An Instagram or Facebook post of happy parents with a signpost of the gender of their baby or just colored confetti could get you excited about the arrival of their baby. Social media handles offer an excellent opportunity to show the excitement and thrill of parents-to-be. But sometimes, the truth is far from what it seems. The ability to know the sex of the baby, gender reveal tests, and gender reveal parties do have an element of disappointment in them. These sources could weave a wave of sadness, disappointment, and even depression when the gender is not what you expected.
Is gender disappointment depression common? Is it ok to feel disappointed when you know the sex of the baby? Well, in theory, all one should be asking for is a healthy baby. However, it is normal for you to prefer a baby boy or girl. If you know that you will love your child unconditionally regardless of gender, the initial disappointment after getting to know the gender is nothing to feel guilty or bad about.
So, if you are expecting and have a preference for gender or need to help a friend dealing with gender disappointment, read on to get some scoop on this unspoken topic.
Is it Common to Have Gender Disappointment?
It can be extremely shameful to admit that one is disappointed with the gender of the baby, and most people shy away from admitting to these feelings and prefer to sweep them under the carpet. However, research proves that it is a perfectly normal reaction. Extreme gender disappointment can take different forms- tears, anger, and disconnection from people, family, and one’s own pregnancy. There is a pressure to hide these feelings and say the right things to other people like ”Well, I am happy as long as the baby is healthy, the gender does not matter at all.” This is specially mentioned when confronting or interacting with a couple facing difficulties conceiving, that has lost a child, or where at least one of the individuals suffers from other health complications.
It is certainly not uncommon or wrong to experience gender disappointment. It is also not restricted to the parents. Extended family like grandparents, uncles, and aunts could be a part of it too. So it is perfectly normal to experience this kind of emotion and to feel unable to deal with the baby’s birth that you were not expecting. It takes time to come to terms with it and adjust to reality.
Why You May Feel Disappointed About the Sex of the Baby Girl?
The hidden shame of having a girl baby is not uncommon at all. Commonly experienced by women, there are many reasons for being disappointed about the sex of the baby girl.
1. Unfair Treatment To Women
A widespread cause is that most parents don’t want a girl as they do not want the child to face the same challenges as other women regarding discrimination, pay, and opportunities. Many parents, especially women working in the corporate world, find themselves subjected to societal discrimination and kept away from equal professional opportunities.
2. Cultural Reasons and Compromises To Make
Women have to make a lot more compromises in their life. From giving up their careers to look after the family and taking on the responsibility of a new family once married, parents do not want their little ones to go through this arduous procedure which could be an emotional turmoil. Culture also plays an integral part in gender disappointment. Some cultures still have a prejudice against the girl child.
3. Sexual Harassment and Other Social Issues
Women are often subject to sexual harassment and can be a victim of abuse, almost everywhere. Girls often live with fear and have stunted development in their personality, leading to a closed-off nature and fostering feelings of shame.
Why You May Feel Disappointed About the Sex of the Baby Boy?
Strangely, parents can feel disappointed when they find out that they will be parents to a baby boy. While the reasons are not the same as being disappointed in a baby girl, they are quite practical.
1. Challenging To Raise
Boys can be hard to raise, especially as they grow up. Boys tend to have a rebellious streak in them, which surfaces when they start growing into teenagers. Some parents do not want to have that constant worry in life.
2. Poor Relationship With Parents
Once a boy is married, the priorities change. Parents tend to become a second priority, and it is difficult to handle the transition, leading to a feeling of loss.
3. Potential of Having Two Boys Consecutively
Many parents want to have a child of each sex. If the first one is a boy, they wish for a girl next. However, when it turns out to be another boy, the weight of raising another boy is too stressful.
How to Get Through Gender Disappointment
If you are disappointed with the gender reveal of your baby, then there are ways to deal with it. Just like any other stress, you can work through this. While you may want to keep it a secret, you need to address it professionally if it seems to affect your health and pregnancy.
1. Find Someone to Talk to
Your partner is the best person to speak to as they may be feeling the same. It could also be easier to talk to someone unrelated to get an unbiased and emotionally detached opinion. Join parent support groups and talk to other parents (who may feel the same way). Speaking to someone can unload the baggage and probably completely reverse your feeling.
2. Assess Your Feelings
Take an account and evaluate how you are feeling. Do your feelings seem to make your feel depressed and cut off from life? Do you feel like you need to carry this baby only because you have no other choice? It is crucial to track how you feel about dealing with it, especially since the stress can harm your pregnancy.
3. Work Through Your Feeling
Expectations do not always match reality. Just because you have a boy does not imply he will be into sports, while having a girl does not imply that she will like all things pink. Each child is born with a unique demeanor and may be different from what the parents dreamed of. The birth of a child may reduce the feeling of disappointment. Most parents seem to fall in love with the baby the moment they hold them in their arms. If, for any reason, you are struggling to bond with the baby, speak to a therapist or counselor. They can help to deal with the frustration and cope with it.
4. Try to Find The Reason Behind The Disappointment
Very often, the solutions to our problems lie in knowing the cause. Try to find out the main reason behind your disappointment. Is it cultural, societal pressure, fear of failure? Once you know the reason, you could find ways to deal with it. Talking to someone trustworthy, engaging in a parent support group, or even seeking the help of a therapist to deal with your feelings can be highly beneficial for coping with these emotions.
5. Trust in Your Ability to Be a Good Parent
No guilty feelings or disappointment will last long. You will find yourself in a new capacity, and all your negative emotions melt away when the baby arrives. You will soon confront yourself in a new avatar of someone who needs to nurture a new life in this world.
6. Don’t Fight Your Feelings
There is nothing wrong with feeling disappointed. So do not fight your feelings and stay restrained. If you are feeling low, accept it. Accepting is the first step to deal with disappointment.
7. Pen Your Thoughts
If nothing else works, take a piece of pen and paper and write down your thoughts. Take a deep breath and write down your thoughts in as much detail as you can. After you are done, read them once and see if you can find a solution to them. It certainly helps as you find yourself in a spot to sort yourself out and find answers to your problems.
With technology and other available mediums, it is relatively simple to know the gender of your baby even before they are born. Some parents rejoice that they can decorate and make necessary changes to their home to accommodate the baby. However, it can also bring loads of negative feelings with it. Gender disappointment is not uncommon, and one should not feel alone. The first step is to be kind to oneself, recognize your emotions, and try to devise a way to deal with them. It is essential to take time to deal with the situation and seek help when needed. Just keep moving ahead with this one motto – even if the future does not seem how you imagined it, it can be what you wished for. All you need is the courage and determination to accept and mold yourself to deal with it.