Family Life / Mummy Talk / Pregnancy

Coping with Gender Disappointment

At one of my many late ultrasound scans, I found out the gender of our baby when the sonographer blurted out “It still looks like a boy!”. The stab of disappointment I felt was unmistakeable. I didn’t want to find out the gender, knowing I would be disappointed if I didn’t have a girl. Although I had a strong gut feeling that it would be a boy anyway. Having this confirmed was different.I also had a dream just before I got pregnant about a girl joining our family and even had a preferred girl name picked out. Heck, this pregnancy was so different from my first that at the beginning, I thought I had food poisoning because I was constantly sick. So the realisation of my bump being a boy broke me. This is what they call “gender disappointment”.

Ways to cope with gender disappointment

When I told S, the first question he asked me was if I was happy. Honestly, I wasn’t, I even burst into tears in the corridor of the hospital because I felt the loss of not ever having a daughter. I immediately decided and told S not to tell anyone, not a single soul. It didn’t really make much of a difference though. Because we didn’t know what the gender was before, so when people asked us, of course we told them we didnt know. We only had a few weeks before baby would make an appearance anyway. Additionally, I thought it would be so hard for people to be excited when I’m not happy about the news myself. Being pregnant almost became not very exciting for me.

I don’t know what was more shocking

Even when we didn’t know the gender, we received some quite shocking comments and I think if I had known, these would have seriously set me off:

You never know, you think it’s a boy, but he may come out as a girl. Even sonographers and doctors get it wrong sometimes.”

“You could always have a third baby if this is a boy, but that might be another boy too.”

“You must be really disappointed if it’s another boy.”

“Having another boy would be fun, #JasperBean will have someone to play with, they can share clothes, toys blah blah blah, you will save so much money! And you’ve got experience with a boy already. Girls are a hassle.”

“If it’s a boy, you’re safe. If it’s a girl, you’re gonna have to buy a gun!”

“It’s okay if it’s a boy, you can wait to have granddaughters instead.”

“I was put on medication when I had my second boy because I was so depressed.”

“Even if your baby is a boy, he may identify as being the opposite sex!”

“Boys run in the family!”

“Girls are expensive.”

Yes of course I still love my baby with all my heart and that all I should really want is my baby to be healthy. But yet, I can’t help but feel sad and guilty. It’s not my baby’s fault that I feel this way. I’m not dissapointed in my baby boy, I’m just dissapointed that I’m not having a baby girl.

It’s no one’s fault, I just needed time to reset

When I did find out what the gender of our baby was, it was just under 2 weeks before I was due, but still I didn’t tell anyone. It just felt right and easier for me to deal with. I’m grateful for the sonographers’ blunder, because I was given time to reframe my mind and be mentally prepared. I knew with all my heart that once I held our baby for the first time, I’ll love him just as much as I love #JasperBean. I am forever grateful to even have another baby, so this temporary gender disappointment was just something I had to deal with. What I felt was true natural emotions, I can‘t and don’t want to change any of it. The fact that in the face of every rationalisation, deep down in my heart, I wish I had a daughter.

It’s just an innate desire and doesn’t make me a bad parent.

Here are some ways that helped me cope with Gender Disappointment

  • Giving myself time. It didnt seem like I had much time to let the news sink in before reality hit. But it was nonetheless time I needed. In a way, the accidental knowledge was a blessing in disguise.
  • Acknowledging my feelings. Embracing the fact that I was unhappy with the news and sad that I wasn’t getting what I wanted may not be what people expect to hear. However, acknowledging my feelings at the time was important, I knew it was not a feeling that would last.
  • Talking about it. Even though it may seem like I bottled it in by not telling anyone the news. I did have S, we communicated and this made me ”heal“ faster.
  • Praying. I know He is the only one that will not judge me for how ugly my feelings were. He‘s not going to be angry or disappointed at me. He will listen and give me comfort, because His almighty power is everywhere.
  • I‘m not alone. There are thousands of women who are or will be going through what I went through. I found comfort knowing that I wasn’t alone.
  • Pen to paper – or in my case, fingers to keyboard. Writing all my feelings down and documenting it definitely helped me cope. It made me read and re-read what I had put down and question myself. It made me realise what was important. Lastly, it reminded me that none of this makes me a bad person.

