Gender Disappointment: A Christian Response

A Christian Response to Gender Disappointment

By Natalie Klejwa, Editress of Visionary Womanhood

What is Gender Disappointment?

Gender disappointment is the very common, normal, Wemmick response to finding out that your baby’s gender is the opposite of what you were hoping for. Most women I’ve talked to about this subject have experienced it to one degree or another. Having been pregnant a number of times myself, I have certainly experienced it.

Why Gender Disappointment is Common and Normal

Because we are Wemmicks, that’s why. We naturally love ourselves (God made us that way), and we want everything to be peachy. Peachy, as defined by us, is when things go our way. We want A, B, and C. We want to CHOOSE A, B, and C for ourselves. We are happy when we GET A, B, and C (in a timely fashion, mind you), and we are unhappy when we don’t. Is it really that simple? It really is.

Common and Normal Isn’t Always Right and Good

Here is where we come to a fork in the road. Depending on your worldview, we will either travel together—or go our separate ways. One path says that “right” and “good” are subjective realities defined differently by different folks. What’s right for you—is right. Even if it’s not right for someone else.

Aside from the fact that this kind of thinking is intellectual suicide that defies the rules of logic, it’s also just plain old bad for society. (Hey, I can shoot you in the head if it makes me feel good, and if we’re going to be consistent, you have to be OK with that.)

The other path says that “right” and “good” are objective realities defined by something outside of ourselves. Namely, the Author of life. In other words, we aren’t the boss. The Boss is the boss. He decides. This makes sense even to a child, and it is consistent with how healthy cultures thrive.

God’s Word Defines Right and Good

So because this is a Christian blog, I’m gonna go down the “objective reality” path where we acknowledge our Maker and admit that He’s probably pretty smart – and us – not so much. This means we need to know and understand His Word and then apply it to our thinking when it comes to things like gender disappointment. His ways are meant to help us find emotional, physical, and mental health.

A Quick Word to the Pharisees Among Us (That Means Me)

If you are reading this blog post smugly thinking, “WELL! IIIIIIII was NEVER disappointed in the genders of ANY of MY children! What a HORRIBLE thing to feel. I’m so grateful IIIIIIII have never felt such a SELFISH thing as THAT! Harumph!” then what I’m gonna say next is just for you.

Sin is rooted in the core of every single Wemmick alive. If you are alive, that means you. So basically, if you are thinking the thoughts I just wrote above (and I dare you to ask me how I am so familiar with such thoughts…), you are saying, in effect:

“Since I was never disappointed in the genders of my children, I am of a higher order of Wemmicks, deserving of special attention and affection from God and my fellow Wemmicks.”

Hmmmm…

One More Word, This Time About My Own Gender Disappointment

Just so you don’t think I’m writing this as someone who can’t relate – twenty LOOONNNGGG years ago I was expecting my first baby, and I kept dreaming it was a boy. I really wanted a baby, but deep down, I was hoping for a boy. When my baby was born at 21 weeks gestation, too early to survive, she turned out to be a girl.

And that cured me of any MAJOR gender disappointment that came down the pike for me in the future. You see, once she was dead, it didn’t matter to me what she was. I just wanted her back. I just wanted my baby. She was MINE. She was PRECIOUS. And she was gone.

I struggled with a lot of things after she died – guilt being one of them.

But even that didn’t totally cure me of that Wemmick feeling of, deep down, wanting a certain baby to be a certain sex. Sometimes I got my way. Sometimes I didn’t. See how this kind of thing is all interwoven in the fabric of who we are? We can’t really escape the fact that we are human.

So is it hopeless? Do we just succumb to our Wemmick thinking? Do we just allow ourselves to get sucked down into the vortex of Wemmick emotions? Do we give way to despair and angst? No, we do not. If you are reading this and you are in the middle of feeling like a louse because you wanted a girl, but you’ve got a boy in the cooker – or vice versa – I’ve got some strategical ways for you to think about this.

These aren’t quick fixes designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They won’t suddenly make you super happy and content. But they may give you a sense of relief and hope. And for sure, they may help you find contentment, joy, and peace – over time. That’s called “making progress.” And that’s good, right?

Ten Things to Think When You’re a Bummed Out CHRISTIAN Wemmick

1. My perspective is short term and small. God’s perspective is long term and huge.

This child will be around for eternity, and you didn’t create him/her. In fact, you just started thinking about this life, whereas God has been thinking about him/her since the beginning of time.

