Disappointed about having a boy

I Wanted a Girl, But I’m Having a Boy. Here’s How I Got Over It

Growing up, Laura always figured she’d be a mother to both girls and boys. So much so, that it never even occurred to her that she could end up with either all sons or all daughters.

Having grown up in small, tight-knit families, Laura and her husband knew they wanted four kids. They started off with twin boys, so, naturally, hoped their third would be a girl. However, number three also turned out to be a boy.

More: The Top Baby Names You’ll Probably Regret in 10 Years

“When he arrived, it was at that juncture we were really hoping the final child would be a girl to balance all that testosterone and because we both wanted a daughter just to have the experience of that,” Laura said.

Laura and her husband hadn’t given up hope. The last child, they figured, would definitely be a girl. But contrary to their expectations, their fourth born, too, was a boy.

“When I knew that our fourth and final child was a boy, I felt crushed, but I want to be crystal clear that this had nothing to do with not wanting my son. I love having sons, it was just knowing we’d never have a daughter that was painful,” Laura said.

Most people have certain expectations of parenthood

Like Laura, many people have a certain idea of what parenthood will look like. Perhaps they always assumed they’d have all boys or one boy and one girl. Maybe they hoped for twins or always dreamed of raising sisters.

However, as it is with most things in life, what you plan for is not always what you get.

Mayrides, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, works with a lot of pregnant women and new parents who carry regrets about not having a child of the opposite sex.

Now that you know the gender of your baby, it’s time to chose a name, here is some inspiration

“Often people find that they had been fantasizing about being a parent to a girl, or being a parent to a boy,” Mayrides said, “and because our culture operates on a lot of gender stereotypes as short cuts, it can feel destabilizing and difficult to change your mindset when you now have to incorporate this other factor that, perhaps subconsciously, you were giving so much weight.”

Gender disappointment is completely normal

If you always dreamed of having a little girl, but are having a boy, it’s natural to feel disappointed. You can’t always control your feelings and emotions, especially when you’re pregnant. Do not get down on yourself. You are not a bad person.

Even celebrities are guilty of gender disappointment.

“I would really like to have another baby, a girl,” boy-mom Britney Spears told InStyle in 2013. “I think she would be like a mini-me. I think it’s going to be crazy. I’m not going to feel as alone in the world anymore. I’m going to feel like I have a second person, like, that’s me.”

“I thought it was going to be a girl,” Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi told InTouch during her first pregnancy. “I was hoping it would be, because all girls want girls.” She is now the mother of both a boy and a girl.


“I found out I was having a boy, and I cried for a week. Or two. Maybe even three,” Rachel Zoe admitted on an infamous episode of her reality show.

See, you’re totally normal for having these feelings!

More: Gender Differences

Focus on why you wanted either a girl or a boy

Most people have a specific reason for wanting either a boy or a girl.

Perhaps you’re concerned about having a boy if you only had sisters growing up. Or maybe having a girl meant having the same difficult mother-daughter dynamic you had growing up.

According to Mayrides, new parents should focus on why, exactly, they were so keen on raising a son or a daughter and identify the specific behaviors they were concerned about.

Oftentimes, people can get caught up in the idea of what it’s like to have a boy or a girl and feel disappointed that they can’t do certain things with their child if they aren’t a specific gender.

Take a look at the gender stereotypes you may be applying and try to break them down.

For example, just because you’re having a boy, doesn’t mean you can’t teach him how to dance or cook. Similarly, you can still pass on your love for football if you’re expecting a girl.

How to cope with gender disappointment

How a person communicates and behaves has much more to do with their personality and how they are socialized in their family rather than with their gender, according to Mayrides.

“So considering what kind of relationship you want to have with your child at a young age and start engaging in behaviors with them very early on that speak to the kind of relationship you want to have – be it talkative, respectful, warm, etc.,” Mayrides said.

“That way,” she continued, “you can help develop the kind of relationship you’d like to have with your child, regardless of if they are male or female.”

Nowadays, Laura couldn’t be more grateful for her sons. Sure, a small piece of her may always want to know what it would have been like to raise a daughter, but the mother-son bond has proven to be nothing short of wonderful.

“I assumed they’d be all about dad, but, no, they share a lot with me,” Laura said. “They like to sit, chat, and hang out. We’re extremely close, and that makes me feel good.”

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I cried when I found out. I held it together long enough to make it outside. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been the first pregnant lady to cry at her doctor’s office, but I didn’t want anyone to see me. They would know why I was crying, and I felt bad enough. I was only three months pregnant, and already I was a horrible mother.

I looked down at my showing belly in confusion. This was not supposed to be the way it happened. I was supposed to be joyous and glowing, not crying in the middle of the street. My husband just looked at me, and I knew my tears were making it worse. Looking at him I mumbled, “I’m sorry. It’s just he was supposed to be a girl.”

Before we started trying to get pregnant, we talked about the little girl we would have. My husband and I just knew we would have a girl. There was something inside us both that inspired us to believe that. So much so that we had a little girl’s name all picked out before I had my ovulation calendar all filled out.

