I absolutely LOVE gender reveals. After the baby comes, that is!
As soon as I hear the first cry of my newborn child I immediately ask the midwife “What is it? What is it?” And the question which has been burning a hole in my mind for 9 long months is finally answered. There’s no moment quite like it in the world.
And that brings me to the first reason we like to keep the gender a secret:
I honestly wouldn’t feel quite the same about labor if I already knew the gender. When those first pains hit, I tell myself “today I’m going to find out what we’re having!”
Transition is tough, but I keep my eye on the prize. Just a few more pushes and I’ll be holding a newborn boy or a newborn girl. The whole world seems to turn on that momentous question, because there are such grand, life-changing differences between the two possibilities.
No Pre-Conceived Notions
It’s easy to fill our heads with arbitrary notions once the boy or girl pronouncement is made. Some over eager parents might even jump years ahead and start picking out career choices (“She’s gonna be a ballerina just like Mama!”)
I hate bursting bubbles, but learning the gender isn’t going to give any new insights into the unique person that your baby is, beyond guiding the name choice. At this point, boys and girls alike are going to kick and squirm, expand your waistline, and give you heartburn.
In the 21st century, we have so few surprises left, I just really like leaving this one up to God. It’s His little secret, to be revealed on delivery day. It’s a little reminder that we can’t control everything in our lives. Even fans of ultrasound have to admit that the techs can get it completely wrong; heck, they’ve even missed twins before.
And if there are “expectant” siblings, the surprise is even better!
It’s an undeniable fact that the excitement of delivery day will be amped up considerably when nobody knows the gender beforehand. Just think of how fun it is to announce more than just the length and weight. Folks at the other end of the phone line are just dying to hear the word BOY or GIRL.
That’s what makes a surprise party so much fun – it’s a shared moment. The more the merrier! I’ve even asked different doctors and midwives about it, and they all say not knowing makes the delivery more memorable for them, too.
If I knew the gender beforehand, I would be tempted to buy more during the pregnancy. Instead of newborn things, I would be thinking boy things or girl things, and those end up being a lot less practical. Being kept in the dark can keep your purse strings a bit tighter. Besides, friends and family are going to surprise you with gender-specific gifts after the birth anyway.
Depending on the type of medical insurance you have (or don’t have), not finding out the gender means not paying an ultrasound bill.
I Can Plan Without Knowing
All newborns need are clean diapers, warm milk and blankets for snuggling, right? Absolutely right! And these are gender-neutral items.
What about car seats, or the baby’s nursery?
Car seats are first and foremost for safety, so I’ve never seen the need to go overboard with girly or boyish designs. A neutral design that doesn’t clash with our vehicle’s upholstery is just fine with me. Besides, chances are good I’ll use the carseat again for the next child.
As to the nursery, many families (ours included) can’t afford a separate baby room anyway. But if you’re thinking “this will be our only child,” remember that surprise pregnancies are a common occurrence. Besides, parents quickly learn that newborns want to be in their parent’s room (and bed), at least early on. What’s the point of a pink or blue nursery that might not get much use, or that won’t be practical over time and grow with your child?
I’ve done this many times, and I can promise you that you’ll be able to plan just fine without that peek into the womb. Just think, before we had ultrasound, millions of control freaks were able to joyfully welcome their children into the world without undue anxiety!
I Can Bond Without Knowing
Surely everyone knows that gender reveals are not necessary for prebirth bonding? Good! Because they aren’t.
There’s no evidence that parents who know the gender beforehand bond more closely with or care more deeply for their newborn. Most of us mothers begin the bonding process as soon as we see the positive test! That’s long before gender concretely enters the picture.
And no, parents who don’t have the name already picked out aren’t missing anything crucial. You still talk and sing to your tummy. You still wonder about the personality. And you still have no idea what your newborn will look like.
But doesn’t it feel weird to use the pronoun “it?” Yes! So use something personal like “our child” or “our baby.” When you’re being kicked in the ribs at 3 a.m. “fiend” might accidentally slip out.
I Don’t Need Time to Adjust
The challenge of new parenthood is not adjusting to your baby’s gender, but figuring out how to get enough sleep to keep functioning in polite society.
Accepting or “adjusting to” your baby’s gender should not be a big issue. In fact, when we look at parents who’ve done this very thing throughout history (here’s glaring at you, Henry VIII), it’s something we rightly shake our heads at. Because every child is a gift, and no one should be viewed as a disappointment, especially when it comes to something so fundamental and unchangeable like gender!
Parents are famous for saying “We just want a healthy baby.” Well, if that’s really true, then don’t stress about the gender.
I remember one mother telling me woefully “If I find out it’s another boy tomorrow I’ll be so disappointed. We always wanted at least one girl!” and I thought to myself “I hope her child never knows she felt that way!”
The Gifts Will be More Practical
Our second child was conceived while Jeremiah was deployed; the Army paid for an ultrasound so we decided just that one time to find out the gender ahead of time. My friends threw a party for me and I was buried in yards of pink stuff. I received so many girly outfits, socks, headbands and bows that Catherine never got to wear them all. Years later, when neighbors gave a shower for our 4th child (gender unknown), the shower gifts were imminently more practical: burp cloths, diapers, receiving blankets and bath items.
I’ve given gifts at plenty of showers myself to know that if the gender has been revealed I’m a LOT more likely to pick out a cute (but not so practical) little outfit for the newborn because it’s just more fun and feels more personal. Yes, that seersucker romper with a dump truck embroidered on it will be calling to me a lot more loudly than a package of prefolds.
People often ask “Why would you not take advantage of the technology we have nowadays?”
I’m not anti-progress, but I am leery about unnecessary medical interventions. Ultrasound risks, though small, should not be simply waved away. When I’m expecting a child, my feelings are even stronger. In the absence of an actual need, I don’t get an ultrasound during an otherwise healthy pregnancy, because I just don’t see where science points to routine scans being beneficial in terms of outcome.
The numbers appear to have jumped ahead of the science. In 2001, 67% of pregnant women had at least one ultrasound; in 2009 it jumped to 99.9% with an average of three per woman! The effects of more frequent, and more intense, exposure, are still not fully known.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states “Currently, there is no evidence that ultrasound is harmful to a developing fetus. No links have been found between ultrasound and birth defects, childhood cancer, or developmental problems later in life. However, it is possible that effects could be identified in the future. For this reason, it is recommended that ultrasound exams be performed only for medical reasons by qualified health care professionals.”
You’ll Get Less Advice
Every new parent is inundated with advice; keep the gender a surprise and you’ll get a lot less! Because as soon as you tell someone you’re having a boy, they’ll say things like “Oh, are you going to try for a girl next?” or “A girl? Get ready for the drama!”
Do you find out the gender? Why or why not?