Baby Hints & Tips

Gender disappointment – what is it and what does it mean for new mums

Coping with gender disappointment

Gender disappointment doesn’t just affect mums who already have kids of one gender.  For parents who plan to have just one child, it can seem devastating to discover you won’t have that little girl you dreamed of or that little man who will carry the family name on to the next generation.  Gender disappointment affects parents of families of all sizes – from those seeking the perfect pigeon pair to families with multiple children of one sex already.

When you’re trying to cope with gender disappointment, don’t feel that you’ll never love the little boy or girl growing in your womb.  While you may feel you’ve hit a big setback now, you will still be raising a wonderful child and chances are the disappointment will be fleeting when you hold that bubba in your arms.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with gender disappointment at your scan is that you are not alone.  You are not a bad person for feeling this way and if you find the thought of a boy or girl too difficult, you can seek help from family, friends or your GP.

Could the 12 week ultrasound be wrong?

What’s the most accurate way to know if it’s a boy or a girl?

Gender Disappointment

What determines a baby’s gender?

In a nutshell, if the “lucky sperm” is carrying an X chromosome, you’re having a girl.  If it’s a Y chromosome, you’re getting a boy.  Whether some men only make sperm of one gender is not clear.  The Shettles Method of determining baby gender is based around leading theories on how the two kinds of sperm differ.  The theory goes (and there is some scientific evidence to back the theory up) that a sperm carrying an X Chromosome tends to swim slower and live longer whereas a Y Chromosome carrying sperm ‘lives fast and dies young” so to speak.  It’s believed that the amount of mitochondrial DNA the sperm is carrying determines how quickly it can travel.  The X Chromosome contains more data, and is therefore slower to move.   The time it takes the sperm to reach the fallopian tubes can differ by hours and male sperm can make the final journey in as little as 20 minutes.

How does the Shettles Method use this information?

The Shettles Method is a theory that pertains to the timing of the conception.  If you want a boy, you need to try close to the moment of ovulation so that Y carrier can get in there fast and make a boy baby.  If you want a girl, you try in the days before conception, when all the male carriers have made the journey, found no egg about to fertilise and faded away – meanwhile the X carriers have made their way slowly into position and are still alive to await a passing egg.

There are other theories.  Dad’s age, fertility, and genetic code.  There’s also the ancient Chinese Gender Prediction Calculator, based on the mother’s data.  Science has come some way since ancient China, but on this issue, accuracy is still…never guaranteed.

Lots of mums go through gender disappointment, it’s a common condition.  We asked our community for help and insight into dealing with a scan that shows a different sex to what you hoped.  The one thing that was very obvious is, it’s not the end of the world and it’s a very common thing to go through while pregnant.

Community Question: I had my scan today and was so excited to find out the sex. I was loving the ultrasound till they said looks like a girl then I felt so depressed and disappointed because I already have a girl.  I believe I have “gender disappointment”.  I feel awful about feeling this way. this isn’t our last baby but still. Hubby is over the moon but I am just not feeling it.

