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When your baby’s gender is not what you were expecting

Whether it’s our first baby or our fourth, we long for a healthy and happy baby to welcome into our families.

And although we know that bub’s health and wellbeing is paramount, for some of us, our expectations extend a little further.

In fact, for many women (and men), there is a deep-down longing for a particular gender.

This could be for a variety of reasons. It could be a desire to raise a baby who is the same gender as yourself.

Or maybe you already have three girls and long to raise a boy.

Whatever the reason, it can be an overwhelming feeling, and something that’s difficult to control.

The result of such a strong preference can be immense disappointment when the gender of the baby is found out, and doesn’t match up to expectations or hopes.

How to cope when the gender of your baby is not what you were expecting

Psychologist Dr Karen Phillip says when speaking with couples who have experienced a strong preference for a particular gender, or have discovered that the baby they are growing is not their preferred sex, she ask then three key questions:

  1. Are you interested in having a healthy baby?
  2. Do you want a settled and happy baby?
  3. Will you love your baby regardless of the gender?

“Once we have established a few yes questions we continue,” she says.

She then paints a picture of their preferred ‘boy’ baby differently to the description of what they have in their mind.

For example, a couple may paint a picture of wanting a boy to protect siblings, play football, go fishing or surf.

“Then I have them visualise this perfect little boy who is perhaps soft, quiet, loves to dance and as he develops displays gay tendencies.

“How do they feel now their imagined son is not what they pictured?”

The same concept can be applied to daughters, with many mums longing for a girl who is well-mannered, into hair and makeup, or princesses.

“Then imagine a rough and tumble girl who loves sports, building things or is gay?”

Especially these days, gender really has no bearing on the type of person a child will grow up to be, as children develop into their own free individual.

They have their own preferences, likes, dislikes, sexuality and personality.

“While there remains a stereotype, this is dwindling, and parents are starting to recognise their baby is their child rather than a boy or girl.

“Girls can play rugby, decide not to have kids, while boys can enjoy dance or ballet, even hate sport.”

Dr Phillip suggest parents take a moment to look at the gift they have been granted, given so many struggle to even fall pregnant.

Concentrate on developing a healthy, happy, well-adjusted little person where you model the best behaviour you can possibly manage to make their life balanced and strong.

A baby’s sex does not determine their gender role, personality or preferences in life.

While we may think we would prefer a girl or boy, it is the joy of connecting with, loving and educating your child that really matters.

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