Today's Lazy and Cheap Way to Be Green:
Don't Find Out Your Unborn Baby's Gender.
Because almost everyone finds out the gender of their unborn child these days, it actually does require a very slight amount of effort to keep it a surprise. If you really want it to be a surprise and you have an ultrasound, you should remind the ultrasound technician approximately 20 times during your ultrasound. And then hopefully your health care provider will be smart enough (like my midwives were) not to put it in your file so that you won't have to remind her 100 times not to tell you.
10 Reasons to Keep Your Baby's Sex a Surprise
1. It gives mom a little extra motivation to push. My sister told me this was one of her reasons for not finding out ahead of time with any of her children.
2. It makes the birth of your child even more amazing. I know, I know, the birth of a child is pretty amazing regardless. But imagine your midwife or husband announcing "It's a girl!" (and that actually being a surprise) and then handing you a beautiful baby girl. I've noticed that the nurses and other birth attendants get more excited about your birth too. I just don't think it's the same when the ultrasound tech has that wand on your greased belly and says "Yes, I think I see something. Wait, let me get a better shot between the legs here. That might be the umbilical cord, or. . . OK, it's a boy."
3. Sometimes, the ultrasound technician is wrong. It's true! It happened to my sister's friend. My Internet sources tell me it happens about 5% of the time. Imagine what a shock that would be! If you have already painted the nursery pink and purple with "OLIVIA" in beautiful letters just above a trim at eye level, well, that's going to be a big bummer if you are, in fact, bringing home a baby boy from the hospital.
4. You won't spend as much money before your baby is born. I'm not sure where I read this, but it absolutely makes sense. Parents who don't know the gender of the baby are less likely to go nutsos decking out the nursery and stocking up on adorable baby clothes that are "on sale." Since first-time parents especially tend to buy all kinds of things they don't need and eventually won't want before a baby is born, anything you can do to curb spending is a good idea.
5. You can reuse all your gender-neutral stuff with your next child. You won't need to redecorate the nursery, buy new toys, or buy a new set of 0 to 6 month onesies, socks, pants, and hats. Although some folks probably enjoy buying all new stuff for their second child, it isn't exactly the most frugal or eco-friendly thing to do.
6. You won't get as much girly/ boyish junk at your baby shower. What I've discovered in my years attending baby showers is that people go crazy buying clothes, accessories, receiving blankets, and clothed stuffed animals for baby boys and baby girls. These same folks are the ones who tend to feel extremely annoyed that they are expected to buy you a gift without knowing your baby's gender. They might actually resort to buying you something truly useful, like a stroller, wood blocks, or board books.
7. It's a step towards gender equality. I believe that boys and girls are innately different, but a lot of differences we unnecessarily push through socialization. I want to encourage my daughter to be spatially aware and my son to be nurturing. When you don't find out the gender of your child, you start out buying gender-neutral things, or seeing how all kinds of things (toys, books, clothes) can be appropriate for either gender. I think it helps shape a less sexist mentality.
8. It gives your friends and family one more thing to speculate about. With my first child, I heard all kinds of great methods of predicting. My Chinese neighbor told me I was having a boy because I was carrying the baby so far out front. Another friend said she could tell from my aura that I was having a girl. Strangers on the bus and in the grocery store all had a prediction. I told them all they had a 50-50 chance of being right.
9. Twice the fun with names. I think it's fun to brainstorm names with your spouse, to try to come up with names that reflect your heritage, values, and sense of aesthetics. If you don't think it's that fun, at least you'll have a name all ready for your next child, assuming he or she is the other gender.
10. What do you think? Are there any other advantages for keeping your baby's gender a surprise? Also feel free to comment on your total disagreement with waiting to find out.
If you just can't stand not finding out, try to keep it a secret between you and your spouse. This seems like it would be nearly impossible, but it's worth a shot!
Eco-novice's Top Five Tips for a Healthy Nursery
What Does a Baby Need?
Avoiding Toxins in Baby Products
Favorite Breastfeeding Gear
Non-toxic Crib Mattresses
Click HERE to read the complete series of Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green.