Monday, April 12, 2010

Thoughts on not finding out the sex prior to birth

I told B early on in pregnancy that I didn't want to find out the sex of the baby prior to delivery.  He was definitely shocked by that statement and wasn't convinced right away that it was the best decision.  However, another couple we're really good friends with also opted not to find out, and after a long discussion with them, we all were on board with having a surprise (btw- they just had a baby boy about a month ago, Levi John).

Now that we are 36 weeks into pregnancy, I thought I'd share my thoughts on being one of the few pregnant women who chooses not to know if Pud is going to wear  dresses and bows or tennies and overalls. 

According to a few things I've read, it's anywhere between 3-10% of Americans who choose not to find out the sex of their child prior to delivery.  We personally know 11 people who are pregnant between Jan- July and, actualy, 3 of those couples didn't find out (including us).  Our percentage is, I guess, a little higher than average, but prior to these 11 babies, I know VERY few friends of mine who didn't find out.  Like one.

There are definite pluses and minuses to not finding out. 
I'll do the pluses first:
* We received all our practicall stuff at our shower.  Since there is very little gender neutral clothing out in the world, most people gave us things we needed rather than just lots and lots and lots of cute clothing.  It's nice to know that we have tons of diapers, all our bottles and accessories, as well as all of the basics that Pud could ever need.  I've been to so many baby showers where the mom to be received nothing but clothes and blankets- most of those clothes being 0-3 and 3-6 month outfits that the child will grow out of so quickly.  Many of my friends have put away clothes with tags still on them because they never had a chance to wear them.  It's nice to know we didn't have to spend much on basic items and instead can spend money on the right amount of cute outfits and sleepers that I know will actually get worn.

*We still have the ability to dream about our child and all the possibilities that can come.  We're not currently stuck in a gender specific role, so during the Olympics we dreamed of hockey, skiing, and ariels and now we are thinking about swimming, soccer, and tennis.  We haven't only thought about dance vs baseball or barbies vs GI Joe.  I know that some of those gender specific things will come with time, however it's nice for now to have everything on the table.

*We were going to paint the nursery blue and white regardless of sex as we both adore the color blue, so that did not hinder us in any way.  I love that our nursery can be used for each child and then the child can move to their "big girl" or "big boy" room once the next baby is on it's way.  To me, it just makes more sense this way, though I know that many wouldn't necessarily agree.

*Costs during pregnancy become much lower.  There are very few gender neutral outfits/blankets/boppys/towels/etc out there.  The world of babies is incredibly gender specific.  Since this is the case, not finding out has definitely curbed my ability to shop for Pud and therefore saved us a ton of $$.  Now, once we know what Pud is, I'll be able to (slightly more rationally) buy things we need rather than things that are cute, just simply because they are cute.  So many first time parents slip into the "cute" shopping habit, and again, end up with a lot that the baby will never wear due to the quick growth of babies.  I know I would be one of those parents, and not knowing has put restraint on me and allowed me to practice self control (also the 30 day return policy that almost all stores have has really kept everything in check!)

*I love that when we announce the birth of Puddin' everything about it will be a shock.  The sex, the name, everything!! In so many cases now you know the sex and the name of the baby long before the baby is here and the parents are constantly calling the baby by it's given name.  I like that we just have a Puddin'.  Maybe that's just a little bit of superstition coming out.

The minuses:
*I don't have a closet full of cute clothes, and when I find something truly darling that is on sale, I can't buy it for fear it will be for the wrong sex

*I think it is slightly harder to "know" your baby when you don't know what you are dreaming and praying for.  While I am already in love with Puddin' and would be devastated if anything happened, I think it would be different, perhaps an even more intense feeling, if I knew I was having a boy or a girl

*Trying to pick names for two babies is significantly harder than just narrowing it down for one baby.

*Gender neutral DOES NOT EXIST!!

*At 36 weeks, I just really, really, really want to know!!  I'm dying to meet this baby and truly realize what it will be like to be a parent!

So the question remains, what would we do if we could do it all over?

