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7 Ways To Deal With Gender Disappointment

Gender Disappointment is a term that is used to describe the feeling of sadness or anger when one discovers they are not having the sex of the baby they wanted. For parents dealing with this, it can be hard and even embarrassing to deal with these feelings. You may feel guilty because of the unexpected feelings or feel like you are not being grateful. This blog post discusses 7 ways to deal with gender disappointment.

Gender disappointment after a pregnancy loss is extremely common. If you lost a girl, you may feel cheated if your next baby is a boy because you feel you missed out on your experience of having a girl. Or you may feel the opposite and be upset if you are having another girl because you do not want to feel like this baby is replacing the one you lost. This does not mean you are not happy to be pregnant or that you love this baby any less. The feelings tend to be brief and once the baby is born, you may even forget you ever had those feelings. If you are struggling with gender disappointment, try these tips below.

Identify Your Feelings

Understanding what you are feeling is the first step in resolving it. Are you feeling sad because you feel you are being cheated out of the experience of having a daughter or having a son? You may be feeling guilty for your feelings or fear others will be upset with you over them. Maybe you feel that being a little disappointed means you are ungrateful or not happy about the baby you are having. It is important to understand yourself and identify the feelings so you can address them.

It is also important to know that these feelings are common. It has been somewhat taboo to speak about, so many do not openly talk about having gender disappointment. When you have these feelings, you do not want to just sweep them under the rug and hope they will go away. This could lead to more resentment or sadness later. It also means you will not ever work through and resolve the feelings.

Identifying the feeling you have and what could be triggering it means you have a greater chance of healing from it and moving forward. This baby is not a replacement baby for the one you lost. These are two different pregnancies and two different babies.

Man and woman sitting on bed cuddling and looking at a laptop together.

Find Some Excitement

You were hoping for a boy, but now you are having a girl. Instead of thinking about all the things you think you will not be able to do, think about all the fun things you can do with the child you are having. Think of some things that would be fun about having a girl. Maybe you are excited to put her in cute holiday dresses or to teach her about sports. What are some things that you wanted to do with a boy? Think of some ways you can do these same things with a girl.

There are so many fun things that you can do with either a boy or a girl, so try to reframe your thinking. Make a list of all the pros of having a girl or a boy (whichever sex you are having). Plan a fun theme for the nursery or buy a cute outfit for them to come home in. Thinking about the positives instead of the negatives can help you feel more excited about the pregnancy and less sad about the things you originally thought you would be missing out on.

Talk To Your Partner

Communicating with your partner is critical to getting through these tough feelings. Do not feel like you have to go through it alone. Lean on them and trust them with your feelings. You may find they have the same feelings as you do. If they do not, they can still help you work through your feelings by helping you figure out why you may be feeling sad or angry. They can also help by suggesting positives about the sex of the baby you are having. You can start to plan and get excited together.

If you do not let your partner know what is going on, they may misinterpret what you are going through and not be able to help. Remember, our partners do not always know what we are feeling unless we are direct and tell them.

Name Your Baby

Sometimes it is easier to connect with your baby once you start calling them by their name. Thinking of names earlier will give you time to build a stronger bond and connection before they are born. Come up with a list of names you like and go through them with your partner. Many different websites allow you to vote on names and even create a list of your favorite names. This can help to get you more excited about the baby.

If you would rather not name the baby until they are born, try coming up with a cute nickname that you can call them. When you have a name to call them, it will be a bit harder to feel disappointed about the sex of the baby.

Man kissing woman on the forehead.  They are holding up an ultrasound picture of their baby.

Wait To Find Out The Sex

If you know ahead of time that you are likely to struggle, you can hold off on finding out the sex until your baby is born. To many, this is often known as being “team green”. This will allow you the whole pregnancy to bond with your baby without worrying about the sex and will help you avoid the sadness and disappointment that you may feel if you found out early.

You will be able to focus on the excitement of having a baby, but you can also feel like you had more time to prepare for dealing with gender disappointment. When you are delivering your baby, you will be so excited to meet them, that you will not care if they are a boy or a girl.

Use Gender-Neutral Items

If you are dealing with gender disappointment, set up a room that is not specifically for either sex. You can do this by painting walls an off-white color, yellow, green, or gray instead of blue or pink. You could also get cute themed blankets and toys that are for either sex. This will help to avoid any associations with one sex over another. It may also help you feel more connected to the baby when they are born if they do not have a specific boy or girl-themed room.

There are so many gender-neutral decor and toy options that it should be easy to set up the perfect room for your baby. Remember that it is not permanent, and you can always change it later if you decide you want to make it more girly or boyish, depending on what you are having.

See A Therapist If Needed

Sometimes dealing with your emotions and feelings about the pregnancy cannot be done alone. If you find yourself dealing with severe depression or anxiety, it may be beneficial to talk to an outside party. You can express your doubts and hopefully work through the fears and other feelings in a healthy way. This is not something to feel ashamed of and it can be very helpful to have an impartial person to talk to.

Get your partner involved as well so they can help you sort through the feelings as well. It is important for you to both be on the same page. Having a baby is life-changing and stressful enough as it is, without added conflict between the two of you. Let your partner help you instead of pushing them away because you are embarrassed or afraid of the way you are feeling.

Woman sitting on a couch and talking to a mental health therapist.

There are many ways that you can deal with gender disappointment. No one way is right for everyone, but trying some of these tips may help you get through the tough emotions you are feeling. Many other people experience these same feelings. You will get through this and you will love your baby, no matter what their sex is. If you experienced gender disappointment or have any other tips that have worked for you, please share them in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

You may also like:

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7 Ways To Reconnect With Your Partner After A Pregnancy Loss

24 Books to Read After a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Pregnancy Loss

15 Songs About Baby Loss

A to Z Emotions of Pregnancy Loss: Understanding the Grief Process

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