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Overcoming gender disappointment


After finding out you are pregnant in the first place, discovering your baby’s gender is probably the most exciting time of your pregnancy. Whether you mean to or not, you usually start picturing your baby as a boy or girl soon after you see that plus sign appear on your pregnancy test. It’s natural and makes you feel connected to that pea-sized baby immediately. When asked if they want a boy or girl, you will most likely hear everyone say “oh, it doesn’t matter as long as they are healthy.” And while that ultimately rings true once the baby is born, the fact of the matter is, most of us secretly have a preference, if only for a little while. When the time comes for your much-anticipated ultrasound, you may not hear the announcement you were expecting.

If you’re feeling a little down and out, know that you’re not alone! What you’re experiencing is gender disappointment. Unfortunately, many people use shaming and negative language when discussing gender disappointment, claiming it’s a ridiculous topic, that you should just be happy you’re having a baby, and how they may have suffered a loss and how they would be thankful just to have a child of their own.

Embrace your emotions
Once you find out your new baby is not the boy or girl you wanted, you probably feel a lot of pressure to say that you’re completely happy and not admit disappointment. As a mother, you instantly feel you have a responsibility to love your child no matter what, so having feelings of disappointment that your little girl is actually a little boy can make you feel guilty and like you’re already failing as a mother.

Give yourself time
You don’t have to have resolved all your feelings of gender disappointment by the time you leave the doctor’s office after your ultrasound! If you find out the gender of your baby at 20 weeks, you still have several months to work through your feelings and get excited about your future son or daughter. Remember, don’t attach guilt to not immediately being delighted about the gender. Take steps to accepting the gender of your baby

Many women who experience gender disappointment feel anger. They feel disconnected from their baby, refuse to search for baby names and avoid the baby clothes section. Once you’re feeling like you can, start taking steps to embrace your baby. Pick out some nursery items, buy an adorable baby blanket and talk to your belly.

Seek help postpartum
If you are still experiencing gender disappointment after the birth of your child, its time to seek some help from a professional.

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