A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Gender Disappointment


Jack’s wiener was a surprise upon his birth. We decided we didn’t want to know early and wanted to be surprised. We did want a boy, but not so much that I ever thought I’d be disappointed with a girl. When I became pregnant with my second child last year I felt a desire to have a girl. I don’t remember this desire being based in any real logical thinking like “we’d get to go shopping together,” but maybe just simply “we have a boy, let’s give a girl a try.”

My husband and I spoke at length about whether we wanted to find out the sex this time around. We both agreed that upon the birth of the baby we won’t care so why not indulge our curiosity early this time. The ultrasound was scheduled for 20 weeks. As the date grew closer I became more and more nervous. My desire to have a girl had grown stronger and I felt nervous about the results.

When we opened the envelope and saw “It’s a boy!” I giggled and said “yeah, I knew it.” I did feel disappointment, but I expected it. I told myself that it was OK to be disappointed and not to feel guilty about having these feelings. I am a firm believer that any and all true feelings are valid and important to acknowledge to be able to work through them. I had friends tell me that they experienced this so I figured it was all part of the complicated and emotional process of being a Mom.

I was surprised when this deep hole developed in the pit of my stomach and I felt as if I might fall into it. I burst into tears and struggled to regain my composure. Even once I was able to breathe again I could feel the tears welling up again. And again. I decided to spend some time alone. I took a bath. I started to have intrusive thoughts about my future. I pictured wedding dress shopping with my daughter, doing her hair, sitting up late in our jammies and laughing, painting her nails, listening to her tell me about her relationships and asking my advice, getting a call that she is pregnant, helping her through morning sickness, teaching her how to breastfeed, watching someone I mothered mother a baby. The images went on and on. I began to cry again I was sure this time I would never be able to stop.

When I was 5 months pregnant with Jack my Dad called me to tell me that he had cancer. (He is OK now) I felt like my whole world was being ripped apart. My son wasn’t even born yet.  Would they meet? How could I lose my father? How would I be able to go on? I was devastated and cried the deepest cries I had ever cried. That night in the bathtub reminded me of that. I felt so confused how this could be happening. I felt this devastated over something I never had? Over the sex of a fetus? What the hell was going on?

IMG_1111 - Copy

I had very clear thoughts about my father dying, the fear, the devastation. But this was not logical. These images in my mind were stabbing at my gut. I had no clear thoughts. I began to shake in the bathtub. The way Jack does when his muscles spasm after crying for a long time. I was sad and scared about what was happening to me.

I found out that gender disappointment is common. That the desire to parent both sexes might actually be instinctual. I learned that it can be quite common with women who have a son and desire a girl, but can occur at any time with any mother. Although not all mothers experience this.

I was mourning a loss. I doubt I will have more kids. Making this pretty final. Maybe those intrusive images were us saying goodbye. Maybe I’m a nut job.

Some people might think this is petty. I might have thought that before having Jack. I might have thought that people should be happy with what they get and be thankful for healthy babies. I can say that I am thankful for what appears to be a healthy baby, but this does not and should not dismiss my human feelings. I cannot ignore what feels to be deeper than just “I wanted to buy skirts.” It feels like there was a true need to process and grieve that I will not be parenting a girl.

I wonder if this is all for the best. That I find out now instead of really hoping for a girl and going through this after birth. In reading about gender disappointment I learned that it can contribute to postpartum depression.  At any rate I am not alone. This is rarely talked about because there is so much guilt and shame surrounding these feelings.  This contributes to more feelings of isolation, shame and depression.


The next day I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Just from all the crying. I have not felt the desire to cry since that night. I hope that allowing myself to go through that has led me to the road toward happiness and bonding with the boy in my belly. Jack’s new buddy. My second child. Another light in my life making it so bright I can barely see through these new tears of pure joy.

Abby Theuring, MSW


  1. I totally know this feeling. I too, longed for a girl with my 2nd pregnancy, so much that I had it in my head and started buying girl stuff. My mother finally said to me “you don’t know what the sex is, stop buying stuff for a girl and stop wishing for a girl because you will only be disappointed in the end”.. I ignored her. Then ultrasound came at 33 weeks pregnant, and the technician said “would you like to see the genitals”.. So I said yes. And there it was.. A penis. I was sad, I cried but it didn’t take very long to get over .. Now my 5yr old son has a little buddy to teach and play Legos with. I still want a girl but now I am very scared to take that chance of pregnancy, simply because I fear I will really be upset if I have another boy.. I know i shouldn’t think that way and things will turn out fine when that time comes.

    • I went through the exact same thing when I was pregnant with my third little boy. I went through a sort of denial stage when i had the anatomy ultraound and they first told me, because the technician who did it was not 100 percent certain and even brought in a second technician to take a look who then confirmed it, but I refused to believe it. I even went so far as to schedule an elective ultraound at another clinic and paid out of pocket to get another opinion, only to have my hopes and dreams dashed again. For weeks, it pained me to see the cute little bows and dresses, to think about how I would never have any of those magical mother/daughter experiences, my husband would never have a liitle Daddy’s girl, and that we would never have a sweet little angel with his dark brown ringlet curls and my green eyes. It took some time to “grieve” and reach acceptance (3 is our limit for children), but I was able to focus and be happy with the fact that I was blessed in an incredible way already, by having a perfectly healthy and happy baby boy who is completely and utterly in love with his mommy and I with him, and truthfully it does not get much better than that.

  2. I am so glad that you wrote about this. I am expecting my second child and have decided to wait to find out the gender. However, I am terrified that I will be disappointed when I do find out. I am some what considering finding out before hand, but I still want the it to be a surprise. Either way, thank you so much for letting me know that I am not alone.

    • I wasn’t exactly in the same situation… I had a son with my first husband. Then I had a girl with my husband I have now. But I really wanted another boy… For me but also for him. He didn’t have my son in his life until my son was three. He loves him as his own but he wanted one from birth and to have his last name and I wanted that for him… So much. I was worried about being disappointed but I didn’t want to find out. When she was born I had a quick feeling of disappointment but then I saw her… I was instantly in love and could care less about her being a girl. I then proceeded to have my tubes tied.. 2 years later I still wish I could have one more but I’m in love with my kids. You may be disappointed and that is normal and okay but I just wanted to share my experience. I’m glad I waited to find out.

  3. I remember when my sister was pregnant with her 4th she wanted a girl SO bad, I was pregnant with my 1st at the same time and I would get so mad at her for not just wanting a healthy baby….I remember trying to look up “gender disappointment” to see what I should say to her to help her get over that she was in fact having a boy and I couldn’t find anything…. now that I’m pregnant with my 2nd I understand so much more because I want another girl SO bad….I literally can’t even fathom having a boy…it makes me feel insane and I know if I find out its a boy I will be very disappointed but I will get over it but not without some intense guilt.

  4. I had the same disappointment when I found out about my second boy. I cried, no, sobbed for hours. I had dreams up until the day before he was born that maybe the ultrasound tech was wrong, maybe he would come out a girl. I worried. I would start tearing up when I passed the little girls section. If one of my friends announced they were having a girl I wanted to delete them off Facebook. I think part of my struggle was I was worried I would love my second child less. I worried I would resent him for not being a girl. But the day he was born I feel in love at first sight. Maybe because I had an all natural birth (completely different subject) but our bond was instant. And now over a year later I can’t imagine my baby being a girl. Now sometimes I still get a little sad, but I think of all the awesome reasons for just having boys.

  5. You are so awesome. 🙂

  6. You’re not alone. I longed for a boy so much that when I found out I was having a girl I bust out in tears.

    • I felt the exact same way. The technician thought I was crying because I was so happy, but in truth it was because I wanted us so badly to have a boy. The 19 weeks prior I was POSITIVE she was a boy. I still find myself doubting that she’s a girl, because we didn’t get any genital pictures from the scan. I’ve had to talk myself out of paying for an elective 3d sonogram, and I’m really trying to cope. I can’t stomach the lie I have to tell every time someone asks me if I’m happy that we’re going to have a daughter. I know several other pregnant women, and I am the ONLY ONE HAVING A GIRL. Everyone else is carrying little boys. This is our first, and possibly only child, due in May.

