More Tips to Deal with the Disappointment
Work Through Your Concerns
Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Are you upset because you grew up with brothers and always pictured living-room wrestling matches and games of flag football with a son? Did you imagine spending weekends shopping and doing craft projects with your daughter? Keep in mind that the daughter you're having might be a rough-and-tumble girl who's a standout on the field -- or perhaps you'll give birth to a creative, art-loving boy who's completely disinterested in sports. What's more, even if you had gotten the gender of your choice, your kid might not have grown up to have the interests or personality that you expected based on his or her sex.
Perhaps your negative feelings stem from doubts that you'll know how to be a good parent to the child you're having. "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 Barbie to raise a girl. You will learn what you need to as you go along." If you're really worried, it may help to spend some time with friends or relatives who have children of that sex, so you can explore the experience that's ahead of you, Dr. Quentzel suggests. For example, if you're going to have a boy, make an extra effort to have some one-on-one time with your nephew or a friend's son. And be sure to ask your sister plenty of questions about how raising her son has been different from raising her daughter. Unsure how to handle the daughter you're about to have? Invite your niece to spend the weekend at your place.
Trust Your Ability to Love
Finally, realize that any discontented, guilty feelings you might have now won't last forever. During pregnancy, all you really know about your baby is his or her sex. Once your little bundle arrives, you'll have the whole package -- which includes a personality, quirky traits, and a precious face. "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 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."
Originally published in the May 2012 issue of Parents magazine.
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