Unlike 90 percent of women, I’m keeping the baby’s sex a surprise for the delivery room.
These days, it seems like deciding how to reveal a baby’s gender goes hand in hand with pregnancy. Social media is forever featuring parents cutting into gender reveal cakes, opening boxes containing blue or pink balloons, or frolicking in showers of gender specific confetti. I get it (except for the tedious mess that confetti makes for a hormonal, pregnant gal to clean up afterward). The gender of that bun in the oven is an exciting piece of information—one that I seized ASAP with my first pregnancy—that aids in choosing baby clothes, a nursery theme and, of course, the perfect name.
This time around, however, we’re doing things differently. I knew I wasn’t in the majority on this decision, but not how much until last week at my 20-week ultrasound. After telling the ultrasound tech we didn’t want to know the gender, she informed me and my husband that, “only about 10 percent of women I see don’t want to know.”
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Ten percent? I couldn’t believe such an overwhelming majority of moms don’t hold out for the surprise in the delivery room. But when I told friends and family about my decision, they were just as surprised at my decision to hold out. Some of the most kindhearted people have looked at me like I was doing the world an injustice by not finding out. “I could never not know,” they insisted, even though until the 1950s, no one ever knew. And while I understand some of their logic, I believe there are many benefits of not knowing this baby’s gender that tend to get overlooked. So I wanted to share with other mamas-to-be why I’m committed to staying in suspense, in case you’re on the fence about knowing:
No splurging on baby clothes
A lot of moms argue that the pre-baby shopping is easier when you know the sex ahead of time. And to some extent, they’re right: gender-neutral clothing is mostly, well, blah. But knowing the gender of your baby can make it too easy to go credit card crazy.
Before my daughter was born, I couldn’t help but peruse aisles containing itty-bitty shoes, tutus and other impractical items for newborns. She had an entire wardrobe before she was born and about a third of it was never even worn.
This time around, I haven’t even ventured into the baby clothes section, and so far our bank account is grateful. I know when the baby comes, and we’re all grateful (and tired), we’ll buy what we need, with less impulse buys.
Pregnancy stays free of presumed disappointment
For those who find out the sex and already have a child or children of the same gender, they’re often asked if they’re disappointed. I’m ashamed to say I’m guilty of having questioned expectant moms’ reactions to finding out that they’re having yet another boy or girl.
But when mama doesn’t know what sex baby she’s having, people don’t have a chance to wonder if she was hoping for one gender or another … and, more importantly, neither does she. Excitement over a new life should be presumed and encouraged without the gender attached because you’re going to have the baby either way. As mother to two boys and former co-anchor of Today Erica Hill stated, “Our boys are the family we were meant to have.”
The suspense is fun to talk about
Sometimes people say the darndest things: My sister-in-law, who also didn’t want to know the gender, was expecting and informed an inquiring woman that she didn’t know the gender. The woman looked her up and down and declared, “You’re carrying weight everywhere, not just in your belly. It’s a girl.” Fortunately, my good-natured sister-in-law found the assessment more hilarious than offensive.
Plus, it’s so enjoyable to think about all the possibilities, including names for baby boys and baby girls. Leaving the door open to all the options is a beautiful, exciting thing.
That moment of knowing is once in a lifetime
The people I know who have chosen to wait say it’s absolutely worth it. My cousin and his wife, currently expecting their fifth, only found out the gender for their second child. “After knowing how incredible the surprise is in the delivery room, we wished we’d waited,” he told me.
Of course, it’s nice to feel connected to your baby before birth by knowing if you have a son or daughter coming. But for those who are able to hold out until delivery, I’ve been told that welcoming your child in all of his or her beauty and newness, gender and all, is totally worth the wait.
It doesn’t really matter
Modern technology can be wonderful, but sometimes it gives us the false impression that we’re in control of everything. God gives us the baby we are meant to have, boy or girl. Maybe we are not meant to know everything about our little miracles the minute we decide we want to know. If we just let go, and trust, we may be able to enjoy our pregnancy and all the excitement around it a little bit more.
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