I love my boys and wouldn‘t change them

As much as I want to, I couldn’t control the way I felt. I know God has challenged me with another baby boy, so I am going to fully embrace being a mummy to 2 gorgeous boys. When I look at parents with baby girls now, I don’t feel jealous or envy, because I know I am blessed. My boys are the best things that has ever happened to me and I love them with all my heart. Even on days when they are pulling my hair out and driving me up the wall.

Gender disappointment and how I coped

Did you experience gender disappointment? If you are going through this at the moment, I hope my experience can empower you. I would love to hear from you and am happy for you to reach out to myself for support.

Thanks for reading and until next time…

Love, MsMamaBean x

Twin Mummy and Daddy


7 June 2019 at 8:00 pm

I’m not sure how I feel about this post and I really don’t want to be negative towards you. I’m sorry that you felt this way but surely all that matters is that you had a healthy baby? There are so many people in the world that can’t have a healthy baby at all. Gender disappointment may be something you felt but you have two beautiful little children who need you to love them unconditionally. I wish you every happiness with the two children that you were blessed with. Take care. #thatfridaylinky

    7 June 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Sophie! Thanks for commenting, of course I understand having a healthy baby is the most important thing in the world. I too had problems conceiving, and is also why I am so grateful for what I have and feel so blessed. However I just wanted to highlight the fact that feeling disappointed was something I couldn’t control and I know many woman have felt the same too. This doesn’t make me less of a person or mum and definitely doesn’t mean I love my children any less. My children are my heart and soul and I wouldn’t change them for anything. Hope you have a wonderful day x

7 June 2019 at 9:03 pm

Tricky one, a brave admission, but what I take from it, is you turned the situation to advantage by having the time to process your initial disappointment by the time your little boy was born. Good luck with your new addition #ThatFridayLinky

    7 June 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Thank you! I must admit, this was a hard one to write about. I know all I should have been concerned about was my babys’ health. I didn’t want to feel disappointed, but I couldn’t stop my feelings either. By acknowledging my emotions and sharing this, I hope I can somehow help other women who are feeling the same way too.

8 June 2019 at 5:59 pm

I used to feel like that, then I had a miscarriage. Now my wildest dreams is that my baby doesn’t die.

10 June 2019 at 5:26 am

We are expecting triplet girls (spontaneous- no fertility) and we already have a four year old daughter. My husband is a fourth and we tried for a year to have another baby, hoping and praying for a boy to pass the family name on to. When we discovered all three babies were girls, I cried for two days straight. I 100% understand what you’re saying and no, this doesn’t make us bad or unloving moms! You can mourn the loss of a pregnancy you imagined and this doesn’t make us selfish in the least bit. I actually posted in a triplet Facebook group I am in asking if anyone else had felt the same or had experienced anything similar because I felt like there was something wrong with me for feeling the way I was feeling- here I was pregnant with three little miracles that were healthy and doing great and I was upset by their gender. I was comforted by SO MANY other moms who had dealt with similar feelings. I mourned the fact that I will never have a little boy and it was hard (still is) to fully accept that- especially when you’ve dreamt about it your whole life. I appreciate your honesty and I applaud your bravery in sharing your experience ❤️

    12 June 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Congratulations Ashlee! Wow! Triplets!!! Thanks for your kind words and support. I wish you the best and hope you are enjoying your pregnancy journey, even though you’re feeling the same way as I did with gender disappointment. Your girls are going to fill your heart just like my boys have. Your body is going through so much at the moment, so please try to rest and not stress too much. All the best to your upcoming big family life! X

Emily Fields
11 June 2019 at 10:33 pm

I actually didn’t know this was actually a thing because I experienced it too! First of all I’m 21, having a baby at this age was nowhere near my plans and as soon as I found out I was pregnant I was so convinced it was a boy, it had been like that until the day before I found out it was actually a girl. I always thought there is no way this baby isn’t a boy, I feel it in my bones and I am so sure I am right. I even read the chinese calendar, compared it to my friends and all were accurate so there was no chance for it to be a girl. My boyfriend always wanted (and was sure it was a girl) since the beggining and I tried to comfort myself by thinking that ok, if it is a girl even though it is not what I’d prefer then I am still going to be happy because that is going to make him happy. When the balloon popped I could’t believe that I was seeing pink conffeti. It has taken me a while to feel a connection with a girl since I have been (kind of) feeling one with a boy, with my son but I know it i just a matter of time, that this is nothing abnormal and that I will eventually end up thinking, once she’s born ‘How could have I ever wanted a boy’. Now I know that I don’t have to feel bad for how I felt and typing this has made me feel so much better about the situation by knowing that this actually happens to a lot of people out there as well.

