How to Deal with Gender Disappointment During Your Pregnancy

Disappointed about your baby’s gender (and feeling guilty)? Learn how to manage gender disappointment during your pregnancy with these tips.

Gender DisappointmentA girl.

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 baby girl.

But when I learned that they were both boys, I ended up dealing with gender disappointment I didn’t know I’d feel.

Feelings of gender disappointment isn’t as strange as you might think. I know so many people who wanted one gender but got the other. Others 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 to feel some gender disappointment to varying degrees. Unfortunately, we don’t always acknowledge this feeling of sadness.

We tell ourselves to get over it. That at least you have a healthy baby, 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 the gender of your baby 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 guilt and shame about it or bury it beneath, afraid to appear superficial. Except, like with any emotion, acceptance 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 it was like I was reading from my 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 can 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 of grief 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 negative 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 baby boy when you instead got a girl.

Free printables: Need a checklist of all the things to get done before the baby is born? Join my newsletter and grab your printable checklist below—at no cost to you:

Pregnancy To Do List

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 your little girl playing dolls or taking your little guy to sports games. These are both gender 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 baseball and would rather dive into art. And your little girl pulls off her pink frilly clothes and prefers t-shirts and sweatpants.

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 can 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 feelings of 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 can 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 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.

Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your printable checklist below—at no cost to you:

Pregnancy To Do List

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  1. Mommy of boys says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I just found out today at the ultrasound that we are having our third boy and I couldn’t help bit be in shock. Every wives tale that I came across said it was a girl…even the great ring test. I held it together for the appointment but lost it in the car with my husband. He is super excited but I was just SO sure it a a girl! 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….i think now I am just anticipating the words from other people like “maybe next time! Or “oh shoot!”. I almost don’t want to tell anyone just because of those reactions! As the day progresses I am more at peace with it and know that I was just meant to have crazy boys!

    1. You bring up a good point—people’s comments! Not only do you have to deal with your own disappointment, but now must brace yourself for the inevitable comments and questions people say or even ‘joke’ about. I had so many of those as well, even now, with the “Are you going to try for a girl?” (As if there was ever even a guarantee lol). I take in jest as well, but I always think that comments like that are unnecessary.

  2. First of all I am really ashamed to be writing this post, as i thought i would never be “those” people and always thought of my self as a grateful person. I am 37 with my first baby. I am 4 months and had two scary incidents where I had a gush of blood. yesterday I received the results of my genetic testing. baby is fine. no abnormalities, thank God. I also found out I am having a little baby girl. i have been nonstop crying since yesterday. i was bent on having a boy. all the old wives tale indicated i was having a boy. i dreamed up this imaginary world where i had a boy and how i would raise him and break the news to my friends and family. the thought of a girl never occured in my mind for a split second. i would refer to my earlier ultra sounds as “he”. everything was he when i spoke about the baby. i prayed on having a boy too. my husband wanted a boy my mom wanted a boy and im sure my husband moms wanted a boy but she said she was happy either way. my husband thinks maybe there still could be a slight chance it could be a boy. the results are 98%. but he’s being real supportive. he does express his want for a boy but in the end says as long as the baby is healthy and i am being ungrateful. which i totally am. all around me there are people who are having issues with conceiving or they have to take meds. i am really shocked at myself for feeling this way. i dont want people to think i am a bad person. i honestly wish i wouldnt feel this way and just embrace what i have been given. even though i know now, i am still in shock and denial. whats wrong with me? i am a girl. im so sad and depressed.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      It takes a lot to admit something that to some folks would seem petty, so no shame here! I don’t think feeling disappointed in a baby’s gender is necessarily tied to gratitude. We know we’re blessed, we know we have it so much better than many people, so I don’t think you or anyone else is being ungrateful or a ‘bad’ person at all.

      What I think happens with gender disappointment is that we’re grieving over a dream we once had. Like you said, you had spent considerable time thinking of life with a boy, you identified your growing baby as a ‘he,’ and everyone assumed or wished you had a boy. So to suddenly go from that to realizing all this time it’s going to be a girl is a bit of a shock.

      It’s not that you’re ungrateful, it’s that you now have to reconcile your past dreams or notions with what is real and going to happen. It takes some time. I remember when I found out both my twins were boys, and I already had an eldest. Before then, I imagined one was a boy and the other a girl, and I actually had day dreams of my kids, from infancy through when they’d be adults, and I imagined two boys and a girl. So it took a while to match up those dreams, sort of change them, to accommodate reality.

      And since you just found out yesterday, I would think it would take some time to adjust. Try not to get too down on yourself or feel guilty. We can’t help our emotions, after all. They come and go, and we can’t be made to feel guilty for having them. Acknowledge how you feel, don’t try to hide it, but do be proactive about what you can do to accept this new circumstance.

      The best part is that everyone I know who has felt this way has adjusted. You will love your baby girl tremendously you’ll almost be in disbelief about this period you’re having right now. Everything will turn out all right, even if you can’t see it just yet.

