Why not finding out the gender of your baby is way cooler than knowing

Eliza’s 16-week sonogram. You can see her head at the bottom, with her face looking up so you can see her profile. But no private parts! We didn’t want to know.

Pregnancy is on my mind.  It’s probably because I have so many pregnant friends.   I promise it’s not because I am pregnant.  (As my stream of consciousness takes over, I’m reminded of a conversation I overheard at Eliza’s school yesterday.  A mother of three asked another mom of two, “So are you ready for a third?”  The mom of two replied with a chortle, “Are you kidding?  I want my life back.”)

Most of my friends have decided to find out the sexes of their babies, but a few have chosen to wait until their children are born.  I have done it both ways: Eliza was a surprise, but we found out Zach was a boy for Greg’s sake.  In his words, he needed to be able to mentally prepare himself if we were going to have two girls.

I know it’s not a big deal either way, but I highly recommend going the surprise route.  In fact, if we ever have more children, I will never find out the sex again (on purpose, at least).  Here’s why.

1. There are very few good surprises in life once you become an adult.  Many have said, “Yes, but it’s a surprise whether you find out during a sonogram or when the baby comes out.”  Trust me.  As someone who can vouch from personal experience, it is different.  With Zach, we didn’t find out during our sonogram.  We had the technician print the gender-identifying photo and put it in an envelope for us.  Then we sat on the patio that night and opened the envelope by ourselves amid the fireflies in our backyard.  And then I was sad that the surprise was revealed.

2. It can help you through labor.  As I struggled through back labor while Greg tried to take my focus off the pain, he had me imagine we were doing fun things with our child – we were watching our son ski down Riva Ridge in Vail for the first time, or we were sailing with our daughter.  And that gave me a few seconds of respite to wonder, “Oh right – I’m going to meet you soon.  Which one will you be?”  The cat is almost out of the birth canal bag!

3. I believe your emotions can affect your baby in utero.  Greg and I had always thought our first child would be a girl from the dreams we had had about having kids, so I think I would have been a little disappointed if I had found out my first was a boy.  I didn’t want to make him sad or feel unwanted in there.  Conversely, I felt like if the child came out and I was told, “It’s a boy!” I would have been ecstatic because, well, he was out, and well, there he was!

4. Your family might have hopes, too – ones you don’t care to hear.  Maybe your parents really want a girl because they have 9 grandsons and no granddaughters.  Or maybe there’s pressure to commit to carrying on the family name, making a Herbert Whiting Virgin VI.  (That’s not a joke – our nephew, Whitt, is the 5th.)  I think once family members can meet a baby, boy or girl, they will fall in love regardless of what their hopes are for gender or names.

5. I saved money.  The baby girl clothes didn’t call to me every time I went shopping.

6. I saved other people money.  Nor did gender-specific baby gear or nursery decor shout at me, either.  So I never needed a shower for Zach because I had everything I needed, and He wasn’t going to be subjected to a pink baby carrier or car seat.  Our nursery was khaki, yellow and green.

7. You do not NEED to know for planning purposes.  I challenge anyone to come up with something you must plan that requires the child be a boy or girl.  Trust me, I am a planner and type-A and a control freak.  And I survived, as did every planner in human history until roughly 25 years ago.

8. You can’t get the sex wrong once the baby is born.  I have two good friends who were told from initial sonograms that they were having girls.  One’s sister-in-law had hand-made her pink baby shower invitations when they found out they were, in fact, having a boy.  Our other good friends just found out at 31-weeks that their little girl is actually a little man.  Although they are equally as excited, the dad said, “It’s like this baby girl I thought I had is gone.”

There is my case.  I know I probably won’t change anyone’s mind either way, but perhaps there is a mom out there who can’t really figure out what to do, and this will help her decide.

I’d love to hear whether you found out or waited for the surprise, and why!