As I button up the back of my four-month-old’s cherry pink pajamas, and set her down in her little, rose-colored cot, I can’t help but think of how the little Evie in my arms was almost a Lucas!
My husband was over the moon when I told him that I too preferred not to know the sex of our baby. Although we both agreed on going “old-school” and waiting for the birth to discover what exactly we had brought into the world, we were surprised at how many people disagreed, and were even shocked by our choice.
Let me start out by saying that at 14 weeks pregnant, the decision to find out your baby’s gender is a completely personal one, as is choosing to then reveal the gender to friends and family. This article is for the undecided among you, those who aren’t quite sure, or couples who can’t quite agree on the subject.
According to the parenting website babycentre.com, 64% of expecting mothers prefer to know their baby’s gender beforehand. There are plenty of reasons why this is understandable: it makes buying baby clothes, and decorating the nursery a lot easier, as parents can plan to use gender specific color schemes and items. It also makes choosing a name that much simpler, which can cut stressful disagreements in half!
Friends and family also often prefer to be told in advance, as this allows them to know what sort of gifts to shower your little bundle of joy with. But aside from aesthetics, there are a few more practical advantages to knowing the baby’s gender before the birth.
Some parents, especially fathers, find it easier to bond with their baby in uteri when they can picture it as a little he or a her, especially after the 14 week mark, when your belly will start to show. If it isn’t your first, naming and describing the gender to your future little one can make it easier on older siblings to get used to the idea, and can even get excited about meeting the latest addition to the family. When I was expecting, I remember an elderly lady recommending that we find out the gender, as it would better prepare us for the shock of becoming parents for the first time. Not sure if there was very much in that… for us as a family at least.
But there is also plenty to be said for keeping the surprise for the due date! For one thing, not knowing can prolong the excitement of having a baby, especially on the days where all-day morning sickness or swollen feet can get you down. Some also believe that waiting to find out can help you persevere through the tougher parts of labor.
Not knowing whether to buy pink or blue does have some disadvantages, but there are plenty of gender-neutral colors out there that will suit every baby just fine. The same goes for nursery and accessory themes, if these are important to you. In the first months, babies grow so fast anyway, that if you only purchase what baby will need for the first few weeks, you can always buy more gender-specific items later. I should also mention that babies are messy, and generally don’t care what they’re wearing, as long as they are warm and comfortable. So very often the thrill of putting on baby’s first bow-tie or first frilly dress is pretty much just for the parents’ enjoyment.
There is also the thrill of discovering whether or not you, or your friends and family’s predictions were right. I even know a couple who used the unknown gender of their baby as a way to raise funds for a local children’s charity- by asking friends to place bets on whether they were expecting a boy or a girl. However, you will have to put up with people analyzing your bump for signs of which gender you are carrying, as well as many other old wives’ tales… but hey, it’s only for 9 months!
Not knowing your baby’s sex is also in keeping with the vast majority of history’s childbearing tradition. Only very recently did we develop the technology to anticipate the gender of a fetus. And sometimes, even technology can be wrong. An advantage of not knowing is that there can be no mistakes on labor day- what comes out is what you’re stuck with!
A word to the wise: if you decide not to find out your baby’s gender, it’s probably best to be OK with having either a boy or a girl. Giving birth is enough of a roller-coaster of emotions, pain, and hormones, without adding disappointment at not getting the gender you wanted into the mix. But either way, every baby is special and unique, so no matter what the gender or what you decide to do with it, it’s the rest of the journey parenting your little bundle of joy that counts.
Featured photo credit: IM Creator via imcreator.com