girl she cried for like, a week. Now she is very happy with her little Angel though.

  8. Raquel says:

    My last two are girls, 2 & 4 years old….Hoping for a little boy this time around. We are not finding out the gender until the baby is born. Feeling more nervous everyday.

  9. Denise says:

    I think I’m just going to let my next child be a surprise though. I didn’t the first and I kinda regretted that. I knew he was going to be a boy so I really could’ve just waited till he was born. I guess it was just the first time parent eagerness and curiosity. Lol

  10. Denise says:

    Thanks for being honest. I think this will be helpful to a lot of new moms. I was hoping for a girl too. But I wasn’t on the verge of tears when I heard I was having a boy. Now I’m perfectly happy with my little nine month old boy. I was shocked when I first found out though. I was like wtc, what am I going to name a boy? If we had had a girl, her name was going to be Adeline Melody (which was a total Green Day inspired name. Lol). Me and my husband were so stumped. We had ni idea what to name our son. A few weeks passed though and we named him Samuel Craig after my husband and my dad’s middle name (which was my grandfather’s first name). It suits him so perfectly. Hopefully we’ll get our little Adeline next tome. If we have another boy, I’ll probably just quit and adopt a girl the third time. I’m not sure I can handle three boys (who knows though). Everyone in my family has boys. My sister has three boys and so does one of my cousins. Everyoneon my hhusband’s side of the family has girls. (My mother in law has six grandkids. Four girls and two boys. Everyone was so excited when they found out there was going to be another boy lol). But if I end up with all boys, of course I’d still love them all the same. I guess it’d be for a reason.. Maybe I’ll get a niece one day lol.

  11. My step-son is the eldest of the bunch. He has an older brother that he never met (born at 20 weeks). From the day he learned I was expecting a baby, he wanted a sister. Nope. He got a brother. Then his mom was pregnant, he asked for a sister. Nope, a brother. His mom can’t have any more children, and this would definitely be our last. He hoped again for that sister… and he got her: she’s 3 months old now. He ADORES his siblings. He’s only 6, but he says he wants to be a daddy. I had no real wish toward either gender.. sure, reusing the boys’ stuff would have been oh-so-handy. And yeah, me nor dad had experience with girls.. I have two brothers, he’s an only child. For a minute he was shocked and thought “What am I going to do with a girl?”. But, now he wouldn’t change it for the world.

  12. Olivia says:

    I applaud and thank you for being honest. Yes, we know how terrible and ungrateful it must seem, but it is our honest feelings and shouldn’t be judged on that. I really wanted a boy and always envisioned myself with one, but we are having a girl. I tried to disguise my disappointment when we found out, but later that evening I did cry about it. And my husband was very supportive and let me vent it out. I think it’s understandable to be disappointed, as long as it only last a short period of time and you get over it. I decided to embrace myself in the “pink” and start shopping for cute baby girl clothes, also coming up with names. I’m happy to say that now I’m excited for a girl, and can’t imagine anything else. For all you disappointed moms-to-be…just hang in there. And don’t let people put you down for feeling things you can’t help. Share those feelings with your husband or someone you can confide in. Then don’t wallow in it…do things to help you get your mind set on the gender you are having!

  13. Jaime says:

    I can get being a little disappointed. You have an image or fantasy in your head of what your growing family will look like, and then you get news that it’s never going to happen that way. It’s okay to be a little upset about that. I don’t think running away from the ultrasound and crying is really an appropriate response to that, but a touch of disappointment, I think, is natural. I was a little disappointed when I found out I’m having a girl. Not because I don’t want a girl or because there’s something wrong with them, but we just thought (had that feeling) that she was a boy so I was more upset that I was wrong than anything else. Hubby definitely had his freak out over having a girl. He wants a son, like most men do, and was scared to have a daughter first. Now we’ve both adjusted and are very happy to be having a healthy baby, something we always kept in mind. Hubby is already wrapped around her little finger, it’s so cute. I think everyone wants one or the other, and it’s okay to be disappointed, but as long as you love your baby, I think you’re good to go.