      • This really speaks to my situation. MY daughter now knows she is having a boy (IVF). She is heartbroken. Her lifelong dream was to have a daughter. She has known for 3 days and is still crushed. She states she has no interest in a boy. Truthfully I feel the same, but am coming to feel better about a grandson. Of course I already have my daughter, so I have had and continue to have all of the wonderful experiences she will never know. I am heartbroken for my precious daughter- she suffered so much to become pregnant. This is turning into a nightmare because I have never known her to be this depressed. I know that if her sadness continues I will need to get her some help, but I pray that she will, on her own, start feeling better about this coming boy.
        I hope you found happiness and peace with your little one. For us too it seems like everyone else in the world is having what we want. And the guilt about not wanting this healthy baby because it is the “wrong” gender is tremendous. I am praying for a miracle- not that this baby is not a boy but that my daughter will have a natural change of heart. As I pray that you have also had.

    • I feel the same way too. I already have a boy and a girl set of twins, so both genders are covered (I should be so grateful, and I am!). But for my second pregnancy I wanted another boy. Not all parents have a favorite, but I admittedly, do and it is my son- he is a lot easier, sweeter, and funnier…while I love that my daughter is more brave and independent she is whinier, more difficult and a handful. So when we found out the next one was a girl, I drove to work that day in tears, absolutely bawling. I’m still pregnant and even though I know gender logically doesn’t matter, I dread having another child like the more difficult one.

  7. Annie Johnsin says

    I had major gender disappointment with both my second and third sons. I still want a girl so bad it haunts me daily. My litllest is only 7 months so it will be a while to maybe try one time. I have a stepdaughter but am not “allowed” to do any mother daughter things with her. So that stabs me in the heart even more. It was almost exactly how i felt when i found out about my little Isiah. But God decided to make him a little extra special and give him what is possibly CHARGE Syndrome to bond us together even tighter.

  8. I have a daughter who’s 2.5 years old, and I’m 27 wks pregnant – with a boy this time! My husband is very traditional, from the South, only has a brother, and wanted more than anything to have a boy & a father/son relationship. When we found out #1 was a girl, I was just happy for a healthy baby, but I was devastated for my husband – and I almost felt like it was my fault that we were having a girl. In this weird way, I was completely blaming myself for not giving him what he so desperately wanted – even though I promised him every day that he would love his little daughter like nothing else in this world (and of course he does). Even though I know there’s no rational explanation for this, it crushed me, much like you describe your grief over your hope for a girl.

    When we were trying to conceive #2, I did all the crazy, utterly un-scientific things that websites suggest for conceiving one gender or another – this time, of course, trying for a boy. Again, I know rationally that none of this had any impact, but I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I had ‘given my husband his boy.’ We cried & hugged & screamed when we opened the envelope, and I was secretly SO grateful that I had done all those wacky things, knowing I had done everything I could to have our boy. We will also be very unlikely to have any more children, and I couldn’t face the disappointment (in myself/my ability even though I know it’s not within my control) that would have nagged me for years to come had we not had a son.

    Abby, as always, thank you for bringing up one of the unacknowledged aspects of pregnancy/parenting.

    • I too felt this same way. I felt like I had disappointed my son who wanted a lil sister and I wanted my husband to have his “daddy’s lil girl”. However, when our son was born it was nothing more than love at first cry since I had to have a repeat c-section. I am so thankful that he is a happy and healthy baby. And we all love him dearly.

  9. Oh my god. Yes. I wanted a boy so bad I always have. I can’t bond with girls, and I just wanted my own little boy. And she was a girl : (((( I love her, I do, but sometimes I wonder if maybe I would have loved her more, at least in the womb. I wanted that boy so bad I still cry when I see little tuxes : ( we will start trying again next week…. Is there anything that can be done to help prevent that strong disappointment?

  10. Such a just writing ! Having 2 boys makes me so happy ! I don’t want another child and if I had chosen, 2 boys would have been my choice but I totally understand your feelings and It’s a great thing for a lot of mothers than you share it like that. I love reading you, it’s a nice way improving my english ! Keep going 🙂

  11. We are the opposite. Both DH and I desperately wanted a boy with #1 and we got our boy. With #2 we wondered about a daughter but were overjoyed to find that he was a boy. Now that we are expecting #3, we have been very open with each other that we DO NOT want a girl! Our hope is that baby #3 will be another boy!
    It doesn’t help that everyone assumes that we were trying for a girl! We were trying for a baby! We don’t care what the gender is, but we both know that we are better prepared to parent a boy

  12. Today is my due date with my fourth daughter- no baby yet though! I have been beyond disappointed for the whole 20 weeks since we found out. Totally know how you feel! I am really hoping that when I meet her, it all fades away.

  13. MonsterMamaw says

    As a mom of 4 girls I have felt this with passion. With my 4th pregnancy my husband and I decided to wait to find out what we were having . I felt different… I was more nauseous, I was more emotional, I was more everything than I had ever been in pregnancy before! When I went into labor I was so excited to finally meet what I thought would be my first boy and last baby ever… boy was I wrong. She was all girl and because of that, I HAVE to try again. I can’t get the thought out of my head that I’ll never get to know what my little boy would look like, what he would be like, what he could someday be. So baby making will commence as soon as #4 turns 2 lol wish me luck!!

    • I’ve read satistics about gender, and if someone has 2 of the same they are more likely that baby 3 and 4 will also be of that gender but baby 5 is more likely to be the opposite gender. So good luck!

  14. I felt like I was the worst mom ever having gender disappointment my husband didn’t understand and made it worse. Although that was with my first for some reason I was completely sure it was a girl. With my second I was happy for another boy. But I’m planning on a third.What’s bothering me now that I made it clear I want another baby is everyone else insisting I need to try for a girl even when I protest and say a boy is perfect too then give me the sympathetic look. Really?

    • I wanted a girl so badly. But now my son is 3, I love him and he tells me he’s in love with me.lol But still there are days like today that it hit me again that I may never have a daughter. I’m not sure I want another one. My son is a very rough and tough little boy. Although he’s sweet, he’s everything I feared he’d be when I was told at my 12 week ultrasound “it’s a boy!” He’s a handful and I’m so afraid to have another boy. I keep these feelings to myself and I hate it when people tell me I need a girl. It’s like a punch in the stomach.

  15. I was the oldest and always wished that I had grown up with an older brother, so when I was pregnant with my first I really wanted it to be a boy. I decided to find out at the 20 week ultrasound because I wanted a boy so badly that I knew I would be disappointed if it was anything but a boy and I did not want to feel that way on the birth day of my first child. The ultrasound revealed a very clear and obvious vulva, and I was crushed. I made my husband take me to our favorite mexican place and I stuffed myself with rellanos and cheese and rice. I spent the next 3 days feeling sad and then feeling more sad that I was sad about this, but I did come to terms with it and am so glad I handled it that way. On the day Josephine was born, nothing but joy existed between us. My beautiful, perfect baby girl dazzled in pink. Obviously, in hindsight I could not imagine having it any other way. She is my best girl and this is the way our life has been written, just perfectly.

    Without going on for too long, a year and a half later we found ourselves back at a 20 week ultrasound hoping for a penis to complete the set when another glorious vulva appeared on the screen. Again I found myself amont peppers, cheese and rice and tears at Mazatlan and again it took me several days to come to terms with the “miss.” 5 months later my beautiful Adelaide was born and again, nothing but pure happiness was with us that day. All is and was as it should be with our world.

    3 and a half years later, I sit here on maternity leave with our 3rd and final attempt on my lap, milk dripping onto his onsie. He was set as our final attempt before he was conceived, be it hills or turtle between his legs. We found out this time as well, although I tried to tell myself that I didn’t need to know until he arrived, I still knew that in my core that I would be lost for a few days if I had indeed been sentenced to a life of braids, skirts, and volleyball. To me it is not fair to lay that at thier feet on the biggest day of thier new life. But there it was, waving at us amongst the amniotic fluid. And again, all was and is right with the world.

