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We've just learned that we're having a boy, and we were both hoping for a girl. My husband says we should just be happy to have a healthy baby, but I can't help feeling disappointed. We're in our late 30s and we've had two miscarriages, so this may be our one and only child. Is/was anyone else unhappy about their baby's gender and if so, what did you do to combat those feelings and eventually overcome them?

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    There's nothing wrong with feeling this way now (don't feel guilty at all about being disappointed). If that doesn't go away after the usual bonding stuff, seek counseling for all your sakes. – Jared Smith Nov 10 '17 at 21:54
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    Bear in mind that you're also able to adopt or take care of a foster child, this way you could easily fulfil both your dream of having a daughter and a deplorable child's wish of having a family. I'd call this a win-win situation. – dessert Nov 10 '17 at 22:03
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    @TheoreticalPerson my apologies if this sounds harsh, but I witness trans people spending a lot of time trying to convince others to understand them and their views and feelings. Yet you have completely dismissed this person's feelings because they differ from your own. That's not okay. – Darren H Nov 11 '17 at 9:53
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    @DarrenH I see what you mean. I guess the very fact that they want a 'girl' worries me a bit. What is that they think a girl is? What if that child cannot be that kind of girl? I cannot help but see this from the kids point of view and that is a bit unforgiving for the parent. – user27243 Nov 11 '17 at 10:12
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    @dessert: I'm guessing you mean "unfortunate" rather than "deplorable" (=schändlich)? – psmears Nov 11 '17 at 11:55
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I understand that having 2 miscarriages can be very hard. However just try to accept your kid-to-be for who he is. A girl will never be the girl you imagine, but her own person. So will this boy. Even boys can enjoy baking cookies or do many of the same activities that you would like to do with your girl. The important thing to to raise him with the values you think are important.

Give it some time.

If, after that, you still can't cope with the disappointment, don't feel ashamed to consult a professional.

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    I had a doll called doughnut when I was 4 I think. I used to regularly bake with my mother and avoided football like the plague. This doesn’t mean your son will be into traditionally feminine activities, but just because you have a boy does not mean he’ll be football crazy etc. – Tim Nov 11 '17 at 22:58
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Because of a medical condition I had, I was told I would be very unlikely to bear children. When I got pregnant (the first time), I thought it would be my only child. I imagined (and wanted) a girl.

An ultrasound revealing the male sex of my baby totally threw me into a panic. I was actually devastated! I did get used to the idea, but I was sad, I felt a sense of loss right up until I was in labor, but the moment I first held my baby, everything changed, and I do mean everything. I could not possibly love a baby any more than I did my son.

The likelihood of this happening to you as well are very high, especially if you breastfeed (oxytocin isn't called "the bonding hormone" for nothing!)

You're not alone. Most pregnant women imagine an entire life with their child before it's born, and that imagined life is valued highly. You know this better than most. But you will love this child more than you can imagine no matter which gender the baby is.

  • If you don't mind, why did you put such an emphasis on the gender? Why was it as issue? – tuskiomi Nov 14 '17 at 8:24
  • @tuskiomi - It's funny now, but I didn't know anything about "boys." I thought I would be able to raise a girl, drawing from my own experience, but I had no experience of "boys". It was an irrational fear. – anongoodnurse Nov 14 '17 at 15:35
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I am taking the time to answer-ify @dessert's amazing comment: Consider adoption.

Other answers have good advice for this specific situation, and I wholly support loving your son for who he is. I wholly support keeping any expectations at arm's length, too, as any child can always be something other than what you were expecting. They almost certainly will be, on some matter or another.

But from the question, I get the impression that you both wanted more than one child. Seriously, consider adoption.

You're parents wishing you could have a girl.

There are girls wishing they could have parents.

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    I see a big problem with adoption: it's a replacement, not an acceptance. "Oh, this boy is not what we wanted... let's adopt a girl who we can love!" The boy will always be a "third leg". – Neinstein Nov 23 '17 at 21:08
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It's a strictly personal reaction, so it's difficult to be of any help. Nonetheless I'd like to propose my view.

Paternity and maternity is neither a right nor a duty.

It's an opportunity that you can or cannot have for a number of reasons.

I am the proud father of three boys: we decided to have three sons and we hoped for at least a girl.

We have been lucky to get three healthy kids. But no girl.

To be honest we have been a little bit deluded in the beginning, three times in a row. But never disappointed. We don't consider ourselves "unlucky". Because we were looking for a "large family" (in my area three children are "a lot"). We had the opportunity and the luck to do it. What I'd like to suggest is to live your new family the way it is. Not the way you wanted to. Love each other, do the best you can for your son. What you were hoping will be overwhelmed by what you'll get: the joy of being a parent. Just like your parents did.

The fact that he could be the one and only child you'll get makes his birth more precious than any gem. He'll be the gem. Not your gem. His own gem.

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I've found that immediately after the baby is born, you are filled with such love, welcoming, and gratitude for the baby you have that any previous feelings of disappointment over, e.g., the baby's sex immediately disappears. This may not be something that happens all the time, but I've found it in my own experience and in my friends' experiences.

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It's natural to have many hopes and expectations about a child before it is born, some of which are reasonable and some of which are not. But your child is going to be an individual, and will not match all your expectations no matter what. So, even if your child were a girl, you would still find yourself forced to readjust your expectations once she got here.

My advice is to try to let go the notion --which I think every first-time parent has --that you are making something for yourselves with this child, something that you need or want. Instead, you are signing on to be something that your forthcoming child desperately needs and can't survive without, loving parents who will love him (or her), care for him, and fill his needs, no matter what his personal characteristics and traits are.

With both my children, they were in some ways exactly what I was looking for, and in others, completely different, sometimes in ways that are difficult. But as long as you open your heart, I think you'll be able to get past all the non-expected things. And in some ways it may be better for both you and the child that you have this initial disappointment --it will keep you from holding onto the illusion that you can ever make any child into exactly what you want.

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Your question was: "Is anyone else unhappy about their child's gender" and the answer is emphatically yes. It's common to want one or another. Fortunately, people are usually wired to enter a different mode very, very quickly when the wee folk arrive and the real work starts, which includes quickly getting over any gender hangups. To start, you will almost certainly fall in love with your newborn right away. And after you've lived through sleepless nights, diaper changes, band aided knees and other shared experiences both positive and negative, the emerging two way relationship will make your child one of the most precious people in your life. And it won't be about what your child can do to complete or fulfill your life and expectations, but rather what you can do for him. And you will also very likely someday laugh about this. Probably with him, which will cause him to make a face and say "aw, Mom" (or whatever similar expression is in future currency with 2020-30's youth).

The good news in a nutshell: "Gender disappointment typically only lasts until your child's birth day, when you finally meet each other" (Diane Ross Glazer, Ph.D./Psychotherapy)

Personal background: parent of multiple children, and went through the exact same thing! So congrats and best wishes to you and your husband.

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