  14. Gema says:

    I had a boy first (which is what I wanted). I just always pictured having a boy first. Maybe it’s because sure, I have an older sister and I love her and we are extremely close, but I never got to take care of a baby girl. My baby brother was born when I was 12. So sometimes it felt like I was his mom :p not really … but I knew a lot about taking care of a boy. And plus, I always envisioned that I would have a boy first in case I had girls later, he could beat up any guy who wronged them. But I guess dad could have done that too! Plus, I was a daddy’s girl and I remember being in love with my dad and constantly asking my mom when it was going to be my turn to marry daddy. So I felt like I didn’t know what I would feel if we ended up having a daddy’s girl because I love my husband and even though I completely doubt my daughter would steal my husband … I didn’t like the thought of having a daddy’s girl. I’d rather have a momma’s boy! I don’t think I would have been sad or disappointed to find out I was having a girl though.
    I am in my second pregnancy now and I kind of wanted a girl this time. I love my son so so very much. He enjoys cuddling with me and even though his first words were daddy, I know deep inside he is going to be a momma’s boy 🙂 or at least love me a lot. But I guess in every mother there is that desire to have a baby girl to dress up in cute dresses and to do her hair and have her imitate you as she grow up.
    I can think of ups and downs for both genders and they end up equally as stressful and equally as enjoyable!
    So when they told me I am having a boy this time around too … well I didn’t mind. I thought at least my son will have a playmate and there will be a strong bond. I already have everything I need except diapers. I already know how to take care of a boy even though every child has a different personality! It’s all the same basics! I don’t think I would ever cry. But then again I never had my mind set on any specific gender.
    I think it’s awful for someone to be upset about the gender of their child. I can understand about going to a sonogram and finding out your child is missing a vital organ like a lung or that the placenta has detached and then crying! But finding out the gender … is nothing to be upset about. If you think you will get upset, don’t find out the sex of the baby! It’s like a baby name. My mom found out what we were naming our first son and she hated the name. I cried when she told me I needed to pick a new name. But I kept the name we had chosen, because only my husband, myself and God know why we gave him the name. And once he was born and his name was announced to everyone else … it’s like no one even heard the name. They took one look at him and they melted and now the name is no big deal. I think the same goes for the gender.

  15. Carol says:

    I guess after reading this article I got a bit upset. I lost my baby at 14 weeks pregnant recently. Just to get pregnant was a surprise. I was devastated to learn I miscarried. For you to be upset, cry and carry on the way you did baffles me when you at least have a healthy baby that you will love and cherish. To get upset over the fact it’s not the gender you wanted when there are women out there who miscarry or loose their kids just seems a bit selfish to me. Maybe I should not have read this article but I did. I would do ANYTHING to have had the baby I was carrying and not caring what the gender was.

  16. quechris says:

    Like Trixie, I will be 42 by the time I deliver. This was such an unexpected surprise. I really really want a boy this time. I know it’s something that some people wont agree with but my feelings are my feelings and I make no apologies for it. Of course I pray that no matter which gender it is that it is a healthy baby. but I have been praying for a healthy baby boy. I already know –all too well– the experience of raising 2 girls who have a 15 year age gap between them (one is in college the other is in grade school). now I feel like having my boy finally would be the only thing that would make this last pregnancy a happy one ( I’ve always had difficult pregnancies with still births, long bed rests, weak cervix, now I have to worry about abnormalities because of my age). But guess what. I have had 2 ultrasounds so far (@ 12 wks and 16 wks). Both techs found it very difficult to find the gender. But finally after more than 15/20 min of searching, they identified the telling 3 white lines. I have to admit that I cried each time. But after reading several of your posts, it gives me hope that just maybe they are wrong and this will turn out to be a very healthy boy.

  17. Trixie says:

    It sounds like an expectation was had. One of the most wonderful things a person can have is a change or surprise if you view it as a blessing. It sounds like it was more the embarrassment of being wrong too. I got the surprise of being pregnant at 42. My husband had the expectation of having a little girl and thought at the beginning of the sono it was until…we got to the end. I can tell you I already have a boy and girl and they are 18 and 22. I knew little boy would be better in my household but deep down I realized once we found out it was a boy after a brief expectation it was a girl it was a bit disappointing which to me says ‘expected’. I was humbled and to tell you the truth I am blessed no matter what the gender is because I know and believe I am getting exactly what the universe knows I need in my life, not what I think the universe should give me, that is entitlement. Some people are not able to have children and at some point I didn’t think I would either so to have both and to be having another at 42 is a blessing for sure. Look at your positives and know your relationship will be different and deep with this little one. And there’s nothing wrong with a little disappointment it just grieving a loss of self, yourself and realizing that you are so blessed.

