Were You Set on a Boy or a Girl? Overcome Gender Disappointment
Whether you are secretly sad, or you are openly upset, gender disappointment is real. I know the comments are about to start rolling in: ‘How dare anyone be upset over the gender of a healthy baby!’ Please understand, I hear you. I get it. I know both sides of this fence. You can read about my own gender disappointment with baby #4. I know that everyone dreams of a healthy pregnancy and baby to hold and cuddle – but sometimes, sometimes the dream is more specific. There may be this burning desire to care for and have one gender over the other. With most women, they refuse to admit that this feeling exists. With some women it truly does not exist. But it is possible; it is real. Gender disappointment can happen to any mother during any pregnancy. Family members, friends, even strangers feel the need to chime in about your pregnancy. ‘Oh, another boy? Sorry!’ ‘It’s ok…. we’ll still love another boy.’ Ugh, I heard it all. I felt like I received the participation award. The ‘I know you wanted a girl, but are having another boy’ award. I was already crushed; the comments did not help.
How did I get over the disappointment?Finding out the gender. I am so glad that I learned baby #4’s gender; it is something we had never done before – and won’t do again, but when a specific gender is wanted so badly, finding out will allow for all of the emotions to be experienced prior to the baby’s arrival.
Grieving the loss of a baby that never existed. This step cannot be completed if you do not admit to the disappointment first. It sounds ridiculous to grieve something that never was a reality; especially when there is so much to celebrate. But grief is strange like that; it needs time and healing before joy can take over. Personally, I looked through my boxes of baby girl clothes, cried, and went for a run. I had to let go of my favorite girl name and the tiny tea party plans. I had to say good bye to the unmade memories and start dreaming of new ones. Naming the baby. Once our baby had a name, I started to make peace with having another boy. We included him in our daily conversations and future plans. Realizing this baby is mine. He was growing perfectly; he was healthy. He was mine. I would soon hold him, squeeze him, and soak him in. Making a list of everything wonderful. I stopped thinking about all the fart jokes and started keeping track of every reason boys are amazing. The world needs more gentle, caring men in the world; I get to raise a few! Shopping. Retail therapy helped me get excited. I had enough hand-me-downs, but I chose to donate a lot of them and treat this third boy to some sweet, new clothing. A waste of money? Yes. But, I did a good deed by donating; and the shopping allowed for bonding and happy preparations. Reading about everything fun related to having 3 boys. I read blogs and talked to friends with big families. I loved hearing about older siblings who raved about being the only girl with 3 (or more) younger brothers. Picturing life together. I started thinking about family trips and picturing the boys running around. I thought about sporting events and bunk beds. Giving birth. Once this baby was in my arms, everything melted away. My heart grew as my family grew. There was not a dry eye in the house – and all were happy tears.
This list can be used whether it is your first or fifth baby. It can be used whether you are having a boy or a girl. You see, we are all the same. There is no room for judgement – only love. I know that you will love this baby in all of his (or her) glory. This child will steal your heart and capture your soul. I don’t need to tell you these things – you know them. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t sad right now. It is okay to feel all the emotions. It is okay to let them all come flooding out – because in the end, it will be right. There will be nothing but love.