Secretly Sad: Dealing with Gender Disappointment

It may be taboo and never spoken about aloud, but gender disappointment is real, mamas. I’m here to share my story.

You’re not alone.

“As long as baby is healthy, we don’t care!”

That’s what most people say when asked what gender they are hoping their unborn baby will be. Before I had kids, I scoffed at people who made comments about not getting the “right gender.” I thought, “How could anyone be upset that they didn’t get the gender they wanted? Each baby is a blessing. Some women can’t even bear children!”

I thought it was silly, petty, and even a little annoying.

That was until I experienced gender disappointment first-hand.

Secretly Sad: Deal with Gender Disappointment

Gender disappointment is real.

I never thought I’d fall victim to feeling disappointed about the sex of my baby. Getting pregnant the first time took us 9 months and a lot of strength to get us through. We didn’t have a preference, but thought it was boy only because boys run in hubby’s family. It ended up being a spunky little girl! With baby number 2 on the way, we felt the pressure to give our beautiful daughter a brother. “You need one of each,” they all say. Hubby had one brother, has four uncles, and five male cousins. I just thought naturally I’d have a boy simply because there are more boy babies born than girls and because, well, science.

Well, we found out a few weeks ago that baby is in fact not a boy, but another little girl.

Secretly Sad: Dealing with Gender Disappointment

I’m not sure if it had to do with the family pressure, my dreams of always having one of each, or my motherly intuition being wrong yet again, but I sat silent when we found out. In that very moment, I wasn’t excited. I wasn’t giddy or thrilled to be welcoming another daughter. I felt bad for my husband because I know how badly he wanted a little hunting buddy, and a son to name after his deceased brother. I kept these feelings my secret.

What kind of mother would I be for expressing such things?

How would it look if I wasn’t absolutely enamored with being a forever girl mom?

How could I possibly be disappointed about a healthy baby girl?

I had a hard time stomaching these feelings. I didn’t know at the time that I was going through gender disappointment, until I found a support group. It’s a real thing, and I didn’t know there were so many mothers who shared similar feelings!

Of course I was elated that baby was healthy, happy, and growing. She was wiggling all around, sucking her hand, and hiccuping! I smiled from ear to ear when the tech listed off all the crucial anatomy must-haves were all accounted for. So, why am I not excited about two daughters? Why don’t I feel like the luckiest woman in the world?

Part of me felt like I needed to mourn the son we’d never have. The son hubby and I dreamed about and had visions of for years. I’d have to forgo my beloved boy name, all the boys clothes I’ve collected, and be ok with never having a son to be my mama’s boy or dance with at his wedding.

Coping with My Thoughts

We’re 90% sure we don’t want any more kids after this, so hearing “IT’S A GIRL!” once again haunted me for a long time. I think maybe because I’m such a tomboy and am scared to be a mom of only girls. I don’t know a thing about fashion, hair, nails, ponies, or glitter. I felt like I’d be a crummy mom to two girls, especially if they choose cheerleading over soccer or tutus over holey jeans. I feared I  wouldn’t know how to raise them to be princesses.

The more I thought and prayed about it, the more having two daughters has rubbed off on me. My 2.5 year old daughter will have a built-in forever friend. A sister. I never had a sister and I’m so happy she gets to experience that bond. Also, I’ve already raised a girl, so I know what to expect. I have the clothes, equipment, and bedding for a girl, so it ends up saving us money, too. Raising my daughter has been a pretty easy experience. Yeah, sometimes there’s drama, but there is also an abundance of kisses, baby doll snuggles, and tea party picnics. Everything feels as it should – like it’ll be a seamless transition going from one to two girls.

Secretly Sad: Dealing with Gender Disappointment

A New Dream

Since finding out, I’ve prepared my heart and said my goodbyes to all my “boy” things, but it took me a while to process. We’ve picked out a beautiful name, organized her room, and have included my older daughter in the process of preparing for baby girl. I wanted to rid myself of this yucky, hopeless feeling and sadness before our sweet baby girl is here this spring.

I never want her to feel she wasn’t wanted or loved. She was hand chosen to be my daughter and I feel honored to uphold the title of mom to her. While it was hard letting go of my previous dream of having one of each, it was healing for our family to realize and prepare ourselves for a new dream.

God wanted me to be a girl mom, so that’s what I’ll be.

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