When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I quickly decided that we wouldn't find out the gender. I just didn't want to know. I liked the idea of being surprised during birth and for some reason, finding out kind of felt like I was cheating.
I soon discovered that my view was not the norm and that the subject of finding out versus not finding out was a hot topic, guaranteed to bring out strong opinions and a whole lot of debate.
For the remainder of the pregnancy, I had so many people tell me I was crazy and that there was no reason to wait. I totally understand the temptation to find out and I definitely don't judge those who choose to know, but once I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl (surprise!), I felt even more strongly that I had made the right decision.
I know this post won't change the minds of mamas who are absolutely convinced that finding out their baby's sex is a must. But if anyone out there is considering keeping it a surprise, here are my 10 reasons why it's TOTALLY worth it:
- All your newborn clothes will be gender neutral (so they can be used again, no matter what).
I think it would be a real bummer to have a girl and then have a boy next and not be able to use 90% of the baby clothes you already own. Every single piece of clothing I bought or was gifted before my daughter was born was gender-neutral, and they were no less cute! There are tons of adorable options outside of the pink and blue realm, but if everyone knows what you're having, they end up buying you really gender-specific items. Save yourself the expense of having to repurchase newborn clothes! Even if you're not planning on having another baby, it means you can hand down your items to anyone, no matter their baby's gender.
- People actually gift you stuff other than clothes. People love gifting cutesy clothing. It gets a big reaction and let's face it, it's fun to buy. But if the gender isn't known, people are way more likely to forgo clothes and instead buy you gear that you ACTUALLY need. When you have your first baby, you'll be drowning in baby onesies. In fact, you'll have so many, you'll likely never get to use them all before your baby grows out of them. Things like swings, carriers, bottles and diaper bags are costly and way more useful to you long term.
- It makes the birth announcement just that: an announcement. For me, not knowing what I was having made those first calls to family and friends that much sweeter. I will forever remember the cries of joy from our loved ones with the "It's a...." phone call. I've also been on the receiving end of them and there's nothing like the anticipation of waiting for the birth and the announcement of what the baby is. It makes that call even more exciting for everyone, the parents and the receivers of the news!
- It's an exercise in delayed gratification. In today's world, technology gives us the ability to know everything right here, right now. People aren't even waiting for the sonogram anymore, now they can pay to have a blood test that confirms gender mere days into their pregnancy! It's great that we've come so far with these technological advances, but it also means we don't really know how to wait anymore. Finding out the sex of your baby isn't a need, it's a want. I loved forcing myself to relax, wait and take a "whatever will be, will be" approach to my pregnancy. Finding out kind of felt like peeking at the gift before opening it on Christmas Day. Sure, there were moments that I felt tempted to know, but I was fairly at ease with not knowing and it just gave me that little bit of extra motivation when I was finally pushing those babies out!
- It keeps you from buying stuff you don't need. It's hard enough to resist buying every little floral patterned swaddle or truck themed bib once you HAVE a baby. Not knowing makes you wait a little longer on those unnecessary impulse purchases and once you've had the baby, your focus isn't on all the 'stuff' anymore.
- There are no moments of disappointment. Of course we're all happy with whatever baby we're blessed with and of course, a healthy baby is everyone's biggest wish, but there's no denying that we all have a tiny hope one way or the other. Maybe there are lots of boys in your extended family and you're anticipating having the first girl. Maybe you already have 2 girls and are hoping your third baby will be a boy. Maybe your husband is vocally rooting for one or the other. I've heard a few women admit that they had a moment of post-sonogram disappointment. And while I'm sure it didn't last long, knowing ahead of time does mean you'll have to process the news.
I was secretly hoping for a boy with my first, and you know what? When my husband yelled "It's a girl!" and she was placed on my chest, there was no way I was feeling ANY disappointment. Gender let-down is NO threat to the adrenaline and pure joy you feel after giving birth. You're instantly in love and it's guaranteed to be the happiest moment of your life, no matter what.
- Nobody asks about names. I've recently heard so many pregnant friends and family members complain that they don't want to share the baby's name but everyone asks, so they're constantly having to fend people off. I didn't even realize this was a thing! When someone asks you "What are you having?" and you tell them you don't know, they just don't bother investigating further!
- It keeps people guessing (and really ticks them off). I was shocked at how annoyed some people got with my decision to not find out the sex! I had family members begging me to have the ultrasound tech write it down so they could know, even if I didn't. I had friends desperately trying to convince me that I should find out and was absolutely out of my mind for waiting. It's kind of fun to push the envelope and watch everyone squirm over your decision. Plus, it makes for some entertaining (and sometimes heated) conversations!
- Knowing the gender isn't going to change anything. It doesn't make a damn difference. Whether you know or not, the same baby is going to come out. And don't listen to the cries of "you can't properly prepare if you don't know!". Babies need love, food and sleep. Painting the nursery blue instead of gray isn't going to make the sleepless nights any easier. Cribs will be bought and car seats will be assembled, regardless of whether the baby's sex is known or not.
- The moment you find out will be one you NEVER forget. From the dawn of time until a mere 30ish years ago, women had no choice but to learn the sex of their baby at the birth, and I really think it was designed that way for a reason. Obviously giving birth is an unforgettable experience regardless, but there is something transcendental about discovering WHO your baby is in the moment they make that journey out of your body to begin their own life. No preconceived notions, no name preassigned. With the births of both of my children, the moment I met them felt so spiritual that it just seems right to have done it with the anticipation nature intended me to have.
At the birth of my second child, that perfectly round baby was immediately placed on my chest and I looked down to finally discover what I was having. I cried, "It's a boy!". My husband began sobbing tears of joy. "We got a boy!" he yelled, over and over. At that very second, my amazing midwife motioned to my mom to pick up our camera and to snap a picture of the moment.
We will cherish it forever.