Gender Disappointment

This was supposed to be an article about matching sister dresses.

After navigating the capricious world of dating, accomplishing the feat of a happy marriage, overcoming the sometimes heart-wrenching process of creating a home and getting and staying pregnant with a healthy baby a person should be happy, right? But for some, a dark, unsettling doom comes in an unexpected form: Gender Disappointment.

I'll admit I was fully expecting news of a boy to come of this pregnancy, probably because I grew up in a two-child home with a brother. I entertained the idea of a little man to dress up in jon-jons and christen with an animal hippy name but c'est la vie. The moment I found out our second baby was a she, my heart switched to delight. Sisters! Matching sister dresses! I got a sewing machine and some patterns and now I'm set for a life of double frills.

Not all women feel this way. Many women mourn the gender news of their pregnancies, some even to the point of considering termination or adoption. People can't help their feelings, I suppose, and it must be horrible to be saddled with these. Read these quotes from women experiencing the bizarre problem of disappointment in their child's gender . . . 

"I am very upset. i don't want this child. i am afraid i can not love it [ . . .] I DO NOT want this gender baby. I don't want an innocent life to suffer [ . . .] i am depressed. I wish i didn't have to carry this child to term. i hate to feel it move inside of me. I know i am a terrible person. [sic.]"

"What scares me is that I don't want this baby. I don't want to see it. Or hold it. or know it. I feel like I've wasted my time and effort."

"I never would have imagined anyone wanted a girl."

"I am extremely disappointed in the gender of my baby. So much so that I wish I weren't pregnant."

"I'm having a very unwanted boy [ . . . I'm] being forced to have a life time of a boy i do not want. I dont even want to live myself. I hate my partner, cant even look him in the eye. I feel my life is ruined forever. [sic.]"

"After finding out this baby is a boy, I'm thinking of doing something horrible like walking on freshly waxed floors with socks."

These are not isolated incidents. Women all across America and the world are writing in to gender forums expressing thoughts nearing suicide over the genders of their babies. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with how many children they have or even whether it is a boy or a girl they are carrying. The only commonality is they are very, very upset.

To people who have children with health problems, or those having trouble conceiving (or getting into the right partner relationship to begin with!) gender disappointment seems to be the most asinine, disgusting of human emotions. After all, how can these women balk at the richness their lives are giving them when there are people who don't have a baby at all? 

However, many mothers can relate to a tinge of GD at the ultrasound. Few take it to the extreme. In the latter cases, it might have more to do with underlying depression or anxiety about the pregnancy in general. But still, it's hard to sympathize with a woman who actually rejects her baby based on the sum of its parts.  


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"Sorry, ma, I ain't wearing a dress!"

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  • Wow! I had no idea this problem even existed. I suppose if moms set themselves up for the worst case scenario, which is in my opinion a house full of rowdy boys :), then nothing worse can happen. Personally, I sort of pictured myself in a house of boys/men feeling left out and was pleasantly surprised with two girls of my own. But my feelings were just really a joke and nothing really worrisome.

  • In reply to jtithof:

    It exists alright!

  • I was extremely disappointed when I found out I was having a boy. I think it took a few weeks before I warmed up to the idea. I can't say it was disappointment to the extremes you've mentioned, though. I had no idea people really considered aborting their baby or killing themselves due to the gender. What I'd like to know is, how did these people feel after their baby was born? Don't most people quickly change their minds after seeing their child (if they haven't already changed their minds during the pregnancy)?

  • In reply to lauren1128:

    Most people go on to love their children, but we don't know the outcomes of every case. I've talked to people who knew their mothers wished they were sons/daughters and some of them are VERY strained with their parents.

  • In reply to VelvetMinxx:

    That's such a shame.

  • In reply to VelvetMinxx:

    Got a new computer and forgot to check your blog for weeks! Congrats on a girl! I know she'll be a total cutie too!

  • I would say that those women are mentally ill. To kill a baby because he/she is the wrong gender is the epitome of evil. It's just plain wrong.

    I was a smidge disappointed when I found out that my second was a boy because I'd been hoping for a girl, but it lasted about 30 seconds. You get what you get, and if what you get is a healthy child, then you count your blessings!! I've lost a baby because he had a congenital heart defect, so I can't fathom contemplating a late term abortion (which is infanticide in my book, I'm sorry... not to start the abortion debate, but it's how I feel) or suicide because your perfectly healthy baby is the "wrong" gender. A healthy baby is a miracle and a blessing.

  • In reply to Lindsey:

    I agree, there has to be a touch of mental illness in there. If it wasn't the gender of their baby, it would be the color of their car. Some people are just unhappy!

  • I've totally read the posts on the site where you got these quotes and I have to tell you...these women..AMAZE me. I think it's probably totally normal to have gender preference when you're pregnant, but like Lindsey said you get what you get. If you aren't at peace with that you probably shouldn't get pregnant in the first place. The women who talk about wanting to fall down stairs or get in a horrible accident are crazy. SERIOUSLY. CRAZY. I understand to feel disappointed. You know I wanted a girl. But finding out that D was a boy didn't ruin my life. It just changed the picture I had painted for my life. And let me tell you. My son has made my life incredible, just like your girls have done for you. A baby, boy or girl, is a wonderfuly incredible thing and these women shouldn't be allowed to have children.

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    "If you aren't at peace with that you probably shouldn't get pregnant". AGREED! The majority of these babies are extremely planned and on purpose but the mom cant be *that* much of a control freak, lol.

  • In reply to mivie0513:

    I think it's totally normal to have a slight preference (even a big preference), but to go on to abort your child, commit suicide or even talk about these things? Now that's not normal. That's a sign of a lingering mental illness, for sure.

    Put a baby in a mom's arms and, I don't care if that baby wasn't the gender she preferred, she's going to fall in love and those thoughts will fly out the window. If that doesn't happen? She probably isn't cut out for motherhood to begin with.

    CRAZY! I had no idea!

  • Also, the men who married these women or who fathered these babies are just as crazy if they agree to let these women abort these precious babies b/c they are the wrong gender....

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