    12 June 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you Emily for sharing your feelings and experience on here. It really is hard to accept when we have our heart set on something already, but we all know we don’t always get what we want and that’s not always bad either. Sometimes not getting what we want teaches us huge lessons that we otherwise wouldn’t have learnt and having a healthy and thriving baby is the ultimate end goal. You’re only 21, so still very young and have plenty of years ahead to try for a second or third baby if that’s what you and your partner want. I wish you all the best on your journey and good luck! X

The pink blues
12 June 2019 at 2:46 pm

I feel your pain!!! Been there!!! But had to pay for it and I thought I was in 100% with Pink, glitter, unicorns, hair bows and flowers. I thought doing IVF was a sure thang! When I started the process I had names picked out and a wardrobe started and was on cloud nine! I was sorely mistaken!!!
God had his plan for me and it consisted of blue.
I was so grateful to here we had lots of eggs retrieved but they dwindled and dwindled. From a total of 13 the only two survivors were boys. I was shocked and sad. IVF is an expensive Bitch and I drained the bank for this and an emotional process. I soon realized I need to find my happy pants and Thank God I had something to work with!
I realized many people don’t even get this chance and if they do the go through soooo many years and heart ache and money to not get pregnant at all. I’m very grateful I will soon deliver a bundle of blue joy in 2 1/2 months. After finding Gods decision and my peace with all this I went to return all the cute girl clothes and made an effort to find extra special cute boy outfits and boutique items for him. This was helpful for me to deal with the fact that my future consisted of a little boy. There are extra cute things you can do with boys you just need to be creative!

    15 June 2019 at 8:06 am

    Aw hun, big hugs to you! It must have been so hard having to drop back down from cloud 9. It definitely sucked for me and I’m sure I sulked quite a bit before I could get my head straight and be eternally grateful for what God has provided. Although I didn’t have to go through IVF, many of my friends had to and yet still haven’t conceived, so I’m very happy that this has worked out for you. You’ll be able to meet your blue piggy very soon and I’m sure he’ll bring you so much joy, like you said, you just got to be creative and be sure to get ready to be messy.

13 June 2019 at 6:18 am

I too had many miscarriages and trouble conceiving so I was so grateful to even have a healthy baby, but it doesn’t stop us reacting how we react or feeling what we feel. I know it can seem very ungrateful to admit these feelings however I don’t feel like that is what you are saying, you are grateful you did feel blessed you just had to grieve for not having a girl. All I wanted was a girl and so when we found out we were expecting a girl I was so sure they must have gotten it wrong, but out she came and I was thrilled, when after more difficulty we finally were pregnant with our second a friend was pregnant with her second and she found out she was having a boy, I felt happy for her but jealous, i remember think that is what I want, I want a boy. But once I said it out loud I realised I actually didn’t mind. We found out we were expecting another girl, there was some feelings there of being disappointed, but also happiness knowing my daughter would have a same sex sibling. Funnily enough when I was pregnant with number 3 hubby really wanted another girl and yet the comments we got were awful, it was like everyone thought if we had another girl it would be so sad. We didn’t find out what we were expecting but everyone was convinced we were expecting a girl, they even said that’s why my other babies miscarried because they were boys and I can not carry a boy, it was hurtful and insensitive. When number 3 was born a boy everyone was shocked even my husband, but i felt I knew somehow, like I had met this baby before. I remember seeing him naked and thinking oh yes it is you. I wasn’t surprised it was so weird. My sister has two boys and loves them to the moon and back, but she was disappointed her second was not a girl, she does miss not having a daughter and is very close to my girls, but she would not change her boys for the world. SO I think it is completely normal to have these feelings. My best friend also has two boys through a long IVF process, so of course she is blessed and so grateful, but she also would have loved a daughter. Don’t ever feel guilty and don’t worry about others judgements. Your boys are so gorgeous! PS: if it helps to know there is something extra special between a mum and son I didn’t else until I had my son, but boys are just the sweetest. Thank you for sharing with #ABloggingGoodTime

