When I was pregnant with Jacob we decided that we wanted to wait until the birth to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. At first, I was adamant I didn’t want to know, but my husband did want to know. Then he changed his mind, so we didn’t find out at the 20-week scan. At my 36-week growth scan, I suddenly really wanted to know. Curiosity nearly got the better of me, but I didn’t ask in the end. It seemed silly to get so far then cave just a few weeks before the birth.
It’s a really personal decision, but there were a few pros and cons to not finding out.
It’s a lovely surprise
My main reason for not wanting to find out was that I liked the idea of being surprised on the day. In my head, I thought it would help me through the last few pushes (“Just one more push and your son or daughter will be here!”), my husband would tell me whether we had a baby boy or girl, and I’d be handed my little bundle of joy and be overwhelmed by love. In reality, I couldn’t have cared less about the sex of the baby when pushing. I just wanted the thing out of me after an 18-hour labour and over an hour of pushing. At that point, I think I’d forgotten there even was a baby, I just wanted it all over.
Once the baby was actually out, the midwife handed him to me through my legs, I basically dropped him, saw that he was a boy, said “oh, that’s a lot of blood” and boom, emergency alarm. So I had no time to process that I had a son. I don’t think knowing or not knowing would have made any difference to me at that point.
Avoiding gender stereotypes
Another reason I wanted a surprise was because I’m not a massive fan or pink for girls and blue for boys. I bought loads of white baby clothes, which lets face it, look amazing on babies. We also weren’t fussed about painting the nursery. For big purchases, like the pram, I wanted a gender neutral colour because we’ll probably have more than one child and I wanted to be able to reuse it.
When you don’t find out, people constantly guess. This can be a pro or a con depending on the people doing the guessing and how nice or rude they are! “Oh, it’s definitely a girl, you are carrying like a girl.” Translation: “You look fat.”
My bump was ‘classic boy’ (*eye roll emoji*), so most people would tell me I was definitely having a boy. They were right as it happens, but it did get annoying.
Everyone has an opinion
Half of people will tell you it’s brilliant you didn’t find out. “It’s so lovely you didn’t find out, people are just too impatient these days.” The other half will say “but how do you know what colour to paint the nursery?”.
The sonographer at the anomaly scan (a pet hate of mine is when people call the anomaly scan the gender scan—thats not what it’s for!) was desperate to tell me. He asked us about 7 times whether we were sure we didn’t want to know. The baby didn’t want to show its face at one point and he said, “Oh if you knew the sex, you’d understand why it’s being so awkward!”. He even asked me again if I wanted to know when my husband left the room for a few minutes. If I hadn’t been strong I might have caved at that point.
A salesperson in Next was mightily confused because I bought a white cardigan, which is apparently a girl thing, and a multipack of zoo animal sleep suits, which is apparently a boy thing. When I said we didn’t know what we were having he actually looked crestfallen and said “Oh, I hate it when people don’t find out.” Sorry to upset you, man I’ve never met.
A big con for me was trying to find names. If, like us, you find it hard to agree on names, you’ve made it doubly difficult for yourselves. Eventually we settled on a girls name, but we had about 4 boys names. Sod’s law says in that situation, you’ll have a boy! It meant we didn’t have a name for Jacob for about two days.
If we have another baby, I’d probably have another surprise. There’s no reason in particular, I just liked not knowing. Did you find out or opt for a surprise?
The Tale of Mummyhood