In the US some 30,000 babies are still born annually and almost half a million are preterm deliveries who have to go through complex treatments to survive another day. Many babies cannot see right from birth, many cannot speak and many have to struggle remembering their own names. While parents of all these children try to cope up with the situation and try raising a happy family, there are also a few parents who are disappointed because their child is healthy but not of the gender they desired.
In a matter that has come out of the closet through internet forums, websites and discussions, many women who have had a daughter, feel the need to have a son and the vice versa when they are again expecting. The phenomenon seems to be so common nowadays that psychiatrists are calling it by the name of ‘Gender Disappointment’.
According to these women, though they feel guilty for the negative feelings towards an unborn child or a child born of an undesirable gender, they feel the need to complete and balance their family is immense.
‘I cried in bed for two days,’ writes one woman, a mother of two boys, upon discovering her third child was also a boy. Another mother of three boys says, ‘I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get over not having a girl. I think about it every day, and the disappointment never goes away. I will carry this agony with me for the rest of my life.’
For some women this yearning for a specific gender child is so strong that they even resort to measures like keeping a complicated ovulation chart, having ‘gender specific’ nutrients in their diet and also asking their partners to have intercourse on specific days of the ovulation calendar. One of the most popular but still unsure methods used is the Shettles method.
The only way to ensure the sex of a baby is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which involves creating embryos via traditional IVF and then implanting only embryos of a certain sex. But this method too is recommended when there is a risk of transmitting a disease to a specific gender child.
From wishing to dress up a girl after having only boys to hoping a son will play ball better with dad than a daughter, the reasons women give for such a desire is varied. Many keep on attempting even when they are close to menopause and already have 5 to 8 kids.
In a time and age when some mothers fight to bear just one healthy child, few mothers it seems are still finding it difficult to count their blessings and keep on harping dreams of a different gender child. – Atula, Staff Writer
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