  18. Amy says:

    I appreciate this woman’s honesty… However, coming from a completely different place with my kids, I also feel it’s rather entitled. So many many women can’t have children or struggle to conceive/have a healthy pregnancy, etc. that this disappointment over gender seems awfully entitled. Having said that, how you feel is completely outside of your control. You can only control what you do about those feelings & it seems like she’s done a wonderful job of getting over her disappointment and focusing on all of the good things to come.

  19. samantha says:

    Wow boy or girl its a gift from God I wanted a boy but I got something better a baby girl with a big heart and I know she wull make me an her daddy happy and she will walk in faith I love her and would not want any other kid but my little baby girl is my world I get at the end you were happy but you should be happy god blessed you in life with your kids I never thought I would get married at 18 and have a baby a year later but I did god made my life better and they were the best blessing in it I’m proud to be a mom I’m proud to be a wife and I’m proud of my of my child an happy I didn’t get a boy or I would have not have my baby girl that lights up my day :”)””‘

  20. megan says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from with this. When I had my oldest who’s almost 8 it was a difficult pregnancy and I found out early he was a boy. I was so angry, I really wanted a girl, my husband laughed (I was young so I thought a girl would be easier). But I got over it by the time he was born. Then with our second who’s birthday is this weekend, he’ll be 5, the ultrasound wasn’t clear so we’re thinking “okay here we go, this could be it” nope it was another boy. My son was convinced he was getting a sister so much that when he walked into the hospital he goes “where’s my sister?” we told him he had a brother, the look on his face was hilarious. He looks at me, holds up his tiny little 2.5 yr old hands and in all seriousness goes “fine let me hab it” And continued to call his brother an “it” for about 2 weeks lol. Then we got blessed with our little surprise, I had to be watched closely because once again there were problems. Nothing serious like before, with #1 it was both our health, #2 it was my health, and #3 it was the baby’s health that had to be watched. Well at the big reveal we thought we’d take our oldest with us. The whole time he’s going “I’m getting another brother, I really want a brother” And we’re like “dude you don’t even like the one you have now, but you know it may be a sister. We don’t get to pick the baby that grows, we get what we get” And he’s like “oh I know but it’s going to be a boy”. Well the tech takes us back and they are getting a kick out of my son’s whole big brother thing he’s got going on, and he’s talking about his other brother at home. And here I am thinking “please God, give me a girl, just one, I need some sanity in my house”. On goes the jelly as the tech scrolls my belly and tells my son what he’s seeing on the screen and how everything works. Then I hear my son go “is that what I think it is?” and she just laughs and goes “yup looks like you’re getting a brother” and he starts jumping up and down about how he knew it and he was right. My husband is sitting there laughing. And the tech has no idea what is so funny. So I tell her “I was hoping for a girl, to take some of the crazy down a few notches in my house” she just started laughing. But all the while in my head I’m like seriously I can’t catch a break. I go through horrible pregnancies, have horrible deliveries, and I can’t get one stinking girl? What kind of sick joke is this? lol I love my sons they crack me up but then there’s other days which is most days where they make me want to pull my hair out. Those boys are hyper little monkeys and they are just such brutes. I had 2 sisters growing up so yes I would have liked to have just one girl because when it comes to boys I still have no idea what I’m doing. I was never a girly girl, UNTIL I had all boys, now I notice all the cutsie stuff because it’s stuff I’ll never get to buy.

    • Gema says:

      “fine let me hab it” that is so hilarious and so cute. Obviously, I don’t know what your son looks like but I imagine it was the cutest thing in the world!
      My son will only be a year and one month when his little brother arrives but … I think maybe he wanted a puppy. He loves dogs. So I wonder what face he will make when he lays eyes upon his new baby brother.
      I love boys. They can be stinky and dirty and get into trouble and it doesn’t look as bad as when a girl does those things. They seem to be free and allowed to do more. Girls on the other hand, well us moms know what they have to go through … periods, boys, always feeling like you have nothing to wear, makeup issues … I am scared of what I would have to do to raise a girl. But like you, I see all the cute things you can buy a girl and it makes me want one. But God only knows what I can and can’t handle and when … so for now he has only given me one boy and one on the way and they make me so happy. And maybe one day they will get a little sister too!

