'I was devastated.' 10 women share their honest experiences with gender disappointment.

When parents first find out the gender of their child, it's often met with a bunch of complex feelings. Many are elated. Lots feel content. Others have no preference for gender. And for some, they feel devastated to not have the gender they had expected or hoped for. 

For Martha Kalifatidis, she had her own struggles with gender disappointment.

The former MAFS contestant turned podcaster/beauty influencer is eight and a half months pregnant, and recently found out she is having a baby boy with partner Michael Brunelli. 

The pair had found out the gender of their unborn child by asking a jeweller to make a diamond ring with either blue or pink gems in it. And when she opened the gift box to find a blue ring, Martha said she initially felt "devastated".

Watch Mamamia Confessions: My partner doesn't know. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

"I was 100 per cent sure I was having a girl, like I had only opened girl clothing tabs on my phone, I was so convinced," she told KISS FM's Will & Woody.

"There was no chance in my mind it was going to be a boy, I had planned my whole life for this girl. I'll be so honest with you guys. At the beginning, I was devastated, like I was so upset. It took me a few days to like come to terms with it."


It's something You Beauty podcast co-host Kelly McCarren has spoken about as well, writing for Mamamia: "You can be ecstatic to be pregnant and love your baby more than you knew possible. But at the same time, you can experience disappointment and grieve over the future you had planned."

10 women spoke to Mamamia about their own experiences with gender disappointment and what they would say to fellow parents currently in the thick of it.

'I have four sons, but always wanted a girl.'

"I have four sons. When I shared my disappointment about not having a girl with those around me, they laughed. The disappointment lingers – not towards the child, but like a ghost of a child you never had."

'I suffered PND-related to gender disappointment.'

"The moment my child was born I felt upset. I didn't share my feelings, and no one knew about my disappointment, but I believe that I suffered postnatal depression for two years due to sadness about gender. You may always feel gender disappointment but getting to know your child and their personality does help ease the pain."

'My feelings weren't validated.'

"When I fell pregnant with fraternal twins for my first and only pregnancy, it was confirmed they were both boys. Some said I would love them no matter what when they arrived, but those comments didn't help. My feelings weren't validated. Others were sympathetic and just listened. I only told a few people because I was worried how they would react. It is absolutely valid to feel that way. Of course you will love your kids but it doesn't take away from the fact you feel like that. If like me you are only having two kids and end up with the same sex, it does still hurt when everyone around you has two kids and they are one of each. It hurts less and less but hurts nonetheless."


'I felt gender disappointment with every pregnancy – first a boy, then two girls.'

"With each of my three pregnancies I felt gender disappointment for different reasons. I didn't really share it with my closest network as so many friends struggled to conceive. I felt ungrateful to be openly disappointed about a healthy pregnancy. I think pregnancy starts with an imagining of what's to come... I really wanted a daughter with my first pregnancy (now I have two, I'm not so sure!). 

"When I found out it was a boy, I was mildly disappointed. I shed a few tears and put it down to pregnancy hormones. After my son was born, I was again greeted with disappointment at the gender scan. I was convinced that my angelic firstborn would be a great big brother and mentor to a little brother and things would be easier for clothes etc, but the baby was to be a girl. My third pregnancy I would be happy with either gender, however the knowledge of another girl brought my three-year-old son to tears. The grief is real, but it passes and the reality of whatever gender arrives is as wonderful as the one you'd imagined."

'I wanted a third daughter.'

"I had two daughters, and I just wanted a third daughter, as I genuinely thought I was incapable of being a boy mum. Then at birth, I found out that my baby was male. For the first 24 hours I was quite shocked and sad, but by day two I was overjoyed to have my boy. I would tell mums experiencing similar to focus on the beautiful creature in front of you."


'I struggled with fertility. When I fell pregnant, I was sad about the gender.'

"I've always wanted a daughter, and I have two sons. My partner and I had been through years of fertility treatments and ten rounds of IVF. With the first pregnancy, I felt I couldn't share my feelings about finding out I was having a son without being judged for being ungrateful. Second time around was a little different as we found out we were having a second boy – so I was able to be a bit more open and say 'I'm so grateful I'm getting my longed for second baby, but I'm also a bit sad I'll never get my girl'. It's normal, and it's hard, and it doesn't for one-second mean that you don't love your baby."

'The what ifs weighed on my mind.'

"I had gender disappointment twice – when I found out I was having my second son, and then when I found out my third was also going to be a boy. When I expressed the sadness, I'd be met with 'you didn't get pregnant to have a girl, you did it to have a baby and you got that. Be happy you're pregnant'. I felt shamed. Then I also had people expressing their own disappointment over me having a third boy. It gets easier when the baby is here, but honestly if you're done having kids and don't have the gender you had hoped for you'll always think of the what ifs and what you will never do with that gender."

'I decided to get IVF overseas for gender selection after experiencing gender disappointment.'

"When I found out I was having boys, I was upset. Most people understood how I felt, but some didn't. The judgement is very real from the general public though. I personally couldn't get past the gender disappointment, and I have since gone through IVF for gender selection. It is by far the best decision I ever made. It's a taboo topic but IVF has been a shining light for the disappointment. It should be legal in Australia because despite many people's views that it will cause an imbalance it doesn't – look at the US where it is legal."


'There were cranky, cruel comments.'

"At the birth, I experienced gender disappointment. I didn't tell anyone except my husband, but those close to me could obviously tell. People make the most inconsiderate and cranky, cruel comments. Let it out and move on. You need to grieve your hopes, dreams and plans and ideas. Understand why you wanted the particular gender and reframe your reality. A part of you may always grieve the opportunity to parent the gender you wanted or the family you imagined."

'I was upset that my firstborn wouldn't be a son.'

"My husband and I were disappointed to not have a son as our firstborn. Fortunately, we have three children – boys and a girl. But in our culture, it's seen as 'good luck' to have a boy first, so when we found out we were having a girl, we were quite sad. So was our extended family as well. But now, raising our family in Australia, we've come to realise that it makes no difference."

Have you experienced gender disappointment before? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Feature Image: Instagram @marthaa__k

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