For a lot of expectant parents, one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is learning which sex your baby will be. For one dad, the excitement was literally too much: In a video that’s going viral, the expectant father passes out cold when he learns that he’s having a boy.
The couple that posted the video online already has four girls. They’ve been trying for a boy for some time now, so when they cut into the cake that would reveal whether they could expect girl number five or their very first son, the two got a welcome surprise:
It’s a raucous party, and it looks like the friends and family who were invited were clued in to the couple’s hopes. Chants of “Boy! Boy! Boy!” erupt into cheers as the dad falls to the floor, overcome with happiness.
Delighting (or being disappointed) in your child’s sex isn’t new, but many people are cautious about how they articulate their happiness or dismay — people are quick to judge and even quicker to chastise parents into “just being happy the baby is healthy” when they encounter someone who is “hoping” for one sex or the other. But the truth is, most parents do have a preference, even if they sincerely would be happy with either sex. When that preference is extreme or unrealized — in this case, the fifth time was the charm — then preferential hopes turn into something called gender disappointment.
It’s a very real feeling, and it’s usually the combination of two emotions: sadness at letting your dreams for how you imagine your life would be with a little boy or a little girl go, and extreme guilt at the fact that you feel sad. We obviously can’t say for sure that this couple experienced gender disappointment, but the combination of four daughters and the repeated tries for a longed-for son definitely speak to the same range of emotions.
Gender disappointment doesn’t mean you dislike the children you have or would like them better if they weren’t themselves. It likely just means that you’re human. We all start to form a picture of what we think our lives will be like, and that’s never more true than in pregnancy. We start imagining what our lives would be like with our smart, fearless little girl or our funny, creative little boy. We name them. We see them in our minds. Then you learn you’re having the opposite of what you’d hoped for, and those imagined scenarios evaporate.
Having a string of sons or daughters with the hope that the next baby will be the elusive, sought-after opposite isn’t exactly uncommon either. Forums like ingender and Gender Dreaming are chock-full of moms and dads alike hashing out their feelings of anticipation, disappointment, guilt and shame as they try again and again to conceive the sex they’re hoping for.
Believe it or not, such experiences usually end in triumph either way. Sometimes it’s in the form of a “success” and parents so thrilled that they pass out cold from the joy. More often than not, the success stories read more like this mom’s, who posted in an online forum about how she had desperately hoped for a girl but learned she was pregnant with a son instead:
“My handsome prince arrived on 5th december last year and i updated on the site straight away. He is now 9 weeks old. I fell in love with him instantly and cried wondering why i was so scared. He is simply beautiful. I realised i dont have to dress him in only blues and reds and give him trucks and trains but that he can wear creams, and play with teddies. It really doesnt matter, hes healthy, and the bond i have with him is simply undescribable. He is just amazing!”