    You never know what the future holds for you, but one thing is certain. Once those little gifts get here they become your all encompassing reality, and it ends up being a reality that is perfect. So go get a chile rellano smothered in cheese and keep your head up knowing that when your new son arrives his day will be perfect and so will your futures together.

    • Love this. I’m hoping one of our next attempts will produce the son I always wanted. I’m so happy that you have found peace and happiness (and snips and snails and puppy dog tails!) with your family!

      I always felt like a pariah for wanting a son. I was told that I “won” or we “got it right the first time” by having a daughter, assuming that all women always wanted only daughters. People were horrified or astounded that I didn’t just want a human doll to dress up and do her hair. It was weird. I love knowing that there are other mamas out there who wanted boys, too. Thank you! And now I need me a chile rellano because nursing makes me hungry.

      • We are 20 weeks with our first, and we were both convinced wee we having boy! All the wives tales, cravings exc.. and there are so many boys in our family, we just assumed, and both become very attached to the idea. We have boy names ready to go, we both love sports and the outdoors, it just seemed like the right fit. Our ultrasound yesterday revealed a girl! We were both shocked, and I honestly went home and cried for 3 hours, that was yesterday. Today, the tide is already changing, my husband emailed me some really sweet girl names, and I am already staring to connect with my little girl. I know it will take him longer then me, he was very vocal about wanting a boy, and I am trying not to shame him in any way. It will not be pink dresses and bows… more purple green and grey&white stripes. I don’t want a little doll either, you are not the only one. I was not raised with frill and pink depresses, and I turned out quite feminine, independent and strong. I am glad I am not the only woman who feels this way, I know and hope as soon as she is born, these feeling will be long gone. We will try for a boy next time, but I will not build up an expectation like I did this time around. Live and learn:) I am sure this is not they first parenting curveball headed my way!! LOL

  16. Natalie Garrett says

    I totally identify with what you’re feeling. I’m older and single, so I used anonymous donor sperm to finally fulfill my desire to become a mother. It’s a part of my cultural tradition (Native American) that our family identity passes through the women–we’re a matrilineal society. Knowing that this might be my only child, I was hoping for a girl. At 14 weeks the ultrasound tech told me she was 95% sure it was a girl. I knew better than to trust those results so early, but I was elated! I just knew it was meant to be and all was right in my world! Until the results of the MaterniT21 genetic test came back two weeks later showing a Y chromosome! I was stunned. In my mind I kept telling myself it didn’t matter, I was having a healthy baby boy, I was finally going to be a mom! But part of me was grieving the “loss” of that imaginary daughter! And that’s truly what it felt like. I wasn’t disappointed in my boy–I still loved and wanted him with all my heart–I just wanted that girl I’d imagined holding and loving too. I sobbed in the shower two mornings in a row and berated myself for how ridiculous I was being. Then, on the third day, something clicked in me; I got a grip on my feelings and let them go. My son is going to be a year old in two weeks and I can’t imagine my life without my little man. It was never about not wanting him. I sometimes think when he’s a little older I might try again for that little girl. But I do wonder how I would handle it if I have another boy! I get the feeling the tears would be mixed with laughter this time if that happens.

  17. Thank you. Thank you so, so much. GD was horrible for me, and I appreciate you opening up about it.

    When I was pregnant with my daughter (our first, so far) I was convinced I was having a son. I had always wanted a son, a little trio of boys, in fact, and I just KNEW my whole life that I’d have a boy first. When we found out she was a girl, I was devastated, and I crumbled. I had a lot of negative crap going on around me that year, and I thought, maybe, just maybe, if this one thing could go right, if I could have a little boy, I would make it through. Then, of course, we had the sonogram and found out she was a girl. I didn’t believe it at first, and we paid for additional ultrasounds to confirm. Then, when I couldn’t deny my baby’s gender, I spun into a horrible depression. I finally sought help and was in therapy through the rest of my pregnancy and shortly after, but I struggled to bond with my daughter until the week I was in labor with her. My poor husband was incredible during that time, and he always stood by me to hold me up when I was down. Most nights he’d come home from work to find me in a sobbing heap on the floor, but he still came home and always held me and told me it would all be okay.

    My daughter is almost 10 months old now, and I love her to pieces. I couldn’t imagine a different baby, but I did grieve the son I didn’t have for a long, long time. Maybe next time, or maybe not – but I think I’m finally okay with that.

  18. ok, so I have had gender disappointment literally three times. My first child was a boy and I seemed to know it even before the ultrasound. when I got pregnant with my second child I wanted a girl so bad but I wasn’t THAT disappointed. The third time I got pregnant I was pretty upset that I wasn’t having a girl, but my fourth pregnancy was completely unexpected and sort of unwanted as well. Fear and panic about being pregnant again and trying to make ends meet with another family member were pretty hard on me, but I knew I ABSOLUTLY DID NOT WANT A BOY. after finding out I was having another boy I was DEVASTATED and was even put on medications after the baby was born. Every time I look at him I feel guilty knowing that I almost regretted becoming pregnant with him. Now I am completely off medication and have had surgery to prevent any more pregnancies. Also to prevent any more psychological issues caused by my biological wish to mother a daughter. I believe this is one of the reasons iv had issues for the first year of life of each of my boys.

    • Hi,I am a mother of four boys too. I desperately wanted a baby girl of my very own. I’m a girly girl not a tomboy and I find it so very hard coming to terms with a life of football, cars, computer games, dirty finger nails and testosterone.. Feeling so left out keeps me awake at night, crying my eyes out over the daughter I’ll mourn forever. I totally sympathise with you. I’ll never know you, but we have this enormous heartfelt grief in common.

  19. I too understand your feelings…not easy to talk about…I had a hard time conceiving my first son which was great I wanted a boy first he is now 7 I had hoped to get pregnant soon after but for some reason it didnt happen 6 years later we did IVF and I was so sure it was a girl the pregnancy was so different from my first so of course ultrasound day the tech is doing all the fun measurements and there it was a penis…she didnt even have to tell me or show me he was just showing it off ” I said oh man is that a penis” she said yep 100% no mistaking that…my eyes filled with tears my husband grabbed my hand and said its ok I knew it would be I just really wanted a daughter to raise and buy pink and purple dresses…once my son was born I was in love he is the sweetest most mellow little boy and I cant imagine not having him with me…of course i had friends that were like be happy he is healthy well yes of course i was, and of course these friends had one of each so they didnt know the feeling, i also had so many friends with just boys who loved just having their boys but would have also liked having a girl…and friends with just girls who were like trust me little girls are drama i wish i had a boy, so it goes both ways…maybe just maybe I’ll try one more time…I always wanted 3 children so maybe just maybe I’ll get a daughter. ..

    • I had boys, two of them two years apart. With the first I hoped for a girl, but wasn’t really disappointed. With the second, I was disappointed but hoped to try again. Six years later, I had given up on another baby at all, let alone my princess. Then, surprise pregnancy from hell, but a perfect little girl. I even told myself it wouldn’t matter, but I know I’d have been really upset for a while. The shop is now permanently closed, but I feel complete. Don’t give up!

  20. I want to say my husband went through this when I had my daughter. It literally took 3 weeks to get him to stay home with us instead of going hunting. After she started smiling and interacting he was hooked. Now they are inseparable AND we had a boy 2 months ago. I think what’s been bothering me lately is the fact that this will be our last baby. I came from a family with 5 other siblings. Having only two (and a stepdaughter) seems like so few. I always picture me and my sisters and brother playing in the yard growing up and think to myself “will my children have as fulfilling of a childhood as I had with so few siblings?”

  21. I sit here pregnant with my 4th son. I tried very hard to wait until birth to find out baby’s gender but I secretly asked at an impromptu ultrasound a couple of weeks ago (I’m 30wks today) when I was alone with the tech. I cried. Not because I won’t love another son, but to mourn the loss of the opportunity to have a daughter.

    • Sarah
      I totally hear you. I want a daughter so bad…I actually had a dream last night that I had another baby (and it was a boy). I have 3 boys and they are a blessing (and I love them with all of my heart)…but if I do go ahead and have that last baby, I am hoping against all odds that I will have that daughter that I so desperately desire….

