Surprise! Why It's Better to Not Know Your Baby's Gender Until Birth


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 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! 

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19 comments:

  1. I didn't know the gender of my first three (boy-girl-boy) but had to have an amnio for #4. I didn't want others knowing something I didn't know so I found out it was a boy. Now I tell people not to find out if possible. There was just that one little thing missing from the birth: that element of surprise. It wasn't: "it's a boy!" It was: "Oh, hi, Nicholas!" Then again, just knowing he was healthy was the most important thing of all, of course!

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  2. I found you through 11th Heaven's blog. I found out with the first three, but not the fourth - she just wouldn't show us at either ultrasound. I was actually excited at the end to have my big "It's a ..." moment. At first, though, I was annoyed because I couldn't find anything that was gender-neutral - not even fabric to make a receiving blanket. It was VERY hard. In the end, I was rushed in for a c-section because of a prolapsed cord, put completely under (quickest and easy way for me to not feel the pain because they needed to get her out ASAP) and I totally missed the "It's a GIRL!" part. (My husband has always predicted - for 15 years - that we would have boy-girl-boy-girl. He was right with the first three and was worried about the fourth because all the old wives tales were split about 50/50 with number four.)

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  3. I agree with wanting to keep the gender of the baby a surprise and actually do know of someone who sas told she was having a boy after already having 2 girls and the baby ended up being a girl, so there was some disappointment on the parent's part initially.

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  4. This is so funny because 5 minutes ago I found out my pregnant friend found out the sex of her unborn child, but she and her husband aren't telling anyone else. That's one I haven't heard before!

    We've done both, and I LOVE not knowing. And #1 is sooooo true!

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  5. I loved being able to find out in advance about my girl-baby and then my boy-baby, but I think the points about getting "girl stuff" and "boy stuff" are great ones! I'm sooo happy that when I bought stuff for my girl I made a lot of neutral selections. I suppose people can try to buy with future kids in mind even when gifting!

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  6. We waited with my first and found out with the second, the compromise for me and my husband. I wanted to wait for both, he wanted to find out for both!

    If we have another, we'll wait. It really was a motivator while pushing, and an exciting moment. There just is no better surprise!

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  7. That is a fine compromise, The Saved Quarter. My husband LOVES surprises, so he was all for waiting. Although he wanted a girl so badly the second time around, I was a little concerned he might be disappointed in the delivery room. Lucky for us, it was a girl. I don't think anyone could have been happier to hear the midwife announce, "It's a girl!"

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  8. Here from WFMW. We didn't find out and I'm so grateful for it. One of the nurses told me that your baby is the greatest gift, why unwrap it early? I was actually surprised at how many people were almost offended that I wasn't finding out our baby's gender. "How will you decorate the nursery?" they all asked. Well, the baby didn't seem to mind. :)

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  9. Jendeis, I love what the nurse said to you. But it is unfortunately true that some people will freak out that you did not find out. My sister didn't find out and had a baby shower asking for BOOKS, and people still said to her "You don't know if it is a boy or a girl? How will I know what to buy?" It's hard to break out of those gender paradigms sometimes I guess.

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  10. Visiting from WFMW. I agree with all of your reasons for not finding out. I didn't find out for either of mine and am so glad! I like surprises (usually) and since each conception was a surprise I figured might as well take it all the way and keep the gender a surprise until they are "on display". Turns out, I'm a terrible guesser of my own children's gender. I was wrong both times :)

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  11. visiting from WFMW. I did not find out the gender of my baby, but my husband did. Big mistake. I had told him that he couldn't tell anyone, because it isn't fair if they knew and I didn't. Well, within 2 months eveyone in the family knew that we were having a girl, except I didn't know. People were very nice and didn't tell me, but I was the only one who got to be surprised when she was born. When we do have another baby, my husband will not get to know the gender of the baby, he can't keep a secret.

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  12. It's even lazier, cheaper, and greener not to have that ultrasound at all. I didn't. If there had been some medical reason to have it or any other test that would show the baby's sex, we would have wanted to know, but as it was we didn't know. I agree with everything on your list!

    Friends of ours did find out the gender when testing for medical reasons, but they kept it a secret, successfully, for both of their daughters. I liked the surprise!

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  13. We didn't find out our baby's gender before she was born. People always asked if we were going to find out. I'd say, "Sure, when it's born!" I had absolutely no idea which gender she'd be but my husband said it was a girl throughout the whole pregnancy- and he was right!

    I totally agree that new parents don't buy as much if you don't know what gender to buy for. I went to countless garage sales in my 3rd trimester but couldn't get excited about baby clothes because I didn't know what gender to buy for. It saved me lots of money. My daughter ended up being half the size (literally) than I thought she'd be so I would have bought clothes for the wrong season!

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  14. People asked me all the time, "So, do you know what you are having?" I got so annoyed since we didn't want to find out the gender, that I started answering, "A baby." People thought I was being rude, but I didn't care. One day, someone responded with, "At least you know its not a monkey!" I was happy to find out that my monkey (ahem baby) turned out to be a boy.

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  15. after reading all these comments i have officially changed my mind about finding out the gender of my baby!! seems like its so much more fun to keep it a surprise!! I tried the chinese gender chart does anyone think its accurate? I'm not convinced but alot of people swear by it!

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  16. It can be much more exciting not too know your baby's gender. But if you know the baby's gender, you will be so much more prepared for your new addition.
    http://www.babygendersecrets.com

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  17. I really didn't want to know what gender when I was having my twins - but the Dr let the secret out. He may have forgotten but I haven't I love surprises. Even before I knew tho people would ask me 'Do you know what they are?' and I would reply 'I'm hoping for labrador puppies...' My daughter was a pleasant surprise altho I did think she would be another boy.

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  18. It's still a surprise, whether you find out at 20 weeks, or 40 weeks. Knowing ahead of time will not make your delivery any less exciting or your baby any less precious

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  19. I love all your reasons! They're all brilliant. I knew with my first (Im a control freak and decided I just HAD to know, lol) but I am going to wait to find out if I ever have a second :)

    Thanks for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link-Up, be sure to check out this week!

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