When the nurse said, “It’s a boy!” my husband and I stared blankly at one another. He looked at the nurse and said, “Are you sure you read that right?” Our nurse laughed and said a definitive, “Yes.” We were gobsmacked.

I knew I wasn’t the only woman on the planet to be shocked at finding out the sex of an unborn child. One of my best friends had told me she had had the same experience. She wanted a girl, but became pregnant with a boy. When I called to confide in her that I was disappointed I was pregnant with a boy, (and then felt horribly guilty about being disappointed) she told me, “Once my son was born, I didn’t care. You will just love him. You won’t care.” I hung up the phone hoping she was right. She was.

As my pregnant belly grew, I became more used to the idea of having a boy. Once he was born any feeling of wanting a girl went right out the window (along with my modesty — breast feeding takes that from a woman instantly, I discovered.)

Now that my son is 2 years old, I can’t imagine it being any other way. I love having a little boy! I love little boy shirts and little boy shorts! I love little boy coats, and little boy shoes! I love my little boy! Maybe my friend was right in that once I had my baby, I wouldn’t care. He was mine and his sex wouldn’t matter. But now that I’m the mother to a little a boy, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have a little girl.

Boys are awesome! I admit that in my pre-mom state I judged little boys harshly. I always thought them to be too hyper or too insensitive, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My son is sweet, and funny, and keenly aware of everything — all traits I thought only a little girl would have.

He is loving and full of joy, and I’m loving every minute of being his mom. (Except for the minutes I’d like to be in the bathroom alone and not hear, “Mama poopin’ in there?” shouted from the other side of the door.) I am in love with my son. My wish to have a little girl has been flushed down the toilet along with that tiny dinosaur he was playing with the other day. I’m the proud mama of a little boy.

If I were to have another baby, things would be different. I’d be so over the moon happy to have another boy — something I never thought I would feel in a million years. I’m learning what it takes to be the mother of a baby boy growing slowly (not slowly enough in my opinion) into a kid, and then into a young man.

So, if that second baby came along, and he was a girl, what would I do? Would I cry tears of disappointment and wonder what to do with all those leftover blue shirts? Well, I’m a wiser woman now. As a mom, I have a deeper understanding of all life and of myself. Armed with the knowledge of why we moms wear pants with elastic waistbands and no bras, I also know now that once a little girl was placed into my arms any wanting of another little boy would fly out the window all over again.

I know now that I love having a little boy, but what’s even better that that is that he’s my little boy. I know I’d love any other baby of mine that came along because she would be my little baby, too — as long as she’s another boy.

Tonilyn Hornung Tonilyn has always preferred writing in her room to playing kick-ball outside; her humorous self-help book How to Raise a Husband was published for happy wives, husbands, and coffee tables everywhere.

How to Deal with Gender Disappointment

Phil Jones/

Right around your 20-week appointment, people will inevitably ask, “Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?” You say you simply want a healthy baby, even though you’re secretly wishing for a particular sex. Then the ultrasound reveals the results, and you pretend to be thrilled even though you’re heartbroken. It’s a feeling that Katherine Asbery, author of Altered Dreams: Living With Gender Disappointment, knows well.

Katherine hoped her second child would be a girl, but instead she had another boy. Before getting pregnant for the third time, she tried tactics found online to help her conceive a girl— eating yogurt to change her pH balance, taking hot baths with her husband to alter his sperm, etc. When she discovered that she’d be having yet another boy, she “cried and cried and cried,” she says. “Then I felt guilty.”

Like Asbery, many women have sobbed during their big ultrasound, but there are ways to cope with your mixed feelings. Here’s how to deal with gender disappointment and get excited about the sex of your future child.

Accept Your Negative Emotions

The first step toward moving forward is recognizing your gender disappointment. It’s always best to be honest with yourself, says Stephan Quentzel, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in pregnancy and childbirth issues at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City. “It can sound ugly to say, ‘I wanted a boy and not a girl,’ because you’re expected to love the child no matter what,” he says. But it’s normal if you’re not immediately thrilled.

Additionally, don’t feel ashamed if your sadness shows to other people. “Many women make sure they dry their eyes, fix their makeup, and plant a smile on their face before they leave the ultrasound room,” says psychiatric nurse Joyce Venis, author of Postpartum Depression Demystified. But if you don’t eventually let your emotions show, it’ll be harder to keep your negative thoughts under wraps.

“Feelings aren’t good or bad or right or wrong—they’re just feelings,” Venis says. So acknowledge them out loud to yourself and to your partner, and let him do the same. If you’re unable to discuss this with him, consult a therapist or confide in a nonjudgmental friend instead.

Find a Reason for the Gender Disappointment

Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Are you upset because you grew up with brothers and pictured living-room wrestling matches and games of flag football with a son? Did you imagine going shopping and doing crafts with your little girl? Keep in mind that the daughter you’re having might be a rough-and-tumble gal who’s a standout on the field—or perhaps you’ll give birth to a creative, art-loving boy who’s disinterested in sports. What’s more, even if Baby-to-be has your preferred gender, he might not have a personality that conforms to gender norms.

