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to be unsure what to say to my depressed friend about her gender disappointment. Is this common?

(30 Posts)
DangerGrouse Mon 27-Jul-15 19:19:43

I visited a friend today who has awful depression and I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do/say to help her. She's pregnant with her third child which she's just found out is another boy (she already has two boys) and she confided to me that she's really upset about it. I had no idea what to say to her as there's not a lot she can do about it really is there?? She said she always dreamed of having a daughter and now she won't be able to have one. She says she loves her sons but was really hoping this one will be a girl. (She can't afford any more after this)
I've never seen her so low and I'd really like to help her so I need some help in what to say. To make matters worse I actually have a daughter which I now feel awkward about having round her.
Has anyone been in this position and what did you do?
Ps This isn't just her being a bit fed up - she looked bloody suicidal I'm really worried about her...!

CautiousVisitor Mon 27-Jul-15 19:31:12

I think the thing to remember is that if she is seriously depressed, then this isn't about the sex of her child - it's about everything she is feeling underneath that. So, reassuring her that a third son will be great etc probably won't help. It sounds like what she really needs is encouragment to get some real help for her depression. Do you think you can try to guide her towards getting some help?

(I've found when I've been depressed that it has been a huge help - even if I didn't like it at the time IYSWIM, to have someone say: "you have a problem. Here are some things you can try.")

DisappointedOne Mon 27-Jul-15 19:38:03

A baby has a sex, not a gender.

ARunOfThings Mon 27-Jul-15 19:42:30

I agree with Visitor - this probably isn't really about whether the baby is a boy or a girl. She needs to get some help with the depression (or additional help, if she gets some already). Can you encourage her to go to her GP or to talk to her midwife?

YeOldeTrout Mon 27-Jul-15 19:42:35

oh ffs

I think it's like any other disappointment, sometimes all you can do is listen, but listening can be worth a lot.

StonedGalah Mon 27-Jul-15 19:47:17

I'd say a baby does have a sex not gender Disappointed. The gender surely shows later, like when dc can express themselves?

But regardless, not a really helpful post was it. Well done on getting your opinion out there though.

OP try to encourage your friend to go to the gp.

MamaLazarou Mon 27-Jul-15 19:51:45

This isn't about the sex of your friend's baby, it's about her depression. Seriously, when I was depressed I thought all sorts of weird shit. Try and help her but don't focus on the baby's sex. She may well gain some perspective if/when she starts to feel better.

TheoriginalLEM Mon 27-Jul-15 19:52:38

I really don't think this is an appropriate thread to be arguing over sex/gender hmm

Your friend does sound terribly depressed. Has she suffered from depression before? It might be worth kindly suggesting she talks to her GP, she can be given medication to help with PND once she has had the baby, maybe counselling in the meantime (if of course her local mental health services aren't totally over stretched).

As for what you say? Maybe don't say anything, unless she is directly talking about it. Just be there to listen and maybe help her get some rest by having the boys over to play. Don't be awkward about your DD, she most likely loves having her around.

Marylou2 Mon 27-Jul-15 19:55:16

Is the sex of her unborn child the cause of her depression or is it a pre existing condition. Has she spoken to her midwife or GP? I'm sure they'll have heard it many times before as it's cropped up regularly in my group of friends when we had our children. It seems to be a discussion that many close female friends have but would be horrified to admit to partners or family.

MrsGentlyBenevolent Mon 27-Jul-15 20:00:45

It doesn't matter whether you call it sex or gender, it's a boy and for some reason this is causing the friend's depression to emerge. Putting aside the PC brigade, perhaps ask your friend why she wants a daughter so much? I know that's what my mother wanted, I turned out to be a disappointment anyway - she was more into an idea of a girl that actually having one (or maybe I just didn't fit into her idealism of a girl). I think that some women feel that they will never truly have a bond with a boy that they could a daughter as they seem to imagine them to be 'little versions' of themselves. This boy could be just like her though, perhaps she could think of certain traits or hobbies she would like to share, and how they could be shared with her sons. If the depression persists though, it may be an idea for her to speak to the midwife - would not like her suffering pnd as a result.

EmiliaJ Mon 27-Jul-15 20:09:50

Why is it that women are always so disappointed with having boys and not girls? I mean seriously I've read quite a few gender disappointment threads both on here and on netmums and not once has there been a woman crying over having a little baby girl, it's always boys, I just don't get it?.....boys are brilliant, I'd tell ur friend OP to stop being such a mard arse and she's got what she's got so get over herself!

Babyroobs Mon 27-Jul-15 20:10:50

I admit I felt upset/ dissapointed at finding out I was having a third boy. The pregnancy was unplanned and I desperately wanted a girl. It wasn't so much the thought of 3 boys, more that I thought at that point I would never have a daughter and I desperately wanted one!! I did then go on to have a girl a few years later but did not find out the sex.

TheoriginalLEM Mon 27-Jul-15 20:11:58

wow Emilia - your understanding of depression is just enlightened hmm

DangerGrouse Mon 27-Jul-15 20:12:23

Keeeeerist apologies for upsetting the pedants with my flippant turn of phrase. I did start to write 'sex disappointment' but deleted it as it was looking like an entirely different type of question all together and I didn't think anyone would care. Wrong! sigh. Also I watched a programme once and they called it gender disappointment. Channel 4 too so it must be right wink

ANYWAY WHO EFFING CARES - to answer the other posters sorry I should have been more specific - she sometimes has a sort of low level depression that is well controlled with drugs but this has sent her into the abyss. She seems so so upset at the thought of never having a daughter I've not seen her anywhere near this bad before. I did suggest the GP but she's ashamed of her thoughts and is scared social services will get involved.

