top of page

Gender Disappointment

Everyone who has ever been pregnant knows that people (even strangers) often ask personal questions that would be unusual or inappropriate in other contexts. But, they often seem to go hand-in-hand with pregnancy . . .

“When are you due?”

“How much weight have you gained?”

“Are you craving any weird foods?”

“Can I touch your stomach?”

“Do you want a boy or a girl?”

That last commonly asked questions brings up a very real issue: gender disappointment.

What is it?

Gender disappointment is when a parent is hoping or convinced that their baby will be one sex and then, on discovering the opposite is true, feel disappointment, sadness or even grief. This may be a similar feeling as to when someone doesn’t immediately love being a parent.

Unmet Expectations

Some people are very clear about why they are hoping for a certain sex of baby. Maybe they already have a child or children of one sex and would like the other. Or, they have always seen themselves as a “boy mom” or a “girly girl mom of girls.” Or , maybe they were looking forward to the activities, sports, or hobbies associated with either a boy or a girl. It could also be even deeper feelings of inadequacy, fear, or resentment toward a certain sex of baby.

Your Feelings are Valid

Please know that your feelings of disappointment are legitimate. Often parents feel guilty or ashamed of this negative reaction to the sex of their new baby. But, whatever the root cause, your emotions are natural.


What’s next? Like a lot of disappointments, time will often shift your attitude. For many people, actually seeing, holding, and caring for the new baby wash away your initial negative feelings.

You can also talk to your partner, a family member or trusted friend about your gender disappointment.

And, like with any serious disappointment, grief, or depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help if your negative feelings linger or grow. You may be suffering from postpartum depression or other psychological issues and should seek the help you need.

At Tennessee Family Doulas, it is our joy to walk with you through the joys—and concerns—associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and your early days at home. Our doulas are prepared to help you and make sure you have everything you need!


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page