How Do You Deal With Gender Disappointment?
The fact, that you are stopping by to read this blog, shows that you were or are the victim of gender disappointment, or, think you might be one
in the future. We feel too scared to show this feeling or express it openly to others as this is considered a taboo in our society. It is similar to having any other kind of depression but being incapable of speaking about it, due to constant fear of judgement from friends, family
and dear ones.
Gender disappointment is more common than you think! The Statistics say, 6 out of every 10 pregnancies have either one or both the partner disappointed
with the gender of the baby. If not the couple, there might be parents, grandparents, siblings or caregivers being disappointed with the gender of the child. In today’s world, however, we are made to say "We only expected a healthy child; it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl". Gender disappointment has led to so many issues arising post pregnancy, or if, the gender is known to the couple earlier, during pregnancy, then, it leads to depression and results in no bonding between the mother and the child.
What is Gender disappointment?
With the social media becoming a popular thing, people becoming more transparent with their lives, showing each and every emotion through Facebook and Instagram posts, expecting parents celebrating and posting pictures of gender reveal parties, baby showers with gender guessing activities, etc, online, Gender of the baby has become a thing of discussion and point of happiness and emotions. In countries where gender is told to the expecting couple after 20 weeks of pregnancy, reveal it to the public through social media. In doing all this, that, we do today, for the sake of portraying "a happy life/family" on social media, we have an expectation at the back of our minds, as to what we want to have as a child, to complete that picture we have set in our minds; a girl or a boy.
The picture that we set in our minds, we expect it to be satisfied. Not having to have that expectation satisfied, whether it is, that you had 2 boys already and wanted a girl this time, whether it is, that your partner already had decided what sports his boy will play and it turns out his plans are destroyed, whether it is due to the society where a particular gender is looked down upon as undesirable, or whether it is the culture in some countries where the boy is considered to be taking ahead the legacy of the family and not a girl, be it you or your partner or your parents who has a particular expectation in their minds, not having to have that dream or desire or plan or expectation materialised is called Gender disappointment.
Is it okay to feel disappointed with your baby's sex?
When Gender disappointment takes place, during or post delivery, it happens that some people become angry, some are beyond thrilled, some start crying and some just don’t speak anything but silently shames and let the expectations dry. When the delivering mother is the one who is unhappy with the gender of the child, it happens that she shies away from bonding with the child. All of us are expected to say just the "right things" and aren’t given the space to speak out our inner feelings. As "regret" is something that is not acceptable with the birth of the child, feeling disappointed with the gender is very common to be, uncommon to see.
It is absolutely not a crime to be questioning your ability to be able to love the child. There is no shame in accepting that your dreams didn’t materialise. It is quite normal to have hopes and plans for a child from the moment you learn you were pregnant, and then moving to a different reality, adjusting to life. Accepting to one's true feelings and emotions are no rocket science. You should learn to feel okay and make your partner or whosoever is disappointed, accept reality with open eyes.
Do not wish to keep it a secret, try expressing it to yourself, or whosoever you feel close to, because you are not alone. This might seem like a difficult thing to do as you'll be expressing something which will be against "God's will" but expressing the real emotion is the real thing, even if it is, that your future family will look a little
different then you had originally planned, but truly there will still be joy and love that becomes a part of it.
What steps can you take to deal with Gender disappointment?
1) Acceptance of disappointment: The foremost thing to do is to accept the reason for disappointment or sadness, with acceptance comes every emotion that will help you cope up with the changed reality. By accepting the gender of the baby that is born to you, you give the baby and the mother, the world of open possibilities. This helps in clearing the mental block in the mind of whosoever that is dissatisfied and helps move ahead with a positive mindset.
2) Bond with your partner: As they say it’s not just the mother who is pregnant, it’s the couple who is pregnant, hence if one or both of the partners are disappointed with the birth of the child, it is the duty of the mother to bond and express to the partner to make him and herself both cope up with the new reality. Partner plays a very crucial role in helping the mother from falling prey to depression, anxiety and other mental issues during pregnancy or post delivery. Once the bonding is strong between both parents, it becomes easier to raise the child, and give him/her a beautiful future.
3) Take external help: Consulting a psychiatrist or your own doctor, or any other third person whom you can open up to, is always a great help if your disappointment is becoming worse with time. When a baby is born, and it makes someone disappointed in the family, then, there are highly likely chances that the person will not bond with the child, and will bring up the child as a cause of unhappiness in every petty matter related to pregnancy. This may result in clashes, insult, unhappiness, and disharmony and may even lead to severe depression to one or many in the family. Addressing the other issues related to gender disappointment is as important as it is to address the basic issue.
4) Give time, trust and thoughts: The baby grows up too fast to even comprehend the reason of your disappointment, so, it is very important to give time to the newborn to showcase his/her charm, every child comes into the world with the mission of spreading joy and when you give time to accepting the child, surely, the child becomes your to handle and love. Trusting that it is just a matter of time and it shall pass soon is also a way to kill unnecessary negativity and disappointment. Having the trust in nature, and the reason for the birth of a particular gender into your family is respecting all forms of humanity.
Always give thoughts to why you feel the way you feel. Introspect the reason of disappointment, i.e.; whether it is that you wanted a girl because you think you would not be able to bond with a boy, or whether it is that you will not be accepted in the family if you give birth to a girl and not a boy, try to work on the underlying reason behind the negative feeling. This will help overcome the anxiety and fear of having a particular gender as your child.
5) Practise philosophy: Sticking to one’s faith in life, helps overcome every negativity, harm, struggle, disappointment, misery and troubles. Making a point of sticking to a positive life altering philosophy and diligently practising in daily life, helps cope up with sudden life changes. If one is philosophical in nature, the justification and answers come to you naturally. Your mind and heart are put to rest and it stops wandering.
What does the future look like?
In India, as we all know, gender selection and determination is punishable under the law. If any person or persons get into the detection of the gender of the foetus by any means of screening, the person getting the detection as well the person detecting it is punishable, be it the doctor, the radiologist, the mother, the father or any other family member.
Lesser we know the fact that it is done to minimise the rate of abortions and female foeticide.
Even today, families in many developing countries like India, Pakistan,
Brazil, some South-Asian nations and some countries in Africa consider the female gender as a curse to the society and perform heinous crimes against getting the female gender aborted in the womb.
This major evil that is still prevalent in the society, is also one of the major reasons of fear amongst expecting mothers to not have a girl child but to only bear a male child. This indifference and inequality creates inferiority of the worst kinds in Indian mothers when they carry a girl child. This has also led to Gender disappointment of the worst kind, and, will always continue to do so as long as we are alive.
A working mommy of one son, currently associated with the Ed-tech sector, She has done MBA in International business and has lived and worked in three countries- UAE, New Zealand and India. Sanya has a knack at different parenting styles in the world, mainly the western style and the Indian style. She is a shopaholic, who loves to travel and write, and is very active on social media platforms.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.