That held true for Alicia Brooker, a mom from Newport News, Va., who hoped so strongly for a girl during her first pregnancy that she fantasized the ultrasound technician may have been wrong. "The first words out of my mouth when my son was born were, 'Is it still a boy?' " Brooker says. "Yet, when he was placed on my chest, I felt for the first time that he wasn't a part of me but his own perfect self."
Learning the gender early: the downside
If you're the impatient type, should you try a product such as Baby Gender Mentor, which claims to determine the sex with 99.9 percent accuracy just five weeks after conception?
"That kind of technology is very powerful," Bartell warns. "You have almost the entire pregnancy to create in your mind what kind of child you think your baby is going to be instead of allowing him or her to become what he or she actually is." And, of course, the ability to test for gender so early, while unproven, might influence a mother to terminate her pregnancy if the results were not what she hoped for--a possibility that troubles ethicists, though Bartell says she's never personally known it to happen.
Bartell adds that for some women, getting past negative feelings about their baby's gender may be too difficult to manage alone and can lead to trouble bonding with the baby. Douglas agrees, warning that unexpressed guilt can be a new mom's worst enemy. If you're overwhelmed by sadness or disappointment--or shame over those feelings--it may be a good idea to seek counseling during pregnancy to help you get a handle on your emotions before your baby is born.