As much as expectant parents say they just want a healthy, happy baby, many people have at least some desire for a specific gender — a little boy or girl. For these people, the 20-week sonogram can be an exciting moment.

But, sometimes, expectant parents don’t get what they’re hoping for. Rather than being over-the-moon about their baby’s gender, they may even feel a little disappointment and heartbreak at the news. Perhaps, they may even think to themselves, “I don’t want my baby after finding out the gender.”

Gender disappointment is a real thing, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. However, before you move forward with any life-changing decisions, it’s important to understand exactly where your emotions are coming from and what they mean.

Remember, you can always receive free, non-obligatory counseling about your pregnancy options when you call 1-800-ADOPTION.

Gender Disappointment is Real — but Misconstrued

When you’re thinking, “I don’t want my baby after finding out the gender,” you are experiencing something called gender disappointment. Well, more accurately, you’re experiencing “sex disappointment,” because a baby’s gender is not necessarily defined by genitalia. But, for many people, seeing the less-desired genitalia on the sonogram screen makes them think they have to grieve the image of the little girl or boy they constructed in their head.

Gender disappointment is valid, but it’s also a concept based on outdated gender roles and expectations. For example, a woman may wish to have a little girl she could dress in ribbons and braid her hair — but not all girls are extremely feminine. Think about this: What if the little girl or boy you had wanted ended with a different personality than you imagined? You would still love them, despite the fact that they didn’t meet your own gender-expected ideas of them.

Before you start thinking, “I don’t want my baby after finding out the gender,” think about what you are really upset about here. Were you dreaming about a future that may not even come to be? If you wished for a boy and found yourself having a girl, can’t you still do the things you imagined you would with your boy — going camping, playing sports, and more?

Just like everyone else, children aren’t confined by gender roles. Consider whether your gender disappointment stems from these expectations, and you may find your worries are unfounded.

But, What If You Really Don’t Want Your Baby?

When you think about the possibilities and considerations, you may find that your feelings of gender disappointment are temporary. For most parents, the grief of mourning the image in their head is quickly replaced by the new vision they have for their child. After all, if they really wanted to be parents, they find out that the gender really doesn’t matter — just having a healthy, happy baby does.

But, for some people, this gender disappointment doesn’t always fade. In some cases, it’s cultural; certain cultures value one gender over the other. In other cases, it’s personal; parents (often men but not always) want to “continue their bloodline” and family name with a boy who looks like them.

In other situations, gender disappointment is simply an expression of a larger unwillingness to parent a child in general. Those who are worried about raising a child themselves, but are afraid to admit it, may instead explain their feelings away with, “I don’t want my baby after finding out the gender,” rather than a simple “I don’t want my baby.”

If you are having these thoughts, you are not a bad person. Parenting is a great responsibility, and it’s okay if you are not fully prepared for that responsibility at this moment. You always have options.

Choosing Adoption After Finding Out Your Baby’s Gender

If you are thinking, “I don’t want my baby after finding out the gender,” know this: There is someone out there who will love and cherish your baby, regardless of whether he or she is a boy or girl. If you can’t provide the unconditional love you want your baby to have, you can always place them for adoption with a family who can.

At American Adoptions, our specialists are here to support you no matter what. We understand the complexities of gender disappointment, especially in otherwise difficult situations, and you never have to feel guilty about considering adoption because of it. We have worked with women in many different situations, who have chosen adoption for many different reasons, and we can work with you, too.

If you are thinking about adoption because of gender disappointment, we encourage you to reach out to our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION. They can counsel you through your decision, including your reasons for choosing adoption and your feelings about your baby’s gender, to help you choose the right path for you. You are never obligated to choose adoption by contacting our agency, but you will always receive free, professional counseling if you do.

American Adoptions and its specialists will always be here to support you through any complicated feelings you have regarding your baby’s gender, both before and after your 20-week sonogram. For those thinking, “I don’t want my baby after finding out the gender,” know that there are options. By choosing adoption, you will give your child a life full of love and opportunity with parents who are fully prepared to raise a child — whether your baby will be dressed in pink or blue.