When I was a kid, out strolling with my mum, we would often meet a lady of similar age to my mum who’d had a child that suffered from Down’s Syndrome. Back then in the 1960s / 70s, it was a rare sight to actually see a child with Downs out and about. Many died relatively early, and others were institutionalised. This lady had chosen to keep her child at home with her. He was a happy child – I would see him on and off until I left home. I think he was a wee bit younger than I was. What her reactions would have been when the child was born I had no idea; I can only imagine. But in later life whenever I mother and son they seemed perfectly happy, despite the difficulties they both faced.
I was reminded of this lady this morning when, on my scout through the online editions of various Sunday newspapers, I came across this article about a ‘psychological condition’ known as Gender Disappointment. This is the condition suffered by women (and their partners) who give birth to a perfectly healthy child who’s the wrong sex – they get a girl when they wanted a boy, or vice-versa. Now, I can see that it may be a severe disappointment to know that you’re going to get a little girl when you already have 3 or 4 boys; but that, I’m afraid, is genetics and biochemistry for you. That’s the way the cookie crumbles – there may be things you can do with diet and such to make conception of a child of a particular sex more likely, but I’m not sure how effective they are. And yes, it can be heartbreaking if you have 5 or 6 girls and desperately want a boy for whatever reason.
But here’s a quote from a woman suffering from this ‘condition’:
“Another mother of three boys writes: ‘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.’”
I’m sorry. Three healthy sons. This ‘disappointment’ is a slap in the face to the childless. This ‘agony’ is an insult to those who have given birth to a disabled child that will require constant care, or that will die in childhood. And what do her own children feel about this? That they’re ‘second best’?
The perceptive amongst you will by now have gathered that, as I put the term ‘psychological condition’ in inverted commas, I’m not at all convinced. Post natal depression is a psychological condition. OCD is a psychological condition. ‘Gender Disappointment’ is not a psychological condition; it’s an excuse given by some whinging couples to feel sorry for themselves because, possibly for the first time in a long time, they haven’t got exactly what they wanted. The ‘perfect family’ they envisaged ain’t going to be perfect because they have boys rather than girls, or vice-versa. I have a name for folks who bitch when they don’t get exactly what they want. It’s called being SPOILED.
So, sufferers of Gender Disappointment; grow up, get over it, get a grip, stop whinging and appreciate the fact that you have healthy children. Count your blessings and accept them for what they are – one of the great miracles of life.