I think I would still not have found out.  At least for this one, I am still loving the idea of a surprise.  B has said that we are definitely finding out with the next baby.  It's totally killing him!!  And I'm on board with that decision.  I know we still won't share our names until the birth as I really hate when people criticize the name of your future child to your face, but we'll at least be on Team Pink or Team Blue!

What are your thoughts out there?  Did you find out with your first?  Would you find out with your second?  Are you way too impatient to wait all 40 weeks?  I'd love to know!


  1. We didn't find out for either of our children. We had a very hard time just getting pregnant and decided there were too few surprises in life. Actually, too few good surprises. I would do it all over again! Having a pink or blue nursery just wasn't that important to us in the long run.

    Good for you. Can't wait to find out!

  2. I definitely admire you and wish I could have that resolve ... but when it's time, Matt and I will definitely find out the gender. We are just both way too nosy!

  3. We didn't find out for either of our's either, and they were the best surprises we have ever had!!! They are now 24, Alexandra, and 22, Graham!!! Time has gone by so quickly!!

  4. Never been pregnant...But, a great way to keep away the cheesy baby clothes that you get for shower gifts!

  5. At 38 weeks I am TOTALLY with you on wanting to know, as we didn't find out either, but we're SO close, I know I can hold out for 2 more weeks. This whole time I have not regretted not finding out once, and I agree with everything you said, the shower gifts were much more on the practical side, and we aren't awash in baby clothes that Lil' Pit might not wear. I think MAYBE for our 2nd child we'll find out, mostly due to spatial relations and what not (who sleeps in what room) but for this one we were both excited to not know. And as Seersucker said, there are too few good surprises in life...I am so looking forward to the doctor saying "It's a ____" it will be great! Good luck with your last month :)

  6. A very close friend of mine was told that she was having a girl - 100%, no doubt about it - yet when she came to give birth - yes, you guessed it - out popped a boy! She and her husband were still totally over the moon, but it just shows! For that reason alone, I wouldn't want to find out :-)

  7. There are so few things that can be surprises these days... None of my sibs knew the sexes of their children (for a total of 3 girls & 3 boys) until they were delivered.

    There is so much pressure to find out... but I think it is very special to wait. Hold on... Baby is coming, and will let you know what his/her name should be when you meet .

  8. You will be so excited !! We did not know for either of our children. It made the delivery so much easier b/c I was so motivated to know what that child was going to be. I think you made the right choice :)

  9. I think you guys made the right decision too, I hope i will be able to hold out when it is my turn. What an enormously special time that will be when you meet her/him for the first time. I cant wait to know what you are having, it is killing me more than it is killing you i think.

  10. I think you made the right choice, and agree with everyone else that there are far too many good surprises in life. I'm proud of you both, and I know you can't wait to hold your little surprise baby in your arms!

  11. Great points, I think you made the right choice :) hope your pregnancy goes great!

  12. We didn't find out with either of our two children and I'm so glad we didn't! You will have no either experience like that, finding out at that amazing moment if it's a boy or a girl. It's like Christmas morning! We did a gender neutral nursery and received plenty of the must-have shower gifts. Then the grandmothers and friends went shopping and bought plenty of girl clothes, then boy clothes a couple of years later. It was odd to find out that we were a rarity these days in holding out, but I was so glad we did. The best of luck to you!!

  13. I had a miscarriage during my 1st pregnancy in the beginning of the 2nd trimester. I was so nervous to get pregnant again--when I finally did I was worried about another miscarriage. My OB mentioned finding out the sex and that could make me feel more connected to the baby. At that point I was wasn't connected to the pregnancy for fear of losing it again. Sounds weird, I know.
    My daughter was born in May, 9lbs & a week early--knowing the sex for me, helped work through a tough loss and enjoy a textbook 2nd pregnancy. I chose to find out with baby #2 well, just because we did with #1.

  14. I don't have kids, and I always thought I'd want to know sex to plan the nursery, pick out names, etc. But you make some valid arguements for not knowing: shower gifts, "cute" shopping traps. My problem is I work in an OB unit and my coworkers would BULLY me into letting them scan me to determine sex of the baby.

  15. You know I am a big believer in not finding out the sex of the baby. When else in your life will you have such a wonderful surprise? And don't worry about not having a closet full of clothes. THat will happen fast - I promise.


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