Ask any parent who is expecting a new baby which gender they’d prefer, and most will say they want a healthy baby.
But, some people genuinely do want a specific gender and are hopeful for it. So, when an ultrasound reveals the opposite gender, it can feel like a crushing blow and a major disappointment for the parents-to-be.
Of course, the baby’s health and well-being are still the top priority. However, gender disappointment is an authentic thing. It’s not something you should feel guilty about.
Instead, you have to learn to cope with it. Let’s look at a few tips that can help you to do just that.
1. Embrace Your Emotions
The first thing you can do to help yourself through the grieving process is to accept and embrace your emotions. It’s okay to feel a specific way.
People have different reasons for wanting specific genders, after all. If it doesn’t turn out like you initially wanted, feeling disappointment, sadness, or frustration is okay.
It doesn’t make you selfish, and it doesn’t mean you will love your baby any less. Accept whatever emotions come to you as you move forward.
2. Understand Your Reasons
To get through your disappointment, it might help you to try to understand why you feel the way you do.
Some people want a specific gender because of certain experiences in their own childhood. Or, perhaps they already have a child of a particular gender. Although, those two scenarios are vastly different, both are reasonable.
Besides, it essential to know precisely where your disappointment is coming from, so you can work through it healthily. When you do, you’ll likely be more open to either gender and won’t feel so disappointed.
3. Work Through Your Fear
Once you learn why you’re struggling with the gender of your baby, it’s important to face that fear. If it stems from your childhood trauma, talking with a counselor or therapist might be your best option.
Plus, working through those issues will not only help you with gender disappointment, but it can help in other areas of life, too.
If your fear stems from not knowing how to raise a child of a particular gender, try to prepare yourself as much as possible. You can do your research, babysit friend’s children of that gender, etc.
Facing your fear will help you to feel more comfortable with your new baby’s gender.
4. Trust Yourself
Again, being disappointed about the gender of your baby doesn’t mean you’ll love them any less. Still, it’s easy to feel guilt or shame in that disappointment. However, you must trust yourself. Trust that you’re going to love that baby with every fiber of your being, whether they’re a boy or a girl.
Your disappointment doesn’t lessen your ability to love. If you don’t trust yourself, you’ll only increase your fear. This approach can harm how you feel and what you do once the baby is born.
It’s okay to be a little disappointed, but don’t second guess your ability to love your baby. That is something that often comes naturally and can cut through the disappointment, fear, and second-guessing.
If you’re struggling with gender disappointment and you’re worried about what it means, feel free to contact me to learn more. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here. We can get to the bottom of what might be causing your disappointment, and work through any underlying issues.
You don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking help with gender disappointment. Coping with it is crucial, and sometimes having someone to hold your hand and guide you along the way can make all the difference in the world.
To learn more about how counseling can help our your parenting journey, please click here.
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Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!