One of the first choices parents-to-be will ever make for the baby is whether to find out their gender at the ultrasound or wait until the delivery room. Your decision may seem automatic at first: why would anyone wait until labor to find out if they're having a boy or a girl? After all, a baby's gender determines so much. You may plan your nursery, your bridal shower, and your baby's clothing all on what gender you're having.
That's not even mentioning the gender reveal party! All are valid points, but before you rush to the ob-gyn and spoil the surprise, think about this: if some parents have reasons for waiting, maybe they have a point. There are some very tempting reasons to wait before you have the grand reveal.
After all, you don't have to give up ultrasounds altogether: they're important for so many other things besides gender, which is somewhat irrelevant to your baby's health and well-being. You can avoid disappointment, stereotypical comments, and gender reveal parties if that's not your scene. Not only that, but you'll have something exciting to keep you going through pregnancy!
This article explores the whys (and hows) to keeping the gender a secret from everyone, including yourself, when expecting. Agree or disagree, keep this in mind during the first few months so you can make an informed decision.
15 You Can Re-Use The Clothes And Nursery For Baby #2
Take thriftiness to the next level. This may sound silly, but when you're expecting your second baby, you'll thank yourself. No need to shell out hundreds of dollars on new onesies and cardigans. No reason to paint the nursery room a new, more "gender-appropriate" shade. Go for gender-neutral the first time around and you'll be so much less stressed during round two.
Of course, you could do a gender-neutral scheme without depriving yourself of knowing whether your new baby's a girl or a boy. But be honest with yourself: would you? If you don't know your baby's gender, you never have an opportunity to buy gender-specific clothes or toys in case you guess wrong.
If you like the thought of gender-neutral clothing and playthings but don't know if you can commit to it, consider waiting to know the gender. It's only a silly reason if you want it to be silly.
14 No Silly Gender-Reveal Parties
Speaking of silly, skip out on gender reveal parties altogether by raising the suspense in exciting new ways. If you're anything like me, you may feel like the gender reveal party is just a weak shadow of the much more exciting baby shower. Yet if you feel family pressure to give the people what they want, you may feel obligated to plan a big party on information that you may want to leave to your spouse and close loved ones.
Take this lifeline and use it if you're already dreading the fanfare surrounding gender announcements: don't give into the pressure and tell your friends that you're waiting until the delivery. The excitement is still there, it's just a little less pressing until the day of the delivery.
If you enjoy gender announcements, more power to you. Make it fun, make it crazy, and have a party! But if the mere thought gets you breaking out into a cold sweat, here's the perfect excuse to postpone it.
13 Less Insensitive Gender-Related Comments
Relatives are well-meaning and, most of the time, they're only trying to help. But is it helping when your aunt asks if your spouse was disappointed when you found out the baby was a girl? What does that even mean? And why does your uncle keep insisting you should name the baby something more "manly" than Dakota? Of course you're not naming your baby boy after Dakota Fanning and, even if you were, it's not really any of his business.
Sometimes when people with the best of intentions find out someone's having a baby, they break out the insensitive gender stereotypes. It's innocent enough at first, but by the third trimester, you may be at you're wits end with the endless talk about pink and blue.
When you don't reveal the gender of your baby until they're born, talk may center more around your hopes for the baby and their health, less on their gender.
12 Ultrasounds Are For More Than Gender
Next time you go to the ob-gyn or ultrasonographer, you don't need to close your eyes and plug your ears until the appointment's over. Ultrasounds tell medical clinicians so much more about your baby than their gender. In fact, gender may be at the lowest rung on their priority list when it comes to checking up on your baby and making sure they're alright.
When your clinician performs an ultrasound, they are checking on your baby's developments and if they're growing normally. If they see anything that appears abnormal, they'll want to follow-up and make sure that your baby is okay. They'll notice and be able to tell you what gender you're having if you prefer but, if not, they do not have to tell you.
Skipping out on ultrasounds altogether is a terrible, terrible idea. Nobody would recommend you to do that unless they were seriously misinformed. But if your ultrasonographer asks you if you want to know your baby's gender, think before you respond.
11 Try Gender-Neutral Parenting
Don't knock it before you try it. Although controversial, the gender-neutral parenting trend can be beneficial for certain situations. Some feel that gender-neutral parenting allows a child to develop a healthy identity and enjoy a broad variety of hobbies that they may not otherwise feel comfortable doing. Like anything, gender-neutral parenting can be taken to extremes, so only do what feels comfortable and healthy for your situation.
If you're thinking about raising your child in a gender-neutral environment, think about what this may involve and why you feel it is right for your baby. Take some time to talk with your partner and think about whether you want to introduce this style of parenting. For some people, gender-neutral parenting is not the best option, and that's okay. It is just one alternative way to raise a child.
If anything, promise yourself that no matter what the gender of the baby is, that you will love them. If the baby is born healthy and to a loving family, then they are luckier than so many babies out there. In the grand scheme of things, gender is just a small part of what makes your baby who they are.
10 Have A Little Fun With Old Wives' Tales
A couple of months ago, a friend showed me and a few others an old wive's tale her relatives had shown her to determine your future babies and their gender. She pulled out a ring and told us that, if tied to a string and spun, the movement of the string determines how many babies you'll have and their genders. Before she began, she solemnly informed us that for everyone she had performed the test on, it had all turned out right later on.
According to her test, I'm going to have two boys and a girl someday. Is this accurate? I don't know. Was it highly entertaining and something I'm going to have to remember for work parties? Yes, yes it was.
Before you find out the baby's gender for certain, have some fun with old wive's tales. Indulge in your aunt's (fifty-percent) accurate ways of telling a baby's gender by how you carry it or what your cravings are. It's harmless fun and a lot more pleasant than the ultrasound, anyways.
