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When You Get the Wrong Gender: Coping With Gender Disappointment

By Nichole |

My sweet baby Matthew

We know the right words to say when asked what we hope we’re having, “I don’t care what I have, as long as it’s healthy.”

For some of us, those words are the truth.

But for others, we’re merely reciting the words that are scripted for us…words that society expects to hear.

Because how dare we prefer a specific gender?

How dare we wish for one over the other?

Because we’re human.

I know the sadness that goes with gender disappointment and I know what it feels like to feel ashamed of that sadness.

If you find yourself struggling with gender disappointment, here are some important things to keep in mind:

Realize that it’s okay to be disappointed. You have a right to your feelings. It doesn’t mean that you’ll love your baby less. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be an amazing mother to your child.

Go easy on yourself. Allow yourself to be sad and give yourself some time to work through this. Feeling gender disappointment doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful for your baby. It just means that you are grieving the loss of the idea of the other gender.

Be honest with those closest to you. If you keep your feelings from others, you can’t find the support system that can help you as you work through your feelings.

Seek support from others who feel as you do. You may be surprised by how many people have experienced similar disappointment. There are several online communities that can offer support and understanding.

And if, after you’ve had a bit of time to process things, you find that you’re still having difficulty working through your emotions, please seek the help of a professional who can help you through this time.

And remember, you will truly love your baby. You truly will.

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About Nichole



Nichole Beaudry lives in Sacramento, California with her husband Craig, their daughter Katie and baby boy Matthew. In her former life she was a college English professor, now she shares some of her small moments in her Practicing Gratitude column each week at SheKnows and works at AllParenting as the Assignments Editor. She was a contributor to Babble, and currently keeps a personal blog, In These Small Moments.

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11 thoughts on “When You Get the Wrong Gender: Coping With Gender Disappointment

  1. Sherri says:

    I think this is something that’s hard for many moms to admit to…and may take a while to adjust to, if they were expecting (or hoping for!) a certain gender. Good topic to touch on, Nichole!

  2. Jenny says:

    This is great. It took me a while to get over my disappointment that my first kid will be a boy (I wanted a daughter first, and then wouldn’t care after that).

    One note: you’re talking about sex, not gender. Gender is a social construct, sex is biological.

  3. Mrs. MidAtlantic says:

    I wanted a boy first so badly. An older brother for all the siblings to come – just like what Hubby and I both had growing up. I was oh, so disappointed to hear “girl” at that growth scan. A girl. A Laura. My Laura. It was so hard for me to get over the “loss” of not having a boy first. But I wouldn’t trade Laura for the world.

  4. Leigh Ann says:

    I so wanted the twins to be boys. I was scared of having girls. I didn’t know what I would do with them. Tea parties? Dolls? Dress up? Not my thing. We were excited when our OB said they looked like boys, then shamefully disappointed when we found out they were in fact girls. I couldn’t even talk about it for a few days. My first though was “They are going to hate me.” But then my dad, who grew up in a house full of boys and had 2 daughters, said the most wonderful thing: “There’s nothing better in the world than little girls.”

  5. Sara says:

    I didn’t care what this one was, because it’s my first, and I don’t think I’ll care about the next one. When we get to three or four, we’ll be done, and at that point I’ll be really disappointed if we’ve had all of one gender. I really want the experience of raising both sons and daughters. There’s nothing wrong with that!

  6. Alicia says:

    My problem is that some women focus so much on “gender disappontment” that they do treat the other kids of the “wrong” gender differently, and that’s plain messed up. Then there’s those who act like this is some real mental disorder. Both are pretty common in the online groups to the point it’s as if they feed off each other, and it’s really a pathetic state. It’s one thing to have some disappointment, but quite another to focus on it to the point it consumes you. I mean, there are real issues to get really worked up about and if this disappointment over something as minimal as gender is consumung you, there are other deeper issues at work. It shouldn’t be an issue to the point it takes your baby’s death to realize how pointless the gender focus was (something that unfortunately happened to one mom I knew who was more nervous about her baby’s gender than it’s health when the ultrasound discovered the baby’s heart had stopped).

  7. Suebee says:

    I wasn’t shattered when I found out I was having a girl instead of a boy, but I’ll admit a few pangs now and again… since then, though, I’ve warmed up to it, and it’ll be fine. I’ve come up with lots of things that’ll be awesome about having a girl instead of a boy, and have mostly moved on. Even my mom was expecting her to be a boy, “I always thought you’d be a great mom for a boy.” I guess I just have to hope she’s a bit of a tomboy like her mommy (and her cousin), because drowning in pink princesses may just kill me. LOL!

  8. MamaRobinJ says:

    I know this too. I wanted a girl and always thought that’s what I would have. We decided to find out the gender so we could deal with it if it was a boy. And it was. I’ll admit it – I cried. I was so disappointed and I couldn’t imagine what I would do with a boy. And now I couldn’t imagine anything different.

  9. Nancy says:

    Gender Selection program clinically proven to influence the gender of your next baby. For details visit:

  10. Linda says:

    We have so many boys that we were hoping for a girl this time. This grand baby was unexpected. They tell me the baby is a boy. everyone else said oh well, as long as he is healthy. But I’m still having trouble accepting that it is a boy. I’m still hoping for a girl. My son even got mad at me for being so very hurt when told the baby is a girl. I’m glad you understand. I don’t feel so alone now. Any way we have a September due date. So we will all know for sure then.

  11. Linda says:

    I meant isn’t a girl.

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