    • Hi,I am a mother of four boys too. I desperately wanted a baby girl of my very own. I’m a girly girl not a tomboy and I find it so very hard coming to terms with a life of football, cars, computer games, dirty finger nails and testosterone.. Feeling so left out keeps me awake at night, crying my eyes out over the daughter I’ll mourn forever. I totally sympathise with you. I’ll never know you, but we have this enormous heartfelt grief in common.

  22. I definitely went through this. We wanted a boy the first time we got pregnant (as the family name ends with my husband), so when we found out at 20 weeks we were having a boy – we were thrilled. Then we got pregnant with twins – identical twins. We knew we wanted to have two kids, weren’t sure on three, so since we got more than we bargained for and knew that these two would be our last AND that they were going to be the same gender, I was really hoping for girls. At 14 weeks, the ultrasound tech said to us “Do you want to know what you’re having? If you do, I can tell you” and I knew that they were boys. Cause there was no way, at that early (without an amnio), they would be able to tell us definitively. I was greatly disappointed. I have two beautiful nieces, but it’s just not the same. I have such an amazing relationship with my mother and I have feared that I won’t have that same connection with my boys. The things I wanted to be able to take part in, wedding dress shopping, being there as my child gives birth (and all the other things that Abby talks about) are definitely things I was (and sometimes still am) mourning the loss of. We are not having any more children, so wrapping my head around that there will never be a little girl in our family is hard. I love my three boys with all my heart and would never trade them for anything, but I do wonder what parenting a girl would be like, Thanks for sharing!

  23. I was so looking forward to a girl with my first pregnancy that I didn’t want to know the gender until not only the baby was born but until I had time to bond. I was terrified of being disappointed with a boy. As it turned out, her girl parts were the first thing I saw. My second pregnancy, I didn’t care nearly as much and its a boy.

  24. I believe this subject of gender disappointment goes very deep into how our culture separates the sexes and treats boys and girls differently. Is it right to assume just because you have a girl she will want to wear dresses and have her nails done? What if she was “boyish” and preferred to wear jeans and play with toy trucks? Would the mother mourn the girly girl she envisioned playing dress up with and resent the daughter being the way she naturally prefers to be? I have read about a lesbian who had a great rift with the relationship with her mother for this reason. Her mother continually bought her princess dresses and heaped guilt and resentment upon her daughter who refused to wear them. On the flipside our culture is even more horrified when a boy wants to play with dolls and act *gasp* girly! Personally, I am prego with my first baby and I must admit I was disappointed when the ultrasound showed girl parts not because I envisioned playing race cars with a boy but because I will have to be an even feircer mother in this culture that puts so much pressure on girls being pretty princesses as well as the fact one in four women are raped or sexually molested in this country. Not that boys always escape molestation, but girls can be blamed for being raped for what they wore or being out late cause you know, “boys will be boys!” I will have to teach my girl to be on guard and be wary because in this culture its up to her to protect herself. Thinking of that first conversation with my girl warning her about the bad men and boys who can hurt her breaks my heart.

  25. My daughter and I hoped that one of the triplets she is carrying would be a girl, but no, all three are boys! Very quickly her focus changed to carrying these little guys as long as possible. She is now over 35 weeks and babes are all over 5 lbs. Her challenge now is to hold on so all can be born big enough to come home bypassing NICU. And of course, as a first time mom, making enough milk as quickly as possible! Our local LLL leader breastfed triplets so she will be a great support person. Thoughts of frilly pink dresses may cross her mind occasionally, but she has had so many concerns carrying triplets that it is a non issue. Evan, Ian and Owen will be here any day!

  26. Thank you for sharing! When I knew I was pregnant with my second child, I wanted a boy so badly. Our first child is a girl, I love that she was our first and a girl, I came from a family of two girls. I need to research the instinctual aspect of wanting both sexes, because the feeling of wanting a boy was so deep and seemed out of nowhere. I started looking at gender disappointment forums & articles at 12 weeks. I wanted to know safe places to go with my thoughts & feelings if our second baby was a girl. I wanted to process it all before birth, so my heart would deal with and not just bury or ignore it. Finally, at the ultrasound, we knew it was a boy and I don’t know what was stronger the joy of him or my relief. My hope is if the baby was a girl, I would have allowed myself the freedom and honesty to find a supportive community. As much as I hate to admit it, gender disappointment is real. I wish as humans it didn’t exist, we were fully happy with all babies. But just because its uncomfortable or hard to understand doesn’t mean we cannot talk about it. Thank you for continuing the conversation, Abby.

  27. My experience was different. I wanted a girl with my first child and that’s what we got, i was so in love when first saw her, i didn’t want her out of my sight. So naturally I wanted a boy for our second. Or at least I thought I did. When he was born and I finally saw him there was a complete disconnection, I didn’t feel a bond at all. I just remember thinking to myself, what is wrong with me. I did breastfeed shortly after he was born, and it took a few days before I started to feel the connection I had with my daughter, but I never anticipated I would ever feel that way about my child, I was so excited up until he came and I saw him. Later the doctor told me it was postpartum, that the quick change in hormones after birth probably caused it. He’s a wonderful little boy and I love him with all my heart, hate that I felt that way about him.

  28. Thank you so much for writing this!! I basically experienced the exact same thing with my second boy, and am also pretty sure I will not have any more children. I liked hearing the part that it is normal instincts to want to parent children of both sexes. I truly thought my second was destined to be a girl, but I can proudly and honestly say that at 4 months in I am so blessed and thankful to have two beautiful boys….and hey, it is easier with two of the same and a lot less expensive 🙂

  29. Wow. I can completely relate! The moment I saw the positive pregnancy test I had a strange feeling it was a girl and promptly went into denial. I have a very broken relationship with my mother and I couldn’t picture being a mother to a girl. My husband only has a brother and wanted a boy. I wanted a boy for him and also because I DIDN’T want a girl. Before we found out, we called the baby “he”, and although I secretly felt it was a girl I kept outwardly insisting it was a boy. At our 12 week scan another couple in the waiting room found out they were having a boy and were jumping for joy! The mom-to-be said “this is great because we couldn’t think of any girl names we liked” and we totally related to that and were envious of their joy. When we went to the anatomy scan I was full of dread and as the tech took her measurements I thought I saw a penis and was almost tearful with happiness. 5 minutes later she tech said “….yep we’ve definitely got a girl here!” And my husband and I both said “oh” and drove home in silence. I cried and cried and felt like I couldn’t love her the way I could have loved a boy. I will admit that after she was born it took 2 days for me to fall in love with her. My husband was 100% enthralled with her from the first moment he saw her. I was even jealous of his affection for her that first night. Jealous I didn’t feel it too and jealous I would have to share him. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but those really were my feelings. I truly wouldn’t change it now. I love the girly stuff and I’m actually quite a “girly girl” myself. The bond I have with her is life changing and incredible. I would love to “give him his boy” next baby but I wouldn’t mind my Lucy having a sister too. The experience of not wanting a girl, having a girl, and becoming completely happy with that has been very, very healing for me after a lifetime of struggles with my own mother. 🙂

  30. Hi Ladies
    I am so glad I saw this article.
    I have 3 beautiful sons. I absolutely love them with all of my heart!
    I go tpregnant with my first child when I was younger, and coming from a family of mostly girls, I really really wanted a son, and I didn’t even consider that it would be a girl (in my family there was 4 girls, and 2 boys, and one of the boys got hit by a car…so boys were a rarity around our house…)

    Years later, I met my husband. When we finally did get married and have our first, I found out it was a boy. I was disappointed as I was really hoping that it was a girl so I could have one of each….I found out beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was a boy as they saw a potential marker on him for trisomy… so I decided to get an amnio. Thank God he was healthy, but I found out for sure that he was all boy. At that point I was just so relieved that he was healthy, and because he looked just like my husband on the screen, I was really excited.

    I had some major gender disappoinment with my third son. My husband and I got pregnant with him unexpectantly. All of my symptoms were different with him, I carried higher, had different cravings, etc. I was actually really expecting to be pregnant with a girl. When I found out he was a boy, I cried right there in the room. I also went through a dark time afterward. I was really, really disappointed. And my husband only wanted two children, so I was really mourning my potential daughter.

