baby feet

To feel disappointed in your child’s gender

“As long as the baby is healthy I’m happy” is something you often hear but actually isn’t always the truth. Not being happy for a healthy baby is as taboo as it can be.

First and foremost I want to clarify that being disappointed in a child’s gender doesn’t mean you don’t love and appreciate your child. These are two entirely different things and shouldn’t be mixed up. The second thing to clarify is that being disappointed in your child’s gender has nothing to do with being privileged or not valuing or understanding others that might struggle with even having children at all. You can be disappointed with your child’s gender and understand others’ struggles.

Disappointment is a result of unmet expectations, realistic or unrealistic. When you’re disappointed you are struggling to let go of the dream you have. This is real and nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, this taboo often comes with a lot of guilt and shame not being happy with a healthy baby. But you need to know this is as common as chimpanzees eat bananas!

Each child is an individual, gifted with talents, likes, wants, dislikes, needs, desires, fears and worries and these are universal whatever your child’s gender. Personality accounts for much more than the rigid conforms of fitting into one set of expectations. For example, there are plenty of female racing drivers and professional soccer players, so your child’s gender does not limit the activities that you can still enjoy with them!

Allowing ourselves to become more open and accepting of children’s personalities deepens, challenges and changes our own perspective, often for the better.

Likewise, freeing yourself from expectations is another gift that you can give your family. Expectations only result in negative spirals of comparison and detrimental pressures put onto the family which result in more confrontation and unhappiness. Learning to communicate, and collaborate ensures harmony, and allows parents and children to be themselves, making for a much more teamworking unit!

Any parenting also falls short if connection is abandoned. Connecting is a core principle of any healthy relationship with our children, our partners, and even our colleagues and must be nurtured consistently. Failing to connect because of disappointment over something your child cannot change creates an unhealthy expectation they cannot rise to.

If our children do not feel connected to us, very often they feel unloved and are more prone to pushing back on those limits we have set. By connecting with our children, they feel the love from us and we can meet them in a place of compassionate understanding and respect. 

For our children, we can develop this connection and strengthen our bond in things like playtime, open, non-prejudiced discussions, and physical contact. Any boundaries should also be communicated clearly, developed from a place of realism, and openly discussed. 

Take away these main points from any feelings of disappointment you possess:

  1. Acknowledge the feelings you have, don’t judge or value them, just acknowledge them. They’re neither good or bad, just feelings.
  2. Try to pinpoint what you feel disappointed about.
  3. Give yourself time to mourn and grief the dream that didn’t become reality.
  4. Ponder about the possibilities you’ll have with your child and focus on having fun together.

For more on the art of letting go of negative feelings and unrealistic expectations, consider reading into the principles of conscious parenting.