Gender disappointment is A Thing, and I have it. In my research, I’ve noticed that most posts start off with apologies from the writer for having these feelings. But fuck that. I’m not apologizing for something that’s a normal part of people’s pregnancy journeys. I believe that talking about it will help normalize it even more, and then there will be less apologies and more healing happening.
So let’s talk about gender disappointment
As I’ve told you, I never wanted to have a kid. But if I lost my damn mind and decided to have one (or keep one) I always wanted a boy. So I completely assumed that this baby was going to be a boy because I’m usually a lucky motherfucker. But I found out it’s a girl, and I’m devastated.
I feel doomed to fail.
I finally got to the part where it felt safe to be excited, and now… It’s honestly sucked all the joy out of this pregnancy because I just feel so fucked and ill-equipped. I feel like the parenting was already going to me a monumental uphill battle for me, but now the margin of parental error is so much wider. I feel like I’m gestating my biggest failure. And while I’m not apologizing, I do feel shitty and guilty about it.
But it helps to remind myself that I feel this way because of real valid reasons and personal trauma:
1. I’ve never had a healthy mother/daughter relationship.
This is the main reason I never wanted to have a kid. Even though I’ve been in therapy dealing with that relationship for years and years, I’m terrified that her shitty behavior is ingrained in my DNA and I’ll just continue the cycle of fucked up mother/daughter relationships. Add to that, I’ve never even bared witness to one! All the women I’m close to are ALSO trying to repair the mental damage done to them by their moms. I honestly don’t feel like a good mother/daughter relationship is even possible.
2. Gender norms are super triggering for me.
I’m genderqueer and have battled against being treated certain ways, or barred from activities, or denied opportunities, because I have a vagina since I was old enough to understand this concept. I’ve had assumptions made about me based on my sex. And gender norms have dictated so many miserably experiences in my life. And now I’m about to hand this constant battle to another little girl who never asked to fight this fight.
3. I know what it’s like to be sexually assaulted.
It’s happened to me. So. Many. Times. Like the time a complete stranger stuck his fingers inside my vagina in the crowded concert. Or the time I was molested by a fellow high school student and then BLAMED for that sexual assault. Not to mention all the random “casual gropings” or disturbing cat calls that have happened over the years, that have made me feel like a piece of lunch meat walking down the street. Ugh… And now I’m bringing another innocent girl into the world KNOWING FULL WELL she’ll have to endure at least some of that humiliation as well.
4. I’ve also been treated poorly by almost every female I’ve trusted in my formative years
I learned that lesson first (unsurprisingly) from my mom. And then when I was discovered to be *gasp* A NERD, I started to get bullied by all the neighborhood girls that had once been my friends. So I stopped having female friendships well until my 30s. I learned that friendships with boys were so much easier! Fewer fights, and super-easy reconciliations when they did occur. Boy mentality? I get that. I’m on that level. That’s my comfort zone. But I feel like an outsider amongst women. And now I have to raise one?
5. I just know how hard it is to be a girl in this world.
I didn’t want a boy because “I want someone to play sports with” or any of that gender normative crap. I wanted a boy because then I wouldn’t have to re-live all my own worst nightmares and traumas. And how can I be a good parent if I’m still, deep inside, that little girl who cried in “girls” section of Toys R Us because all she saw was a nauseating wave of pinks and lavenders, and knew there was nothing she could do about it?
And while I know the world is getting better, and the future is (clearly) female, it’s still going to be a constant battle for anyone who identifies as one.
I also know I’ll get over it.
Every other story I’ve read about gender disappointment ends with the writer saying they eventually got over it, that she couldn’t imagine her life without her non-prefered-gendered kid. And I know I’ll get there too.
It’s still early for me and I’m deep in the feelings stage — struggling hard with depression and anxiety. But I’m determined to do the hard work (yes, the hard work that wouldn’t have been this hard if I was having a boy) and get through this so I can be the best-but-ultimately-disappointing mom I can be.
And I can’t wait to write about how happy I am that I have a daughter. But you’ll have to stay tuned for that…