Inside you’ll find pros and cons to finding out the gender of your baby. I’ve done it both ways and this is where I’ve landed. Post contains affiliate links.
“If we have a girl… I have no idea what we’ll name her,” I said in between contractions.
The nurses in the delivery room began telling me their own children’s names for inspiration and there were a few I liked but nothing really stood out. It didn’t end up mattering…
A few minutes later, after one big push, I delivered my baby.
Immediately, without saying a word, she flipped the baby upside down so I could see the bottom…
“It’s a boy!”
Our fourth baby, our first gender surprise.
And now that I’m pregnant again (and we know exactly how pregnancy feels) we are going to be surprised again. Because I love it. Because it’s fun. Because – at this point with 5 kids in 5 years – we don’t need any baby gear and we have clothes of both genders.
The Pros to Finding Out Your Baby’s Gender
With our first three children, we found out. We were “surprised at the ultrasound” as my friend says. I think there are pros to both. Here are reasons we found out with our first, and things to consider when deciding whether or not you’ll find out.
You can prepare down to minute detail | I’m not really one to go overboard with these types of details, but it’s nice to be able to buy headbands, clothes, shoes, gender appropriate blankets, and all that kinda jazz. Blue car seats. A pink Bumbo. You get the idea. As long as they don’t end up being wrong about the gender (which does happen)
You just know already | With our first we were applying for visas, moving overseas, and in a state of upheaval. I couldn’t stand the thought that one more thing in our life was unknown. I wasn’t sure where we’d deliver the baby and, when she was 3 months we didn’t even know where we’d be living. If I could know, I just wanted to.
You can prepare your nursery | If this baby is your first or second, this is a common reason people find out. They want to deck out their nursery in a theme or style that matches the baby’s gender. It’s definitely a stressful thing to be trying to put together a coordinating and sophisticated nursery when you, ahem, have the newborn. You may be barely mentally surviving the newborn stage, so that might not be an option for you.
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You can get things monogrammed | Oh, come on. I had to say it. I’m from the South and we love personalization. Whether it’s crib sheets, swaddles, diaper bags, or nursery room decoration, people like to know a name and put it on things. This would backfire, however, if you saw the baby and felt the name didn’t really go. This also happens.
You can pick a name | You know the gender, you aren’t splitting your focus between boy and girl names. I mean unless you want a name that could go with either gender in which case it’s probably still the same amount of work. This book is the most comprehensive baby name book ever.
You aren’t “disappointed” | This is a reason many people give. That they don’t want to hope for one gender for 10 months then be disappointed at delivery. They hope finding out the gender at the ultrasound will help give them time to come to terms with the gender before the baby is born. I’ve never been one to care about the gender and currently have 1 girl and 3 boys.
You can feel more connected to baby | By being able to speak to, pray for, and think about your baby specifically as a boy or girl it can help foster a connection or sense you already “know” your child a bit.
The Pros to NOT Finding Out Your Baby’s Gender
It’s fun | It is exciting to look forward to delivery. There are so many things about delivery that cause fear about labor so this is one thing that you can look forward to. Not just holding your baby, but finding out what God has gifted you with. After having been surprised at delivery once, I think it’s an absolutely amazing experience you’ll never forget.
It’s back to the basics | For those who embrace natural, this is another way to get back to how things were done a long time ago without technological intervention. You were pregnant, prayed the baby was developing normally, had it, then knew what you were working with. Culturally speaking, some countries find out the gender far less than others. In both Australia and Scotland where I’ve given birth, I’d estimate over half did not find out the gender.
You can make a pool | Instead of having a gender reveal party while you’re still pregnant, you can have fun with people trying to guess the gender. Family members can have a good time guessing and making bets.
You don’t get misinformation | My Scottish midwife told me that by policy the NHS (National Health Service) does not tell parents the gender. One too many people got misinformed, made major life changes (like buying a new house so a boy and girl didn’t have to share), then sued. If you don’t know you can’t get told wrongly.
Basic Preparation if You Don’t Find Out the Gender
Get neutral newborn onesies and swaddles | Get light green, white, orange, or yellow onesises and swaddles. Get enough to last you a week or two and then you can buy more later in more gender appropriate colors if you need. It is hard to find neutral type clothes, but it’s not impossible. I’ve bought a pack of these to get me started.
Forget about everything needing to be gender appropriate | If my boys blue crib sheets are dirty they sleep on pink ones. If the blue bibs are in the wash they use their sisters old one. I don’t care one tiny bitty bit. They will survive and what we already own is already paid for.
Create a neutral palette that can go either way | If you have a room and really want to be surprised, you can decorate in neutral greys or beiges until the baby comes. Have your decor chosen for both genders (save it on wishlists) then click ‘order’ when you are enjoying some peace and quiet in the hospital recovering away from your other, louder, children. Ahem.
Have a party or shower afterwards | Instead of having a shower before the baby is born, have a party afterwards. Just because it’s not the most common thing doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. You can do whatever you want. You can even have a blessing shower and bring the baby so people can meet the little tyke.
Just the other day (around 30 weeks pregnant) when I was getting a soda and some M & M’s (yes, healthy baby food) from the gas station, a man who looked both high, homeless, and not quite normal came up to me while I was in line. He smiled at me, I smiled back, and he asked…
“What are you going to name your baby girl?”
“I am horrible with girl names!” I said, “But I think you’re probably right about the gender...”
Only time will tell…
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