Perhaps your letdown stems from doubts about being a first-time parent. “A lot of it is fear—stuff like, ‘I don’t know how to play baseball, so how can I teach my son?’ ” Venis says. “You don’t have to know, and you don’t have to like playing with Barbie dolls to raise a girl. You will learn what you need to as you go along.”

If you’re really worried, make plans with friends or relatives who have kids of that sex, so you can explore the experience that’s ahead of you, Dr. Quentzel suggests. For example, if you’re having a boy, make an effort to spend some one-on-one time with a friend’s son. And ask your sister plenty of questions about how raising her son has been different from raising her daughter.

Trust Your Ability to Love

Realize that any discontented, guilty feelings you have won’t last forever. During pregnancy, all you know about your baby is his or her sex. Once your little bundle arrives, you’ll have the whole package—which includes a personality and quirky traits. “Gender disappointment typically only lasts until your child’s birth day, when you finally meet each other,” says Diane Ross Glazer, Ph.D., a psychotherapist at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, in Tarzana, California. In fact, oxytocin, the powerful hormone that your brain releases during labor, helps you fall hopelessly in love with your baby.

This was certainly true for Asbery. “My children are a blessing to me,” she says. “Each of my boys is different, and each of them brings something fantastic to our family.”

  • By Danielle Braff

Parents MagazinePhoto: Richard Newstead/Getty Images

I was really looking forward to being dumber than my daughter. For the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, my husband and I spun a collective daydream about our wise little girl: We pictured her walking through life with confidence and long, wavy hair, a perfect combination of my curly and my husband’s straight. She’d be his willing partner at museums, so gifted in math she could do her homework without my help. The dumbest, basest jokes, our favorite kind, would make her roll her eyes.

The afternoon of my 20-week ultrasound, I left work early and got on the wrong train. I was late, my husband even later, and we were silent in the waiting room, answering work emails. Following the technician down the hallway, I felt wobbly and unsure: less This is it! than Oh, is this it? We knew we might be wrong, but there hadn’t seemed much harm in hoping. What was wrong with wanting the girl with long hair, so smart, annoyingly smart, just like her dad.

In the aquarium glow of the ultrasound room, the technician held the wand over my bare stomach and asked if we wanted to find out.

“Yes,” my husband and I said at the same time.

“You will have …” she said, adjusting the wand, “a baby boy.”

Gender disappointment is not a term I was familiar with, but one I quickly learned. Parents magazine points out that there are “ways to deal with your mixed feelings.” A blogger for the New York Times’ Motherlode emphasizes her luck at the health of her child, while Babble recommends being open about your gender-related feelings, whatever they are. Katherine Asbery’s 2008 book, Altered Dreams … Living With Gender Disappointment, devotes 135 pages to struggling and eventually coming to terms with her unfulfilled desire for a girl. (???? my husband texted me, after coming across the copy I bought to research this essay.)

From what I can tell, not many people in the parenting realm have spent much time considering the gender part of the term’s construction. What we see on an ultrasound screen isn’t a fetus’s gender — it’s the sex, the purely biological difference based on genitalia. Gender is the set of traits we’ve decided as a society to associate with those genitals. But when discussing disappointment, no one ever says “I am grieving the penis I so vividly imagined” or “I was hoping my daughter would have a vagina just like mine.”

What they do, instead, is exactly what I did: mourn the image of a child that they’ve constructed based on the way we expect little girls or boys to behave. Writing for Babble, Andrea Elovson describes what she thought having a girl would be like: “Dressing her in frilly clothes, braiding her hair, eventually helping her plan her wedding, and spending countless hours chatting over mimosas at fancy day spas.” But what if her daughter had been a tomboy? What if she didn’t want to wear frills or drink bubbly cocktails?

My husband and I shared a daydream that was incredibly specific — and I believed that meant it avoided simplistic gender norms. When relatives asked about the baby’s sex before we knew it, innocently wondering whether to buy pink or blue, I chastised them. It doesn’t matter, I wrote. We believe it’s fine for a boy to wear pink! Meanwhile, I spent my lunch break haunting the window displays of expensive baby-clothing stores. If I felt brave enough to go inside, I fingered the $300 dresses in demure plaid and petal pink, the useless ballet slippers with bows, and imagined her learning to read.

Once we found out we were having a boy, we cringed over new visions: video games. Mud, chaos. Boring and time-consuming sports. Haircuts, I confess, that I could not care less about.
No matter how evolved I thought we were, it turns out I wanted a girl, badly, and not for reasons I’m proud of. Do I want a boy who’s smarter than me? Not really. I already know plenty of men, young and old, who think they’re smarter than me. But I think when I yearned for this intelligent little girl, what I truly wanted was a better version of myself. This little girl would be sophisticated enough to appreciate visual art. Because it had already happened to me, this little girl’s 13th birthday would pass without her contracting meningitis that would leave her forever a little fuzzy on trivia, a little slow with math. (You know that’s not how probability works, right? my husband helpfully contributed.) It’s a generous and unfounded conjecture, but maybe this is why men are more likely to take paternity leave with sons: the desire for a do-over.

