When your baby isn’t the gender you hoped for…
Gender disappointment is a natural feeling that occurs when the birthing individual or partner is excited about the possibility of one gender, or expecting the baby to be a certain gender, and ultrasound results come back something else. In the case of parents who choose to wait until birth to discover their babies’ gender, this disappointment can hinder the parent’s ability to bond with their newborn.
Frequently, when someone is expecting, people will throw in their opinion about the gender of that person’s baby. If enough people give the same opinion, the birthing individual may begin to believe their baby is going to be that gender. They may then feel disappointed or upset when the baby isn’t the gender they believed it to be.
Additionally, some birthing individuals have a strong sense of self and feel as if they can sense their baby’s gender long before it is revealed on an ultrasound. Those individuals may also face disappointment, even questioning their ability to know their own bodies.
In other cases, when couples have several of one particular gender and then find out they are having yet another child of that same gender, they may experience gender disappointment. This is what happened to me.
It’s an….another girl!
When we were expecting baby #3, my pregnancy was so vastly different from my previous ones that I felt for sure we had to be having a boy this time. I was so excited! I would finally get to dress my little man up in bow ties and suspenders. I could take him out for mommy/son dates. I was excited about the prospect of watching him grow into a man.
Then, we had our first ultrasound. The baby was being “shy” and they couldn’t tell for sure. So, we scheduled a second ultrasound. The baby wasn’t as “shy” this time, but it wasn’t holding still either. The ultrasound tech said she was pretty sure it was a girl. I was devastated.
However, “pretty sure” wasn’t for certain and we scheduled an appointment with a 3-D ultrasound place in Orlando. My thinking was if there was anything there, surely a 3-D place would find it. As our family crowded in that little room, the ultrasound tech put on quiet music and began to scan my stomach. When she got to the spot that would show us what we were having, I cried. The girls cried. Tony held my hand. There was no doubt we were having another girl.
The pain of that disappointment was very real. Yet, I felt guilty. Here I had a healthy baby who was wanted and loved, yet I was upset because we would be adding a 3rd girl to the mix.
It took a few weeks to work through my feelings. Shopping for her nursery and some new clothes helped. The day that I finally accepted we were having a girl was the day we named her. We were going to be a house full of little women.
Gender disappointment can strike in many forms and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks to process. However, each person has to process it in their own way and in their own time. If you are finding you are having a hard time loving or accepting your baby simply because of its gender, it may be time to seek out a counselor to help walk you through the process. You may even find joining a parent support group to be helpful.