    15 June 2019 at 8:15 am

    Amen! Thank you for understanding me. I can’t believe some of the insensitive and mindless things they said to you during your pregnancy! They should be ashamed of themselves! Most of my group of girlfriends all have boys bar a few girls, same with their cousins, so I’m glad my boys will have a lot of same gender friends/family to play with, but like you said, this doesn’t bulletproof me from feeling sad that I don’t have a girl. Maybe it’s just not meant to be, but I really needed to mourn this fact. Who knows what the future will hold, I’m just grateful and enjoying time with my precious boys. Thank you for commenting, reading this has really made my day. X

13 June 2019 at 4:27 pm

I wanted a little girl for as long as I could remember. I too had a feeling this baby was a boy. I wanted to know as early as possible to get it over with. I was still super disappointed when I found out. I love both of my boys, but I’m still sad I’ll never have a girl and still a little jealous of my friends with baby girls and their cute little girl clothes. It’s a hard thing to talk about because, yes, the important thing is they’re healthy, but you can’t change your feelings, just your reaction to them. It’s not like we’re in our rooms crying about it all day. All feelings are valid.

    15 June 2019 at 8:21 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences here. You are so right, our feelings are valid even though they may seem negative to some. I definitely sneak a peak at some of the girly clothes when I have to get some stuff for my boys, they just look so pretty, maybe we all just like what we don’t have. 😆 However this is ok, this doesn’t mean we love our boys any less. They mean the world to us. X

Jenna Miller
14 June 2019 at 2:14 am

Love this! I’m sure this was a hard one to post because of the backlash from people who have no idea! We have 5 boys , and I love them all dearly. But that doesn’t mean I still wish I had that girl. I think the hardest part is seeing all these super adorable little girls running around or going to a store and the baby section is 25% boy clothes and 75% girl stuff! One of the comments I can’t stand the most is well at least you don’t have to buy new clothes.Umm.. you must not remember how hard boys are on clothes and shoes!!🤣🤣

    15 June 2019 at 8:29 am

    Thank you!! Wow 5 boys!! I can’t imagine how busy you must be, you must have your hands full with all that rough and tumble! Definitely agree on the 25/75%, and the girls stuff are always so pretty and eye catching, boys on the other hand are kinda boring with the grey, blue and black with dinosaurs and cars. Maybe that’s why I try to find the flashiest and most colourful outfit for my boys! 🤣 OMG, the “you can reuse” comment, I also thought so, but no! Even though my boys were born in the same month and a similar size at birth, I really haven’t been able to reuse much because baby has grown so much bigger than big brother was at the same age, so clothes that fit him aren’t the same season… doh!

15 June 2019 at 6:34 pm

I had the same reaction. I’ve got a little boy due in about 5 weeks and while I’ve tried to distract myself with making his nursery super cute and buying the brightest colored boy clothes I can find, I can’t help but feel disappointed. My husband is 17 years older than I am and I had trouble conceiving in the first place, so to think that this might be my only chance for a girl and to have that taken away (on my birthday no less) has been difficult. My husband thinks I’m not going to love the baby, but I know that I will once I get him in my arms. Until then, I’ll keep looking for cute boy stuff in orange, turquoise, teal, and pink!

    16 June 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Big hugs to you Allie and congratulations! You‘re going to meet your baby boy so soon and I can assure you that you will love him unconditionally. Trust me, he will be the most perfect and gorgeous thing you have ever held in your arms. For now, happy shopping! x

17 June 2019 at 3:12 am

I am so glad knowing I am not the only one. My husband and I so desperately wanted a girl. All of our plans were for a girl. I had a gut feeling our baby would be a boy so I was mentally preparing myself for that but it still hurt so much when my doctor said the baby was a boy.
I am so proud of myself for not crying in her office or at all after finding out. I tried talking about this feeling to others and all they said was, ‘just be happy he’s healthy.’ I was happy he was healthy, I was sad that i lost my dreams.
My son is 13 months now and I love him to pieces but it does pain my heart knowing I may never have a daughter.