      1. Thank you so much for writing this post and response. I have felt such horrible feelings since finding out a couple of days ago that I was having my second boy. I have had so much shame, guilt and anger towards myself for my feelings—-and I am a therapist who knows all this is normal to have ANY feeling!! It doesn’t help the feelings from coming tho. I was extremely surprised by my own reaction is what is more, I think I tired very hard before we found out to deny that I cared what the gender was—that I was just happy if it was healthy—- but after I found out I was having another boy my hopes and dreams for dressing a pretty girl in pink dresses, doing her hair, I had picture she would have sweet brown curls like mine when I was little, I would cook with her in the kitchen on holidays, go shopping, enroll her in ballet and go to recitals, watch her graduate, pick out wedding and prom dresses, be with her while she goes through pregnancy, throw her a wedding shower and baby shower (my mom never did those things for me, so it would be my chance to give it to my own). It felt like all those dreams came crashing down around me when I found out it was a boy.

        I fear that somehow this sweet unsuspecting boy will find out I wanted a girl. I hate that I found out early bc I wonder if these feelings would have come if I had just waited till the birth to find out. When my first son was born my husband and I waited to find out—both convinced it was a girl as we wanted a girl so much. When he came out and he was a boy I remember a slight pang of disappointment, huge shock and then I saw his face and I knew my heart belonged to him. My first son is the center of my world and I am longing for the day I give birth, but I am only half way through this pregnancy and just praying this feeling goes away when I see him. I am grateful for this second baby boy. I appreciate your response to that idea. It is just very hard to realize all of my hopes and dreams for a daughter have died bc this will be our last child. It is such a major adjustment. I couldn’t stop crying the night and next day after I found out. I felt better yesterday and woke up feeling kind of down today but not as sad as when we first found out. I have an amazingly supportive husband who validated me well and an amazing friend who is also a psychologist who have normalized and validated my process and I know they will continue to do so. I truly love my son that is here and my world would not be the same without him in it. Grief just totally sucks, including the grief of dreams I have had since I was a child that will not play out in the way I had imagined. I will be so relieved when this period of grief is behind me. 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.

        1. Nina Garcia says:

          Big hugs, Shelby! It’s often admitting or realizing the feelings that is hardest to overcome, so kudos to you for being aware. Still, like you said, it doesn’t make the grief any less painful.

          I like to think of our emotions as passing through our bodies, and it’s when we block it from flowing that it becomes really painful. I literally imagine a “cork” in my heart (usually that’s where you feel the physical toll of emotions) that I pull out, so that these emotions have somewhere to go, rather than staying bottled in. It’ll all flow eventually, and I think it’s great you’re simply sitting with these emotions, almost like you’re “watching” them play out, and in time, knowing that they’ll move on, as all emotions do.

          Hang in there, Shelby! Whatever dreams you may have had for your “lost daughter” doesn’t mean you love your second son any less, nor that he loves you any less for feeling this way. xo, Nina

  3. I know I have a had a hard time dealing with this myself but it is a little bit different. I was told for over 5 months that I was having a little girl. After a complicated delivery I was told I had a little boy. I wouldn’t change anything because I love him but it has been a very big adjustment.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Wow what a roller coaster of emotions, Kait! I know someone else who had that happen to her, too. She was told she was going to have a boy—even had a boy’s name picked out, boy’s clothes, all that. But come delivery day, she got a girl. It’s definitely an adjustment!

  4. I wish I would have found this sooner! I have already come to terms with my baby boy but I was so disappointed at first. I did a gender reveal and my fiance knew but I didn’t. I wish I wouldn’t have done it but this is my first and might be my only so I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on a pregnancy event. I had always dreamed of a little girl. My mom had me and my sister and my family is saturated with girls so I thought I was definitely going to have a girl, I wanted a little mini me. My fiance has 2 boys and a girl from a previous marriage so I was hoping we’d have a girl so that we would have 2 of each. I did have other moms who went through the same thing and they reassured me that boys are much easier and love their moms a ton. I’m still excited because hes mine and feeling him move in my belly helps strengthen my love for him.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m glad to hear you’ve come to terms with it, Kala! We all have dreams of our kids, long before we meet them, so it’s only natural for you to feel grief over losing that dream. The good news is, you’ll have such a strong bond with your little guy! As a mom of three boys, I can’t imagine it any other way.

  5. Reading this makes me feel so much better! I’m FINALLY getting over my gender disappointment for this pregnancy (this is baby #2). I have a 3 year old daughter, and the husband and I were really hoping for a boy this time. I’ve always wanted one of each and when we found out we were having another girl, I cried almost non stop for the first few days and felt really down about it for quite awhile after. It wasn’t until going through my daughter’s old clothes that I got excited about another girl. There were so many cute outfits that she never wore or only wore once or twice, and I’m excited to put them on this baby. I’m so glad to see this topic discussed in a positive light, as I got many negative comments about how I was ungrateful and so many jokes that I didn’t find remotely amusing. Thank you for this.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Absolutely, Alyssa! So glad the article resonated and made you feel better. You’re not alone, or any worse than another mom. It’s a natural feeling we all get when we grieve not for a baby but for a lost dream. And yes, with time it gets so much better!

