Gender Disappointment

By the time you arrive at the 19th week of pregnancy, you'll be preparing for your first major viewing of your yet-to-be-born baby. At 20 weeks gestation an ultrasound is done to determine whether everything is okay with the baby and to confirm a delivery date. One of the things you may be asked by the ultrasound technician is if you want to know the sex of your baby. Many couples do want to know for several reasons:

· There's plenty of time to pick a name

· It allows for decorating the nursery specifically for your baby's gender

· Shopping is always more fun when you know who you're buying for

· Depending upon religious traditions, plans for celebrations can be made

· If there are gender-specific genetic defects that could be passed on, you know ahead of time in order to be prepared

Shame & Guilt of Gender Disappointment

Even though many women will not openly confess wanting one gender over the other, it is surprising (mostly to them) how discovering the baby is not the sex they thought s/he would be rocks their world.

Maybe you wanted a boy but you found out you're having a baby girl. Or, conversely, maybe you have a couple of boys and you really want to have a baby girl. Either way, if the sex of the baby isn't what you thought it would be, you will probably feel disappointed. Then you'll feel guilty for feeling disappointed. The fact is you're not alone. This is a very common thread that runs through society, but the stigma of "not wanting what I've got" is a hard one to work through, making the topic taboo in many circles.


Why Women Suffer Gender Disappointment

Why does a woman (or her husband) feel disappointment when discovering the gender of their baby? Though are several possibilities, and many more that we can't even think of ... the reasons are often very personal.

· Maybe you grew up in a matriarchal world with a house full of sisters and lots of girl cousins. Having a girl is just what everyone does, and now that you've discovered you're having a boy - well, how do you explain that?

· Perhaps you've got two little girls at home and a baby boy is on your mind. If you discover you're having another girl you may consider there's something wrong with you - and the disappointment is real.

· If this is the first baby, your partner might be looking forward to playing football with his little man and you want him to be happy. You find out it's a girl and you're afraid of his disappointment.

You'll Get Over Gender Disappointment

There are myriad reasons why a woman may be disappointed with the gender of her baby. Generally, it all works out just fine and although you may feel conflicted with your emotions over the baby's sex, you know you'll get over it. The most important thing you can do if you're feeling disappointed about the sex of your baby is to say it out loud. Acknowledge your disappointment to your mate or someone you trust, and then change your focus from the sex of the baby to what kind of person your baby will become. You really can't determine if your little girl is going to be a princess, a tomboy, or both; nor can you decide whether your son will love playing football or the piano. But, you can decide what kind of person you can help that baby become. Kind, respectful, a high achiever, a wholesome individual with integrity and honesty are all aspects of character you can develop. If you're having your third boy and he's another boy in a familial legacy of boys, enjoy the fact that he's going to be different from all of the other boys in the family line.

What most often happens is any disappointment washes away with the tears that you shed when you first lay eyes on your baby. Many experts advise against learning the baby's gender before birth for this reason. Waiting until birth to learn the baby's gender (theoretically) means you will focus on your baby's individuality as opposed to whether it's a boy or a girl and whether you got what you "wanted". You'll want what you got.

When Women Don't Recover from Gender Disappointment

There are some moms who are so upset with the fact that the baby isn't what they wanted that they never bond with their child and, when the baby grows up enough, s/he learns that s/he was never really wanted. It's a very sad thing, to be sure. Other mothers either consider aborting their baby or actually do so because they don't want a boy or a girl. Thankfully, these situations are a small minority. However, it does add weight to the reality that gender disappointment can be a very difficult thing for a woman to deal with, and it can take a long time to get over.

If you are dealing with gender disappointment and haven't been able to move beyond it, perhaps it is time to get some serious counseling to help you. Knowing your baby's sex before birth may have some conveniences, but it may not be the best thing for either you or your baby.

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