9 Ditch The Pink And Blue
Did you know that less than a century ago, pink was a boy's color and blue was for girls? It's bizarre, but true. In fact, pink and blue were both gender-neutral until after World War I. In the 1920s, blue became culturally acceptable for girls and pink for boys. Pink was considered more strong and fiery, while blue seemed calmer and dainty.
What caused the change? The same thing that caused every change in America: capitalism. Manufacturers decided that pink was a more fitting colors for girls and blue for boys, and so it has been ever since.
Forget pink and blue altogether. Buy your baby clothes that are purple, orange, green, and every color under the rainbow besides pink and blue. Nothing, not even societal norms, needs to determine when you're ready to find out your baby's gender. It's all up to you.
8 Avoid Disappointment
Of course being healthy is the most important thing when it comes to having a baby. But if you'd always dreamed of having a little girl and your first baby turns out to be a boy, it's normal to feel a little disappointment. It may take some time to adjust from your ideal expectations and appreciate your new baby for who they are.
If you push the gender reveal to the delivery room, however, you will have so much more to worry about than if you're a baby's a boy or a girl. They call it labor for a reason, after all: unless you're very lucky, delivering a baby is stressful and sometimes a little scary.
When your baby is born and you finally get to know the gender, waiting until the last moment may do away with any disappointment and help you stay grateful that the baby is safe and here at last.
7 Ultrasounds Are Less-Than Omnipotent
Every once and a while, the unexpected happens and the ob-gyn gets the gender wrong. Most of the time, you can trust what the ultrasonographer says as the gender you're having. Yet, in rare occurrences, a couple may expect a boy, buy boy's clothes, pick out the perfect boy's name, and then find out after the delivery that they were expecting a girl.
Depending on how the baby's situated in the uterus, abdominal scars, and certain intersex conditions, your ultrasonographer may not be able to tell you with one hundred percent certainty what your baby's gender is. Even if they claim they can, they may get it wrong. If you feel like this may give you unnecessary stress, you may want to opt out of the gender reveal altogether and wait until the big day (when you'll know with complete certainty.)
6 Skip The Months Of Unbearable Stereotyping
Nobody realizes just how many strange gender roles we place on each other quite like expecting mothers do. Why are baby girls described as cute and sweet, while baby boys get the descriptions of "tough" and "strapping?" After all, babies are babies. They drool, they spit up, and they cry all the same. Does gender make any difference when it comes to a baby? Should it?
Take time during your pregnancy to re-examine gender roles and think about why it matters so much that you know your baby's sex. Maybe it matters a lot. Maybe, you'll realize, it doesn't. Whatever your realization, it wouldn't hurt to think about what gender is and why it's so important before finding out your baby's early.
5 Something To Look Forward To During Delivery
During the third trimester, you'll need this. As the delivery date gets nearer, you may start having mixed feelings. On one hand, you may feel sore all the time and comfortable, well... never. Having the baby out would be an enormous relief. On the other hand, if this is your first baby, you may feel nervous. And reasonably so! Labor is a serious medical procedure and most people feel a little scared.
Waiting until delivery to find out the baby's gender will give you something to look forward to. Then, even when you feel like you're going to have a panic attack in the delivery room, you can distract yourself with finally being able to answer the question you've been wondering since the positive pregnancy test: are they a boy or a girl?
4 Did Somebody Say Betting Pool?
Just because you don't get a gender reveal party doesn't mean you have to skip out on all the fun. If the lost gender announcement holds you back from waiting to discover the gender, don't worry: your friends and family will still bet on what you're having and have just as much fun. They'll just do it in the last couple of weeks, when it's more relevant, rather than the first couple of months.
If you want, you can even have a little fun with it. Set up a family "betting pool" or promise to buy a cupcake for every co-worker that guesses the right gender. You can make it as fun or as subdued as you want it to be.
3 Put Some Thought Into Those Names
If you're waiting to find out your baby's gender, you may need to form three lists: potential girl names, boy names, and gender-neutral names just in case you want to decide early. This may sound like a lot of work, at first. Finding the perfect name is hard enough without making the options so vast.
But the extra time may help you find the diamond in the rough. The more you think about it, the more you may eliminate names that you might have been roped into if you choose right after you decide the gender. Creating two possible names gives you more time to bounce ideas off your partner and come to the perfect options together.
2 Annoy The In-Laws
You know you want to. Even if you and your in-laws have a close relationship, a little teasing never hurt anybody. If you think you're ready to know whether you're having a boy or a girl, think of the baby's future grandparents. Needless to say, even if they may not show it, they're probably bursting with excitement.
If you're feeling a little mischievous, wait until the delivery date to find out the baby's gender and watch the vein in your father-in-law's forehead pulse. Remind them that, just like everyone else, they'll know... in nine months. Don't worry about offending them too deeply: they'll forgive you once the baby's born.
1 Life's Too Short Without Surprises
What's life without a little excitement? Pregnancy is full of surprises, most of them not-so-good. Finding out you have terrible bouts of morning sickness for the first eight weeks is an unfortunate surprise. Going to the first ultrasound and discovering you're pregnant with twins, is a shocking surprise. Keeping the gender under wraps until your baby is born is harmless and makes pregnancy just that much more exciting in the good way.
Of course, one person's surprise is another person's unnecessary stress. If you think waiting to hear the baby's gender until the delivery is enough to give you a stress ulcer, that's okay. There's nothing wrong with finding out the baby's gender early, and either option is perfectly valid.
Knowing that waiting is an option, however, may give you something to think about if the benefits are right for you and your spouse. Keep it in mind and, once your twenty week mark approaches, make a choice. No matter what, it'll be a good one.