2. Our short lives on earth aren’t about us. They are about the Creator.

He’s writing a story through us. His story. He’s a good writer. Let Him write it.

3. This baby isn’t my baby. It’s God’s baby.

God is entrusting you with a child to raise. The sex of this person is relevant only insofar as it fulfills God’s ultimate purposes.

4. I will love my baby the way God loves me. Unconditionally.

God doesn’t love us because of anything we’ve accomplished or because of our personality or because we are a certain sex. We are His daughters. Let us rise to our noble calling and pursue loving others (including that 10th daughter or that 6th son) in the same way.

5. When we are weak, He is strong.

So acknowledge your weakness in desiring to embrace a certain gender over the other, and then let Him change and enlarge your heart. How can we grow if we are never stretched? If you are being stretched, this is a sign that God is deeply involved in your life! Rejoice in this knowledge!

6. God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

If you are His, you will work toward surrendering to that Truth. When we rebel, we suffer in unnecessary ways and miss out on amazing growth opportunities. Do you believe He is doing what is best for you? Are you trusting Him? You CAN, you know! It’s a purposeful choice you make – sometimes minute by minute.

7. Your baby has an eternal destiny, and his/her gender is inextricably wound in that destiny. Would you have it any other way?

There’s a good reason this boy is a boy – or this girl is a girl, and believe me, it has nothing to do with sword fighting or tea parties.

8. Children are not pets created for our pleasure. They are not an extension of ourselves. They are weapons in the service of the King.

If God came to you with a baby in His arms and said, “Hey ______, I’ve got this amazing person I’d like you to raise. It’s another _______. I’m choosing to entrust this child to you. Will you take this assignment? Will you play your part in the advancement of My Kingdom? Would your response be, “Well, jeepers, I sort of wanted a boy. I haven’t bought boy clothes in a LOOOONNNG time and the fashions are SO CUTE these days.” (???)

This principle can be applied to the King giving you a special needs child to raise. This is certainly not an easy row to hoe, but it has the potential to change your life and the lives of everyone around you for the better. God doesn’t make mistakes, and every life makes a splash in the water which then ripples out and affects eternity in profound ways. Just because we can’t, in our finite understanding, see all of that in advance, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

9. To embrace God’s will is to be filled with POWER. To shove it aside is to crumple in a heap and miss out on an incredibly special life.

We, by ourselves, are really nothing to brag about. We are needy. We are fragile. We are, well, like babies. God embraces every single one of us (He isn’t picky like we are) in the midst of our running away from Him like little dorks, fills us with Holy Spirit power, and then miraculously does all His good pleasure through our half-hearted efforts to love Him in return. That should make our spines tingle in wonder.

It should also give us courage to believe that we can raise this child in His power and strength alone. We don’t have to rely on ourselves! What a relief!

10. One day your life will be over and you will have 20/20 vision to see the WHY’s behind the children God chose for you.

On that day you will realize with amazement and joy that His choices were EXACTLY what you would have chosen – had you known what He knew in advance. You don’t have to wait to find that out. You can believe that NOW and experience serenity in the core of your being.

Were you encouraged by this article? Three Decades of Fertility tells the story of ten ordinary women, like you, who embraced children over the course of three decades. They had issues too! Find out how God brought them through all kinds of disappointments as well as joyful surprises as they surrendered to His plans for their lives. Read more about this unique book HERE!

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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8 thoughts on “Gender Disappointment: A Christian Response

  1. Great article!! My first 3 children are boys and I can really relate to point #1. I am not a physically strong woman. I don’t get up and go-go-go all day!! Especially during pregnancy. But God in his providence looked down the pipe a bit and saw that my hubby would travel for work and provided me 5 (so far!) strapping boys to help out :) And I am grateful He knew what I needed and gave me what I needed, not what I wanted.

