It’s the first question you get asked following the announcement of your pregnancy. A nano-second after the “congratulations” part, people will ask whether you’re going to find out your baby’s sex. As the 20-week scan approaches, you might find yourself in two minds. There are plenty of arguments for finding out, but there are also a few persuasive reasons why you may want to leave it as a surprise.
I wasn’t the least bit tempted to find out the sex of my first baby. For me, this element of surprise was one of the most exciting parts of my pregnancy. I happily enjoyed the 41 weeks of not knowing. It added something extra to the already mind-blowing miracle of creating life.
For my second and third pregnancies I chose not to find out for the same reason. The loveliest moment of all my labours was being the one to announce the sex of my third-born after her delivery. After a few minutes of enjoying that skin-to-skin magic, my midwife asked, “Aren’t you going to look to see if it’s a boy or a girl?” And when I saw I had become a mum of three girls; it was a gorgeous moment.
Fast-forward four years and I have found myself once again torn with this decision. So, I did a little research. A quick poll of my friends and blog followers showed strongly in favour of finding out. Here’s what I found:
Reasons for finding out:
- Sheer curiosity (and impatience) overwhelmingly drives many women to find out.
- Many said the baby felt more ‘real’ and they could start to develop a bond with it.
- Some said it gave them time to accept it if they had their heart set on the opposite gender.
- Name indecision. Finding out made it easier to agree on one name.
- For mums with other children, knowing whether they would be giving them a little brother or sister enabled them feel more connected and involved.
- To get prepared for baby’s arrival and buy gender-specific nursery decorations and baby clothes.
I considered all these reasons and I still couldn’t decide. So, at our 20-week scan, I asked the sonographer to write down the baby’s sex on a piece of paper, which we took home and placed inside an envelope – to be opened if we choose to.
I placed the envelope on the fridge and as a family we discussed whether to open it. My girls were split. Miss 4 was desperate to open it. But you’d expect that from a four-year-old. She can’t even wait for you to cut toast! Miss 7 wanted to wait. She’s a delayed gratification kind of girl. And Miss 6 voted in favour of opening it so we could eat pink or blue cake. I think the gender-reveal YouTube videos I showed her strongly influenced that decision!
For me, I was so overjoyed that everything was OK at 20-weeks, its sex was the furthest thing from my mind. After three consecutive miscarriages this was the greatest relief imaginable.
Reasons for not finding out:
- The sex of your baby is one of life’s greatest surprises. Today, with smart phones, the Internet, and 24-hour news, surprises are pretty rare.
- Ultrasounds aren’t 100 percent accurate, so you could prepare for one gender only to have the other.
- Initially, babies need very little, so knowing the sex doesn’t really help you prepare.
- It might give you extra incentive to PUSH at the pointy end of labour!
I am now 30-weeks pregnant and the envelope remains unopened, and it’s not even sealed! I open the fridge about 76 times a day and I have not been tempted, not even once. Which is incredibly surprising considering I have little self-control. I’ll save my peeking for when I return home from hospital with newborn babe in arms. And then I’ll check to see if the sonographer got it right!
Did you find out the sex of your baby/babies in advance? What were your reasons for wanting to know, or wanting to wait?