To find out or to wait?

That is the question.  I’ve noticed that when you tell someone you’re pregnant, one of the first questions they ask  is, “Are you going to find out if it’s a boy or girl?”  Tim and I had our programmed response to this question when we first started telling people our news. “We’re not sure, yet.”

Tim wants to find out.  He thinks it would “help in planning.”  I’m not sure.  I kind of want to wait.  I think part of me is scared that they would be wrong, that we’d get set in our mind that it was going to be one way, only to be surprised, slapped in the face, “Oh that little girl you’ve been planning for and talking to the last four and a half months? Yeah, sorry it’s actually a boy now.”  I know that the technology has improved and that the ultrasounds are wrong less and less these days, but it still happens.  When I asked Tim what he thought about this, he said, “Well, that’s why you buy baby neutral stuff.”

So, if that’s the case and we’re going to buy greens and yellows and baby neutral stuff anyway, I don’t see how knowing the sex early will “help in planning.”  I think Tim talked himself in a circle there.  (Sorry, honey.)  In fact, I’m not a big fan of overly-girly pinks and princess stuff for girls, and blues and trucks and baseballs for boys.  I love the color blue and I’m a girl, so I think blue is a perfectly fine color for females too.  And why can’t girls like baseball?  I do love little floral baby dresses and lace and although I wouldn’t inflict that on my newborn boy, I’m not going to be a strictly gender-neutral mom.  Still, I can see how it would be nice to try and avoid at least some of the gender stereotyping that occurs immediately after exiting the womb.

We already have our anatomy ultrasound appointment set for March 31, so we can find out the sex then if we want.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the pros and cons of finding out.

Pros

  • Help with baby names–boys names are not our specialty so if we’re having a girl we may not have to worry about it and can save ourselves the stress of trying to decide on that perfect boy’s name.  If we’re having a boy, we’ll  need to step up the boy name search this summer.
  • Planning – for me this is more about emotional planning vs. knowing whether to buy blue or pink.  However, it could be helpful for friends who want to knit baby sweaters or grandmothers who see baby clothes on sale and are dying to make a few purchases.
  • Bonding – I think it would be nice to refer to our little one as “he” or “she” and not “it.”  It sounds so alien, and I already feel as if I have an alien growing inside me.  I think knowing the sex might help me feel more connected and put a “face” to this being that will soon be part of our family.

Cons

  • Error factor – What if they’re wrong?
  • Gender stereotyping – the fear of getting all blue and pink and gender-specific gifts.  However, I guess this is just as much a concern after the baby is born.
  • Ruining the surprise – I’ve had friends tell me, “it was just as much a surprise at 20 weeks as it would have been at 40 weeks,” and “there were so many surprises in a first-time pregnancy and delivery, given the opportunity to take one more surprise out of the equation, I wanted to do it.”  Still, I kind of like the idea of using the unknown sex as motivation on delivery day.  (Although I’ve had mothers tell me that this notion is kind of silly–that meeting your child and looking them in the eye is enough motivation.)

So, still not sure where this leaves us.  Part of me thinks maybe I’m just riding my high horse because my 24-year-old self was so adamant about waiting to find out.  When my friends Angie and Dylan found out they were having a girl back in 2002, I told them there was no way I would find out the sex of my child until it was born.  I wanted it to be a surprise.

“You’ll change your mind when you have kids,”  they promised.

“No I won’t.”

This was before Tim and I met, and before I was anywhere near ready to have kids, but part of me–a big part of me–doesn’t want to have to eat those words.  Angie and Dylan probably don’t even remember me saying this, and if I lived my life by everything my 24-year-old self thought, I’d probably be in some trouble right now.  Still, it burns me to change my mind.  I guess I could always just plead the “my husband made me do it.”  He is pretty persuasive.

To be continued…

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