    I have finally got my husband approval to try for baby #3 (for us, 4th for me)
    I’m a bit scared that I will have another boy, and i was a little more laid back about it. But last night i had a dream that I had another boy and i was so so disappointed. I’m wondering now if I should even go ahead and try for that last baby….?

  31. Dearest Abby,
    You wonderful, beautiful girl, I am sending you so much love and goodness and believing wholly that it will reach you and give you peace. I don’t claim to be a sage but as a mother of four young children 2-7, I’v gained a few pearls of widsom along they way. First off, I praise you for honoring your feelings and emotions, they are necessary for your growth and well being. It’s ok to feel this way, I went through this myself with my first child being told she was a girl until I was 9 mo pregnant and then finding out he was a boy. I was repulsed and frurious. People would try and cheer me up but it would just piss me off more and send me into more rage and eventually guilt. I understand. This will be a process Abby and it will get better, I promise you. When my son Michael was born I had a hard time bonding immediately, for many reasons. It took time. But.. I healed and and we did bond, and although things didn’t go how I planned or wanted initially,they went how they were meant to go, which is a hundred times better than anything I could have planned. I soon began to know my son as the amazing human being that he is and today I am bonded closer to him than any other person in my life. He is literally he piece of my soul I never knew was missing. Give time some time and trust that it is all as it should be and you are in a miraculous place in life at this very moment. Be at peace Abby, you have no idea the joys that await you and your sweet family.
    You are smart and kind and strong and brave and you will owe this like a boss. Peace by with you always.
    A supporting friend and mother, Annika Kelly~

  32. Brandy Buttram says

    i thought i was the only one who felt like this when i found out i was haveing a second boy. i wanted a boy a boy with our first and when we found out i was pregnant with our second my husband and i were already looking for girl stuff. my husband reallly wanted a girl and felt it would complete our family to have one of each. his enthusiasm sparked the mom daughter experiences that i hear about and longed to look forward to, he even bought the first dress to bring her home in. i bawled in our ultrasound tech office when she excitedly announced he was a boy. i saw this beautiful baby and loved him instantly but at the same time felt crushed. i couldnt even get the energy or excitment to fully prepare his nursery. but on the day of the delivery when i held him i did feel whole. unfortunantly due to both pregnancies haveing complications we cannot have anymore children of our own but we both agreed when the time is right to adopt a little girl in the future. i love my boys and wouldnt trade them for girls they are truly a blessing everyday. there is so much i can teach them and help them grow that i dont feel deprived of not haveing those daughter experiences. your story has given me closure on the regret i feel from my emotions on that day in the ultrasound room. thank you for sharing this.

  33. Thank you for writing this. I’m currently pregnant with my third, and though I have one of each sex, I desperately wanted another boy, the little one inside is a girl. I have this unrelenting fear I’ll fuck up girls because my mother did to all four of hers. All that aside, seriously thank you for writing this, it made me feel like I’m not insane for preferring one sex over another.

  34. Thank you so much for writing about this topic! I have two boys and we have decided to not have any more kids. While I was pregnant with both boys, I would have been happy with either gender. Now that I already have two boys, the only way I’d want a third if it was a guarantee that the baby would be a girl. I know I would be depressed if it were another boy, and those feelings of depression would make me feel so guilty. So we’ll just stick with the two. But, I do often feel sad I’ll miss out on the experiences you listed…wedding dress shopping, helping her learn to breastfeed, etc. My boys will have to marry some pretty awesome ladies that are open to their mother-in-law being a part of all the experiences (that’s a common occurrence, right??…daughter in laws and mother in laws getting along…We shall see… 😉 )

  35. Thank you for the honest sharing! I was so worried about this when I was pregnant with my 2nd–I didn’t want to admit even to myself that I was secretly hoping for a girl. I always said “as long as baby is healthy I don’t care.” but I did.

  36. I am currently 13 weeks pregnant today. I am wanting a boy for my husband. I have a son(9) with my previous marriage and he has a daughter(11) with his previous relationship. I have a feeling it is a girl which I really don’t care what it is for myself. I just want so badly for my husband to have a boy. I get to do the official gender sonogram on March 20th a week before my birthday and we are having a gender reveal party on March 29th. This past weekend one of my friends told me about the Chinese gender predictor chart, so I went online and found the chart(not the one where you input dates in drops down boxes.) I found the month I conceived and my age and apparently we are having a girl. I am a little let down but I told myself from the beginning that as long as it’s healthy that’s all the mattered, because I didn’t care. I just wanted my husband to have his boy more than anything, but I guess we will see on March 29th what it is. The chart predictions are 93% correct so I am hoping we fall in that very low number of the 7%.

  37. I can totally relate, but I feel even worse, because we have several of each. I find out my baby’s gender one week from tomorrow, and I want a girl so bad I can’t stand it! I have four girls and two boys already, and my husband wants a boy. Either way, we will both be fine, but I will be bitterly disappointed at first if this one is another boy.

  38. We are pregnant right now with what will most likely be our only. This is my 5th pregnancy/6th baby (the first was twins) and after the previous losses we fought hard to even make this one happen. We used fertility meds to conceive but had a reaction. So while we did get pregnant, we can’t take the meds again. That said, I REALLY want a girl. I have been dreaming of having a little girl since I was one myself.A little blonde haired blue eyed baby girl running around in the grass in her twirly dress. Going shopping, doing nails, teaching her about being a strong woman and having the bond only a mother and daughter can have. All I ever wanted was to be a mom. If they tell us we are having a boy, I’m going to cry. I’m okay with having a boy, but I will mourn the loss of my baby girl (even though I know we didn’t have her to begin with). But I truly believe that it’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’ll love my baby less. But that I’ve spent some 20 years seeing my child in my head. I’ve wanted this all for so long, she almost is real to me. So if I have a little boy, I will love him. And we will play trucks, and bake cookies, and I will teach him to shoot a gun, and I will read him books, and if he wants I will paint his nails. But I will also mourn my daughter. And that’s okay.

  39. I was thrilled to find out my first was a girl. Everyone had a girl first in our family, and I wanted a little girl to dress up.

    Then, pregnant with my second, I wanted a little boy…but also another girl…and I was afraid of having a boy because I knew there would be a big fight over his name (DH wanted a junior; I did not). When I first found out I was having a boy, I was upset…and there WAS a big fight (three months long…). But then he was born, his name fit perfectly, and it was wonderful.

    I went on to have two more boys. I kind of wanted a girl with the fourth one. My daughter was far more disappointed than I, however! She has so many brothers! And now that the littlest is almost 11 months, he’s the one who looks most like me, and I love that.

    It’s been really nice having a bunch of boys, too, because my husband never had a brother, only two sisters, and he still wishes he’d had a brother. I can’t give him that, obviously…but I gave him three sons, so his boys have the brothers he never had.

    I do still wish for another girl. But I won’t be disappointed if I get a fourth boy.

    Our feelings about gender, and reason for our feelings, are so complex. That’s okay.

  40. It’s always struck me as a normal thing. It’s not that you bond any less with the baby you do have or love the baby you have any less, but I think you can mourn the one you didn’t have.

    I struggled to conceive my one lad and always knew it was highly unlikely I’d ever have any more. I didn’t care which gender, but I had two images in my mind – the possible boy and the possible girl. When the ultrasound told us he was a boy, I was ecstatic… But I also had to let go of the images in my head of the girl I might have had. If it had been the other way round I still would have had to do that. So it wasn’t disappointment, just either way I’d have to let one of those imaginary children go, and mourn the possibility of them no longer being possible…

  41. GD is very real. I have 5 boys and I want a daughter so so so bad, my last son who is 11months old we were told he as a girl up until nearly 30 weeks. I didn’t get GD until after my third, I wanted boys first but once we got to 3 I started to wonder how many more children were we prepared to have to have a girl….answer to that question is as many as it takes. I love my boys with all my heart but I still cry about once a week over not having a girl. I get so angry at people who think that just because I have healthy babies (which don’t get me wrong I am greatful for everyday) and can conceive easily I shouldn’t be allowed to have these feelings. These feelings are real and they are deep and raw emotions. It’s also not just me that suffers, ask my husband how much he wants a girl, ask my children how much they want a sister….the longing for a daughter is not going to go away for me not does it get any better, I think about it every single day and get sad every single day for the daughter I don’t have. I envy my friends and my family and strangers that get what I want. 🙁 🙁 🙁

  42. As the mother of four sons and a “surprise” (blow me over with a feather) girl who is old enough that ultrasound was used ONLY when needed when I had my children I have only this to say.