    We are currently pregnant with #7 and have 1 girl. I was not prepared this time for the onslaught of well-wishers pumping our girl up with “I think it’s time you get a sister” and “we’re rooting for you to get a girl”. We are pretty low key about gender around here and I am concerned for her heart. She knows God will give us what He deems best but I don’t want her disappointed :-/

  2. Thank you for this. When I saw the title I knew I had to read it. I lost my son at 36 weeks on May 4th of this year and am currently 7 weeks pregnant. Despite telling myself some of those same things you mention I’ve still struggled. Obviously I dont know what I have coming but my selfish self is saying “why would God take my son only to give me a daughter?” It’s a very real and very hard struggle. My 3 almost 4 yo son wants a brother so bad and I so want to give him that but it’s not up to me. Our first was a girl then boy, then mc whom we named a boy bc how the pregnancy felt, then girl, then boy lost at 36 weeks. To my son here, he has two brothers in heaven and just wants one here. Thank you.

    • Jessica, my heart is heavy for you. The struggle is real and ongoing. Yes. We have to keep reminding ourselves of truth over and over every single day. The lies come naturally, and the truth is something we fight for.

      I didn’t mention in the article that I REALLY wanted a girl then – after I lost that baby girl. And God gave me a boy. And then He gave me another boy. I got my girl exactly -TO THE DAY -that I lost our first daughter. Our Aimee (now 13) shares the same birthday as that first baby. It was like a huge hug from God the day she was born. We just never know what’s coming. I love Amy Grant’s new song, “It’s Better Not to Know.” So true.

  3. Hi, I am not pregnant, although, I would love to be. :) And I believe God knows what’s best for me. Hubby and I have two precious gifts from the Lord. I must admit when I was pregnant with my daughter (soon to be 12). I was CONVINCED she was a boy and when we found out she was a girl, I was pretty upset. We had an ultra sound and the technician couldn’t tell for sure if she was a girl or not, I held out hope till the day she was born that she would be a boy. But I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. She is such a blessing to us and 3 years later the Lord did bless us with a boy.
    I wanted to tell you though, how I was moved/convicted by your article in light of just life in general. My husband and I are currently looking to purchase a home and it might not be the Lord’s will for us. Its a hard thing to acknowledge. Statement 5 spoke right to my heart. Even in my weakness and disappointment over it, He is strong. I definitely feel I am being stretched, but its a good reminder to know that He is growing me.
    So thanks again for writing. Even if I am not in the midst of gender disappointment, it was a great reminder that HE is the one in control. And that is a good thing!!

    • Funny – we were going to move last year – out to the country. It was a huge dream of mine, and my husband decided in the end not to move forward with it. I was sorely disappointed, but God has shown me so many wonderful things about where we live now, and He has brought me to a place of gratefulness again. But it is a process. And the process is THE POINT! :) Hang in there. The story isn’t over…

  4. We have a large all-of-a-kind family, and are expecting another of the same gender to add to our blessings. There was a time when we had babies without miscarriage, or any types of major problems. While there were prayers for the opposite gender, and admittably some disappointment ( about gender news) along the way, there was also gratefulness as we realized that we were/are really blessed. None of our babies was a disappointment… They have all been amazing blessing with different personalities.

    Our story got complicated with a long series of miscarriages. Some were kind of private, but 2 of them were later miscarriages. We buried 2 babies, two times seperate times. A long time after, we found out ( through chromosomal studies) that both of them were the opposite gender of what we thought… So our all-of-a-kind family is *not* truly an all-of-a-kind family. It took a long time to get this information, and for now we are keeping this news mostly private, even from our children. There is a reason God did not want us to have this information sooner…

    I am still grieving while I rejoice over a *miracle* pregnancy… and sometimes it is hard to know how to respond to people. While there are many who rejoice with us, there are still the comments that hurt. My husband has gotten a few really tough comments even from Christians who know about the losses that were public. For years we have gotten the ” Oh you must only make_____ gender.” How does one respond to that when you know you buried 2 of the opposite gender… and you are still grieving in the midst of rejoicing?

    Part of me wants to get up and PREACH to the world about how precious life is, and what a miracle it is… and part of me feels like there is no use in trying to change people’s thoughts… So I am still not sure if it’s best to just smile and be gracious, or make a big point that this new baby is a miracle. So far, I have done both… One way or another, I want all of this to bring glory to God…. I just don’t know how to do that, and maybe I just need more time for Him to show me what to do.

    • Thank you for being vulnerable here. Rest in Him and let Him glorify Himself through you. We’re all weak Wemmicks – and have to rub shoulders with other weak Wemmicks. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes we will respond well. Sometimes we won’t. We’ll muddle our way through and be thankful for the Grace of God! Congratulations on the little life growing inside you right now! I will pray for a safe pregnancy and delivery right now.