Gender Disappointment

Oh , okay! :grin:

Sorry, I am crossing over into the foster care/adoption acronyms here. DFD= dear foster daughter.

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I had gender relief (twice!) to be having girls. I find people say things like “as long as it’s healthy,” with the implication being that if you don’t think this way there’s something wrong with you! I do think you can be delighted that it’s healthy and still have a bit of a preference for boy or girl, though. In my case, I come from a happy family of three girls, so I was happy to have a girl and then happy to have another. Partly for the sister relationships, partly for the names. I obviously would have gotten on board with having a boy (several friends also said they wanted girls, went on to have boys, love their sons and have no regrets). I’m now pregnant with #3 and honestly don’t care at all this time, so I guess I just needed to get some girls out of my system.

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Our first was a boy and we were so excited. Second, we were hoping for a girl to be able to experience both sides. But when we found out it’s another boy we were excited because, what’s better than brothers, right? We finally decided it was time to finish off with #3 and my husband wanted a girl so badly. He just has this image of a little baby girl he can be cutesy with finally. I wanted that for us, for my boys to have a sister, but it’s just not happening. Boy #3. And it’s relieving that we already know proper care for their specific parts and the lack of things to deal with once puberty starts, but a bit sad too. That being said, we’re both very excited about our new one to be, and our boys are excited to know they’ll have a brother. But it would still have been sweet to add a girl into the mix.

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With our first, my husband and I both kind of wanted a girl a little more than a boy, but we were pretty even on the subject, so I don’t think we would have been disappointed either way. With this one, I know I will be slightly disappointed if we find out we’re having a boy. That does not mean that I don’t view my child as a wonderful blessing and won’t love and cherish him or her no matter what their sex is, but for some reason I would really like to have another girl. I just have a feeling it’s a girl, so it’s hard not to accidentally assume that the baby is and think of it that way. haha So given that, I know I will be slightly disappointed if we don’t have another girl, but I also know that the disappointment will be short lived and I will get used to the idea of having a boy should we find out that’s the case and be excited about it, as well. It’ll just take me a minute to get there.

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I didn’t realize that I wanted a girl so much until the OB said my first was a boy, and I was crushed–and felt hugely guilty and embarrassed by my feelings. I was raised one of three sisters, I am really close with my mom and wanted that mother-daughter connection, and as liberal and open-minded as I’d thought I was, I was looking forward to dress-ups and coloring and dolls and play-acting, and I was afraid of having a boy who’d be into trucks and dirt and fart sounds, even if I plied him with baby dolls and arts and crafts. I thought it would be great to raise a girl in this era where we are empowering our daughters. I had heard that gender disappointment should only last a week or so, and mine lingered for longer. I felt really ashamed of it, even though it turns out it’s totally normal. Resenting your child long after they’re born because they aren’t the sex you’d hoped for - obviously that is problematic and (I’m no doctor here!) probably a good reason to talk to a healthcare provider about PPD. But in nearly every case, gender disappointment is pretty limited to initial feelings, adjusting expectations, etc - normal to feel emotional about it!

One thing that helped while I was still pregnant was talking to the mothers of boys: my MIL, a friend or two. [name_f]My[/name_f] MIL remembers that when my husband was little, he loved to play superheroes and was always trying to make masks and capes and things. I just had this sudden realization: that’s dress-ups! That’s costuming. That’s within my wheel house. One friend told me that her brother is the sibling who is still closest to their mother and calls her the most often.

Another thing that helped was just sitting and ruminating for a while on why I felt these really gendered feelings about trucks vs dolls, etc. After all, didn’t I know plenty of women who weren’t conventionally “girly”? And didn’t I know a lot of men, actually, who were artists and chefs and actors and were in touch with their feelings? Look at how many good kind role models my son would have, DH included.

But the truth is what really fixed it was just meeting my son. He was perfect. He fascinates me. He is the best cuddle-buddy. I didn’t realize that you fall in love with this little person, and the things he loves would become more lovable to me. He likes to stand in the window of our apartment and shout whenever he sees a bus or truck go by–and now I look forward to it, too. (He also likes books and his baby doll and stalking our cat and all sorts of things. And maybe the farty noises you can make with your mouth ARE funny.) I wouldn’t change a thing about him, and now that we are TTC #2, I feel very open to either sex (in fact, I kind of hope it’s another boy. I love the idea of brothers!)

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I’ve experienced gender disappointment. Its very real and the feelings are valid.
[name_f]My[/name_f] children are GBBGGG I really thought my youngest would be a boy. We had a list of names too and then I took along time to connect and choose a name we love. Shes now 5 months and we’re so in love.
It gets easier. Be kind to yourself x

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@LaurenAlexis I could have written this myself :slight_smile:

Someone whom I had the greatest fortune to meet gave me some really helpful advice. She was the ONLY person who understood my worries and my feelings on this subject… She had had them too. And then she had three girls!

Her advice was to :

  1. Focus on the traits that excited you about any child – is it innovation? verve? zest? vibrance? tenacity? resilience? perseverance? being articulate? brave? courageous? a quiet resolve and grace? Etc etc etc.

  2. Then try to visualize a little girl with whatever those desired traits. Then yourself interacting with that girl, and her looking up at you like you’re her hero.

  3. And then this is my add on. I think it’s good advice for any parent, but pays extra dividends when there are strained parental relationships in the mix: list out those desired traits. Then hunt for parenting guides that focus on raising a child with those traits.

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@LynnG Thank you for sharing this! So beautiful and thoughtful.

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I’ve had four girls and I’m pregnant with another girl! I think there was a vague idea that it would be nice to have a boy for a change, but then again who’s to say girls can’t be like stereotypical boys? All of my girls have their own personalities and being the same gender doesn’t make them all the same. I’m totally happy either way and I’m excited to meet my fifth daughter. I think we’ll stop after this one though, family life is getting a bit hectic!

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I definitely think gender disappointment is a both/and thing. You can have some feelings of disappointment while also feeling thankful to have a healthy baby. I have always wanted boys, so I imagine if I found out my baby was a girl I would have been a little disappointed but I also would’ve been excited for a girl as well. I think it’s normal to have expectations for what you think the baby is going to be and it’s normal and healthy to grieve a little bit when the baby doesn’t meet the expectations and dreams you had in your head so you can make room for the new dreams of what your baby will become.

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