Ask the Experts
How do I handle gender disappointment?
That will take care of the nosy neighbors, but now let’s talk about you. Even if your brain is telling you that the most important thing is that the baby is healthy, it’s perfectly natural to feel a twinge of disappointment that the Joanna of your dreams is turning out to be a Jason instead (or vice versa).
Few people talk about it, but such feelings are quite common, says clinical psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness (Morgan James Publishing). “It doesn’t mean you won’t love your child or be a good mom,” she says. “You just had a certain picture of your baby in your head, and you now have to adjust that image. Allow yourself a few weeks to process your disappointment,” Lombardo adds. “If you try to push aside the feelings, you’re going to feel both guilty and sad.”
Lombardo suggests that you mull over the reasons you wanted to become a mom in the first place. A desire to pass on your old ballet shoes to a daughter probably didn’t top the list. But if you find you still need to satisfy your cravings for all things girly, you can always take a niece or a friend’s daughter shopping in the pink aisle at Target or to tea at American Girl Place. If your disappointment persists, talking with a therapist is best for everyone.