    Gender disappointment was hardly noticeable before ultrasound became the norm. Birth and the hormones that accompany it seemed to make only those with very strong feelings one way or the other have any residual pain about gender after birth.

    The ONLY one of my children that I experienced sadness and grief over the gender was the ONE that I had an ultrasound and knew BEFORE his birth. All four of the others I didn’t know until I held them in my arms–and it didn’t matter one bit.

    Now that i have done the research about the lack of testing and assurances of the safety of ultrasound, I am so grateful that they were so unavailable when I was giving birth!

  43. I always wanted to have 3 kids and for the order to be boy, girl, boy. My son just turned 3, my daughter 6 months. So far so good but truthfully, I’m unsure about trying for #3 at this point because I don’t want 2 girls. It bothers me though how often we hear, “oh you have one of each so you’re done” like EVERY parent aspires to only have a boy & a girl. I know women all over the map on this: happy with 3 girls, desperately wanting a girl or boy and men who only want little girls, etc. I do think some of these desires can be traced to childhood & our parental relationships.

  44. I had this same feeling with my second, except it was because I thought I was having twins! I cried and cried when they said there was only one. Looking back, now that my little bean is 18 months old, I look at her and think how could it be any other way!

  45. Thank you for such honesty. It will help other parents feel more “normal” should they too experience the same. There’s no need to carry guilt. X

  46. I Completely Get this article! With my 6th baby – my pregnancy was EXACTLY like that of the previous 3 . . . all girls. I threw up 24/7 for the first 7 months – – just like with them. I was 100% convinced I was having another girl. Our first 2 (boys) were SO different pregnancy wise – it couldn’t be a boy (I didn’t even throw up 5x with them combined!) But we wait until the birth, so when I pulled the baby to my chest and looked, I saw BOY PARTS! But – still being convinced in my mind that this was a girl – I asked, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY GIRL!?!?!” My husband and dear friend assured me that, “your BOY is just fine!” I persisted. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER PARTS”! I completely could not see that I was holding my Son!! In my mind, I was holding a defective daughter! My husband again said, “Our SON is JUST FINE!!!!” It took me a few minutes to grasp that it was a BOY . . . and a few days before we could name him (we had NOTHING prepared for a boy!!!) I wouldn’t change him for the WORLD – but I also had to mourn the loss of the daughter I “thought” was arriving. It was surreal falling in love with one person, while I was missing another one SO much. Now – pregnant with our 7th – I have NO CLUE what we are having, nor do I even want to guess 🙂 My pregnancy has been different that any of them – so i’m determined to just enjoy the time! We’ll find out soon enough . . . THANKS SO MUCH for writing this . . .

    • PS: we had waited to find out with all but our first pregnancy – but I knew he was a boy before they told us. So I had called it right 5 other times!!! 🙂

  47. I am already having anxiety over this and I am not even pregnant.
    I want to really start trying when my daughter turns 1. I desperately want another girl. I know I will be devastated if I end up with a boy. I know I would love him, but it would crush me.

  48. This really resonated with me. I just had baby number 3 last year, 19 years after baby number 2. My boyfriend has an eight year old daughter, so he was really hoping for a boy. I secretly wanted a girl. (my first two are boy, girl) We had a girl. He has mentioned even a year later, that he really wishes he could have a boy. We feel as if this will be our last baby because I am now 41 and I just don’t know if I have it in me to do all this over again (at 42 or 43). Not only that, but I feel certain he will make another girl.
    This was a really nice post about this topic. It’s not something people talk about much because inevitable someone will say, “at least the baby is healthy!!”, so I appreciate hearing it.

  49. My husband and I both experienced gender disappointment with this one! We have an 18 month old girl, and when my husband found out her sex, he was terrified. He had no experience with little girls, and felt he could only relate to boys. But man, she sure won him over! We both could not love her more. Back before we knew we were pregnant again, my husband told me that he had been thinking, and if we just have all girls in our family, he will be completely happy. I felt the same! We knew you can’t exactly choose, but if we could, we would have a house full of girls.

    So, then we were pregnant (unexpectedly). And I just “felt” it was a girl. No, I KNEW it, on some deep level. Some deep, nonexistant level, because at the ultrasound all we could say was “Well…yup…that’s definitely a boy.”

    The whole way back we kept asking each other questions like “So… we will love him… right?” “Yeah…probably?”

    We were in shock. And very sad. I’m really glad we are able to work through these feelings of disappointment long before he will be born (I’m 6 months along). There is a very real chance that we will never have another girl. And that is tough to think about. I wanted my girl to have a sister. This wasn’t how it was “supposed” to go. Of course a healthy baby is the important thing, but I had to grieve the little girl who had disappeared, and work through my feelings towards this boy who replaced her. I know once we have him, we won’t be able to imagine life without him. But until he is a real presence in our life, it is hard to really visualize.

  50. Wow, so wonderful, I’m not saying that I’m happy everyone is going through gender disappointment, I’m not happy for your sadness at all. But boy am I relieved to know I’m not the only one! I felt so extremely terrible that I never ever dared ask any of my family or friends about my feelings for fear that I would be judged as a terrible mother! I only have one child right now (more to come in the future I pray) and when I was pregnant I wanted a little boy soo terribly bad that I psyched myself into thinking that I knew it was going to be a boy (of course I told myself I’d be happy either way). When we got our ultrasound and found out it was a girl I had an instant pain deep in my gut and throat (something I was not expecting at all). Of course I put a smile on my face and said “Yay a girl!” I looked at the joy on my boyfriend’s face because I knew he wanted a little girl so badly. I had no idea the pain I was going to be feeling later on… The rest of the day had been okay I even looked at little girl stuff on the internet and tried to imagine life with a baby girl… but that night I stayed up after he went to sleep and I cried and cried and had these terrible thoughts of being jealous because I thought he would love her more than me. Oh how selfish I felt. I had no idea why these thoughts were going through my head and I didn’t even want them there!! I pretty much hated myself that night. But after that it was okay, I got it out and realized how happy I really was… and I even realized that I wanted him to love her more than me because that’s what she deserved… she was after all made up with his blood and DNA. Every day since I’ve had her has been the best day of my life. I couldn’t even imagine having a boy instead of her. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who has gone through this though… I wish I would’ve seen this at the time and known that it was okay instead of feeling so guilty. Thank you for posting this article. 🙂

  51. I experienced this with my 4th child. I had 2 boys and a girl but, knowing that this would my last pregnancy, I desperately wanted my girl to have a sister. My pregnancy was unplanned, unwanted, and I struggled with severe depression, and hyperemesis the entire pregnancy. I felt no bond with my baby the entire pregnancy. Then my water broke at 33 weeks and immediately I felt incredibly protective of my baby. I didn’t even think about the gender. After spending an anxious, worried-filled 5 days in the hospital, he was born the day of 34 weeks and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. The whole experience including the hellish pregnancy bonded and connected us more than with my others and reminded me how lucky I am to have a healthy precious baby. He is such a mama’s boy and I love it. I breastfed him longer than any of my others -to 15 months. The gender thing was never an issue again and I honestly feel happy with 3 boys and 1 girl. Especially now that she has hit her 4’s. The drama is brutal!

    • I am in a similar boat! I am 20 weeks pregnant with my 4th and currently have Girl, Boy, Girl…. This whole pregnancy I knew I was having a boy, my pregnancy was the same as my son, I am carrying the same, and everything. We had our ultrasound yesterday and found out that we are in fact having a 3rd girl and I am just devastated. I know how lucky I am to be blessed with 4 healthy children and I know I will love her and cherish her, but as my husband is excited to dance with his girls at weddings and to have another girl that adores him and prefers him 100% I cant help but feel sadden by the thought that I will not get another momma’s boy. It is a hard thing to accept and hearing ppl constantly telling me how lucky I am and how blessed I am makes me want to punch them. Because although those things are 100% true, it doesn’t change how I feel.

