It’s one of the first questions people ask after finding out that you’re expecting: “Is it a boy or a girl?” And whether it’s too early for you to know yet or you’ve decided to wait and be surprised, the standard response is: “Oh, we don’t care—as long as the baby is happy and healthy.”
But if you’re being honest with yourself, maybe you kind of would prefer to have a girl. Or maybe it’s not so much of a desire for one gender over the other, but you’ve always imagined yourself with a son. Whatever your thoughts beforehand, gender disappointment refers to those feelings of sadness or frustration after the big reveal. And it happens more often than you think.
“Gender disappointment is quite common,” says psychologist Dr. Danielle Forshee. “Particularly for those who feel like a specific gender holds certain meaning to them.”
For example, Dr. Forshee knows two women who both wanted boys and experienced gender disappointment when their baby girls were born. “For both of them, they were concerned about their daughters being the same as them when they were children—a real pain!” They imagined that having boys would be more fun and easier than having girls, based on their own experiences growing up.