These days people seem to do everything big. Promposals. Limos for Homecoming. Weddings fit for royalty. Unfortunately, that pressure bleeds into pregnancy too. Pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and gender reveals are all aimed at Keeping Up with the Kardashians (literally) — which, let’s face it, is damn near impossible.
There are lots of events to celebrate the new bundle of joy (understandably so, since there’s much to celebrate), but the one that has increased in popularity in the last decade is the gender reveal. The trend is getting so much attention that even the Smithsonian decided to give their two cents about them.
Side note: here are a few tips from Momsplained on how to throw a kick ass baby shower — whether you’re revealing the gender or not.
But what if you and your partner decide to buck the trend completely? What if you decide to opt out of finding out the gender before birth?
Well, you might receive a ton of annoying comments, but you’re in good company. The truth is, parents opt out of gender scans for various reasons — and that decision is nobody else’s business. So take a seat, Aunt Ethel, you’ll find out soon enough.
Some parents want some of that good, ol’ fashioned, delivery room surprise. Sarah B., mother of three, found out all of her children’s genders at birth. “I guess I just always imagined the ‘reveal’ happening in the delivery room. I wanted that ‘big moment’ when the baby comes out and everyone shouts what it is,” she recalled about her first pregnancy. Her vision shifted a little when the delivery staff assumed she already knew and didn’t announce “boy or girl,” but she found humor after the fact.
For whatever reason, some folks take is as a personal affront if parents aren’t going to find out the gender before the birth, or choose to keep the gender top-secret until birth.
“Folks were acting as if they were inconvenienced and put off by ‘gender-neutral,’ when really there are all the other colors out there besides pink and blue,” said Oakley. “I was surprised by the peer pressure/pushback from some friends and relatives, almost as if we were torturing them on purpose.”
And sometimes you want so long to find out the gender that you don’t even out during the birth. “I ended up having a really long and hard labor and by the time the baby came, I forgot I didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl,” Jaclyn C. told Scary Mommy. Oops.
As with everything, waiting might come with challenges, but they aren’t likely to be worse than anything parents would deal with otherwise. “I do feel like not knowing made the initial bonding tough with my first child because everyone was convinced I was having a girl and then it turned out to be a boy. But I also think the bonding issue was just because he was my first, and the entire birth experience was surreal and difficult,” said Sarah.
And remember, parents: you have the final say in when and how you find out your baby’s gender.
“Everyone will eventually find out,” said Oakley. “It’s not something that remains a secret forever. Everyone just finds out a little later than many hope they will. And it’s your decision, your baby, and your experience. I felt it was the last great surprise that made the day even better.”