36 | Exploring gender disappointment – with Gemma Smith


In our sixth snapshot episode, I take some time to unpack the concept of ‘gender disappointment’. Not widely/ publicly spoken about until more recent years, gender disappointment is fast becoming something many people in the perinatal period identify with. Identifying with gender disappointment is often accompanied by shame or guilt, so in order to help you process how you feel about your relationship to gender disappointment this episode explores:

  • What gender disappointment is 
  • Who gender disappointment impacts and how 
  • The three big themes of gender disappointment – Replication + Repair + Reflection  
  • How sociology (and gender essentialism) can help us understand the root cause of gender disappointment 
  • How I work with gender disappointment within my perinatal counselling sessions


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1) This is the research paper which I accidentally referred to as an “article” throughout the podcast (click the DOI for access): Hendl, T. & Browne, T.K. (2019). Is ‘gender disappointment’ a unique mental illness? Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (online). DOI: 10.1007/s11019-019-09933-3

2) This is the gender disappointment article I often share with clients: Gender disappointment: Grieving the idealised child https://www.antenatalandpostnatalpsychology.com.au/information-posts/gender-disappointment-grieving-the-idealised-child

3) These are a couple of magazine articles related to gender disappointment:https://www.mamamia.com.au/women-want-a-daughter/ https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/a34529992/why-women-want-baby-girl-daughter/

Trigger warnings

This episode discusses gender disappointment, sex selection and sex/ gender concepts which are largely discussed within a broad, hetronormative lense. 


Please read my full disclaimer prior to listening.