Gender disappointment isn’t something many of us parents are willing to accept, or even discuss.
When I was pregnant for the second time, many people asked me for my preference: boy or girl? I didn’t necessarily have one, but I know every one else did for me.
It seems frowned upon by those who have suffered years of heart ache whilst trying to conceive a baby, as well as those who struggle with fertility issues.
The issue with gender disappointment is – it’s real, it’s a thing and many parents do and have experienced it.
The disappointment for the apparent incapability to conceive a child of a certain sex.
They’re not ungrateful, or ‘shouldn’t be parents’ simply because they have a desire for a certain gender of their baby.
The desire for a certain gender can be due to many things – perhaps you already have a son and would like a daughter, or you feel a substantial amount of pressure from those who are wanting your baby to be of a certain sex.
Me and Rob have three boisterous boys between us – so when I fell pregnant with Holly, many people had made comments regarding whether or not I was hoping for a girl.
I’d even heard “let’s hope it’s not another boy!” as if we would’ve been disappointed to have a forth boy join our quickly expanding family.
Although I wasn’t too phased on what gender our baby was going to be, I still felt slightly anxious when our 20 week scan appointment came around.
People expected me to be disappointed with another boy, our families were secretly hoping for a little girl and then there was the thought of what if people are disappointed?
The pressure to please those who wanted her to be a girl sent me on an anxious frenzy.
I found myself consistently searching online forums and researching myths on how to know whether you’re having a boy or a girl.
It was at that time I came across hundreds of forums written by women and men, regarding their fear of gender disappointment, as well as experiencing it.
They’d explained their hopes and desires to have a boy/girl and the reality of ‘I will never experience having a daughter/son’ as it’s their last child.
These parents had experienced a brief stab of disappointment when finding out the gender of their child, followed by a flood of guilt.
Is it OK to feel disappointed?
The sheer guilt of this means many expectant mothers and fathers are ashamed to admit the disappointment they have felt when having found out the gender of their baby.
And as to my amazement – it’s more common than I originally thought.
When I fell pregnant with Alfie back in 2009, I didn’t have a preference, or at least I wasn’t aware I did.
During my 20 week scan appointment, I found out he was a baby boy and I was delighted.
It was at that point, I did realise that perhaps I did have a preference. And it seems many of us parents don’t realise we desire a certain gender until it’s finally revealed.
On the upcoming weeks to my 20 week scan appointment during my pregnancy with Holly, I was a bag of nerves.
At the time I was nervous due to the sheer pressure of pleasing my family and friends to be expecting a baby girl.
It wasn’t until the Sonographer revealed her gender, I then realised.
Subconsciously, I had wanted a baby girl. I had a desire to buy pink frilly dresses and one day I would be the mother of the bride.
I had a preference. Again.
Perhaps if Holly had been a boy, I would have felt a slight sense of grief for the daughter I wouldn’t have had.
The anxious frenzy faded suddenly as my eyes flooded with tears whilst the Sonographer passed me tissues.
We had a beautiful baby girl to join our abundance of boys, and our families were thrilled – as you can imagine.
Another thing which I get asked is “I assume you aren’t having any more then?”
As if because I have children of both genders I no longer require another child in my life.
Rob and I would love to possibly have more children in the near future.
Due to us already having children of both genders, I don’t think we will feel the need to find out.
Although I’m sure we would anyway.
The conclusion of this, is:
It’s OK if you’re feeling guilty for being slightly disappointed when you are told the gender of your child which wasn’t your desired preference.
You will love them anyway.
And let’s be honest – the gender of your child will not change the amount of times you’ll be pulling your hair out on a daily basis.