|From 5 Minutes for Parenting|
I haven’t confirmed this scientifically, but I’m convinced there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who can wait until the birth of their baby to find out the sex, and those who must know the minute it’s physically possible.
I’m squarely in the second group. I have never, not for one nanosecond, had the urge to let it be a surprise. I don’t mind if you want to wait. Many of my good friends have waited, and while I may have threatened to bribe their OB with chocolate until I was given access to the raw ultrasound tape, I certainly respect their choice.
I just don’t relate to it.
If I know the sex of the baby now, I can plan for the future.
Yes, this pegs me as a planner, but it’s a label I embrace. I love to organize, to research, to strategize. If I know the sex of the baby before birth, I can get gender-specific bedding and blankets. I can paint the nursery. I can also let myself get sucked in by the appropriate side of Carter’s. (When it comes to baby clothes, resistance is futile.)
Knowing if we’re having a boy or girl also allows my husband and I to start playing The Name Game – but with only half the entrants. We are horrible at deciding on names together (usually, my top 5 are his never-in-a-million-years, and vice versa), and narrowing the field and giving us a few months to discuss is hugely helpful.
If I know the sex of the baby now, I can stop torturing myself.
When I was pregnant two years ago, I was slightly obsessed with the gender of the baby. I think it was because I had a miscarriage earlier that same year, so by the time we got around to the ultrasound for Teyla in September, I felt like I had been pregnant since January. (Which I had been, almost. There wasn’t much time between the miscarriage and the next conception.) The internal debate of boy versus girl threatened to take over my life. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the question was finally answered.
Conversely, I’ve watched friends who were determined to wait drive themselves crazy the last four months of the pregnancy as they agonize and cry and fret over the possibilities. Usually, they are secretly longing for one gender over the other, and the weight of knowing their hopes could be crushed in a few short weeks (or granted, depending on the outcome) makes “the surprise” a burden.
If I know the sex of the baby now, I can deal with any emotional fall-out before the birth.
This relates closely to the last point, but let me give a personal example. When I was pregnant with our second baby, the pregnancy was almost identical to my first. This led me to believe I was having another girl. It wasn’t something I admitted openly; it was more of a subconscious belief.
So my soul reverberated with shock when my OB announced, “It’s a boy!” at our 18-week ultrasound. I was ashamed of this at the time, but it took me weeks to come to grips with the boy diagnosis. I actually needed a short window to grieve the girl I thought I was carrying and get excited about the boy who was entering out lives. By the time he was born, I was thrilled to welcome Connor. Finding out his sex early gave me a chance to walk the emotional minefield before his birth, instead of after.
If I know the sex of the baby now, I can bond with the baby.
Maybe this is just me, but I have a hard time bonding with a gender-neutral alien. Once I know the sex of the baby, he or she becomes very real to me. It helps me to get excited and psyched for the last days of pregnancy.
This is also helpful for our older children, who definitely have opinions on what the sex of the next baby should be. If we can tell them now, “It’s a brother (or it’s a sister),” they have a chance to accept our new family dynamics and get excited about reality, instead of counting on something that may not be.
If I know the sex of the baby now, I can focus on the birth of the baby during delivery.
Many of my friends who elect to wait say, “Oh, but I want a surprise on delivery day!” I understand that; I was never tempted to open my Christmas presents early for that very reason.
But childbirth tends to be a surprise in itself. It’s complicated, astonishing and rarely what you expect. My first two deliveries were dramatic, each in their own way. (With Connor, we barely made it to the hospital before I started pushing.) So I’m perfectly happy spreading out my surprises over the course of the pregnancy. Because no matter when you find out if you’re having a girl or a boy, it’s always a surprise – be it at 20 weeks or 40.
So what about you? Are you like me? Or would you rather wait? And if you like to wait, please chime in with your own reasoning behind your decision. This is intensely personal and there’s ample space for both opinions. I'd love to hear your take.
Before she was a SAHM, Kelly was a TV news producer and newspaper editor, which further explains her need-to-know appetite. She currently blogs, without copy editors, at Love Well. And yes, her ultrasound is next week, in case that wasn't obvious.