  21. Lan says:

    Give her a break! it’s ok to show a little disappointment whether it’s your first child or your fifth. It sounds like the initial shock and disappointment will wear off. Same could be said for dead beat drug addicts who can conceive children. Life’s not fair.

    • samantha says:

      Ya lifes not but its not okay to feel like that for more then a min because god gave you a baby I thought I couldn’t have kids I’m proud of my baby girl and I walk with my head up high and with faith that god walks with me and those poeple who can’t god said and an it will be givin so no its not okay it not a game or a job its life that god put in that baby so love like god love love no matter what :’)

  22. lanesha says:

    Meanwhile there are people struggling to conceive and/or struggling with the loss of a child… and you’re whining cause you had a boy. Have a darn seat. As a matter of fact, have several. I hope little Jackson never sees this article that his horrid mother wrote about how disappointed she was to ‘ve having a healthy baby boy.

    • Rachel Engel says:

      I invite you to read some of my other posts. My little Jackson (who has always had a place in my heart, my head just had to catch up), spent three months in the NICU as a full-term baby. He has a permanent feeding tube, and had open-heart surgery at 3-months old. He is now seven months old, and slightly behind developmentally. I love both my boy and girl so much. I chronicled the terrible weeks and weeks we spent at the hospital in my posts on here, and on my personal blog.

    • jej03 says:

      You guys are pretty awful, you know. Just even writing and posting this had to take a lot of guts because most people *do* feel guilty about these kinds of feelings. I know i did, even thought I *did* have problems conceiving (4+ years of trying and experiencing a few losses before I finally got my baby). Just because other people have bad stuff happening to them does not invalidate someone else’s feelings. Should you throw away all your nice things just because other people out there have it harder than you & can’t have the nice things you have? That’s a pretty basic comparison but to tell someone they’re awful & whining b/c they experienced some disappointment is pretty darn rude of you.

    • Well said!!! What an awful article. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. How would you feel if your mom would have been disappointed about your gender!!? Think!!!

  23. jess says:

    i think the best one i’ve heard was my best friend called me after her 20 week ultra sound. all she said was “its a girl”, very serious and monotone. she had a 2yo girl and had been extremely hopeful for a boy. she didn’t get along with her two sisters, and had been best friends with one of her brothers. she just didn’t think she could handle another girl. after a few days she got used to it and she was happy. i think anyone who really has their hopes set on one or the other has some disappointment when it doesn’t turn out. of course we all just want a happy baby, but you get a picture set in your head. maybe you had a really great relationship with your mom or dad and want to replicate it. maybe you want a playmate for a child you already have. maybe you have one gender and would like to try the other. whichever way it happens, you learn the truth and have to let go of what you had planned.

  24. ovation says:

    Lol. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. My 1st I didn’t care as long as the baby was healthy. So we have our Kevin. Course my hubby was in his glory cause he come from a big family of 7 boys. The ones that have kids all had girls for their 1st baby. There were time you would share he did it by himself. Lol. Our 2nd I hoped for a girl. But had a feeling it was a boy. My pregnancy pretty much went the same. And at the ultrasound sure enough it was a boy. I just wanted to cry. I moped around for days and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to bond with him with such disappointment. We now have our Alex. He’s almost 11 mths old and he has such a big personality you can’t help hut fall in love with him. I’m very lucky to have had 2 healthy pregnancies and have been able to get pregnant with my medical condition. Due to my medical condition I have a higher rate of not being able to conceive and a higher rate of miscarriages. I don’t necessarily consider myself selfish for having that dream family notion. We all have them for our wedding day! I have a very good relationship with my mom and I wanted something like that with my daughter. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed since we’ve decided to try for one more. Best of luck to everyone!

  25. Emily says:

    Could be worse! We were told from FIVE ultrasounds we were having a girl. Had a pink nursery and shower and closet stocked with dresses. May 1st out came baby–and it was definitely NOT a girl! Jeremiah David was our little SUPRISE! It was difficult at first–grieving the loss of the baby we planned for while rejoicing over the baby we were given, but now we are so in love with him and I can’t imagine my life any different! Oh and the nursery and girl clothes? Were repainted and packed up in the 2 days we were in the hospital by my mom! We came home to a BLUE nursery and all boy clothes!!

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