One of the biggest dilemmas many parents face when they learn they are expecting a baby is whether or not they should find out the baby’s gender. We are so lucky these days that the information is very readily available and it is therefore becoming increasingly common for Moms to be to discover their baby’s gender even in the very early stages of pregnancy.
But should you find out the gender of your baby during pregnancy, or should you wait till your baby’s arrival nine months later? As a Mom to two children, we have experienced both – opting to have a surprise with our first, yet deciding to find out the gender in advance with our second. There are pros and cons to both.
Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not to discover the gender of your baby:
Reasons NOT to find out the gender:
- A highlight for your partner – When I was having our first child, I had a perfect scene imagined in my head, whereby my partner would announce the gender of our baby the moment he or she was born. My partner had often said that during pregnancy he didn’t really feel he could add much value, and that I clearly had a bigger role to play during labor. We felt that not finding out in advance would mean my partner had a real responsibility during labor to not only look after me, but to make the big announcement, helping keep him completely involved and included. (In reality the scene didn’t quite pan out them way I’d hoped, as after a 36 hour labor my poor partner was too emotional and on the verge of passing out – he couldn’t even stand up let alone form a sentence!!!)
- The guessing game is fun – Not knowing the gender can be really exciting, especially as many people expect you to know in advance these days, with many people wrongly assuming we had instead secretly found out and decided not to share. We loved hearing all the predictions, the urban myths, and the theories from friends and family about how they were convinced our baby was a particular sex. It was also fun to see if my gut instinct had been right.
- Neutral Clothes – not knowing your baby’s gender in advance means that many of the clothes your baby will wear in those early days are completely gender neutral, and those creams, greys and beiges can be absolutely adorable. We also opted for a gender-neutral nursery in white and grey, and I found this far more preferable than opting for the traditional pink or blue.
- Motivation during labour – Not knowing my baby’s gender in advance, I found it really exciting waiting to learn if we had a daughter or son during labor. When times got really tough, and my labor seemed to go on forever, the anticipation of not only meeting my child for the first time but discovering whether they were a boy or girl really spurred me on and provided some reserves of energy for when they were needed the most.
- A genuine surprise – it is rare these days that there are any genuine surprises in life – and therefore some take the view that this is one piece of news you should let arrive at the time it is meant to.
- Preventing gender disappointment – Whilst many don’t like to admit it, some Mom’s to be have an underlying hope that their child is a boy or a girl, particularly with their first. I knew deep down that I wanted to eventually have a daughter, but knew that whatever gender my baby was, when they placed them in my arms I would be over joyed either way.
Reasons TO find out the gender of your baby:
- Helping Siblings Adjust – When we were expecting our second child, part of the reason we decided to find out her gender in advance was to help our eldest prepare for her arrival. Our daughter was convinced that our baby was a girl, and I was really worried that if our baby was in fact a boy, she would need some additional time to adjust to a different reality to the one she had imagined. Allowing our daughter to tell people she was having a baby sister really made her feel included and prepared for what lay ahead.
- Planning and Preparing – Finding out that we were having a second daughter was really helpful, as it allowed us to prepare for the items that we needed to get, and what clothes and toys we had from our first born that could easily be passed down and reused. I had stored a lot of our daughter’s belongings in the attic, so I wanted to learn whether we could recycle or whether I needed to pass on and buy boys items instead.
- Still a surprise – Finding out your baby’s gender in advance is still a surprise, it just comes in a slightly different format! We asked for our baby’s gender to be written down on a piece of paper and popped in an envelope, before making the big reveal in front of friends and loved ones. I found this a really exciting way to hear the news and just as much of a surprise as it would have been on the day.
- Gender Reveals are exciting – By far the favourite moment from my pregnancy, was when we opted to have a gender reveal in front of our friends and family. We allowed my Dad to know the gender before us – and he was given the responsibility of baking a cake with a pink or blue sponge. The moment we all gathered around and cut that cake together was such an amazing experience, and something that will stay in my memories forever.
Overall, the decision about whether to find out the gender of your child is an incredibly personal one. Ultimately if you and your partner agree, then you should do what suits you and not worry about anyone else’s opinions. Either way, learning the gender of your unborn child, whether during pregnancy or upon their arrival, is one of the most amazing days of your life and something you will never forget.