  6. I just got results I’m having my third boy. I was in shock because this pregnancy has been different. I had positive feelings I was finally having my girl. I feel like I always put good intentions in the world and try to be the best human possible. With all that, I just felt that maybe god would bless me with my wanting of a daughter. A daughter I could buy dresses for, play tea with, whose hair I could braid, a daughter who I would go shopping for a wedding dress, and also help raise a child of their own. And now I feel defeated. Sad. Alone. I feel like God doesn’t want that for me. Why? I love my boys so much. I will love this baby too, but I long for a daughter. I have since my second son. Every single person around me has at least one daughter. I just get these pains of jealousy. And I’m not at all a jealous person, but with this topic I am. I can’t stand feeling like this. And more than anything I want to rid these feelings forever. Thanks for this post. I hope I can move forward in a positive and healthy way for myself and my boys.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Big hugs, Monica. It’s not easy grieving for a life you’ve imagined for so long. One of the best ways to overcome jealousy is to practice daily gratitude. Focus on what you do have so that when you start to feel jealous, you can be reminded of all that you have going for you. Many moms say that once their baby is born, the feelings go away, but if you find they don’t, then ask your doctor for recommendations moving forward. More than likely though, you’ll see that lovely boy and learn to adjust with life as a mom to all boys 🙂

      1. Thank you for replying. I have been in better spirits. As you said, look at the things I have and not focus on what I don’t. I know time will heal. What’s really helped these past days is making myself vulnerable. Telling people I was hopeful for a daughter and sad I didn’t get one. I use to hide this from everyone because I felt I would get judged. Every person has been sympathetic and understanding.

        In the past I use to push myself away from my friends and family when they would have baby girl showers or announce they were having girls. But lately have been embracing all those little baby girls. I now have been asked to be a godmother to one. I have three little nieces and they let me do their hair and I get my little girl time there. I pray that god gives me the strength to be happy for myself and others. And to one day give me granddaughters :).

        Thank you for being so kind and wise with your words. Today I’ll be meeting an old friend who has four boys and she too deals with the same emotions. I think it’s good to connect with those who can relate.

  7. Wow! I’m so glad I found this. It is crazy that you posted this on 12/26… literally the day I did my gender reveal to find out that I’m pregnant with fraternal twin boys. I thought I was pregnant with either two girls or a boy and a girl and was really hoping for a boy and a girl, as was my husband. I was SO confident that I had a baby girl in my belly (whom we already had a name picked out for) so was absolutely stunned when we learned it was two boys. How will I be a boy mom? I love watching sports but my husband and the boys are going to leave me in the dust when they go out and play sports.

    I’m doing much better now but I was feeling so depressed that first week after finding out. I could not stop crying! My therapist told me to do exactly what you are saying. She said I should allow myself to grieve the loss of my ‘daughter’ so I did. The worst part was the guilt for feeling the way I did. It took us over a year to get pregnant and used fertility treatment so I was upset with myself for seeming ungrateful. I still am in slight disbelief that it’s two boys but I realize that health is the most important and I will love them so much regardless of their sex. I also am thinking my husband and I will try for a third eventually… but I’ll have to see how it is with two kids first!

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m glad the article helped, Elle! Sometimes our preconceptions make us dread the worst (feeling left out of sports, for instance) when we don’t even know how reality will play out (one or both might not even be interested in sports). We can always develop a special bond no matter their gender or interests, and I’ve found that that’s how it turned out for me, even with *three* boys lol. No matter what, you’re a wonderful mom, regardless of how you felt about having two boys 🙂

  8. Thank you for this post. I am pregnant for the first time at age 37. I am so late to start that I don’t know if I’ll have another. I hoped and prayed for a healthy baby boy. I wanted a boy with all my heart and was convinced God would answer my prayer. Also, I am one girl in an extended family of 14 boys. My husband’s family is all boys. I was convinced it statistically would be a boy. I also was afraid of having a girl because of the childhood abuse I suffered as a girl. I was told today that my baby was female and my heart just dropped. My emotions now are swinging from excitement and nervousness to dissapointment and guilt. I am sure I will get used to the idea of having a girl and be overjoyed soon but it is great to know I am not the only one.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing your story. I can understand the hope and later, the disappointment and guilt you felt when you heard the baby’s gender. You’re right, you will absolutely adjust and later, can’t imagine it any other way. Hang in there, mama <3

  9. When you said “ every one of them admitted that all disappeared the minute they met their baby come delivery day”, all my anxiety and guilt left. Thank you for this post. I’m to ashamed to tell any of my friends or family I felt this way but this post is all I needed.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m glad the post helped, Allison <3 Thanks for letting me know, and yes, it'll work out in the end 🙂