  52. Sitting there judging the feelings of others, deciding that their experiences aren’t as bad as yours, and so they are not valid. No one is saying that they would rather have a child die than be a different gender than the one they hoped for/expected (although their was that story I just read about the mother of twin girls who got an abortion at 20 weeks because she wanted them to be boys). But in general, women on here are supporting each other in working through some complicated feelings. Saying “You don’t get to feel bad because other’s are in more pain than you” is ridiculous. I just heard on the radio that the band Sugarland is paying for the funeral of a family who lost the mother and 8 of their 9 children in a house fire. The father and single surviving daughter just lost more than you ever will. So unless you don’t want someone saying that their pain cancels out yours because you’ve never lost 8 of your children and your spouse in 1 night? Stop comparing. Stop judging. No one needs that sh*t.

  53. I came from a family where both my older siblings each had a boy & a girl, my parents did and also my
    husband’s parents. Was a big surprise when we had 2 sons. Extremely hurtful that my husband had daughters with an ex-wife….I felt like a biological deviant not being able to make a girl, when hubbie obviously did elsewhere. All the people who either got one of each sex, or what they wanted told me/us: to shut up about gender disappointment, but it is a real thing. Losing my mother and grandmother through death meant I wasn’t able to have any female-bonding left in my life as my older sister isn’t close. How would I manage to pass on some of ‘myself’ to sons? Well, by having tea parties with stuffed animals…by encouraging our sons to be creative….by allowing them to express both their male AND female sides of themselves…..There are ways to connect and still honour the inner-daughter/mother thing. But I also did a LOT of crying over the daughter who wasn’t. I think with people having fewer children and each child so expensive to raise the issues of gender disappointment come up more…..and we are also bombarded for years with cultural baggage over the sex of children/family compositions etc. I will say that in North America here the school systems DO favour compliant, eager-to-please girls so having all sons meant I had to be a lot more pro-active for our boys throughout their education — that they get the right help so they could learn best, etc. And boys ARE more boisterous and seemingly at times don’t care as much as girls if they ‘please’. Under that though if you parent properly is a heart of gold from your son that becomes a more precious bond as time goes by. Maybe you could say it is the ‘secret’ life of Moms and sons, this bond. For society shows women and their daughters practically velcroed at the hip (especially women’s magazines) and less so with mothers and sons. There are mother-son bonds out there: so look for them and chose women who have all sons and who have made a success of it as role models. In the end I have probably learned MORE having children NOT of the sex I wanted but will admit that sometimes watching my friends become grandparents to new grand-daughters on social media (and the fawning and gooing over it all) is a bit much. Or the time at a party where all my friends at a school reunion decided it would be ‘fun’ to take a photo of their daughters and themselves as mothers. I of course had 2 sons. Went to the bathroom and cried then left the party. People can be cruel sometimes over the sex-gender-thing but the best revenge is to raise good fine men out of y our precious lads that the world will need and welcome. The learning curve, however, of having the sex you don’t think you wanted is huge. Sort of like finding the silk lining in what you initially thought you couldn’t handle 🙂 Ladies (and gents) my hope for each of you is that you also find the good in the seemingly not so straight forward ! It does seem to be a process of working through all of this gender disappointment thing and over time, making it work for what sex of child you have been given. Good luck to you all.

  54. Soon to be mom of 3 says

    I’m currently going through gender dissapointment and it’s such a crappy feeling. I have two little boys and now I’m pregnant with my third. I didn’t have any of these feelings with the first two, I love being a Mom of boys. This time we did as we did in the past, just tried for another baby not one sex or the other. I had an ultrasound at 16 weeks and was pleasantly surprised when they told us it was a girl. Everyone was supper excited and I let myself go there, invisioning life with a little girl and even picked out a name and bought some little outfits. At a later ultrasound we came to find out it is another boy. I hate that I’m so disappointed and I wish the Dr. had gotten it right the first time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel this way. You bond differently with the pregnancy once you know the gender and now it’s been flipped on me. My husband is super excited, he wanted 3 boys, which somehow makes it worse. I hope this passes soon, I’m an emotional mess.

    • Oh wow. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to be actually TOLD one thing and then find out another. I truly feel for you Mama and don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings aren’t valid. I think it will pass, but allow yourself to feel those feelings. And just know that once you birth this baby and meet him you will fall in love just like the other times.

  55. Jessica Neal says

    I had this with baby #1. I was so sure we were gonna have a little girl! Had an ultrasound 2 weeks before baby arrived, and was told the gender was a boy- I was shocked! I then grieved, and couldn’t fully believe it until he arrived and was placed in my arms- first thing I checked, but in that moment I also had a “wouldn’t want you any other way”. We told people we didn’t know the gender, and said since we found out so close we would keep it a surprise until baby way born. DEFINITELY glad I found out before, as I think I would have had such a hard time and gone into postpartum depression if I had found out on the day!

  56. I know I would have been disappointed with a boy. So I am very glad I had a girl. But for those moms who are grieving “what could have been”, and are having such a hard time that it is affecting your relationship with your existing child, I would really urge you to get help. It isn’t your child’s fault, and a mom who tries to “make up for it” by having another baby may be setting herself up for disappointment again. Get help, for your sake and your family’s.

  57. Thank you for writing this. I never felt this with my first two, which were both boys, but I had this fear before I even found out The gender of number 3. I wanted a girl so bad, but I was scared I would have another boy. I did end up having a girl, so all that anxiety was for nothing.

  58. When I was pregnant the first time I bought a little pink headband, a pink outfit and planned the whole Mom to a daughter thing in my head over and over. After all I have 2 sister and my Mom and I are so close how could I be having anything other then a girl?? 9 months later our son was born. My second pregnancy the baby was breech and at each of the ultrasounds they “thought” it was a boy but were not 100% sure so up until the time I delivered I surely thought this time would give me my daughter but our 2nd beautiful son was born. My 3rd pregnancy most definitely was going to bring me a daughter…..I picked out the nursery bedding with ruffles and bows! At my 20 week ultrasound the vision of his little penis on the screen was something I’ve seen before! I went home and cried and cried! My husband asked what was the matter with me? He said some people can’t even have children and here I was crying all because it was a boy! I felt ashamed and wiped my tears away and the minute they laid him in my arms I fell in love with son #3.
    My 4th pregnancy was researched and I read books and knew exactly when to have sex that would produce a girl! We even waited several years because I read that the later in life a man conceives the greater chance it will be a girl. I knew this time it would work! My husband were away one weekend and of course he wanted to have sex and I said, “NO! If we do it, I will get pregnant with a boy because it is that time of the month to conceive a boy!” He laughed at me and so no way would that happen! 2 weeks later the pregnancy test came back positive! I knew right away It was a boy but tried to put that thought away! At my 20 week ultrasound the technician asked if we wanted to know the sex? I said to put it in an envelope and we would decide If we wanted to open it or not……hmmmm that’s like have a present sitting in front of you and not being able to open It! So the envelope sat on the table for about 2 days and we just couldn’t stand it any longer!! We sad down on the couch and opened it together! Right in front of my eyes was written, “Its a boy!” I blinked and blinked thinking that it had to be a mistake! I looked at his anatomy for days…..weeks…thinking that maybe they could be mistaken!! We welcomed our 4th son and I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong. I still see a little girl and wish oh wish that I had one. Wish I had that mother/daughter relationship! But I will tell you there is NOTHING like a Mother/Son relationship and I have 4 of them! They are now 26, 24, 21 & 14! They are all my best friend. They look out for me and are there for me. I can’t imagine my life without them. I blog about them all the time! I truly believe that God gives you what you are given for a reason. Know what’s else? I have a 1 year old Grandson! 🙂

  59. Natalya Lukin says

    Thanks for sharing your very painful story, Abby, as I am sure many women can relate. By sharing our experiences, we promote healing everywhere and that is so important. Your difficult experience is not uncommon and that is why this is such an important topic. As with any diagnostic test during pregnancy, it is important to understand the risk:benefit ratio involved (there are concerns about routine ultrasound, for example) and how the information acquired will be of real use. I understand that it’s the norm nowadays to find out the sex of your baby in advance and that family and friends can add a lot of pressure to do so, but I think finding out in advance can really intensify “gender disappointment” (and gender stereotyping) to a degree that doesn’t happen if you wait until the baby is born to find out it’s sex and can too easily result in the remainder of your pregnancy being a big old bummer. Having attended 100’s of births, what I see is that when a baby is born, the immediate concern of the parents is always first and foremost that the baby is healthy. If not reminded of the gender question, many parents don’t even think about the gender of their baby for 10 minutes or half an hour or more and by that time they are already completely in love. What a different experience for all involved. I’m not saying “gender disappointment” never happens if you wait to find out, but I do think it is greatly tempered for most people if they find out when face-to-face with their baby in a situation where they are allowed to bond naturally and without interruption. Just my two cents. Wish you all the best and I thank you for this always thought-provoking blog!

