Gender Disappointment – Getting Rid of the Shame

We have a unique privilege nowadays: we can find out the sex of our unborn baby super duper early. With my toddler, we found out she was a girl when I was 15 weeks pregnant. With this baby (I’m currently 18 weeks pregnant), we found out we’re having another girl around 10 weeks via blood test.

Before I continue, I want to let you know that my hubby is a man’s man. He likes sports, actions movies, hardware and tools, and anything else typical men like ::waggy eyebrows:: Point being…he wants a son. I want him to have a son, and I want a son as well. With Baby #1, we had just gone through my father-in-law’s death from cancer. My husband was incredibly depressed. He’s an Army Ranger, and his depression was affecting every aspect of his life, including his work. I knew a son would lift his spirits and inspire him to be an amazing dad just like his father was. I know that wasn’t a logical solution to depression, but I was desperate. When the ultrasound revealed a girl, I cried. No, I didn’t cry…I wailed. Bawled. Did that ugly, silent crying that you save for your pillow or shower. I didn’t want to shop for girly things. I didn’t want to think about names. My whole excitement deflated. When our daughter was born, all that dissolved. Even for my husband. We were so happy and overjoyed. Now, she is the sunshine in both of our lives, and we can’t imagine her being a boy. So, finding out the gender of Baby #2 should be a breeze right? Yea…no.

When the blood test came back that this baby is also a girl, I bawled again. I couldn’t help it. It just came flowing out of me. This time, I knew what I was feeling, and that it’s a real thing: gender disappointment. And this time, I was ready to handle it. After reading blog after blog, article after article, I didn’t like anything I was reading. It was all the same guilt trip: “There are women who can’t have babies. You should be happy for whatever gender you’re having, as long as the baby is healthy!” Not helpful. So, I’m going to give you my 3 tips to overcoming gender disappointment, slowly but surely, without feeling mom guilt before the baby is even born! These helped with this second baby and made things much happier for me. I hope they help you too! 

  1. Accept Your Feelings – This may seem obvious, but really, it’s not, and it’s the most important. People will say “oh, don’t worry! Be happy the baby is healthy! Once he/she is born, you won’t even care!” While that may be true, that is super unhelpful at this moment. Accept those crappy feelings. Let the wave of mom guilt rush over you and then away from you. You are not a bad mom. You had a dream, and now that dream is not going to happen. It’s disappointing. It just is. Have a good long, ugly cry. Punch your husband for being responsible for the baby’s gender, and threaten to behead him King Henry VIII style. Curse the universe. Denounce the Law of Attraction. Do whatever you need to do to get that anger out. Then, my darling, move on. Don’t wallow. Don’t linger. Move the hell on. 
  2. Go Shopping – SOOOOO many of the blogs and articles I read said to not go shopping for baby items until you feel better. Don’t look at girl stuff if you wanted a boy. Don’t look at boy things if you wanted a girl. I wholeheartedly, absolutely, 100% disagree with this. GO SHOPPING! If you’re having a boy but wanted a girl, go buy boy things…little collared onesies, baseball caps, soft toy rattles that look like hammers or footballs. If you’re having a girl but wanted a boy, go buy girl things…frilly dresses, oversized bows, princess teethers. Shop, shop and shop some more. Buy what you can, and then go around the store registering for the rest! 
  3. Pick a Name – Make a list of potential names and start narrowing them down. Try to decide on a name, with your husband, and get both sides of the family on board. As weird as this sounds, deciding on a name makes the baby more “real.” You’ll feel so much more connected and excited. Plus, you can start the mommy-obsession of monogramming! 

Are you suffering/have you suffered from gender disappointment? What helped you? Let’s chat! 

Xoxo

Maunalee 

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