Is it a boy or a girl?

Walking around with a big pregnant belly, the two questions you’re guaranteed to be asked are 1. When you’re due, and 2. The sex of the baby. I know that I disappointed many-a stranger by giving such a generalized answer as “January” to the first question and I baffled many-a stranger by saying that we weren’t finding out the sex. Heck, I probably baffled many non-strangers too.

Some would simply be amazed. In awe that I could just let a baby cook in me without figuring out which type of genitalia it possessed. Some told me that they wish they could have not found out, but they were too weak or too interested or someone around them really, really, really wanted to know. Though really, it’s the passive position to not find out since you take action to find out. Some told me that they just had to know the sex of their babies so they could prepare or connect or Just. Know.

Personally, I’ve been on both sides of the coin. With Peanut, I found out around 19 weeks that she was a girl, even though my husband didn’t want to find out. He said he’d prefer not and I agreed, but then when it came down to the ultrasound I made a quick decision to know. With Twig, I knew right off the bat that I just didn’t want to know at all. Even if we’d had an ultrasound, I would have been very clear that they were not to tell us the sex of the baby.

So why was I so adamant about it this time around? Put simply: expectations.

When you find out what sex your baby is, you’re likely going to tell those around you. As I stated above, even strangers are dying to know whether that little bundle of joy is full of ovaries or testes. Sure, some people can keep that kind of secret, but being the person I am and absolutely dying that I couldn’t shout to the world that we were pregnant before the grandparents even knew (since one set was on vacation and we wanted to tell them all at the same time), I know I wouldn’t be that type of person. When you tell people you’re having a boy/girl, you immediately start hearing stories that you’re going to have to get rid of breakable things in your house before they hit 3/lock them in a room once they hit their teenage years. You’ll spend all your money replacing large, broken furniture/buying 5,001 hair bows. They’ll be difficult potty training/disciplining. In short, by telling someone the sex of your baby, you’re opening yourself up to every sexual stereotype known to mankind and projecting the weight of all that bias onto someone who hasn’t even taken their first breath.

In my case, a question that often followed the discussion about how absolutely crazy I am for not finding out the sex of my baby was whether I wanted it to be a boy or a girl. Generally, my answer would be to say, in a joking tone, that I want it to be a baby. Everyone would laugh. Some would prod further and I would say that I honestly didn’t care, so long as it’s happy and healthy. With good friends we’d go onto a discussion of my trepidations of having my second baby be one sex or the other, generally along the lines of boys have scary parts that I don’t have or understand, but we’d like to spread the family name, so I continued to be on the fence about the penis versus vagina thing.

Though when I was pregnant with Peanut, it was a very different story.

From somewhere nearing the moment that I found out I was pregnant, I was convinced the baby was a boy. It came to me in a dream, I believe, some blur of me eating ice cream with a little boy. I blame having recently read the Twilight novels. Regardless, in my mind, I was having a boy. In my body though, I was having a girl.

When I found out, I was actually sad, honestly sad. Sad that I had a perfect, healthy, beautiful little girl in me. Sad to be carrying this wonderful little girl who people often comment might as well be my clone. Sure, it was a fleeting sadness, but it was sadness nonetheless. And four years down the road, what does that sadness equate to? Guilt. Yeah, moms need another thing to feel guilty about.

When you don’t know the sex of your baby until they’re born, it’s not something you really get sad over, or at least I’d imagine. I’m not really the best person to comment on this since I was happy either way the second time around. Regardless of your expectation, you’re a tad bit tied up with other matters when you find out the baby’s sex at the birth. Honestly, I forgot to even check until my mother reminded me, and even at that I asked Peanut what the sex was, to which she proudly exclaimed that it was a girl. Sure, if I would have known the sex of the baby ahead of time I could have screamed “Get her out of me!” instead of “Get it out of me!” (Yeah, you try pushing out a 9.5 lb baby in less than 3 hours), but honestly, does it make the statement any better in the end?

Really though, let’s get to the thick of the matter. I hate pink. That’s reason enough to not let anyone know when I’m having a girl, rightRight? 

Did you find out the sex of your baby? Why or why not? 

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15 thoughts on “Is it a boy or a girl?

  1. We didn’t find out. I always thought I wouldn’t, when I was pregnant I then decided that maybe I’d want to as I’m such a planner and it would be good to be prepared for it up front. However my husband stated (and it’s unusual for him to make decisions) that we weren’t finding out…I’m really glad we didn’t as it was lovely to find out at the time.

    But I do find now that it seems to be unusual not to find out. I’d definitely do the same again, although I do see my friend’s point that she wasn’t bothered to find out with no.1 but with no.2 because she ideally wanted one of each, she wanted to get over any possible disappointment in plenty of time so that she’d be able to bond straight away with the no.2 when it came without feeling guilt. (in the end it wasn’t applicable anyway, but it was pretty good reasoning)

    • I see that point, but I think that I’d be less disappointed when the baby was already here, even if it wasn’t the gender I wanted. If she was worried about it getting in the way of bonding though, I can definitely see why she’d want to get it out of the way before the baby came.