  • I was the same with my 2nd baby, also another girl. Wasn’t until she was 3 months old before I accepted it. Looking back now, I feel silly and can’t get that missed bonding time back.  Kim
  • You will!!! As your bubba girl grows you will feel the love n joy.  Karen
  • It’s totally normal to feel a degree of gender disappointment. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just think- now you have a few months to get yourself used to the idea. Plus you’ve already got lots of pink stuff I bet so you don’t have to spend lots getting boy stuff!  Kara
  • It’s pretty normal to feel like that. I found out I was having a boy and I was gutted! Even though I didn’t care what I was having! I can’t explain why I was feeling like that but the feeling went after a couple of weeks. I’ve put it down to it just being such a definite thing that either way sometimes you automatically just get shocked. Xx  Maddie
  • You will get there. With my 3rd baby we didn’t find out I had a feeling I was having a girl and I hated the thought of that!! Thankfully we had a boy. Sometimes it’s beat to not find out because when you see the babes face you love it so much regardless if the sex!  Jenna
  • I think sometimes we all think that having one of each sex is the norm but it doesn’t always happen. I have 4 boys and although I would of loved a daughter it wasn’t meant to be. I wouldn’t change it for the world. You will hold that baby in your arms and it won’t matter that you have another girl.  Belinda
  • Nothing better in the world than a sister.  Chantelle
  • Aww you poor thing. I’ve got a boy and a girl but I know I would have felt the same if my second was the same sex as my first. Once you hold her in your arms though and see how different she is, you will love her just as much and not care I’m sure xx  Lisa
  • I have six boys.  SIX.  My hubby is one of seven boys and his dad was one of seven too.  So, while seeing our next “penis” on the scan was pretty disappointing, it wasn’t a big surprise.  Apparently my husband’s family can’t make girls.  Ala
  • You  will start to get excited as the pregnancy continues. I felt the same when I found out #2 was another boy. Go shopping, buy some cute new clothes… When that baby is born, you will love her unconditionally regardless.  Corrie-Anne
  • You’ll be giving your girl a little sis, best gift ever ! I’m due soon with my second girl and over the moon.  Yasmin
    My partner was like that when at the time we found out having a girl he had his heart set on have a boy I knew right from start it was gonna be girl mums instinct I guess but he eventually got over it and now my 15month old is the apple of his eye she is daddy’s girl.  Chantelle
  • I think you should just try to be happy and think, your little girl is going to have a sister to play with! I always wanted a sister but only have 1 brother who is 8 years younger. Be happy you can have babies no matter what sex :)) I’m sure once shes born you will feel it when u look into her innocent brand new eyes Xxxx  Laura
  • I had a friend who was very disappointed when she found out she was having a second girl , then eventually she started to get excited esp after setting up the baby room and buying new things. It’s probably the initial shock , but keep in mind they aren’t 100% I was told my entire pregnancy I was having a girl , over 10 ultrasounds , then I moved states and had a growth scan at 36 weeks only to find out it was indeed a boy.  Samantha
  • I always wanted a sister, I think most girls do you’ll be fine!!  Michelle
  • I have 2 boys and wouldn’t change either for a girl! They’ll be great friends.  Nicole
  • I was like that with my first! Don’t worry too much. Once i had my girl in my arms, i was in love hopefully the same thing happens to you!  Louisa
  • Aww you are allowed to feel this way because at the end of the day no matter wat sex bubba is you are still going to love it with all your heart. Cheer up Hun. Xoxox  Katie
  • You will love bubs when she is born. your allowed to feel a little disappointed it doesn’t make you a bad person. i agree with others.comments go.shopping and it’ll hopefully turn your mood around.  Brooke
  • I understand what you mean but once it sinks in, I think you will be fine with it. Just a bit of a shock because maybe you were hoping for a boy?  Kate
  • All girls want a sister.. brothers are annoying and boisterous. Lol you will feel better about it when she is born. I’m sure your older girl will be eternally grateful as well.  Joanie
  • I have always wanted a girl and couldn’t see myself with a boy…however, after years of trying to conceive and needing IVF all I wanted was a healthy baby. I found out at 16 weeks that I was having a boy and hubby and I laughed so hard as everyone assumed girl. I now can’t imagine my life without him and whilst I would love a girl in the future I would be more happy with 3 boys than no more children at all.  Danielle
  • When bubs is born you will love her. It’s another girl but still a different person, different face, different attitude.  Chantel
  • Just think how wonderful it will be for ur little girls to have a sister in each other!! U also get to re-use!! Which is SO cost effective lol. Once she is here in ur arms it will be completely different. Don’t beat urself up, it’s hormones.  Kirsty
  • I was the same when I went to the scan for bubs number six.. I was hoping for another girl as I already had two girls and three boys… I was crushed when they told me it was another boy… It took me forever to buy clothing and to pick a name… I finally got used to it because I went into premature labour at 27 wks… I was lucky to have it stopped…. When I held my baby boy at his birth two days before his due date, I melted… He was the image of his daddy and I couldn’t imagine life without him now… Especially as he is my last…Ngaire
  • I was the same, now I am a proud mother of two beautiful girls, and would not change it for the world, everything happens for a reason.  Erica
  • A child is a gift no matter if they’re a boy or girl! Once she’s born you’ll wonder why you have reacted this way… As you said it’s not your last baby, so you’ll get another chance for a boy. Good luck, wishing you all the best!  Cassy
  • I have absolutely been there and I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I wouldn’t change having 2 girls now for all the boys in the world! It will take time but just wait til you seem them interact and play together it will honestly make u melt! In the meantime find a unique name u love, (doesn’t have to be girly) and go shopping for cute blankets, outfits etc, it will help u to get more excited:) and don’t forget there’s always 3rd time lucky:) xx  Ashleigh
  • I had a boy first (sex unknown until delivery) which is what i wanted, 2nd baby was a girl (wanted a girl), 3rd baby was another girl (wanted a boy) and 4th baby was a boy. I can understand to a degree ur disappointment at not getting what u wanted but just think, ur daughter will have a little sister to play with and swap clothes with etc when they are older, a healthy baby is what every mother wishes for regardless of sex, u will live ur new baby girl just as much as ur first when she arrives and u never know, u might be blessed with a boy next time good luck!!  Nicole
  • I cried for a whole day when I found out I was having my 3rd girl! I was hoping for that little boy but once I got my head around it I became very excited!!
    It’s been 3yrs since I had my little girl, now I am pregnant with #4 and its a boy.
    You are allowed to feel this way, you will love her as much as you love your first. If you plan to have more keep hope it can dime day happen xx   Bianca
  • This happened with my second boy. I was devastated. Burst in to tears and said “but I already have one of them” the technician had no idea what to say so she replied “he’s healthy” I cried for a day and was very teary for the next few weeks, probably the verge of being depressed but if passed after a few weeks and then when he was in my arms I didn’t care, I loved him so much that I was glad he was a boy.. I then went on to have another boy 2 years later. As much as I wanted a girl it was obviously not meant to be! You will get over this feeling soon x  Crystal
  • I’m pregnant with a 2nd girl and so pleased just think all your favourite outfits can be reused and every girl wants a sister! Plus girls are easier babies (imo) You will be soon too just try and imagine how you’d be feeling now if the sonogropher said her kidneys or brain were extremely damaged beyond repair or something then you wouldn’t care about the sex xxx  Georgia
  • Just focus on how much you love the little girl you have. I have a little girl and am pregnant with number two, there was a time I thought I would hate having two little girls but looking at the one I have already I’d be stoked with another, she is perfection.  Stacey
  • I can understand. I am having my third and really wanted a girl after two boys. I would have loved a boy again but that feeling of just wanting a little girl was always there. I started crying at the scan before they even told me as I was so convinced it was another boy. I’m lucky that they have said I’m having a girl this time! Allow yourself to grieve for the gender you hoped for then you will love the little person who is growing inside you xx  Lindsay
  • Lol I cried for two days when the guy told me my 2nd was a boy he’s now nearly 3 months old and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Any healthy child is a blessing xxx  Krista
  • Be proud that ur haveing a healthy baby darl. it took my partner and i 7years till we had our boys.  Tish
  • I actually would not find what sex I was having in case it wasn’t what I was hoping for because I would stress about it during the pregnancy but knew if I waited and found out at birth I would love them instantly no matter what sex! Does that make sense!!  Helen
  • I remember when we found out the sex of our second child. We were convinced we were having another boy and when we were told it was s girl iooked over at my hubby who had a look of disappointment on his face. I was excited and so happy. Within a hour he was getting his head around it. I asked him the other day if he was happy we had a girl and he is. Think at first he was worried how he deal with a girl. Michelle
  • Lol I had my scan today as well and found out in having another boy to this will be the 3rd I burst into tears but when I got home I was fine as long as we don’t have any complication at birth like we did with the first to then I’m happy. Good luck with everything xo  Alisha
  •  2 girls is great…. I have a sister and i would not change it. If you think 2 hard the next may be another girl life is funny like that… don’t worry and let things fall into place.  Rachael
  • Please just be happy that she is healthy.. I too was a bit disappointed to find out I was having another girl I am due in April.. and then I found out she has a heart condition and she will have to 3 or 4 open heart surgeries before the age of 4 years old.. and I now feel so greedy and horrible about being disappointed about her sex. I now I will do anything possible to make sure she gets though it and comes home to her older sister.. I am not trying to get sympathy or to be nasty, just trying to say you are so very lucky to have 2 healthy children… Don’t spoil the time your pregnant thinking you wanted a boy… Best of luck to you..  Mel
  • Yup, just like me especially because I had myself convinced that I was expecting a boy.
    But now that I see my two girls interact together I couldn’t picture it any other way :))))
    It’s jus so beautiful.  Simone
  • I think when you hold your baby for the first time you will forget wot you felt & fall inlove with that precious angel.  Samantha
  • I was glad I found out the sex early because I got over that disappointment well and truly before she was born.  I’d rather deal wit that disappointment at 20 weeks and then be used to it by the time bub arrived and feel that disappointment when she’s there in your arms.  I look back to being disappointed and feel silly about  how I felt about a second girl.  Simone
  • I know exactly how you are feeling. I have three boys each time thinking maybe this one will be my girl. I’m now pregnant with my fourth and I think it’s another boy. I know it affects me more than it should. And I find myself struggling to be happy for anyone that gets a girl. You love them all the same in the end though and that’s all that really matters.  Sonia
  • Don’t worry I’m freaking out that I will have another boy abd desperately want a girl, freaking out I’m gonna get down. Unfortunately I wanted to know but the sonographer wasn’t really interested in looking. I was hoping that if it was a boy I’d get time to get use to it. Obviously it’s normal to feel this way. But at the end if the day we just have ti be,thankful fir what we get as long as they are healthy. And girls love sisters. Im sure when u hold her you’ll think what was all that about. Go buy something nice fir ur new baby, might get u excited.  Alison
  • I didnt find out with my two. Granted I had a girl and then a boy..it was really weird as id imagined id have all girls for some reason. But when my little man came along I didn’t care…took a few days to wrap my head around it but I never felt upset…a baby is a baby and thats why I don’t find out because I don’t want to base my happiness on a boy or girl…I base my happiness of being blessed with another healthy baby. So just look at it that you are having another healthy beautiful baby.  Jess
  • Oh hun, you’ll be fine, I started with a step daughter, then #1 a GIRL #2 couldn’t tell born we got a GIRL #3 a GIRL (i was devo’d for a mth) #4 a GIRL (i thought of course what else would we get) now #5 I found out at my scan last wk ……. a GIRL I cried and cried thinking my partner was gonna b pissed and my girls were asking for a brother, but they were all cool with it and bub is happy n healthy, so I’ve now accepted it and am loving the names we have choosen to call her.
    Good luck darl, it does get easier. Xo  Mellisa
  • I had the same problem a few weeks ago. I have a son and found out baby number 2 is another boy, I was so upset I started crying during the ultrasound and cried for three days straight. Of course you’ll still love them but the disappointment of knowing you’ll never get that little girl is awful, I kept thinking of all the things I’d miss out on. It took me about a week before I could tell anyone because I didn’t want everyone judging me on not just being happy that he was happy. I am now happy to say that I’m actually really happy with it, I happy my son will have a little brother but I don’t think I’ll ever lose the desire for a girl but this will be our last so I’ll just have to wait for granddaughters to spoil!! I hope you get the little boy you want one day and don’t let people put you down, people are so judgemental!!!  Brooke
  • I’m from a family of three girls… There was a lot of very real disappointment from grandparents etc that there was no boy that really affected us girls… I say “please be happy, no matter what the sex of your child”… We have a little girl but our chances of giving her a sibling slipping away due to my health.. I see where u’re coming from but don’t let your thoughts get clouded by other things and cherish the thought of your baby to be being a little sis for your daughter.  Gretchen
  • Don’t worry about gender disappointment, you’re not alone and it’s not uncommon at all. You will feel different when you hold her in your arms.  Michelle
  • You will love her and you can try again as you said. Now I am happy to have one and even though I wanted a little brother for my ds he wouldn’t change having a sister to call his and to protect from the world for anything. He is rather possessive of her around strangers. plus hubby really wanted his little girl and I was happy it was healthy at birth and out! Really didn’t matter what gender in the end as long as I got the name I wanted lol.  Laura
  • I asked the ultra sound person if they were sire I was having a boy, and if I could change it to a girl lol I was so upset but like others it works out.  Kylie
  • I was so scared going into my 20 week scan for this exact reason, but I was very lucky and I now have a beautiful boy and girl. I completely understand as we all want to experience have both genders. But all babies are different this one will be completely different to your first and will mean the world to you just like your other child. It’s ok hormones make you nuts when you’re pregnant, when you hold this little one you’ll fall in love all over again, and hey if you really want a boy you can try again next time.  Amanda
  • With our 2nd and last bub I only found out what she was as if she had been another boy knew I would have felt like u r at the moment and knew/wanted the time to get my head around it so that the poor bub never felt my disappointment in time it will pass and it is completely normal for u to feel this way good luck.  Toni
  • I have 3 girls and I wouldn’t change a thing, just think they are the ones that will help more around the house for you!! but just be happy that the baby is healthy that’s really what we should be worried about!  Samantha
  • I had 3 healthy boys then sadly lost a little one at 19.5 weeks boy also next pregnancy when bubs was born healthy I automatically said oh he’s so beautiful the nurse laughed and said you better take a better look I cried finally had my girl ( now have 3 of them ) but needless to say any healthy child is a blessing and if you are going to have more maybe you will get a boy what will be will be ….Josie
  • My first was a girl which I thought was a boy & my 2nd is a girl & I was adamant she was a boy too I was a little disappointed when I found out at scan she was a girl coz as everyone does I wanted 1 of each but I got ova that real quick as long as their healthy that’s all that matters & I started thinking about all the cool mother daughter things we could & hiw my girls will b best friends like me & my sisters when there older, my girls are 2.5 & 8 months & I wouldn’t change them got the world!! Now I’m even thinking how cool would it be to have 3 girls lol!!  Ky
  • You’ve got time to get your head around it. Get out all your first daughter’s baby clothes to look through or buy something new for your new little girl. Focus on how lucky your daughter is to be getting a sister.  Joelene
  • Give it time and you will love the idea and your baby! It happens hun don’t beat yourself up about it x  Bri
  • This is a very hard subject to comment on because you don’t want to upset anyone but I lost my very much loved and wanted daughter at birth 39.5 weeks grief stricken and empty arms we decided to try for another child, we never found out the gender of our first children but not knowing how I would feel boy or girl we decided to (to give us time for it to sink in) I had no idea if I wanted a boy or a girl but when our doctor told us your having a very healthy boy who’s heart is beating strong tears flowed not because he was a boy but because he was alive and healthy, our arms are full of love our heart of pride, that is the most important thing that you go home with full arms, and you never know next time you may just have a boy if your definitely going to have more.  Kim
  • I’m due in 8 weeks with my second girl and I couldn’t be more happy my girls are going to be best friends. Yes I want a boy but if I don’t end up with one at least I will have my girls.  Stacie
