Disappointed about your baby’s gender (and feeling guilty)? Learn how to manage gender disappointment during your pregnancy with these tips.
That was what I was hoping my second pregnancy would reveal. I already had a boy and thought it’d be awesome for him to have a little sister. I wished so much that the sonogram would reveal that one of the twins would be a girl.
But when I learned that they were both boys, I ended up dealing with gender disappointment I didn’t know I’d feel.
Gender disappointment isn’t as strange as you might think. I know so many people who really wanted one gender but got the other. Others who pursued crazy ways to conceive a preferred gender, and still others who’ve had to adjust to their new reality.
It’s common for people feel some gender disappointment to varying degrees. Unfortunately, we don’t always acknowledge our emotions, or we feel guilty about them.
We tell ourselves to get over it. That at least the baby is healthy, or that we shouldn’t complain, especially when other people struggle to conceive.
When I learned I was carrying two boys (with no plans to have any more kids), I had to adjust my expectations.
Dealing with gender disappointment during your pregnancy
Dealing with gender disappointment is difficult, especially since a baby’s gender seems so petty. We’d rather our babies are healthy, or that we can conceive at all, or carry to full term. Feeling disappointed about a baby’s gender doesn’t seem to warrant attention.
So, we feel guilty about it or bury it beneath, afraid to appear superficial. Except, like with any emotion, accepting and managing it is healthier than pushing it away.
I hope you find the article as helpful as these moms have:
“Thank you so much for this post! When I finally looked at your posting its was like I was reading from my own thoughts! Thank you so much for normalizing these feelings.” -Mommy of boys
” Thank you thank you for putting this out there and for all of the brave women who are not too scared to put their vulnerabilities out there to create some validation for me and other women as well.” -Shelby
“Reading this makes me feel so much better! Thank you for this.” -Alyssa
“Thanks for this post. I hope I can move forward in a positive and healthy way for myself and my boys.” -Monica
“Wow! I’m so glad I found this.” -Elle
If you can relate, don’t worry — dealing with gender disappointment is possible with honesty, time, and the tips below:
1. Accept—don’t bury—your emotions
The biggest pitfall with gender disappointment is denying the truth of your emotions. After all, people say, “So long as the baby is healthy,” implying that any other concern is trivial.
While it may seem petty to fuss about a baby’s gender, we all have dreams of what our future with our kids will be. Long before you even gave birth, you imagined yourself as a family and holding your child in your arms. You imagine a reality that has yet to exist other than in your mind.
So, when reality hits, you’re left dealing with a loss—not of a child, but of the dreams you had.
Acknowledge your feelings for what they are. They’re emotions that happen to everyone and nothing to feel bad about. Talk to someone about how you had longed for a girl (or vice versa).
Write your thoughts in a journal. Don’t keep the emotions buried inside, waiting to percolate later as resentment or frustration.
It’s okay to admit that you wanted another gender. No one’s going to see how you’re going to mess up your kids because they knew you wanted a boy when you instead got a girl.
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2. Your child is an individual
We all have notions of what our kids will be like, based on their genders. And sometimes we assume they’ll fill their roles simply because they’re a boy or girl. You may have fantasized about dressing your little girl in cute clothes or taking your little guy to sports games. These are both typical stereotypes of girls and boys.
But you might find that your child won’t fit that gender role to begin with. Rather than trying to fit him into your interests and hobbies, be open to his own. Your little boy could care less about sports and would rather dive into art. And your little girl pulls off her frilly clothes and prefers t-shirts and sweat pants.
Besides, many of the interests you imagine doing with your child may not even rely on gender at all. Who says you can’t take your little girl to sports games or dress your little guy in hip, stylish clothes?
We all meet our children for the first time, regardless of their sex. Your child being a boy doesn’t mean he’ll fulfill assumptions you may have had about raising boys, and vice versa for girls.
Instead of leading with your images of who your child will be, treat him as an individual. You’ll appreciate his unique traits rather than what you assume he should be.
3. Consider the perks of your child’s gender
Once you’ve accepted the disappointment you feel about the turn of events, think about the many perks your child’s gender gives you.
It didn’t take long to get over gender disappointment when I realized the benefits of hand-me-downs! I saved boxes of clothes and gear from my eldest and was giddy when I realized how much we’d save from not having to buy too many items.
And since my twins were both boys, so much of what they have can be interchangeable, from clothes to toys.
Remind yourself that everything has pros and cons, including raising boys versus girls. You’ll see that having the opposite gender will turn out just as fine.
Perhaps the most important reminder? You’ll love your child, no matter what.
I’ve spoken to many moms who felt gender disappointment, even throughout their whole pregnancy. And every one of them admitted it that all disappeared the minute they met their baby come delivery day.
Everything will turn out fine. You’re welcoming your new baby into the world, regardless of gender. As real and valid as your emotions are, rest assured they won’t plague you all through his or her lifetime.
Because when you hold your baby in your arms, you will long forget how you even considered gender at all. Boy or girl, your child is yours, no matter what.
Get more tips:
- How to Survive a Pregnancy with a Toddler
- Pregnancy To Do List: What to Prepare in the Third Trimester
- 11 Crucial Pregnancy Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- 5 Best Things You Can Do to Have a Healthy Pregnancy
- 11 Pregnancy Secrets You Didn’t Know About
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your printable checklist below—at no cost to you: