Gender disappointment is very real for hundreds of Australian women who share their disappointment after discovering the sex of their child.
ABC’s Lateline will tonight air a show on gender disappointment.
Kate (*not her real name), 29, already has two boys and is five months pregnant with her third boy — a revelation that left her “gutted”.
“I went to the bedroom and cried for a really long time,” she tells Lateline.
“Then my husband came in and he cried as well.
“You feel horrible, because you want to be excited that it’s a boy, but part of you was really disappointed.”
Kate is desperate for a daughter but she insists she doesn’t want a “a ballerina, Barbie girl”.
“I’m not wanting someone that I can dress in pink and tie her hair up. I’m not wanting any of that,” she says.
“It’s just that I always imagined her and she’s always existed. I feel the family isn’t complete without her.”
Kate and others who feel gender disappointment describe it as a guilt-ridden, debilitating depression.
“Unless someone has that desire themselves and feels how it can be all-consuming, they can’t understand what it’s like,” she says.
“It’d be so easy if I could just switch it off and just be happy.”
“To you she doesn’t exist yet, but to us we can’t imagine a life without her,” Kate said.
“It’s really a personal decision and it’s not going to hurt people the way that people seem to think it is.
“It’s not going to affect the gender ratio, and it’s not going to place these unrealistic ideas on the children that are being born.”
Townsville mother-of-four Sarah Williams, has two boys, aged nine and seven, and four-year-old twin girls.
“I will talk to people and they go, ‘Oh you’re so lucky you got the two boys and then you got the two girls’, and I will go, ‘No, luck had nothing to do with that. I had to do some extreme measures to get my girls’,” she says.
After having two boys, Sarah went to California, where gender selection is allowed, to go through an IVF cycle and be implanted only with the female embryos it produced.
Sarah had gone through the same range of emotions Kate is now experiencing.
“It’s gut-wrenching. I would be in tears,” she says.
“It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t have a daughter, and I wanted that because I was so close to my mum that I wanted to be the mum that was that close to my daughter,” she says.
She rejects suggestions sex selection is akin to creating a designer baby.
“We’re very glad we did it, and we don’t have any regrets no matter what anyone says,” she says.
Watch the story tonight on Lateline at 9:30pm (AEDT) on ABC News 24 and 10:30pm on ABC TV.
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