How to Cope With Gender Disappointment

It’s not something many people are willing to admit, but it’s not uncommon for parents to feel disappointed upon discovering the sex of their baby. For some, the disappointment may last just a moment, but for others it can last a lot longer.

You may feel unable to discuss your disappointment for fear of looking like a bad parent. You may worry about being judged for not feeling 100 percent happy about the pregnancy. Perhaps you’re worried you might upset friends who are having trouble conceiving? Whatever the reasons, it seems a lot of expectant parents feel unable to discuss their feelings on this issue.

There are plenty of reasons why people feel disappointed by the sex of their baby, including:

  • already having a one-gender family and desperately wanting a child of the other gender
  • feeling unable to connect with a child of a particular gender
  • cultural or family pressure to produce a child of a specific gender
  • a history of sexual abuse
  • imagining the baby as one sex, only to find out it is the other

Dealing with the disappointment

The disappointment is real, and can sometimes feel like loss. Perhaps this is your last baby, you have a whole family of boys and were really hoping to have a girl, but have just discovered the baby is another boy. You should allow yourself to grieve for the daughter you hoped you were having, because that will help you to process your emotions.

Talking is an important coping mechanism when dealing with gender disappointment. Find someone you can talk to, without worrying about being judged, and let your heart pour out. This might be your partner, a real life friend or an online community, but find someone who will listen and respect your feelings.

After the birth

For many, the baby’s arrival rids any disappointment they were feeling during pregnancy. In fact, some couples choose not to find out the sex of their baby to avoid the potential months of disappointment for this very reason. When you are looking into the eyes of your beautiful new baby, you may decide that the gender is unimportant.

Of course, it’s not always that easy. For some, gender disappointment will continue after the birth. It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother, or that you do not love your baby, it just means you might need some help dealing with your disappointment. Speak to your healthcare provider if these feelings have not disappeared after the birth, they should be able to refer you to a specialist in postnatal care who can help.

Are you or your partner dealing with feelings of gender disappointment? Do you have any tips or advice to share with other pregnant women who may be in the same boat?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.