EmiliaJ Mon 27-Jul-15 20:13:53

If it's genuine depression a person has then I'll listen to them with open ears but I'm sorry being disappointed because you're having a baby boy instead of a baby girl is not depression, it's verging on pathetic.

MrsGentlyBenevolent Mon 27-Jul-15 20:16:33

Emilia - I know what you mean and it's odd to me. I had been convinced since my 12 week scan I was having a boy. This was 'confirmed' at my 20 week scan. I really do think I would have been 'disappointed' if told I was having a girl. Not because it would have actually made a difference in the long term, because I had built up having a boy in my mind (whatever that means). But hey, he's not here yet, may still have a shock in a couple of months wink, wouldn't be totally unusual for them to get it wrong! Like I said in my pervious post, a lot of people fall for an idea, not the actual reality of it.

dietcokeandwine Mon 27-Jul-15 20:16:33

I actually agree with "Emilia* about the usual boy-related gender disappointment threads - and she's right, it's always about these poor little unwanted second or third boys, never ever ever about girls - I get increasingly frustrated when I read them. I knew even before I clicked on this thread that it would be about an unwanted boy.


This isn't your 'usual' boy-related gender disappointment thread, judging from the OP. It's about someone with severe mental health issues for whom this recent knowledge about the baby has triggered/intensified severe depression. OP can you encourage her to visit GP for help or talk to her DH to try to get her some help?

crazykat Mon 27-Jul-15 20:20:32

Emilia I know three women who were disappointed over having another girl when they already had two or three girls and we're hoping for a boy. I know a few men who have all girls or all boys who were hoping their youngest would be a boy or girl respectively.

Op, I agree with pp in that there must be something underlying your friend's depression. Yes sex disappointment is 'a thing', a friend of mine was very upset about having fourth girl as it was also her final child but she adjusted to the idea and loves her youngest dd as much as the others.

I'd advise your friend to speak to her mw or gp and tell them how she's feeling. Whether the fact she's having another boy is the only cause of her depression or not she clearly needs help to deal with her feelings.

TheoriginalLEM Mon 27-Jul-15 20:22:27

Gosh, it would seem you are a psychologist now - well diagnosed!

She shouldn't feel ashamed, I am concerned that she has anti-natal depression, now whether this has been bought on by the fact she is having another boy or whether this is a manifestation of that isn't really relevant. The worry is that she will go on to develop pnd. It is very difficult because alongside depression comes anxiety and she will worry that they will think her a bad mother, that she will be considered a risk to her child. But in all honesty, they wont think that at all. They will support her. I had severe PND and got nothing but support (once it was diagnosed but thats another story) from my GP and no mention of social services whatsoever.

The thing is, the maternal bond is strong and hopefully she will fall in love with her baby either before the birth or after. After all, what matters is the birth of a healthy child. The problem with depression is the loss of perspective.

Is your friend's partner supportive?

Anecdotally (sp) my friend had four boys and i am sure she was desperate for a girl, having lost one during pregnancy, but she now has a lovely family of boys who are an absolute credit to her. In many years time your friend will most likely feel the same. She just can't see it now.

StonedGalah Mon 27-Jul-15 20:25:44

Why do you get to decide what's "genuine depression" Emilia?

Mintyy Mon 27-Jul-15 20:28:13

Oh God with the shameless pedantry AGAIN on this subject Disappointed One!

Why not offer some advice to op instead of showing off how smart you are?

Op, urge your friend to see her GP. There is no shame involved and if she loves her sons she really must make an effort to get better for their sakes! Appeal to the maternal part of her ... tell her her little boys need her to be better and not sad and suicidal. She must ask for help if she is this low. It's a worry for you op.

Iggi999 Mon 27-Jul-15 20:36:52

Has she just found out? It is understandable to sort-of grieve for the daughter you won't have while at the same time being happy with the son you do get.

ARunOfThings Mon 27-Jul-15 21:20:28

By the way, when I was pregnant, I decided I really wanted a girl. I basically convinced myself I was having a girl. Couldn't get my head around the possibility of having a boy. But as soon as the midwife said "It's a bit!" I thought "Yes! That's exactly right!". Needless to say, i love him to bits and can't imagine having a girl now.

But in my head, a girl was an easier idea to "control", I think, because a girl was the same as me, so I would understand her etc. I realise now that that's silly, but I think it helped me not to get overwhelmed by being pregnant (I have depression and anxiety and get overwhelmed by change). It may be that your friend is feeling something similar, and will be fine once she holds her little boy in her arms.

But in the meantime, it sounds like it would help for her to talk to someone. Do you know how her partner feels, and is he supportive of her and helping her?

PiperChapstick Mon 27-Jul-15 22:04:21

Emilia you have just had a very personal dig at a lot of MNers, who are you to say what makes a person depressed or not?! Gender disappointment is a very real issue, educate yourself before you start spouting rubbish you know nothing about

PiperChapstick Mon 27-Jul-15 22:05:59

Also did we really only get to 2 comments before a pedant came along hmm this is a thread about depression, how very good of you to focus on what's important

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