Pregnancy is a time of celebration and joy for many parents. This is especially true for couples who have struggled to achieve or keep a pregnancy. For some parents, however, pregnancy can be an anxious time. For various reasons, couples often anticipate or desire a specific gender for their baby. Of course, as much as a parent might wish it to be different, each pregnancy still has a 50/50 chance of being either a boy or a girl. No mother wants to admit that her baby is any less than what she dreamed of, so how does a mom deal with disappointment if she really wanted a specific gender and finds out that things didn’t work out as she’d hoped? This can be a stressful and guilt-ridden circumstance. Here are a few tips that can help you work through these painful, but very normal, emotions.
1. Find out the gender as soon as you can.
Some parents really like the element of surprise when it comes to anticipating their new addition. If you are really wanting a specific gender, however, it’s best to have the ultrasound as soon as you can reasonably get a gender identification. While there is no rule about this, it is probably better to work through your disappointment, if necessary, than to wait until your baby is here. By getting a gender ID as soon as you can, you will be more likely to have accepted the truth by the time you welcome your baby. You can then move on to healthy bonding.
2. Be kind to yourself.
Parenting comes with plenty of guilt, so get used to that. If you are new parents, this can be a huge shock. No parent is perfect. Once you accept this fact, it’s easier to work through any guilt and move on. Having expectations that aren’t met will result in some disappointment. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you normal.
3. Talk to someone sympathetic.
It’s okay to talk about your disappointment with someone who understands. Your partner is a great place to start. Even if not as emotionally invested in a specific gender, your partner knows you are. Talking about disappointment will help you work through it and move on to acceptance. It can also help to talk to close friends or family members who have experienced gender disappointment. Not only can they relate to your feelings, but they can also gently help you to see the positives they’ve experienced with the other gender. Of course, choose your confidante carefully, the last thing you want is to share with someone who adds to your load of guilt.
4. Share your experience with others.
One of the most healing experiences is transforming your own negative feelings in a healthy outlet. If you have recently experienced gender disappointment or if it has ever been a part of your pregnancy experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to others. As you have learned, experiencing gender disappointment can be difficult. You can be helpful to someone else who is going through this experience. Let your friend or family member express her sadness about gender disappointment. Tell her this is normal and does not mean she’s a bad mom. Help her work through the emotions and accept the beauty and miracle of her new baby.
While gender disappointment can be a difficult subject to deal with, you are not alone. You are not a bad mom or unworthy to parent your child. It’s normal to be disappointed when expectations are not met. But be assured that you will likely overcome these emotions by the time your baby is born. Like most parents, you’ll probably look back on this time and wonder how you possibly didn’t appreciate your child for exactly who he or she is. Whether a boy or a girl, it will be your baby, who you will love completely.