I tried to come up with a nicer title for the topic but if all wisdom starts with acknowledging the facts, it's possibly best to call it as it is.
I wrote in an earlier post that I had hoped for a girl and it took me a moment to accept that we'll be having a boy instead. It feels like when I've talked about this, a lot of people come to me and tell me they had a similar experience when they were expecting so I decided to write a post about this, hoping that it would help others who've been struggling with similar feelings.
Like I said right in the beginning "gender disappointment" sounds really horrible to me as a term but then again the experience was horrible for the some reason I feel uncomfortable with the term. It felt really bad to be watching our adorable and, apparently, healthy little baby and feel "disappointed" in any way. It felt wrong and made me feel guilty about how I was feeling. On the other hand I know that you can never choose your feelings, only the actions you take, and this was no exception. All feelings are allowed, always, and sometimes they just aren't what you'd like to be feeling. So I had to start with acknowledging the fact that, even though I didn't want to be, I was feeling disappointed and that was ok.
The next step was to figure out, why the baby's sex mattered to me. First of all, all we knew was which genitals the baby had, they might not even be the gender we think. Second of all, it felt very contradictory for me to care about the sex of the baby when I always say that gender doesn't tell anything about the person but the gender. So why did it matter to me now?
I realized that one reason, and possibly the main reason, was that I feel that the role for boys and men is still very restricted. I was worried that my child would be forced by his environment to become this "boy" wearing blue car shirts and doing "boy" stuff instead of just being a child who's still figuring out who they want to be and what they like. I feel like for girls this is so much easier, the girl roles are more allowing and it's easier for girls to play with different kinds of toys, wear different colors and show interest in a wide variety of things.
Before I'd had time to really think through the reasons behind my disappointment I just knew I felt sad and disappointed and here it helped a lot that we had already picked the name for the baby and that we had just gotten some 3D pictures of him. So I looked at the pictures and used his name and that really helped me in starting to feel like this person was part of our family and belonged with us. It was also a huge help that I was able to talk about my feelings freely. Eerikki listened to me and comforted me and didn't guilt me for the feelings I was still feeling a bit guilty for myself.
Another big help was my sister who also listened to me without judging but was also able to relieve my worries as she has the world's most adorable kid. Ok, I know you're thinking that all aunts think like that but I'm telling you, I haven't met a person who'd met him and not love him :). My sister had raised such a great kid, who happened to be a boy, that it was a good reminder to me that the gender really doesn't matter at all. My sister got me believing that ours will be an awesome person too and she ensured me that her kid didn't feel pressure from the environment to be a certain way because he was a boy and our kid was being born more than 10 years later, after all.
So if you're having any feelings of disappointment due to the sex of your baby, my first recommendation would be to talk about them. And don't feel guilty about having them! It feels really bad to feel like that, no future parent wants to feel that way but you didn't choose these feelings and they're not your fault. The most important thing is to be able to talk to someone who'll listed without any judgement so if you don't have anyone like that close to you, you should be able to discuss this with your doctor or nurse.
It's also possible that your spouse, if you have one, is also disappointed and this will give them a chance to discuss their feelings too. Eerikki really hopes that we'll have a boy and a girl one day so he didn't care which one we'd get right now but as we talked about this, I realized that if we never had a girl, he would also be disappointed. For some reason this discussion helped too, maybe it made me realize that even though Eerikki didn't care which sex this baby was, he could still relate to my feelings.
My second piece of advice would be to try to figure out why the sex of the baby matters to you and then try to think if at least some of the things you were hoping for could still come true even if the baby is a different gender than you had hoped. On the other hand, it's also good to remember that a lot of expectations might've been left unfulfilled even if you'd had the gender you wanted. Your daughter might not want to have a wedding or doesn't want you to walk her down the aisle, but your son might. Your son might not show any interest in playing ice hockey but your daughter might become the top of the world in it, your son might not be interested in your tips on how to charm girls, your daughter might, and so on.
It feels like the world is divided into two genders with very strict roles when you view the world from the kids clothing store so my final advice is to avoid children's clothing stores until you've overcome the worst part of the disappointment. I find most "boy clothes" to be ugly and when I feel like boys already have less room to express their gender I don't want to make things more difficult by putting our child in "boy" clothes. If this is something that bothers you too, remember that you don't have to put on a single piece of clothing on your child that you parents don't like.
It's quite typical for me that even if I take a disappointment quite hard I also get back on my feet really quickly. Luckily, it was the same with this. I took a few days to process my disappointment and then I ordered matching peach colored sandals to our family and started thinking that, well, it couldn't be anyone else but this little baby. Now I'm happy it's him and no one else :)