Gender Disappointment: You’re Not The Only One

Gender disappointment, magnifying glass looking at boy or girl symbol

For some this may be a taboo or controversial topic, but let’s go there together.

We are all having a human experience and it’s okay to be authentic about our feelings. 

As a Mom of two amazing boys, who are now 17 and 11, these young men mean more to me than anything in the entire world. Period. And yet, I also always wanted to have a daughter. I felt sadness when I knew that wasn’t happening. I wanted both.  

As daughter to my mother I treasured our relationship. She was my confidante, my #1 supporter and most of all the best Mom I could have ever hoped for. We shared moments that I felt only daughters and mothers have. In my heart I felt strongly I would have a similar relationship with a daughter if I ever had the opportunity. All three of my pregnancies gave me precious baby boys. After experiencing a second trimester loss and miscarriage with my 2nd pregnancy, I was beyond grateful for a healthy live baby boy in my third and final pregnancy. 

In the overall journey of parenthood, the disappointment I experienced was a blip and it passed.

My love for my boys is infinite and life with them is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. 

That being said, I share this personal piece to acknowledge that I understand the feelings. I get it. Gender disappointment really happens.

It is nothing to be ashamed of and is pretty normal. 

Based on your life experience, you may be wondering if you “have what it takes” to be a boy or girl mom. Maybe you think your personality will align more with a boy or a girl. We dream and imagine our lives going in one direction and then perhaps we have to go in a different direction, and this can take some mental adjustment. 

The fact is…

We don’t get to determine the biological sex of our baby. Old wives’ tales can tell us all they want, but at the end of the day, nature decides  – there’s no way around it. 


Every baby turns into their own person. 

As their parents we must embrace who they will be.

The sex of your baby won’t necessarily determine the complete structure of their personality. Many aspects of life contribute to this. We can’t put “boy moms” or “girl moms” in a box. Parenting journeys share some commonalities, but in the end, everyone has a unique experience.

Each child will have their own gifts to bring to the world.

Let’s allow them to grow in the direction they bend.

In other words, as their parent, you will guide them while their inner personality comes out to shine. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. 

Don’t Worry, Gender Disappointment Can’t Control You

If you are having feelings of guilt associated with gender disappointment, don’t feel too bad. Many parents experience this during their pregnancy journey. 

As many as 1 in 5 women express feeling some gender disappointment. In other words, about 20% of women admit to feeling this way. 

Personal hopes, high expectations, pressure from friends and family, gender reveal parties, and other societal issues can contribute to this. These things may affect how we view the world, impacting your mindset on this topic. Going through this experience can be tough. Especially when all you want is to be happy about your baby. 

We’ve come up with a few ideas to help you cope with and overcome gender disappointment. 

Speak Your Emotions (Out Loud) About Gender Disappointment

It’s okay to own your emotions. We are not bad people because of how we feel. Many aspects of life can contribute to the feelings of gender disappointment. 

Here’s the thing…

Sometimes only thinking about our emotions can allow them to get all tied up inside. Before you know it, you have an emotional knot that’s really difficult to untie.

We tend to think in thought spirals – putting ourselves in a constant state of self-blaming.

One way to get out of this thought pattern is to write down your true emotions. Then, speak them out loud, either to someone who you feel comfortable with or to an empty room. 

There is power in owning your emotions and saying them out loud. Studies show that vocalizing emotions in a free and non-judgemental way helps release tension and stress. 

You might say something like…

I am feeling really disappointed about missing out on having a daughter. 

I am sad that I will not get to raise a little boy.

I’m worried I won’t be a good “boy mom.” 

I don’t feel capable of being a “girl mom.” 

Whatever your truth may be, write it out and speak it out loud. You may even feel immediate relief in speaking the thoughts that are causing you guilt. 

Once you’ve recognized and acknowledged exactly what you are feeling, you may be able to put an end to your thought spiral. Then you can take further steps.

Try it out!

Focus On Loving Your Baby 

Just because you are feeling guilt from gender disappointment, doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. 

Start with that. 

You know you love your baby. Put your attention on that fact completely. 

You are going to have a darling, squishy baby that looks at you with love and adoration. At the end of the day, that is what matters most. 

They will love you no matter what because you are their parent. This alone is so much to be thankful for.

There’s so much to dream about. 

Keep in mind…

Those newborn snuggles will be just as warm. 

Dressing them in cute baby outfits will still have your heart bursting. 

Seeing a sweet baby smile for the first time will be just as special. 

Once your baby is in your arms the rest won’t matter. 

Believe me. 

It can be hard to let go of a dream you’ve held onto so tightly, but there is power in letting it go. Grasp onto your new reality. It’ll be sweeter than you ever imagined. 

Challenge Your Gender Stereotypes

Consider inspecting and releasing any gender stereotypes you may be unintentionally holding onto. Here are a few gender stereotypes to wrestle with…

Boy Stereotypes: 

  • Boys are louder than girls 
  • Boys will play sports 
  • Boys are messy 
  • Boys will get hurt a lot 
  • Boys are rough 

Girl Stereotypes: 

  • Girls sit quietly to play 
  • Girls like pink 
  • Girls are more emotional 
  • Girls are more fragile
  • Girls are more sensitive

Now, how many of these stereotypes are true across the board? 

Is every boy into sports? 

Does every single girl like pink? 

No. Of course not. 

We all know this is true… but we think about these stereotypes while considering if we want a boy or a girl. 

Here’s what we need to remember:

Every child will be different. 

The truth is, some girls will hate pink and prefer blue. Some boys will dislike sports and will choose to read. 

It is likely that your child will be different than you expect. Children are unique in their own ways. As their parent, it’s important to guide them, but not push them into a mold.

Allowing them to be fully themselves (even as a tiny, squishy baby) will help you to let go of gender stereotypes and expectations for their life. 

Let the unexpected be part of your journey. 

Flexibility and acceptance is key. Your future child will learn to appreciate it, as well as your tired mind. 

Talk To Someone About Gender Disappointment

As mentioned earlier, you’re not the only one to feel this way about your baby’s gender. 

Consider reaching out to a trusted person to talk through your feelings. 

Here are a few people to reach out to:

  • a mom friend
  • your mom or a “mom” figure
  • your partner
  • close family members
  • your doula
  • your midwife or doctor

As you enter parenthood, allowing safe people into your life will transform you. Have open conversations. Be vulnerable.

If you feel that your disappointment is lasting too long, you may want to consider seeing a therapist. They’ll be able to help you dig deeper and provide counseling specifically on gender disappointment. 

Either way, we recommend that you reach out. Don’t go through it alone. 

Remember, We’re Here For You

At Buddha Belly Doulas, we’re here to support you on your pregnancy journey and anything that you are going through as part of this process. 

If you’re curious about how a doula can help you during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, give us a shout. 

We’d love to hear from you. 

Find out more here. 

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading