Experiencing Gender Disappointment


When I found out that I was pregnant for the very first time, I hoped that I would have a girl. It sounded like SO much fun to dress up a little girl, do her hair, and go shopping with her. I knew that if I had a son, it would be meant to be, but the idea of changing boy diapers and stepping on Legos was totally unappealing. I was a little bit afraid of the unknown, especially starting my parenting journey as a single mom.

My wish came true at my anatomy scan. I got an “It’s a girl!” from the ultrasound tech. I was super pumped about it and immediately went out and bought a ton of Hello Kitty paraphernalia for the baby. I had a couple moments of doubt where I wasn’t 100% sure I was having a girl, but 20 weeks later, Miss Zoelie Joy was born.

When I got pregnant again, Colin wanted a boy. I wanted a boy too – because more than anything I wanted Colin to be happy. We even painted the baby’s room two shades of a pretty blue right after we got our BFP for good juju or something. However, secretly the idea of having a set of sisters was SO wonderful to me. I have five and despite the ups and downs of sisterhood, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Sisters are a wonderful thing and I wanted Zoelie to have that.

We knew the baby would be called Allister regardless of gender. At our 16wk ultrasound, we found out it was another girl. I could see disappointment in my husband’s eyes and my stomach was stuck in my throat. It took a minute for us to get used to the idea of girl number two, but Zoelie was definitely excited that she was getting a little sister. After the initial shock, secretly I was thrilled. Besides the sister thing, we also didn’t have to go out any buy a ton of baby stuff since we already had most of what we needed.

When we got a positive test for baby 3, Colin and I were both certain we were finally going to have a son. Colin wanted a boy to play catch and go fishing with. I wanted a little boy who was a miniature version of my husband.

We couldn’t even come up with a girl’s name at all until just a couple weeks ago, but we found a ton of boys’ names we liked. A really BIG reason that having a boy has been so important to us is that if I don’t give my hubby a son, our last name ends. We are the last with the ability in his family to carry on the name. (Also before you tell me to try for a fourth & do the Shettles method—no, go away. This oven has retired.)

My morning sickness was different,  I felt like I was carrying different, and all the old wives tales pointed to a boy. I filled my pinterest baby board with ideas for a vintage baseball nursery and photo shoots of newborns in giant baseball gloves.  Out of nowhere hubby decided that he wanted to name our son Rocket. I wasn’t totally into it, but it was so attractive how excited he was, and after a while I agreed.

At 17 weeks we scheduled our ultrasound and went in with a plan to have the tech write down gender on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope for opening with our family around thanksgiving time. The tech told us she didn’t do a lot of prenatal scans. She was fast, and we saw baby for a few minutes, but never actually saw the money shot since we didn’t want to find out at the appointment. Baby’s heart rate was in the 120’s, which was significantly lower than both of our girls ever were. I was convinced at that moment that yes- it was a boy. Afterwards she gave Colin the envelope with a 90% sure statement behind it.

We lasted the whole rest of the day, and then sitting on the couch late that night we decided to open it. What if it was a girl? I didn’t want anyone to see the potential disappointment on my face. Colin opened the envelope and you all know what it said.


I was shocked into silence for a moment. And then the tears came. I went to bed that night just sobbing. It wasn’t the last time I cried about it either.

This brings me to the point of this whole story.

First, I understand how awful it sounds to be upset that a child is not the gender desired. So many people just want a healthy baby and would be ecstatic to have a child at all. I don’t mean to be insensitive to that by any means. I know I am so fortunate to have two healthy children, soon to be three of them. Second, keep in mind that I am human. Disappointment is natural and something that is normal to experience. Please don’t try to make me feel guilty about a feeling I have no control over.

This is my moment of gender disappointment honesty. Seeing the word girl on that little piece of paper instantly tore me apart. It was not because I didn’t want a girl. I was broken hearted because finding out that baby 3 was a girl meant mourning the loss of the son I will never have. I will never be a mother to a little boy. He will never skin his knee riding his bike down our driveway. He will never play fetch with our dogs in the backyard. He will never pester his big sisters, catch his first fish or talk to me about the girl he has a crush on at school. I will never get to sit in the front row on the right side at his wedding.

And from the moment that I found out, I felt like I completely let my husband down. I failed him yet again.  I still feel that way.


Just know that being sad about gender doesn’t mean I am unhappy to be a mom to three little girls. I am beyond thrilled, and SO super happy. I can’t wait to meet baby 3 in a few weeks. I love her so much already and I am so thankful that I get to be her mommy. Life with three girls is going to be a challenge – but I’m up for it.

Side Note:
This cute little organic onesie just came in the mail! It is the first article of clothing baby 3 will wear after birth:homegrown

It’s gender neutral. I didn’t buy one single thing for baby 3 that was targeted only to a female infant. In my heart, having Rocket is still a possibility. As long as I’m still pregnant, there is still a 10% chance for a surprise!

Have any of you experienced gender disappointment? Did you feel like you had to hide your feelings? Have any of you been told you were having one gender but were surprised at birth with another? I would love to hear your experiences!










  1. Joy -  March 19, 2013 - 11:53 am

    Yes, but the other way around, had a girl, wanted another girl, got a boy. 3rd was a boy too. I also cried too! Feelings are just that feelings, they are not good or bad. It is your actions that count. I still want another girl, so we are going to keep tring.

  2. Shavon -  March 19, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    I had such a hard time with the gender of my baby. I decided I didn’t want to find out before our baby was born. I wanted a healthy baby but I REALLY wanted a healthy girl. I have a 9 yr dd and a 6 yr ds. I remarried and my husband also has a 9 yr dd. My hubs took my son in close and has been amazing with him since day one. I was afraid if I had a boy it would take away from that, that somehow Rebel would get the shaft so to speak. While I was pregnant my DH’s family only solidified my fears by constantly talking about “how he needed a boy” and ” she already had a niece” and ” since I already had one of each why should I care”…every comment hurt my feelings for my son (and if he’d ever been in the room when it was said I would have probably not been able to be as kind) and inside I then wanted a girl because I didn’t want them to have their way (sounds selfish I know )BUT on the day was born none of it mattered my boy was in my as and I was so happy and he is so amazing and being the great man I married (of course) my DH will always hold my/our first son close. I still want a girl and am nervous to try again but I know just like you said I will love whatever I am blessed with but there is still the disappointment.

    And dont feel too bad…my sister ran into a pole in a parking garage backing out because she was so upset her first was a girl!

  3. Laney -  March 19, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    Joy & Shavon, thank you! Gender disappointment is a bummer. I know it will all melt away once I hold her! Shavon, that is hilarious! Hopefully she was okay!

  4. Christina -  March 19, 2013 - 2:44 pm

    I had gender disappointment with my first child we wanted a girl so badly and when we found out boy I was almost inconsolable. And part of it was that I felt so guilty for not being happy that he was healthy. We just found out we are pregnant again, my little guy is only 7 months, and I don’t know what I want or if I even want to pick what I want. But once he came I was so in love with him I couldn’t imagine my life being different. But I get a twinge of sadness and anger when people say “she” is so pretty. But it will be fine when baby comes. Congrats on your growing family. And don’t let anyone make you feel bad its natural and it passes you won’t love them any less its just an adjustment. Ok I’m done now.

  5. Devyn -  March 19, 2013 - 2:51 pm

    When we found out our first was a boy, I was heartbroken. I too had the dream of a pretty little princess in dresses and bows. Hubby however was thrilled, and I quickly grew excited as well. And once we had him, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. When we got pregnant with our second, our main purpose was to have that princess (silly, I know), we promised that either way, 2 was all we would ever want. Of course number 2 was also a boy. The tears came, I was so sad knowing I would never have that baby girl. But my boys are the most amazing thing to ever happen to me, and again I cant imagine it any other way. I still get upset knowing I will never dress up my little girl, get pedicures with her, go on shopping trips….but thats of course a choice ive made. Its good to know im not the only one who has gone through this. Its a totally normal feeling, and something you soon get past. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. Ashley McLaughlin -  March 19, 2013 - 4:23 pm

    I have two boys and then finally got my girl. We didn’t find out with her and I was so scared to be disappointed when the baby was born but I got my girl. This go round we decided to do the gender reveal party thing. I swore up and down it was another girl and I desperately wanted one. When my kids opened up the box and out come blue balloons I screamed NOOOOO 🙁 which was of course on video and I still hear about it. The initial disappointment has warn off but I still secretly wish for that girl.. He will be so loved regardless so I understand what you mean:)

  7. Shelley Payton -  March 19, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    When I was pregnant with my first, I wanted a boy. I (like a lot of people seem to) wanted a boy first and then a girl, so she could have a big brother to protect her. I was disappointed when the ultrasound said girl, but it didn’t last very long, I loved her regardless. I felt guilty for wishing she had been a boy. My second was a boy and I was super excited! Like with you, it also fell to me to carry on my husband’s family name, and it seemed REALLY important to my husband’s grandpa. He was so excited about my pregnancy after he found out it was a boy, always asking me how I was feeling and “Are you taking care of my little namesake?” I didn’t want to find out with my 3rd if it was a boy or a girl, but I was hoping for another boy. I’ve always felt super attached to my son but my relationship with my daughter is difficult, probably because we’re so much alike. I was worried about having another girl and not being able to bond with her very well. When Addison was finally born and the doctor told me it was a girl it turns out I didn’t even care. I loved her intensely from the first moments and I haven’t had a second of sadness since then. I think as soon as she is born your sadness will disappear. 🙂

  8. Erin -  March 19, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    Aww this hit home for me….I have 2 little girls and we want to have another but for some reason I’m sure it will be a girl!!!!! Not that that’s. Bad thing (like you said) but I come from 2 girls and a younger brother and I would love that for my family…who knows. My husband swears he doesn’t care but I know he does. BUT, a friend of mine has a 2 yr old boy and just had TWIN baby boys and is feeling the opposite-she would kill for a girl!! And makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world!! So enjoy those girly girls and good luck with #3, remember girls can do anything boys can 😉

  9. Sandi -  March 19, 2013 - 9:43 pm

    Laney, I had 5 ultra sounds in Japan and was told I would have a 7.5 lb girl the middle of July…on August 1 my 10lb baby BOY, Dane arrived!!! And I too grieved. Not because I had a boy, I was in love. But I grieved the loss of the daughter I thought I was carrying and all of the dreams I had about the relationship we would have. I love your honesty! Love you all! Sandi

  10. Hubby -  March 20, 2013 - 1:10 am

    Aw babe that post made me smile. I love you. I love our girls and I can’t wait to meet baby 3, girl or boy. Dont ever think that you ‘let me down’ by not ‘giving me boy’, because apparently that’s my responsibility, haha but give me 5 girls, and Ill love my girlies more than words past the day I die, you included. Just for a little bit of reassurance 😉 lil Rocket does sound great though 🙂 MUAH!!!

    • Shelley Payton -  March 20, 2013 - 6:19 pm

      Awwwww what a guy you are Colin! 🙂

  11. Christine Thompson -  March 20, 2013 - 10:06 am

    Technically, it is actually “sex disappointment”, but I guess titling a post with “experiencing sex disappointment” would make people think the post was about something COMPLETELY different 😉

  12. Amy Kenerson -  March 20, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    Laney, your article brought me to tears as you described all the things you’ll never experience with a son .. The relationship between a mother and son is indeed precious .. One day far into the future I’m sure one of your beautiful daughters will bless you with a GRAND son .. Best Wishes for your upcoming new baby ..

  13. Megan halstead -  April 1, 2013 - 2:23 pm

    Damn u laney for making me cry again!!! That is my greatest fear when we get pregnant with our third. I think that is the reason I’m not super into ttc. I am excited and track my cycles but not like previous times. I don’t want that disappointment

  14. Mónica -  April 1, 2013 - 3:30 pm

    I have. I’m a first time mom-and just like you the idea of having a little girl was amazing to me. But when we went to get our gender ultrasound and the tech said 100% boy- I was shocked, disappointed and sad! But then as we walked out of the doctors office – it started to sink in and then I was thrilled to have a little boy . Now 2 years later I can’t imagine what it would be if I had a girl. I love my boy so so so much. I felt guilty too when I was disappointed – glad to know I’m not the only one.

  15. Sad -  April 17, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    I have 4 girls, when we found out the sex of our third I broke down to tears in the ultrasound room. When we found out we were having a baby 4 years later after #3, we thought for sure this is the boy. We decided not to find out, and had another girl. I have been completely happy about my daughters, until now, since we found out my husbands brother who has 3 girls is now expecting their 4th and it’s a boy! I am so heartbroken at the fact that I will not have a son, it does feel like someone I love has passed away. I am so upset with the universe for forever putting this reminder in front of me that I can’t have a boy :..(. And now I have this huge wave of gender disappointment that I didn’t know I would feel, especially since my baby was born over 6 months ago and I have been happy about having four girls.

  16. Stephanie -  October 18, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    I am in the same position as you. I am pregnant with my third daughter. I was disappointed when I found out that #2 was a girl. I cried for a week. I knew we would most likely try again so I thought maybe next time. Well this is the pregnancy. We went to our anatomy scan amd the lady asked right away if we wanted to know. Yes! With in a minute or two we had our answer “girl”. I shed a few tears throughout the scan. I tried so hard now to let the tears flow. I didn’t want her to see how disappointed I was laying there crying because I had a perfect baby and I was sad to hear girl. I know how lucky I am but still I was crushed. As soon as she walked out I cried my eyes out. My husband told me he loved me. I said I can’t believe God didn’t answer my prayers.
    A month later I am still crying about it. I know how crazy it sounds but it really feels like I am mourning the loss of my son. An unanswered prayer. Heartbreaking. I know I will love this daughter as much as I do the other two. I pictured it all being different. There will be no more babies from this mommy. (I only share this because I know no one knows who I am. The only person who knows my disappointment is my husband.)

  17. Amanda -  November 14, 2013 - 3:07 pm

    Just had my 20 week ultrasound yesterday and found out I am having a girl. Not what I wanted or was hoping for. Shed a few tears in the room and my husband had to leave right after but when the doctor came in to see me I broke down. I know the baby is healthy and I know that I will love her to death but I wanted that boy. I wanted to be a hockey mom. There is always next time and if that doesnt work, my husband agreed to a third but it hurts right now. Good to know I am not alone. I just need to get over it, re-establish what it means to be a mom to a girl and wait for the big day

  18. Shelby -  December 11, 2013 - 9:43 am

    I am experiencing, I think, severe gender disappointment. We’ve struggled with fertility issues for three years, and finally got pregnant after we came to terms that it may not happen. So naturally, we were ecstatic. We had everything (nursery done, stroller, ect.) by 16 weeks. At the 20 week ultrasound, I think I saw those boy bits before the tech did. I didn’t even know what to say. I have cried for two weeks straight. It’s not about dresses and bows, it’s about, with the exception of my husband and my dog, I do not like men. My father was abusive, my half brother hated me from the start, boyfriends have abused me and my uncles who I always looked to as some kind of male influence, weren’t my father, and never paid attention. The only one who did was killed five years ago by a drunk driver. It took me a LONG time to accept my husband wasn’t going to hurt me. I still have nightmares about him leaving. In no way have I ever wanted a male child. And my husband has three sisters, so I thought no worries. Now, I’m heartbroken. I’ve tried to convince myself of every positive, but its not working. I just hurt all the time. I feel like I have lost a child. I still want this boy, but I feel like he will never be mine. I feel no connection to him at all. The worst part is I’d be willing to try again, but I’m older and it took so long before. And, if I end up with another boy, I will crash. I can’t decide if we should try again or adopt a girl. I’m still pregnant with this child and all I can think about is another. I am actually disgusted by my self, but try as I hard as might, I hurt all day and night. I don’t know what to do. How could someone who detests men so much even create a boy? People keep saying he will help me change my feelings about men. But that’s not his job. I’m supposed to be all I can for him. He doesn’t owe me anything at this point. I’m so confused and hurt and hormonal, I feel out of control. What do I do? My husband is amazing, thank God, but it must hurt him when I sob about our baby. What do I do? 🙁

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