Did you experience gender disappointment when your gynecologist told you that a girl, and not a boy, was on the way?
Feeling upset that you’re having a baby of the wrong gender isn’t unusual. Gender disappointment is part and parcel of having a new baby.
That said, like some women, you may take the news harder than others. A little sadness can become a depression. So how can you stop struggling?
Note that men are prone to this feeling as well, although they don’t experience the hormonal changes women do.
What is Gender Disappointment?
So what is gender disappointment? As mentioned above it is deep sadness over not having a baby of the preferred gender.
Sadly, mothers seldom discuss their feelings for fear of being judged by others. Joyce Venis, a psychiatric nurse who works with women who suffer from the condition, says that they seldom talk about it because others would see them as being ungrateful. It’s overwhelming for some of them.
Furthermore, pangs of guilt usually go with depression. Some mothers feel responsible for making their families feel disappointed because they didn’t give birth to a child of the preferred gender.
Causes of Gender Disappointment
Gender disappointment is a relatively common condition that shouldn’t cause guilt or shame. Here are some reasons women may feel sad when told that they would have a baby of the gender they don’t prefer.
First of all, these women feel that they can’t relate to a particular gender. They find it easier to build bonds with a baby of their preferred sex.
Other mothers may already have children of the same gender, so they feel let down if they have another. The feeling worsens if their family members give them pressure to have kids of the preferred sex.
Also, many mothers don’t express themselves because they don’t want to upset others who can’t conceive. They don’t want people to judge them as being insensitive.
Furthermore, they don’t want people to see them as being poor mothers because they can’t accept a child of the gender they don’t prefer.
Getting over Gender Disappointment
If you’re feeling down because you’re pregnant with a child of the wrong gender for you, know that you aren’t alone. Gender disappointment may not compare with feelings of grief, but it’s deep and real.
That said, you must embrace your new child with your whole heart, no matter how hard it is. Here are some ways that might help you do this.
1. Get in touch with your emotions
You may feel a lot of pressure to say that you’re delighted with your baby, even if it isn’t of the sex you wanted. You may also feel guilty because you feel that you can’t love your child completely. Express your disappointment honestly and acknowledge your new child as a blessing.
2. Give yourself time
Then, give yourself time to get used to your new baby. You may have gone for an ultrasound and found out your kid’s gender. Though you feel disappointed, you have time to accept your child as he or she is. Realize that the feeling’s not unusual.
3. Consider why you feel let down
Considering why you feel sad may help you reconcile with your child’s gender. For example, you may feel nervous because you grew up with brothers. You may think that you can’t offer much to a baby girl.
Why not play with your neighbor’s daughter? You’ll soon get used to what girls like and will accept your new child with open arms.
4. Take steps to get over your anger
You may feel angry that you’ve got another baby boy, after giving birth to a few. If your feelings are extreme, you may not want to search for baby names or even hug it.
Realize that this will pass. If you still feel frustrated after a time, speak to a professional who can help you connect with your feelings.
5. Take small steps
Finally, it’s not easy to get over disappointment with a snap of your finger. To make the process easier, take baby steps.
You may not have wanted a boy, but you can build your enthusiasm for him slowly. Decorate your nursery with gender-toys. Search for creative names for your baby-to-be. Keep the lines of communication open with him; talk to him as often as you can.
Experiencing gender disappointment’s part and parcel of having a new baby. Take baby steps, and have patience. You’ll overcome the feeling.
By Michelle L.