  • I am 29 weeks pregnant with our 3rd (And probably final baby). Leading up to our gender scan I started to really fret about how I might react if we found out we were expecting another boy. With it quite possibly being our last, of course I really wanted a girl. I even wrote in here for advice to see how real and common “gender disappointment” was. I wanted to prepare myself, just in case. I didn’t want people to think I was “ungrateful” or that the baby was “unwanted” because that simply wasn’t true. As much as I tried to prepare myself, at 16 weeks we were told “Well I wouldn’t go shopping, but it looks just like the two you have sitting right there” (Referring to our two boys who attended the scan). All I could say to my partner on the way home was “well, that’s it – boys never turn out to be girls”. I struggled to get my partner to understand that I wasn’t upset because it was a boy. I was upset because we didn’t see ourselves having anymore children and I therefore felt I was practically mourning the daughter I would never have! But by 19 weeks – when it was 100% confirmed, I was actually starting to worry that maybe it would be a girl! I had convinced myself of all the great things there was about having another boy and was quite looking forward to it! (He was, and still is a boy). My suggestions to you are, don’t feel bad for feeling upset. It is a lot more common than you think, and is a very taboo topic as people don’t want to offend those that cannot have children or have children with complications or have lost children. Everyone will tell you just to be glad that its healthy, which is one thing for them to tell you, but much harder to do. Focus on all the positives about having two of the same gender. My first two boys are the best of friends. (The youngest is not yet one and the oldest is 3.5). Your feelings will change with time. You haven’t said you definitely wont have more, so this is not the end of the road so to speak. Just let yourself feel what you feel, and don’t beat yourself up about it and before you know it it will have passed.  Jennifer
  • I have 2 girls! Everyone thought I was having a boy and I ended up finding out half way through my pregnancy and it was another girl! When Indi come into the world I had tears flowing and could not have been happier to see my precious baby girl! I have a friend who has 2 angel babies and it makes me feel so blessed to have healthy children no matter what sex! I am loving having 2 beautiful girls and the bond they already share makes my heart melt! My eldest daughter is always telling her baby sister she just loves her to much its just precious.  Julie
  • I have 4 boys. I wanted 2 children a boy and a girl. After the ultrasound I was so disappointed but by the time he was born that all disappeared. So I thought we would try just 1 more time so we would have our car load lol and found out we were having another boy. Gender disappointment kicked in. Again I cried but once I had him in my arms I feel in love. So I resided myself to being a soccer mum. Then we found out we were having another bub so I was really hoping for a girl. But nope another boy. When we found out we were having yet another baby I didn’t get my hopes up I was expecting them to say its a boy. But they said it looks like a girl. I’m 35 weeks pregnant and I’m still not convinced I’m having a girl yet. I’ll wait till its born to be convinced. I haven’t bought many clothes just in case lol…. You will love your baby no matter what. I love all my boys so much and I wouldn’t change having any of them.  Juanita
  • I had my heart set on my first baby being a girl. I burst into tears as soon as the sonographer announced my growing bump was a boy. It took a good few weeks to accept the fact I wasn’t having the little girl I dreamed of. Thinking about it now it seems so silly; at the time it felt like my world caved in! Wise words from my hubby were “We’re having a healthy baby, get over it!”. That’s the truth. I’m thankful I have a gorgeous little man thats happy and healthy and I wouldn’t change a thing about him.  Natalie
  • I’m sure the poster is grateful she can fall pregnant. She came for advice not a guilt trip. Sometimes we start bonding with our bump and think it’s a certain sex to be then told it’s the opposite so it’s a little bit of a shock. It can be normal to feel down about it but once you have your little one you will look back and realise how silly it was to feel sad. Maybe try going shopping for your little girls first outfit try and get into the exciting bits.  Sarah
  • I have 2 girls, 3 1/2 and nearly 2. Honestly once you see the bond your girls have and how they look after each other and play together you will not be able to imagine it any other way….it’s a beautiful thing!!!! I’m pregnant with our third, so in 3 weeks times my girls are going to have a little brother & I can’t be happier I got my 2 girls first though. Trust me you’ll be fine. Leah
  • My eldest I knew she would be a girl (wanted a girl) my middle daughter I knew would be a girl but wanted a little boy. So, yes I experienced gender disappointment but I finally got my lil prince (I didn’t believe I would get him) good luck hun you will learn to love your bub & you might just get your wish. Kimberly

Have you suffered gender disappointment?  Did the Shettles Method fix the problem on subsequent pregnancies.  Help your fellow Aussie mums out, leave your comment below.

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