From the moment you start dreaming of your future child you likely imaged your world full of bows, dresses, and Barbie’s or you might have imaged football games, GI Joe’s, and days spent digging in the dirt looking for bugs.
Then the moment finally comes and you see those two pink lines and moments of your future flash before you and you remember all those hopes and dreams you had of pink or blue. Fast forward to the big reveal. Maybe it is at the gender scan, or maybe at a gender reveal party or maybe it’s at birth. Finally, you hear the words… “It’s a (insert gender).”
Instantly you are overcome with a feeling you weren’t expecting. Maybe it is a feeling of grief, depression, disappointment, or even shame for these feelings that are anything but excitement. Many people- parents, grandparents, siblings, friends- can feel gender disappointment and is much more common than people want to openly admit or talk about. Does gender disappointment make me a bad parent?
We know you are still thankful for all the positives in your pregnancy and know your ultimate goal is a healthy baby and mom. We also know that you love this baby so much already. We want to say it again so you do not feel alone, this is way more common than what society talks about.
Why do I feel disappointed about my baby’s gender?
There may be many reasons you feel gender disappointment and identifying why can help aid in bridging the feeling of disappointment into excitement. Perhaps you have spent your whole life dreaming of one particular gender. It can also be fear of not knowing how to connect with the opposite gender of yourself. Maybe this is your last child and will never experience the other gender. Sometimes cultural or societal expectations place a special emphasis on one gender over the other.
How can I cope with gender disappointment?
Identifying why you are feeling what you are feeling is a great first step. You can spend time identifying and processing with your spouse or your midwife/OBGYN or therapist. Time will also be your friend, allowing your mind the ability to process and work through what you are feeling.
If you find this disappointment is interfering with your life, day to day thoughts, leaving you disconnected from your pregnancy or you are unable to bond with your baby, it can be extremely helpful to join a parenting support group, hire a postpartum doula or connecting with a therapist. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself and know there are options to help you find that endless joy you envisioned.