  2. We found out by accident on #1 – I half had wanted to know in advance, but hubby did not. Because of that accident, I have no desire to find out #2. Don’t really care too much about balance, so there won’t be any disappointment either way. Just makes advance clothing buying a little more difficult, because there is so little out there that is neutral! And name picking is a bit tougher.

  3. I did find out with both of my children, boy and girl. Although, i’m thinking it would fun not to find out number 3 (when that happens) and be surprised! I’m like you too, in the fact, i despise pink. 🙂

  4. We didn’t find out that we were having a girl until she arrived. We asked the doctor not to announce to the room the baby’s gender and she was nice enough to cover the baby’s bits as she handed her to me, so that I was the first person to see her and say, “Oh, it’s Jane!”

    My MIL was SO! MAD! that we didn’t find out ahead of time. She told my husband, in front of me, that he had the legal right to know what the baby is and I couldn’t keep that information from him. He’s like, neither of us want to know and it’s only a few months til we all know for sure anyway. MIL actually asked if she could call OUR doctor and find out for herself!

    We honestly loved the simple surprise but we also liked being able to announce “Jane is here” and not have ANY debates about her name because she was already here and already had a name before we called anyone.

    It took us five years to have her so we were thrilled that she was here. We never had that flash of disappointment because we were just so happy to have her and we would have been just as happy with a son. I did agree that if we have a 5th child, MIL can know the gender ahead of time.

    • He has a “legal right” to make you get an ultrasound so the tech can guess (yes guess, since they’re often WRONG) what the gender is? That actually made me laugh out loud!

      I agree about the name thing. We already have a boy name picked out, but we’ve decided not to tell anyone names we’re thinking of in the future for girls. Every time we started to like a name, someone would tell us a reason why we shouldn’t. But once you’ve chosen a name no one is going to tell you how awful it is, even if they’re secretly thinking it.

  5. I did with #1 because he was my first & I wanted to be prepared with stuff. Plus it was exciting & the “norm” thing to do. With #2 or #3 in future, we won’t be finding out : ) My next pregnancies/labor will not be mainstream and more natural, with at home births……I hope & plan : ) I think it’s going to be fun being surprised & surprising others once he or she arrives!

    • I know that hoping and planning part when it comes to homebirth! I hope you get the birth you want.

      I also “wanted to be prepared” with my first, but it turned out that being prepared equaled owning WAY too much pink and WAY too many 0-3 month dresses. 😛

  6. Love your post! We’ve found out with all three of ours because “I just couldn’t NOT find out” (I used to think, anyway) but next time, if we are blessed again, we won’t be. My hubby is fine not to, and I am not even going to have any ultrasounds (have researched many things since having my last baby)! So, you didn’t have an u/s at all? Did you go to a regular OB, midwife, or what? I am interested to hear how others don’t do them. I know they won’t force me, but would you mind sharing what you did? Hope that doesn’t sound dumb! 😛

    • Thanks for the comment!

      We didn’t have a single ultrasound during my second pregnancy. I detailed our reasons why here: http://theadventuresoflactatinggirl.com/2011/06/25/intuition-and-ultrasonic-rays/ We went to a homebirth midwife, but really there’s no reason why you couldn’t say no to ultrasounds to any midwife or doctor. It’s a medical screening and just as you have a choice with something like a amniocentesis, you have a choice with whether or not to get an ultrasound. Our midwife was entirely okay with it. She said she leaves it up to the mother. If the mother has one, she’ll review the results. If she doesn’t, then oh well. She did say that they can be useful if she’s concerned about something (if I showed signs of twins more than just my intuition, we probably would have gotten one just to make sure we were correct and that they were okay), but for a regular ole pregnancy, not necessary.

      • Thank you! I’ll read your post. 🙂 I go to an OB’s office where midwives seem to rule (I only saw the doctor once per pregnancy), but for some reason they use ultrasound for everything! I had 3 of them with each baby and there were NO issues with any of them. They did one to “date” the baby, to “screen” him/her, and to “follow up and check”, in which they look at their size later on in the p/g…WHY? to see if a c-section is necessary?! I don’t think so! Not for this woman, thank you. But I welcomed all the u/s because it meant I could see my baby again, ya know? This next time I will be content to imagine him/her the way God intended. 😉 Ok, I’m off to read that post!

  7. We didn’t find out the gender of our first child, had a boy’s name and girl’s name picked out, and were surprised with a son. The second pregnancy-I hadn’t intended to find out either, until I found out I was carrying twins, then it seemed everything would be easier if we found out. My mobility was very reduced through much of the pregnancy, and post-partum, I was in no shape to get clothes or anything, so I wanted to have everything ready. We found out we were having twins via ultrasound on Mother’s Day (a dating U/S at 16 weeks), found out they were both girls on Father’s Day, and they were born just before Thanksgiving. I kind of regret finding out the gender of my babies, it was a bit anticlimactic when they were born, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. I will NOT be having any more children, but if I were to be…I would wait until the babies were born to find out!
    Also, it was easier only picking out 2 names, rather than 4!

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