Gender-disappointment texts often assure mothers they’ll love their children once they actually appear. I definitely didn’t need anyone to reassure me that I’ll love my son — the summer I spent barfing on his behalf seems like testament enough. But I came up short when searching for probable reasons to like him, this mysterious person whose toenails have only just started to form, when all I knew about him was that he was a boy. It seems stupid now, but all I could picture were the stereotypical-boy characteristics.

Talking to a friend a few weeks ago, I told her yeah, I knew, and yeah, it was a boy, shrug. “I’m sorry,” she said. But as our conversation went on and I described a tiny ballerina I’d seen on the subway, she helped me realize: There’s no reason my son can’t be a tiny ballerina. There’s no reason I can’t sign him up for a class, even if it is full of little girls. The next day I went out and bought him some useless pink ballet slippers, with bows, in the hopes of having a child who is a better version of me after all.

But for all I know, he’ll hate them. Or like them for a month, and then move on. It’s anyone’s guess, just as it’s anyone’s guess how the girl child I might have had would have felt about ballet.

I think in turning out to be a boy, this baby did himself — and any theoretical future children I might have — a huge favor. That ultrasound revealed two things: the nature of his genitalia and my sexism. It also forced me to realize there are a thousand, a million things about him that I don’t know yet, and that perhaps I won’t ever know. It seems I won’t be getting a do-over after all, and not just because it’s a boy.

When second-time mom Nicole King walked into her 20-week ultrasound appointment, she sent a text message to her closest friends: “Think pink.” They all knew what that meant. Nicole and her husband already had a 2-year old son, and were clearly hoping their second baby would be a girl.

Nicole King with her son, Grey. Now expecting her second son, it took her a while to get over her wish for a daughter.Today

“This pregnancy felt completely different from my first,” said Nicole. “At one point I thought I had food poisoning because I was so sick. This never happened with my son.”

When the ultrasound technician announced that Nicole’s second child was a boy, she wanted to cry. “I was really disappointed. I think everyone in my family was disappointed too, except for my husband. It’s hard because you want people to be excited when you tell them the news, and when you think they’re unhappy, it becomes less exciting for you, too.”

Some women feel a momentary twinge of sadness when they find out the gender of their baby. For others, the disappointment cuts deeper, and can even turn into depression. This phenomenon, known as “gender disappointment,” is rarely discussed yet common among expectant mothers.

“We assume gender disappointment is quite a hidden experience, yet extremely common especially in certain cultures” says Dr. Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at UCSF and author of The Male Brain and The Female Brain. “As many as 1 in 5 women express at least some disappointment about the sex of the child they are carrying.”

One couple recently took the risky step of finding out their baby’s gender live on TODAY; judging from their reactions, “It’s a boy” was good news, especially for dad. But not everyone has the same experience.

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Jamie Crosier, mother of three, believes every expecting mother has a preference on gender whether they admit it or not. “Every woman is on one side of the fence or the other, even if you say that all you want is a healthy baby.”

When Jamie was pregnant with her second child, she felt like she was just getting the hang of being a mother to her daughter. “When I discovered that I was having a boy, I was shocked at my disappointment. When I was in the ultrasound room and the technician told me it was a boy I actually cried. After the appointment I called my parents with the news and cried again. Hormones are nuts!”

Dr. Brizendine says that many mothers feel guilt and shame over feeling disappointment about their baby’s gender, so they suppress their sadness and keep it to themselves.

“We had a gender reveal party, with a cake to reveal either pink or blue frosting inside,” shares Amy, a San Diego native who asked that we only use her first name. “When we finally cut into the cake and saw the pink frosting, I felt sad. Honestly, I think I would have felt sad either way. It was almost like I had to mourn the loss of the potential boy before I could celebrate the actual girl. I was really surprised by my reaction and totally faked the ‘yay!’, then went into the kitchen to be by myself for a few minutes. It really only took several moments away from the party and another day or so of readjusting to our news before I was excited about our little girl, but I was surprised it took any time at all.”

It’s a … girl? Sometimes the “gender reveal” can reveal more emotions than a mom-to-be expected.Today

For Nicole King, a random encounter with an acquaintance helped her start to see the benefits of having two boys. “My friend has a boy and a girl that are extremely close in age. She told me that in her experience, when siblings of different genders are so close in age they have less in common. It got me thinking about things differently.”

This coping mechanism, known as “active reframing,” is the most common approach to dealing with gender disappointment.

“When a mom finds out she’s having the opposite gender desired, she starts telling herself little stories about why this gender is going to be a good thing. Like how, if they’re having a boy and they wanted a girl, they get to avoid the dreaded teenage years” explains Dr. Brizendine. “It’s called active reframing and it starts immediately. If there is any real disappointment, it often barely rises to the surface and the woman doesn’t even realize it’s there.”

With hormones raging, feelings of gender disappointment mid-pregnancy can feel heightened, but may be even worse if you leave the gender a surprise until delivery.

“These days, only about 10 to 20 percent of my patients keep the sex a surprise,” says Dr. Laura Cha, a New York City based OB/GYN. “But for those patients that have a very obvious preference, I tell them to find out their baby’s gender as soon as possible. The last thing you want is a patient who has spent the last nine months convincing themselves they’re having a boy, only to find out they’re having a girl.”

Most of the time, Dr. Brizendine says that any sort of gender disappointment disappears once the baby is born. But if you find the disappointment lingering, before or after delivery, there are healthy ways of dealing with your emotions.

“First, try to get to the root of why this issue of gender is particularly important to you,” suggests Dr. Brizendine. “Then, talk to another woman who has gone through the same experience. If you continue to struggle, make three sessions with a therapist to help reprogram the news of the gender so it’s not so disappointing to you.”

When Jamie Crosier’s son Cash was born, the disappointment over wanting a second daughter disappeared immediately. “The moment my son was born I was totally in love with him and never had a second thought about it. He’s such a momma’s boy and I just love it!”

Nicole King knows this will be the case for her, too. “Now that I know I’m having another boy, I’m not disappointed anymore. I know with all of my heart that once I hold our baby for the first time, I’ll love him just as much as I love my first son.”

Morgan Brasfield is a television producer and freelance writer. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Tyler, 11-month old son Ben, and furry-child Cooper.

Gender Disappointment: You Are Not Alone

Erica GrahamFollow Mar 27, 2018 · 6 min read ©2018 Erica Graham

The day had come. After months of waiting, we were finally going to learn the gender of baby #2. The time leading up to the big reveal was filled with a roller coaster of feelings — excitement, anxiety, and lots of morning sickness.

There are some common questions during pregnancy that all women encounter again and again. How are you feeling? Can you feel the baby moving yet? Do you have names picked out? Then comes the undesired belly touching as people, often complete strangers, talk in a high pitch voice while rubbing your swollen midsection.

People begin to speculate if you are having a boy or a girl. Many will ask what gender your first baby is and then determine your second baby will be the opposite gender. After all, that is the million dollar family, right? — two kids, one boy, one girl? You tell people you just want a “healthy baby,” but may secretly find yourself hoping for a specific gender.

During my pregnancies, I forced myself not to expect one gender over the other. I wanted to be all in — excited no matter what. As baby #2’s arrival approached, I convinced myself to focus on the happiness of having a second child and knew I would love that child regardless.

The ultrasound was almost finished. The baby looked healthy. Now it was time for the reveal. I held my husband’s hand and we looked on with anticipation. “Congratulations, it’s a girl.” I was completely caught off guard, not by the news, but by my reaction. My heart sank a little. I realized even though I thought I didn’t care, a part of me did.

I was quick to discredit those feelings within the following days. However, as I began to excitedly reveal the gender to my co-workers and other around me, I was shocked at the reactions. With my first child, there was nothing but joyous sentiments. With my second child, the comments were very different. “Oh…well at least it’s healthy.” “Don’t worry, sometimes they are wrong.” “I bet your husband was hoping for a boy”. “Well, you can always have another one”.

With each passing comment, feelings of depression developed and grew deeper. I began to feel guilt over letting those around me down — as if I had done something wrong. I couldn’t shake the feeling with all these comments, there must be something I was missing. It quickly grew to the point I didn’t want to tell anyone the baby’s gender, and if I was asked, I quickly followed with an expression of cheerfulness over having two girls. Still the comments continued and the feelings of disappointment lingered leaving me confused. I loved this baby and couldn’t wait to welcome her to the world, so why was I overcome with these thoughts?

The hardest thing about these feelings was my inability to share them with anyone. After all, when I looked at the whole picture, I was very excited to have another girl. To admit any dismay would make a feeling I was trying hard to suppress real. Not to mention how selfish and disgusted I felt when it seemed I was placing hopes for my baby’s gender over her health. I considered telling my husband, but he was ecstatic. The thought of shining a negative light on one of the happiest times of our lives made my stomach churn.

As I examined my emotions even further, I realized having a child of each gender was based on societal expectations. I was being convinced without a boy I would miss out on experiences. All my life, I watched those around me as they kept trying until they finally had a baby of the opposite gender from their first child(ren), and when they did, exclaim that they were done — they had achieved not only their goal, but the goal placed by society. If this was such an important achievement for so many, then there must be something to it, right?

I came to understand the comments from those around me. My friends did not intend harm. They simply wanted to comfort me because their own experiences had lead them to believe I would be disappointed with the results. Their opinions, like mine, had been developed as a result of the same societal expectations.

The time had come for baby #2 to join us. The delivery went well and before I knew it, we were holding our new little one in our arms. All those feelings of dissatisfaction had been replaced with completeness and happiness. Now I watch as my girls grow closer everyday and I truly would not have it any other way — two girls is awesome!

It wasn’t long before a friend of mine was having baby #2, only to find the gender was the same as the first child — my heart was filled with empathy. Was she experiencing the same emotions and guilt ridden comments that I had at that time? I decided to do some research and found there was not only a name for what I had felt, but it was more common than I expected — “gender disappointment.”

Gender disappointment occurs when someone feels sad or even depressed over their baby’s sex. Some parents report feeling sad after having multiple children of the same sex and some parents feel it with their first child after strong expectations for a specific gender. The extent of parents facing gender disappointment is greater than I ever realized. And the worst part — most parents, like me, feel a need to suffer from this “unexplained” depression in silence to avoid judgement and shame.

I was even more shocked to read a specific comment over and over again as my research deepened. “I never even knew gender disappointment existed.” With all the various types of depression that doctors screen for during and after pregnancy, why was gender disappointment never mentioned? Especially in societies that favor one gender over another or glorify having children of each gender?

I began to reach out to those around me who made comments that indicated they may be experiencing “gender disappointment.” I did not want them to feel alone or the need to be silent. I wanted to give them a nonjudgmental ear. Simply encouraging my friends with excitement over the news of having multiple children of the same gender was often all they needed to feel comfortable and open.

I found there were various reasons leading to this depression. For some, like myself, it was feeling we had let down those around us. Others expressed grieving dead dreams. They had expectations for one gender and when they found their baby was the opposite sex, they went through a period of saying goodbye to old dreams and building new ones.

Gender disappointment is REAL. If you are feeling sadness following the announcement of the sex of your baby, you are NOT a bad parent and you are NOT alone. You will go through a “grieving” stage and these feelings will come and go throughout your pregnancy. But out of your grief, you will begin to build new dreams. Once that little one stares deep into your eyes for the first time, you won’t be able to imagine your life any other way. If you are experiencing gender disappointment, don’t go through it in silence. Find someone to talk to. If your depression is severe during pregnancy or after your baby arrives, seek professional guidance. There are many emotions that come with the preparation and arrival of a little one. Whatever you may be feeling, you are not alone.

8 Funny Truths About Having a Boy

When I found out I was having a boy, I was … tentative. I was excited to have a son, sure. But I was nervous too. Having a boy in the family was kind of foreign to me since I grew up with a sister and already had a daughter. Would my son and I get along? Have anything in common? What do little boys even do/like/wear?!

Two-and-a-half years later, my son and I get along like gangbusters. While he’s proven to be incredibly different from his older sister, my lovable, wild little boy is a delight in (almost) every way, and it’s impossible to imagine my family without him.

What are little boys made of? They’re sweet and they can be gross, but they’re oh-so-amazing. Here are eight truths about having (and raising) a boy.

Boys love hard. Little boys can be extremely demonstrative and affectionate. While my daughter was more of a talker at this stage, my son is more of a doer — and that doesn’t exclude the way he expresses his love for me. Instead of hugging me and sweetly saying, “I love you” as my daughter does, he wraps his hands around my neck as hard as he can and all but pushes me over while saying, “I LOVE YOU, MAMA. YOU MY BEST FWIEND!” It may sound violent, but I promise you, it’s endearing.

Little boys teach you to embrace general grossness. Let’s face it. For all of their adorableness, toddlers score pretty high on the gross meter. They eat food off the floor, pick their noses and run away from you when all you want to do is clean the poop out of the diaper they’re marinating in. But! Toddler boys take things to new levels. My son puts my daughter’s messy eating days to shame. And he never comes in from the backyard without being completely — no, completely — covered in dirt, mud and a few errant crushed bugs. I also think the last time his hands weren’t sticky was when he was around 4 months old.

They care (seriously care) about what they’re wearing. Generally speaking, girls may be more opinionated about their clothes as they get older, but from where I’m sitting, boys definitely care too, at least when they’re younger. Not only is my son much more adamant about the kind of shoes he’s going to wear on any given day than my daughter ever was, I’ve heard countless stories from boy moms about their sons refusing to wear certain pajamas, coats, shirts (with collars! down with those collars!) and, sadly, Halloween costumes. Happened to me this year, too. Moment of silence for that cute cowboy get-up collecting dust in his closet.

Public places are an adventure, euphemistically-speaking. Heading out with a toddler boy rarely comes with a dull moment. Running errands with any pint-size person in the 1-to-4 age range is, you know, not a party, but for tactile boys, that may go double. My son has never met a shopping cart he can’t easily maneuver his way out of or a Starbucks display he can’t easily (read: forcefully) knock down. Fun times.

Boy tantrums take on a whole new meaning than girl tantrums. Toddler tantrums are never a blast, but in my experience, they’re very different when it comes to boys vs. girls. The main reason? Boys are typically bigger and stronger. Obviously, I’m bigger and stronger than my 2-year-old (#humblebrag), but scooping him up off the floor is much more difficult than it was with my daughter because he’s taller and weighs more than she did at that age (plus boys can be a lot more physical, so there might be more throwing, flailing and hitting going on). On the flip side, though, my arms are getting pretty ripped.

Boys love princess-y stuff just as much as girls. It doesn’t matter what gender your child is, anything shiny, sparkly and/or glittery is like candy to a toddler. And might I say that my son fills out an Elsa dress much more than my daughter ever did.

Sons make you see motherhood in a different way. Having a little boy has made me look at myself as a parent in a way I’m not sure I would have if I’d only had daughters. Before he was born — and even in the months after — I always considered myself a “girl mom,” someone who could only have easy and organic interactions with little girls and who was only good at parenting daughters. Not anymore. It’s so nice to know that I can bond with little boys too and be a good mom to a girl and a boy, thanks to my son.

Boys can infuriate you and melt your heart a million times a day. With all his counter-climbing, stick-wielding and dumping Cheerios on the floor, there are moments when I want to be far, far away from my little boy. But in an instant, he has the power to make me do a complete 180. Sure, all toddlers have that power. But boys love hard, remember?

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Speaking of having one of each …

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Myths vs. Facts: Signs You’re Having a Baby Boy

Here are five of the most popular old wives’ tales regarding your baby’s sex. Keep in mind that none of these tales are based on fact. Instead, they’re myths and are simply for fun.

Remember: Even if some of these points run true for you (or have in the past), there’s a 50-50 chance of them being right either way.

1. Morning sickness

You may have heard that the severity of morning sickness is a clue about your baby’s sex.

With girls, the thought is that hormone levels are higher. For that reason, you’ll have more morning sickness. With boys, you should have relatively smooth sailing in the sickness department.

The truth is that morning sickness can vary from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy.

A study published in The Lancet revealed that women who had severe morning sickness in pregnancy were more likely to have girls. Otherwise, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support this idea.

2. Skin condition

Some people believe that a girl baby will steal the mother’s beauty. On the other hand, boys won’t give you as much acne.

A similar tale revolves around hair growth. With a boy, your hair will be longer and have more luster. With a girl, it will be limp and dull.

There’s no truth either way. Hormones are just crazy in pregnancy and affect all women differently. Washing your face frequently can help with breakouts.

3. Cravings

With boys, you crave salty and savory foods like pickles and potato chips. With girls, it’s all about the sweets and chocolate.

In truth, no conclusive studies have been performed on food cravings as an accurate predictor of sex. Those cravings probably have more to do with your changing nutritional needs.

4. Heart rate

One of the most universal myths about gender revolves around your baby’s heart rate. If the beats per minute are under 140, the baby is supposed to be a boy. Higher than 140, it’s a girl.

Unfortunately, though this one sounds more scientific, there’s no hard truth behind it. A study published in Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy revealed that there’s no meaningful difference between boy and girl heart rates in early pregnancy.

5. Carrying

If you carry low, you might be having a boy. Carry high? It’s likely a girl.

Actually, how you carry during pregnancy has more to do with the shape of your uterus, your unique body type, and your abdominal muscles.

Forget about waiting 40 weeks to find out the sex of your baby. Practically since the beginning of time, moms-to-be and the people who love them have come up with ways to try to figure out if that bun in the oven is a girl or a boy.

If getting a surprise in the delivery room isn’t your style, check out the following ways — scientific, traditional and downright odd — to determine whether you should break out the pink or blue.

Genetic blood test

Will it work? Yes!

While blood tests that claim to predict your baby’s sexas early as seven weeks have been around for years outside of the U.S., they’ve never been very popular here — in part because it was unclear whether they worked. But a surprising analysis of 57 studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that these tests, which detect small pieces of fetal DNA that are present in a mom’s bloodstream during pregnancy, can be between 95% and 99% accurate. Screening kits, like the Pink or Blue Early DNA Pregnancy Test (available for $25), look for the presence of the male Y chromosome in a few drops of blood taken through a finger prick. If it’s there, you’re having a boy; if not, it’s a girl. (Because of this, the tests are slightly more accurate at predicting boys, since a lack of Y chromosome may mean that the male chromosome wasn’t present in the blood sample taken.)

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Will it work? Yes!

This semi-invasive procedure is a slam-dunk way to know your baby’s gender for sure, but because of the small risk of miscarriage your doc probably won’t green-light it for curiosity alone. “An amniocentesis involves putting a needle into the fluid surrounding a baby, and then looking at the chromosomal makeup of that baby, which reveals gender as well as any chromosomal abnormalities,” explains Dr. Michael Randell, an OBGYN in Atlanta. “Unless someone mislabels your results, this test is entirely accurate.”

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Fetal heart rate predictor

Will it work? Probably not

Generations of women swear that a quick fetal heart rate — about 140 beats per minute or above — signals girl, while below that equals boy. Why? One theory is that baby girls are supposedly smaller, thus their hearts beat faster. Dr. Randell is quick to debunk this one. “A fetal heart rate is variable and can change day to day or even beat to beat.” As for theory that girls weigh less than boys, Randell says, “I’ve delivered plenty of 10-pound girls and 4-pound boys.”

The height of your bump

Will it work? Probably not (but that won’t stop strangers from guessing, anyway!)

Pregnancy is filled with old wives’ tales of unknown origins, and those gossipy ladies of yesteryear seemed especially focused on predicting the sex of that tantalizing baby bump. Case in point? Generations of women (and men, too!) swear that moms-to-be who are carrying high will pop out a girl, while carrying low means boy.

