While it may feel ridiculous to some, gender disappointment has meant real pain and heartbreak for this Aussie mum.
Kate – not her real name – already has two boys and has always dreamt of a baby girl. When she was told at her 20-week scan that she and her husband were expecting another boy, she burst into tears.
“I went to the bedroom and cried for a really long time," she told the ABC Lateline. "You feel horrible, because you want to be excited that it's a boy, but part of you was really disappointed."
Couples with gender disappointment grieve the loss of the boy or girl they hoped their baby would be.
Sometimes this is because they wanted a certain gender “balance” in their family, or because they always imagined and fantasied about having a child of a certain gender. Either way, they are left disappointed and in some cases guilt-ridden, that their dreams will not become a reality.
Kate explains that in her case, “I always imagined her and she's always existed. I feel the family isn't complete without her."
"Unless someone has that desire themselves and feels how it can be all-consuming, they can't understand what it's like.”
Another mum explained her dream of having a girl to Kidspot, saying she had always wanted one and had imagined their future together.
“I had it all mapped out, from dressing her in pretty pink dresses as an infant to helping her pick out a wedding dress as the beaming ‘mother of the bride’,” she said.
“We’d be best friends, confidantes; I’d be the doting grandmother always there to lend a hand when she finally had a family of her own.”
She was shattered when at 38-years-old and after undergoing IVF, she found out she was pregnant with twins, a second and third boy.
For many couples, the grieving ends with pregnancy and they are able to bond with their baby after they are born.
As one mum from Tasmania described her experience on a parenting forum, “I have two beautiful girls and when I found out the second was another girl I was rather disappointed for a few days but never ever would change it.
“I am about to find out what [the gender of my next baby] is, and I know if it’s another girl I will be disappointed but by the time bub is here it wont matter.”
While gender selection via IVF is illegal in Australia (unlike in some other places like California), many couples afraid of gender disappointment try other methods that claim to “sway” you towards having one gender or the other.
Kate tried a number of options before falling pregnant, saying, "We did diets, supplements, timing, the Chinese calendar, the moon phase, extra exercises, everything we could have thought of, everything we could find online."
Other methods include changing your diet, timing sex – so that you try for a baby just before ovulation if you want a girl and just after if you’re after a boy – and using specific positions. Unsurprisingly, none have been proven.