The following is a guest post written by Kristi of IntelligentMother.com, in which she shares about the normalcy of and advice for how to deal with gender disappointment in pregnancy.
Right from the moment you realize that you are expecting a child, many thoughts will start running through your mind. You will start imagining what your baby will look like, what gender it will be, and whether the baby will be healthy. Friends and family will congratulate you. People will ask you whether you are hoping for a boy or a girl, and though you may simply say that all you want is a healthy baby, deep down in your heart, you will secretly wish for a particular gender.
As time goes by, you can’t wait to have your ultrasound so you can know the gender of your baby. But when you finally have your ultrasound results, you are silently heartbroken and disappointed. If you are in this situation or have been in this situation before, you are not alone. Amanda Christen, a woman in her thirties who just learnt that she was having a baby boy while she was hoping for a baby girl, couldn’t help to feel disappointed with the news.
Like Amanda, most mothers usually prefer to have baby girls over baby boys. This is usually as a result of these mothers’ hearts having set on having baby girls only to be told otherwise by their doctors. These gender preferences may be as a result of having several children who are all boys or the feeling that you won’t be able to connect to your child if he is a boy. Other causes of gender disappointment may be due to the innumerable societal issues that usually surrounds children.
Since gender disappointment is a controversial parental topic, most mothers usually choose to hide their disappointments either because they feel they might offend those who are having trouble getting pregnant, or that they might be seen as insensitive and selfish. Some women may also hide their gender disappointment because they fear they might be regarded as bad mothers. Gender disappointment is a common phenomenon in women, and that’s why they have a name for it.
How you can deal with gender disappointment
* Accept your emotions
The first step towards overcoming your gender disappointment is by being honest with yourself and accepting your disappointment. This will help you to stop feeling sad over the girl you feel you may never have. It’s always normal for a mother to be broken-hearted with the sex of their unborn baby, but once she gives birth to that baby, the feelings change.
If you feel sad about the news of your baby’s gender, don’t try to hide it, just let it show. Don’t try to dry your eyes or fake a smile as you leave the ultrasound room as this will only make you feel guilty later when your baby will be grown up, and the disappointment goes away. You should acknowledge your disappointment to your partner who will help you overcome it. You can also confide in a friend who won’t judge you or you may also consult your therapist.
Remember, all feelings are valid; you just have to learn how to deal with them rather than hide them.
* Figure out the reasons why you feel disappointed
Usually, there is always a reason behind every feeling. Therefore, finding out why you are feeling heartbroken with the news of your baby’s gender will be important. Perhaps your disappointment stems from what you experienced in your childhood.
Scarlett*, a first-time mother, felt intense disappointment when she learnt that she was having a boy. Growing up, she had a troubled family life because her dad was a violent alcoholic who rarely came home, and the few occasions when he came home it was total chaos. The dad used to beat her and her mother up. Her parents ended up divorcing when she was twelve. She, therefore, didn’t want a son because she felt that her son might turn out to be an abusive man like her father.
For Shirley*, she experienced intense despair when she learnt that she was having a girl. This is because she felt like she desperately wanted a boy since she always believed that mothers and sons had a special bond that wasn’t possible to achieve between mothers and daughters.
* Trust your ability to love
You should realise that any disappointment that you have now is only temporary. This is because when you are pregnant, your baby’s sex is all you know about him or her but once you give birth to him or her, you will get to know the personality and traits of your baby.
According to Diane Ross Glazer, a psychotherapist based in Tarzana, California, gender disappointment usually disappears when you finally meet your baby and hold him or her in your arms. The disappointment in your heart will disappear and will be replaced with love.
During labour, your brain will release a hormone called Oxytocin. This powerful hormone will help you fall in love with your little bundle of joy.
* Know that every child is different
Lastly, you should know that every child has a different personality especially if your reasons are the same as those of Scarlett*. Just because you went through a bad experience does not mean that your child will also go through the same experience or that your child will end up like those people who hurt you.
For mothers who feel that they won’t be able to connect emotionally with their baby just because he or she is of a gender that you don’t want, you should know that things will be different once your baby arrives. You will find out that you were just disappointed because your fantasies didn’t come true, for you and your baby will have an amazing experience.
As a final point, if the disappointment of your baby’s gender overshadows the happiness of expecting your baby, don’t feel guilty or ashamed since you are not alone. Most mothers have gone through the same thing for various reasons but what all of them seem to agree on, is that once the baby is born, the disappointment will be gone.
Therefore, all you can do is take care of yourself during pregnancy by eating right and sit tight and wait for the baby to arrive. If you want something to worry about, then it should be what you and your friends will wear to your baby shower.
Author Bio: My name is Kristi and I’m the mother of 3 beautiful angels, founder of Intelligentmother.com. This blog was created in order to share experiences baby care, health care for pregnant women. You can find many interesting insights. Problems – Solved!
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