How To Deal With Gender Disappointment

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We often tell our partners, family and friends (and ourselves) that all we want is a healthy baby. But like it or not, we often have a preference for having a boy or a girl. While we often use the term gender to refer to a boy or a girl, the more accurate term used is gender.

Sex is determined at birth based on biological and physiological characteristics, while gender is a social construct and one’s deepest concept of self. They can identify as female, male, both, or neither. A person’s gender may or may not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

For some people, finding out their little one isn’t the gender they had predicted or hoped for — what is often called gender frustration — sends them into a whirlpool of emotions. negative touch. While it may feel like a taboo subject, it’s important to realize that your feelings are well-founded. If you or your loved one is experiencing gender frustration, there are steps you can take to address and process your emotions so you can greet your baby with the happiness and excitement that you need. both deserve it.

What is Gender Disappointment?

Danielle Forshee, PsyD, LCSW, a. licensed clinical psychologist and social worker.

“Sometimes sadness and disappointment happen because before [sex] reveal, you and/or your partner already have ideas and fantasies about what life would be like if your child were [sex] you prefer,” says Dr. Forshee.

You may not even know that you have a preference until you experience the gut reaction of finding out your baby’s sex, through an ultrasound, amniocentesis, or even when your baby is born.

“This happened to me when I was 13 weeks pregnant and did a CVS/genetic test and found out [the baby] was a boy,” says Louann Brizendine, MD, a neurologist and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. “Up until that point, I hadn’t realized I liked or felt more comfortable with a girl. I feel confused [and] I’m a little sorry for my reaction.”

Emotions you can experience

In most cases, feelings associated with gender disappointment follow a pattern: first expectation, then disappointment, then guilt.

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For example, expectant parents often tell stories about their future children. They can imagine what their child looks like, their personality, or activities they might enjoy doing. Someone with gender preferences can imagine specific outfits or even just come up with potential names for their desired gender.

Dr Forshee explains: “Once these ideas and fantasies have been created, they begin to take on a life of their own. “Hope then turned into an expectation, and like any expectation we hold in life — when expectations are not met, we feel frustrated.”

Sarah Brithinee, a lifestyle blogger and mother of one from Michigan, was hoping her baby would be a girl. When she discovered she was holding a boy, she said she burst into tears. Brithinee said: “I was broken. “I convinced myself it was a girl because I wanted one so badly.” Soon, she felt guilty about her feelings.

Dr Forshee explains: “Guilt occurs in gender frustration when negative emotions directly conflict with positive emotions that you had previously had until they came to the surface, ‘ Dr. Forshee explained. “These feelings then directly conflict with the overarching beliefs and expectations (internal and external expectations from self and society) that all [people] and partners should be excited and grateful to be pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. ”

Punishing yourself by asking why you can’t be happy with children is useless. The origin of this sexual desire more than any other sex is often personal and does not need to be dismissed.

Reasons You Might Be Disappointed

A common misconception about gender frustration is that the reasons you prefer one gender over another are purely superficial. In fact, there are a multitude of reasons that can include cultural or social pressures, prior trauma, or a feeling that you may be better at connecting with one gender than the other.

Someone who has endured loss before may have scrambled to be gender specific to separate this pregnancy from a previous experience or to create a deeper connection with the child you lost. Cultural or social pressures may tilt you one way or another. Bottom line: Your reasons are personal and they have value.

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Dr Brizendine admitted that she was initially worried that she would not be able to have sex with a boy. “After all, I am a girl and was raised as one and would know what to do, but as a boy? Not so much,” she recalls. “My experience with my son has been amazing but challenging, and I am still growing from all the lessons he has given me.”

How to deal

The sadness that some expectant parents feel about their child’s gender melts away when they close their eyes with their child. However, one study found a link between gender frustration and postpartum depression, so it’s important to address and acknowledge your feelings. The best way to do this is to talk about how you feel with a loved one, online support group, or therapist.

Talk to someone you trust

Your temptation may be to try to ignore and bury your feelings, but this can drown you in guilt and shame, Dr. Forshee warns.

She explains: “Shame and guilt are pretty heavy negative emotions that often lead to emotional beatings and secrecy behaviors. “If someone is going through these feelings, the first thing to do is share your secret with someone you trust and who you can trust to be an active and nonjudgmental listener. review.”

Opening up to a partner, close friend, or other trusted individual can help. Additionally, online support groups are a helpful, non-judgmental space to share your feelings. You’ll probably take comfort in knowing that you’re not the only one experiencing gender frustration.

Dr Forshee said: “If, shortly after birth, you find yourself continuing to struggle with gender frustration or find it difficult to bond or have feelings for your baby, then you should seek help. expert help.

Identify why you feel how

There may be a deeper reason why you prefer one sex over the other. If it’s not immediately obvious, talking to a therapist can help. Forshee recommends talking about your thoughts, feelings, expectations, what you fantasize about, and what makes sense about sex that you have in mind. Figuring out why you hold on to a hobby is key to overcoming your gender frustrations.

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Rearrange your emotions

Once you’ve opened up about how you’re feeling, the next step to overcoming gender frustration involves controlling your emotions and actively changing your thought patterns around your child’s gender. . If you’re imagining doing something with your kids, like having spa days, going camping, or cheering them on at ice hockey games, remind yourself that you can still do those things. That dream with the child you are expecting, regardless of their gender.

“Just as you have imagined all the positive things about [sex] you like, do the same about [sex] you don’t like,” advises Dr. Forshee. “For example, imagine what they might look like [and] What their personality might be like. Changing the way you think about this will help you get over it over time. Please pay attention [of the fact that] you will probably still feel frustrated working at this step, and that’s okay. ”

For Brithinee, imagining what a mother wants to be to her son and imagining hobbies they can enjoy together is an important step in conquering her frustrations. , as well as how to name him. “We immediately started trying out names and calling him some of them,” she said. “Once we got his name, I called him all the time to personify him.”

A very good word

However you feel right now, it’s important to remind yourself that your feelings are valid and that they are only temporary. Talk to someone you trust and try to get to the bottom of why you have a sexual preference in the first place. And remember, whatever you dream of doing with a child, you can do with any child.

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