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The shape of your bump

Will it work? Probably not

Feel like you’re carrying somewhere in the middle, so the height of your bump is no help? Then perhaps this is slightly different old wives tale is for you. Lore suggests that a round, ball-like baby bump means there’s a baby boy in your future, while a wider bump that kinda looks like you’re carrying all over the place is a surefire girl.

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The wedding ring on a string trick

Will it work? Probably not (but fun to try!)

This test requires you to slip off your wedding ring — a needle would work too — and slip it on a string. Lie down and hold the string over your belly. If the object swings in a circular motion it’s a girl; a pendulum-like motion equals boy. Don’t get up too fast when it’s over — this test can make a preggo dizzy!

Baby gender prediction kits

Will it work? Maybe

Products like Intelligender, a urine-based test that mixes your pee with crystals that contain certain hormones, claim you can find out the sex of your baby as early as 10 weeks — although experts including Dr. Randell are skeptical. “I’m unaware of anything produced by the baby that is somehow filtered into the mother’s urine to determine gender.” However, he says there’s no harm in trying it out, just for fun. “Just don’t buy nursery paint color based on the results,” he warns.

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Morning sickness madness

Will it work? Probably not

Were you unable to keep anything down your first trimester? According to lore, that means you’re having a girl. A lack of morning sickness means you can expect a little dude. Unsurprisingly, science is not on this legend’s side. “We still don’t know exactly what causes morning sickness, but some women have an easy time with it the first pregnancy, and a terrible time with the next — even when their kids were both girls or boys,” says Dr. Randell.

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Sweet vs. savory

Will it work? Probably not (so indulge your cravings)

Girls are supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice, which is probably why it’s believed that mamas-to-be who are shoveling in the sweets are thought to be having a girl. Are you dying for French fries and a hearty steak dinner? It’s a boy. If neither seems appetizing, congrats: You’re carrying a picky eater!

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Chinese gender chart

Will it work? Probably not

A Chinese Gender Chart was supposedly buried in a royal tomb more than 700 years ago, but was recently discovered and is now used to determine the gender of an unborn child. (Hey, it’s a cool story if nothing else.) To use the chart, find your age at the time of conception, and then follow across to the month the baby was conceived to find the predicted gender.

Mayan gender prediction

Will it work? Probably not

Not to be outdone by the Chinese, the Mayans came up with their own method for determining boy v. girl. It’s simple: Look at the year of conception and the mother’s age at conception. If both numbers are even or odd it’s a girl. If one number is even and one number is odd, it’s a boy.

The key test

Will it work? Probably not (but an easy one to try for fun)

This test claims a pregnant woman can determine the gender of her baby by picking up a single key. If mom grabs for the key at the top round part it’s a girl, while the narrow part equals boy. What if Mom grabs the key in the middle? Twins, of course! (Warning: Do not try this test while driving!)

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Will it work? Most likely

Many parents-to-be choose to learn the sex of their baby at the 20-week anatomy ultrasound scan — assuming baby is in the right position. “We say that seeing a turtle is a boy and three lines is a girl,” explains Randell. (Those are the scientific terms, of course.) Just remember: This method is not foolproof. Techs can make mistakes, so it’s not unheard of to get a gender switcheroo at a later ultrasound, or at the birth itself.

Look at your hands

Will it work? Probably not (but may reveal you need a good hand lotion)

Some folks say determining your baby’s gender is as simple as glancing at your hands. Dry, cracked hands mean there’s a boy on the way, while soft hands signal a little girl. Although this method is certainly easy, we tend to think it’s an indicator of something else — how badly you need to moisturize!

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Pee color

Will it work? Probably not (but a good test for whether you need to hydrate)

Let’s face it, pregnancy involves a lot of peeing into a cup, so this test couldn’t be easier. Simply take a closer look at the color to figure out what you’re having. Dark, neon-like urine supposedly equals boy, while dull, cloudy and light urine equals girl.

Feel yourself up

Will it work? Probably not (though a fun test for you and your partner to try!)

Pregnancy involves a lot of boob changes, and yet another old wives’ tale says those growing milkers can clue you in to gender. Grab hold of your honkers and see which one feels bigger. A larger left breast supposedly means boy; a larger right one a girl. Want to make this test more fun? Ask your partner to do it for you!

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The pimple test

Will it work? Probably not

Pregnancy or not, acne is no fun, but some say those annoying red marks could unlock the gender mystery. What does your skin look like during pregnancy? If you have maintained your clear-faced glow, then bring on the blue. Lots of spots equals girl.

The state of your face

Will it work? Probably not

As the legend goes, moms-to-be who have kept their looks can expect a boy, while preggos who have “lost their looks” (so sad!) are having a girl. Why? The belief is the little girl has stolen Mommy’s beauty! That’s both adorable and depressing at the same time.

The way you snooze

Will it work? Probably not (so enjoy a stress-free sleep)

Next time you wake up in the morning, remember to check which way you’re resting — and yes, we do realize the simple act of sleeping during pregnancy is no easy task. As the myth goes, if you sleep on your left side it’s a boy. Right side equals girl. So write a big note on your alarm clock, or better yet, ask your partner to check for you while you catch a few extra zzzs.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage. TODAY.com first published this story on October 28, 2013.