    21 June 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Congratulations on your baby boy Samantha and well done for keeping yourself together after you heard the news. I wasn’t as strong and it all came out uncontrollably. I don’t understand why people think we don’t care about the babys’ health just because we are expressing our emotion regarding their gender. We can be equally happy and sad for different things. Now that I have 2 boys, I see them growing up and playing with one another, it’s so special.

17 June 2019 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for this post. My husband and I decided for the 2nd time that our baby’s gender would be a surprise. We made everyone aware at all ultrasounds and drs appts that we were in the dark on purpose. Currently I’m a week from my due date. Since conceiving all was going well until probably two months ago when the dr asked if we were going to circumcise the baby if it were a boy. Our son Nor my husbands 2 other boys are not so I answered no. Then last month I was back at the drs and the intake nurse said something like “you know it’s a boy right” and I quickly said we hadn’t found out the gender. I didn’t even look at her but I could tell that if the floor could have swallowed her up she would have wished it. The 10 minutes waiting for the dr to come in seemed hours long and I feel I experienced every emotion under the sun that it wasn’t the beloved girl I always wanted. I actually sobbed. I felt such loss. I had finally found a name I loved, one in which to honor my grandmother, all my friends kept saying how they believe it’s a girl. I drove right over to where my husband worked and cried on his shoulder regarding the news because we have already decided that girl or boy, this baby would be our last. The past few weeks I have embraced the news of another boy, as much as we aren’t 100 percent sure that it is. Although I feel as confident in the boy name I chose as I did when I’d decided my first sons name, now I feel many similarities to my first pregnancy. I think now, that if when I birth this child and they tell me it’s a girl I’d probably ask them if they are sure. Within a week or two I’ll have my newest bundle of joy and will love him or her just as much as my first, and I hope that I’ll never look at them wishing they were opposite of what they are. And by the Grace of God, He will help me work through all my emotions.

    21 June 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Big hugs to you Karen. You are strong and with God’s help, you can ride through any emotional storm in store. Our stories are so similar and reading your comment just took me back to the moment it happened. Just that when I heard mine, I almost turned into stone, I was too shocked for reactions. The news hit me unexpectedly and I didn’t know what to do or say. The appointment went by in a blur. I think I must have held my breath the whole way through because the second I walked out, I burst into tears. I understand your feeling of loss and regardless of what people say, it is painful. But of course this doesn’t mean you will love your baby any less than if it was the gender you had envisioned. I prayer that you will have an amazing birthing journey and hope you have the most lovely date with your impending baby. X

19 June 2019 at 5:13 am

I completely understand.
I didn’t want to know the gender of my baby, I am currently 20 wks pregnant. My daughter was the only one who knew the gender. She knew at 13 wks and kept it a secret. However, I was disappointed. The gender was written down on some lab paperwork I had to do, and unfortunately when I was reading my paperwork (at my 18 wk appointment), there it was – MALE.
(This is my second pregnancy, my daughter is 16 years old.)
When I read MALE I screamed, and I cried. I really, really wanted a little girl. My daughter knew from the moment she read the envelope that I would be disappointed, I told her from day one I wanted a girl and would be upset if it wasn’t. When she heard my scream, she knew I found out.
I guess it gives me 20 wks to get used to the idea of a boy, but, I still haven’t. Maybe once he’s here? I still haven’t announced my pregnancy to friends and family, and I most definitely won’t be telling them his gender. Dad doesn’t even know I’m having a baby boy.
I’m still hoping they’re wrong and its a girl.

    21 June 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I understand it can be hard to wrap your head around the news, but it will be so easy to wrap your heart around your baby. Trust me, you will naturally do it, because we are mothers, that is what we do. We love our children regardless of what they are. At some point, I didn’t think I would be able to love my youngest like I love my oldest especially since it’s another boy. But it’s not true, they are equally loved, even though the youngest was not what I had wanted. I don’t know about girls, but my boys are definitely mummy’s boys and I love how affectionate they are. I wouldn’t change them for the world and I’m sure when you meet your little one, you will love him unconditionally and any feelings of disappointment will disappear. It’s your pregnancy and you can announce to whoever you want whenever you want, don’t be pressured into doing something you’re not comfortable with. All the best to your family and I’m sure you will be surprised with the amount of love you have to give.

Let me know what you think!

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