My husband and I agreed early on in my first pregnancy that we wouldn’t find out the sex of the baby. I had a boy. Then I went on to get pregnant three more times and still never found out the baby’s gender. I had three more boys. We just decided each time to take the old fashioned route and wait roughy 40 weeks for the big reveal, never thinking for a minute that nowadays it’s almost unheard of to not find out the sex of your baby.
Let me be perfectly clear, if you choose to find out the sex, I will support and cheer you all the way. If you are a planner and the logistics of not knowing will send you over the maternal edge, then find the hell out what you’re having. More power to you and your ultrasound tech! I will be the first to arrive at your gender reveal party, I will fully enjoy inhaling my plate of pink or blue cake, and I will not for one second question your decision to do so. It will be a celebration of your baby’s life, boy or girl, the same way it is when that celebration happens in a delivery room.
But if you think there may be a small chance you’re able to hold out for nine months, I’ve got a few good reasons why I think you should.
1. There are really no more surprises in life.
Well, of course there are, but this one is a positively 100% guaranteed surprise. Sure, you can pee on chemicals, swing wedding rings over your belly, and study Chinese birth charts until you’re blue (or pink!) in the face, but nothing is certain until they pull that sucker out and you hear “It’s a boy/girl!”
2. It pisses people off.
I mean, it really pisses them off. You’re gonna hear, “What do you mean you don’t know if you’re having a boy or girl?” every single day. It’s actually kinda funny that people now feel like they get to know every single detail of your life every single second it happens (thanks, Facebook).
Make them wait.
3. You won’t end up with all baby clothes as shower gifts.
If you’re like me, when you’re headed to a baby shower and it’s a gonna be a girl, you go shopping for hair bows, matching socks, ruffle bottomed diaper covers, and tiny jewel studded sandals they will never wear. Boy? Why yes, he does in fact need a three piece lime green suit in a size 0-3 months. What happens when people can’t buy gender-specific clothes? You get gift cards (yay!) and actual practical and useful gifts.
4. As if labor wasn’t exciting enough…
Now it will be even more so. All that waiting, anticipation, and unproductive guessing that has been building up inside may just help you forget about the pain. OK, maybe not, but there were more than a few moments during my C-section where my fear was replaced with the thrilling thought of “We finally get to see what the baby is!” Your angry and exhausted pushes may be accompanied by screams of “What the hell are you baby?!” and just strong enough to do the job and finally find out!
5. Take bets.
Get a head start on the kid’s college fund and set up a gender gambling pool. People don’t need an excuse to bet on stuff, but betting on a baby sure is a cute one.
6. It’s good practice for learning patience.
It’s like training for when you have a 2-year-old, and you need to learn how to be comfortable with (and stay sane with) the fact there is not one drop of patience left in your body, and you have zero control over the situation. You get nine months of practice.
7. Because it doesn’t matter anyway.
When I was pregnant with No. 4 and walking around with three little boys next to me, all I heard from well-meaning idiots was, “Don’t you hope it’s a girl?” “Uh, nope. I hope it’s a healthy baby.” That usually shuts them up. It simply didn’t matter to me. Do I think about what life would be like with a daughter? Yes, all the time. But I also think I was given what gender I was meant to raise—bugs, dirt, stink, and all. And it didn’t matter whether I knew it at week 18 or week 40. Nothing was going to change, and it just didn’t matter.
In a 2007 Gallup Poll, it was determined a majority of younger parents prefer to know their baby’s gender before birth. It seems older parents may be more keen on not caring either way, or being older, they may simply have more patience to wait nine months for surprise. Either way, whether you find out at week 18 or week 40, it’s still a surprise and a choice that belongs solely to the parents as to whether they want to know or not.
So no matter what you decide, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. But if you do wait until the big reveal? Do me a favor and go ahead and have your spouse bolt out of the delivery room and announce to family and friends the opposite of what baby really is, if only for getting both a big “Ohhh! I told you!” followed by a bigger “Ahhh! I knew it!” when you tell the real truth. Two surprises are better than one.