I always happily share both my due date and the fact that my husband and I are waiting until birth to find out the gender. The latter answer never fails to shock people. Everyone wants to know how we manage to wait so long, how we prepare if we don’t know the baby’s sex, and, of course, just why?
Finding Out Earlier than Ever
The 16-week ultrasound that could determine a baby’s sex in utero became prevalent in most developed countries in the 1980s. Now, you can find out even earlier if you opt for noninvasive prenatal testing around 9 weeks. Gender reveals have now become all the rage, and it isn’t uncommon for couples to announce in extravagant ways. This is certainly a fun way to break up the nine months of pregnancy, build excitement among your family and friends, and simply celebrate even before the baby’s arrival. I fully support other moms choosing this path and absolutely understand the reasons for doing so. However, I prefer the wait, and I’ll let you in on the reasons why.
Choosing the Surprise
I’ve never been a very patient person, so my husband was shocked when I told him that I wanted to keep our first baby’s sex a surprise. He was skeptical that I would be able to follow through with it at our anatomy scan and wasn’t quite convinced that it was the right choice for us. When I explained that I’ve always loved the anticipation that builds before opening a wrapped gift, though, he jumped on board. Despite being impatient, I don’t like spoiled surprises (like finding out what your hubby got you for Christmas before Christmas morning). And our baby – the greatest gift I had ever received – was no exception. I wanted it all to be a big surprise.
After telling the ultrasound tech that I was choosing the more unconventional route of waiting to find out the gender, she smiled and told me that she loves when couples are willing to wait. She shared some wisdom that veteran moms had shared with her over the years. “It actually helps some moms in labor,” she told me, explaining that the added anticipation of finding out whether your baby is a boy or a girl gives mothers that mental edge they sometimes need when labor gets really tough. “And my favorite part,” she added, “is that the husband gets to be the first to announce the gender.”
The anticipation of finding out the baby’s gender gives mothers that mental edge when labor gets tough.
What about your husband during the pregnancy, though?
Many people wonder if not knowing hinders dad from bonding with baby. After all, he doesn’t have the luxury of physically carrying his son or daughter for nine months before his or her entrance into the world. For some men, knowing may be the best. My husband has no problem loving our babies through pregnancy, though. He feels connected by placing his hand on my stomach when the baby is kicking and somersaulting, by attending as many appointments and ultrasounds as possible, by helping with the preparations, and by thoughtfully serving me as I carry our child. He found a lot of joy in building a bookshelf for our first baby’s nursery, reading about labor, and discussing parenthood. So, it’s definitely possible for the husband to love the surprise too!
Okay, but what about the practical preparations?
Since it’s more common for parents to know their baby’s sex ahead of time, it can be more difficult to find gender neutral options for clothing, nursery décor, and other necessary baby items. If you’re willing to choose something other than the conventional blue or pink, though, it can be just as fun to make all of those practical preparations. My husband and I had fun searching for gender neutral onesies (and, let’s be honest, the first few months are mostly spent in swaddles anyway), chose yellow, gray, and white for the nursery, and didn’t overthink the rest. We knew that, when the baby arrived, we could purchase the more gender-specific items.
For our baby shower, family and friends gave us gender-neutral items, diapers, and enough books to fill that beautiful bookshelf that my husband had built. We also had the added fun of a gender-guessing poll. No one begrudged us the surprise; in fact, they were as excited to find out as we were!
We went with gender neutral colors for newborn onesies, as well as the nursery.
What about picking out the name?
As for naming the baby, we simply composed short lists of both boy and girl names and knew that we would be able to pick the perfect name after meeting our child face to face for the first time. Sure, we didn’t get to refer to our baby by name in the womb or go crazy with monogramming things, but it did give us extra time to make sure that the name we chose was the right one.
But how do you wait nine whole months?
Of course, waiting isn’t always easy. Sometimes, you just want to know! Tracking baby’s other milestones week by week, imagining both possibilities, and staying busy with nesting (and life itself!) all make the wait easy and enjoyable. I often feel like a kid staring at the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree, wondering what’s inside. How fun it is to be that kid opening those gifts on Christmas morning, though!
When our first child was born, my husband told me we had a daughter. The moment was so beautiful that I knew I would never want to find out the sex of our children any other way. So, it was a no-brainer when we got pregnant with our second. We’re happily – and very eagerly – waiting to find out if our daughter is going to have a little brother or a little sister. What we do know is that our child is a miracle and a gift, and we cannot wait to meet him or her!
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