  60. I can’t thank you enough for writing this. I always wanted boys, and when I found out our first was a girl, I was a tad dissappointed, but got over it quickly. My pregnancy with my second was so impossibly hard, I was rethinking our entire plan for 3. When we discovered she was a girl, I was hit by a wave of sadness. I have trouble listening to the rest of the ultrasound and felt horrible…..so I mentioned it on an internet board. I said that I was really surprised by how much harder it was for me to wrap my mind around another girl, and wondered if anyone else had felt the same way.

    Stupid me. I was ripped to shreds. I was attacked for “not loving” my baby, being obsessed with her genitals, someone even hoped something happened to her so I would regret caring what gender she was. When people pointed out that I’d had a previous miscarriage, it turned into a witch hunt where I was a sick human being who couldn’t appreciate my living, healthy baby. I’ve never been so hurt before in my life. I left the board and never returned, despite years of participation. I had tried to explain several times that of course I loved my baby, of course I was happy she was healthy, no I didn’t mind a girl, but I guess I just couldn’t explain that feeling of loss with thinking I would never have a boy.

    Clearly, I love my daughter. I love the sister bond my girls share, and she is an amazing little girl. And when we became pregnant again (Complete surprise) I had no doubts that a third girl would fit right in with my two 🙂 however, we just found out we are having a boy. 🙂 hopefully he likes pink….everything.

  61. I have always wanted to be the mother of a little girl, even a couple of little girls. When I found out my first child was a boy, I was a little disappointed but not overly so because I was glad to give my husband a son. I wanted a son too, but I was hoping for a girl first. Anyway, our second child was a girl and we felt very excited and blessed to have one of each! We are now expecting our third (and final) child and both of us were really hoping for a second girl. That would have made our family “perfect” in my mind. I just found out the baby is a boy. I was disappointed for a few minutes but warmed up to the idea quickly. However, when I told my husband about the test results later and saw the disappointment in his eyes…I couldn’t help but feel like I failed him by giving him the “wrong” gender. That made me sad all over again and I’m finding that harder to get over.

  62. I know how this feels, I have always wanted a boy and a girl, I was blessed with 2 girls I was ok with that and figured we could always try again then my sister in law had gotten into trouble with the state and we took in her 2 girls, the whole time I am still dreaming of having a boy and now that I want to try for one I was told I can’t have any more kids.

  63. I never thought about gender disappointment being a real thing. When we went for our gender reveal we were sure we were having our third boy. When the tech said we were having a girl we asked for verification three times. I then cried for the next week. I had never wanted a girl. It took the rest of my pregnancy to come to terms with the sex of my daughter. I love her with all my heart but I still want to have another boy.

  64. I didn’t know gender disappointment was a thing, until I experienced it. I had 2 girls and when we found out we were pregnant with #3 I wanted a son. Not at first, but slowly a little boy sounded more and more what I wanted. I dreamt about him having my husbands curly hair and everyone we told kept saying I hope it’s a boy. So I started hoping too. When the ultrasound tech came back so positive the first time (14 weeks), I was in denial. Then at the 20th week Ultrasound, I just cried I felt so guilty as well. I looked it up online and it turned out I wasn’t alone, but that alot of women didn’t get rid of those emotions until the birth. I was afraid I’d be the one who never got over it. But I really lucked out and the feelings disappeared on their own a few weeks later. I contribute that to talking to my husband, a friend and just feeling the sadness until it left. We are now almost 31 weeks and I haven’t thought about it in weeks 🙂

  65. When I got pregnant with my second I had wanted a boy (I already had a girl) and I had a little inkling that it might be a boy. My husband was also wanted a boy, but was convinced we were having another girl. Every time we’d look at baby things he’d say “you might as well get the pink one – it’s going to be another girl.” He was so sure that I started to believe it – there was no way we’d actually get one of each, anyway. I started thinking about how much my daughter would love a little sister. The thought of a house full of little girls and frilly dresses and hair bows grew on me and I got so attached to the idea. I looked forward to buying the girly cloth diapers and floral bedding; we had a girls name all picked out and couldn’t agree on one for a boy at all.

    The day of the ultrasound came and I had been so convinced by that point that I wasn’t even paying attention to the screen when the tech started looking. Then I heard “looks like… A little BROTHER!”. I stopped. Really?? My first thought was “crap. What are we even going to name him?”. I wasn’t really heartbroken over having a boy – after all that’s what I had originally wanted! I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of boyish things. No more skirts, no more frills. Dirt, and mud, and noise. It wasn’t the fact that I was gaining a son that upset me, it was losing that ideal that I had. My daughter wouldn’t have a sister. I flashed forward through her imagined life with a built in best friend and it was all just gone. For that I was heartbroken.

    Now my son is nearly 16 months. He’s perfect for us and every bit of what we were missing. He and my daughter are best friends (why did I think they couldn’t be?) and guess what… He even likes pink! Lol.

  66. I’m worried about this now. I never wanted a girl. I have sisters and while I couldn’t live without them now we were horrible to eachother growing up. So with my 1st and 2nd I was over the moon each time I found out I was having boys. But now that I have my boys. I think of the things you’ve said. Bonding over boyfriends, wedding dresses, my baby girl having a baby of her own. I worry that I won’t every have that and it hurts. My husband isn’t convinced on having a 3rd yet. Even though I know I would love and cherish another son as much as I do the two I already have, I know I will grieve the loss of the daughter I’ll never have if my next baby is another boy.

    It’s hard enough with the uncertainty of whether we’ll concieve again but when that decision is made final either way if it doesn’t result in a daughter of my own I know I will be very upset about it.

  67. We had 2 girls, we wanted them to be girls, it just felt right. I’m the only child so my older daughter having a SISTER did sound perfect, I always wanted one.
    The I was pregnant again and I was worried about being a mom to a boy. But a boy it was. It took me 2 months to get used to the thought (we learned very early) and finally deciding on a name and lots of boy clothes shopping. 😉
    Now I think I want another boy…

  68. Hi guys, I am a new mother and I’m trying to get my two month little one to sleep through the night. At the moment I’m lucky to have four hours sleep each night. Thanks

  69. My daughter just found out that she is having a boy- her first and possibly only (IVF). She has the same terrible disappointment you felt, is no longer interested in the pregnancy and has gone from joyous to despondent. I hope everything turned out OK for you,. I don’t know how we can get through this.

  70. Greate post. Keep posting such kind of info on your page.

    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hello there, You’ve performed an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and for my part recommend to
    my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this
    web site.

  71. It is difficult to work through disappointment over the gender of your baby, and it can be difficult for the spouse as well. My husband was slightly devastated when we learned we were having a girl. It was hard for him and hard for me (find out how to help your man with gender disappointment in my post on the topic: https://mamarissa.com/how-to-get-your-husband-excited-about-having-a-baby-girl/).

    Fortunately, the disappointment usually goes away once the baby is born. Until then, I completely agree that it is very important to work through and process your feelings.


  1. […] Gender disappointment is a real thing.  Truly.  There’s a little about it here, here and here. […]

Speak Your Mind