When I first started this whole mom journey, I was your classic mom snob. I went through childbirth without an epidural, and nailed it. I couldn't even figure out why they were being offered like candy to the laboring moms coming in, and why all the moms were all into it because if you just don't do it you can have your baby in 14 minutes too! Yes, I was ridiculously and shamefully naive. But then as my closest friends and family members were having babies and I was even there for some of the events and I saw what normal labor was like, and how an epidural saved some from a c-section, or how an elective c-section was the best decision for delivering a baby earth side, I was quickly becoming more and more empathetic to the specific plight of mothers everywhere and the different choices each woman makes to bring their baby safely into the world and I discovered something astonishing: It was okay! And making decisions based on their own knowledge, information and experience is empowering!
I kind of still had my issues though about the whole gender discovery thing half-way through pregnancy. I found out with my babies. Like, Why wouldn't you want to know? For me, finding out made my babies so much more real and I found myself bonding with them in ways I probably wouldn't have had I not known they were my bouncing baby ninja boys. Moms who refused to know... Now, they were the snobs. Why would you choose to miss out on the opportunity of becoming better acquainted with your child before birth? What is even the point of being that old fashioned? I mean, if you're having the scan anyway, why not take a peek? Where are your mother instincts?? Gender neutral is ugly! Your baby's gonna be ugly! Yep. All the mom judgy things. I'm ashamed of myself. In case it wasn't apparent, I could never imagine in a million bajillion years not wanting to know.
And then this journey happened. It had been 4 years and our hearts and home were so ready for a baby. A positive test later and we quickly fell in love. Our family knew, our friends knew, even all the neighbors knew when the boys randomly announced it at the neighborhood campfire. But then our worst nightmare: the baby died. Even though I had been through a heartbreaking miscarriage before, and I knew I could get through this, somehow this was one of the most devastating journeys I have ever encountered. Months went by and healing was so slow to come. I told myself that it was time to try and accept the fact that we would only be a family of 4, and we would make the most of it. I tried to escape the intense desire for a baby by packing up what remaining baby things I had and gave them away.
I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach over the whole ordeal until it occurred to me that I was late. 3 very positive tests later convinced me that there was actually a baby. I stood in the bathroom and cried. I was shaking with surprise and love and absolute terror. I couldn't go through all that again.
And now here we are, half way through and celebrating every day we get to share with this little surprise. We don't know what we're having outside of pure speculation. With two happy and healthy boys, the pressure is on for this baby to be a girl. Everybody is voting and rooting for girl. I'm not going to lie, I kind of am too. But somehow waiting until the moment I get to hold this little one in my arms feels so right. By then it's not going to matter if it's a boy or a girl, the only thing that anybody will care about is that everything is okay, and either way, this baby is our precious gift.
By choosing not to know, I have been told that I'm incredibly patient to not want to know, and that these other families could never do that, and why wouldn't I want to know? If there's anything this long journey taught me it's that I am not a very patient person. I freaking hate waiting! I feel like I have waited so long for this baby, and as badly as I hate waiting in general, the theme for this journey seems to have been that all along: wait. And somehow waiting just feels right. And so we will wait, as crazy as it made me to get through the 20 week scan without peeking and knowing these things.
While still referring to this boxing, dancing little tyke as "it" isn't necessarily my favorite part, there is an added element of exhilaration and thrill as the days and weeks tick by to meeting this special little human that we didn't have with the previous babies. I don't know that I would make the same decision should another baby be in our future, but for now call me patient or stubborn... This was the right choice for this journey.
Having been on both sides of the dilemma, here's my thought process that went into the whole decision which took me about 19 weeks and 5 days to completely arrive at.
To Find Out or Not to Find Out
>>To Find Out
- You don't have to refer to your baby as "it"
- You can harness all your creativity, or steal somebody else's, to host your epic gender reveal party
Get a couple cameras involved and maybe you can go viral!
- There's something about finding out half-way through pregnancy that makes it all so real and special.
Family members and friends may find it easier to bond with the baby. Your spouse will definitely be on board with the idea.
- You can plan a gender-specific wardrobe and nursery
- You can have a baby shower that involves pink or blue newborn clothing before birth
- You can name your child before birth
- It's your baby and this is not the wrong choice
>>Or Not to Find Out
- There's an added element of exhilaration as you wait for that special day
Makes the whole 40-week "it" factor acceptable.
- You don't have to do something fancy for a gender reveal
Everrryyyboooodyyyy's doing them now days, they're kind of getting old, am I right?
- It is my understanding that it makes the whole birth experience magical
- Gender neutral doesn't have to be just cute greens and yellows; whites and grays are darling on newborns too!
And little gender specific accessories are inexpensive and don't take up much room if space is an issue (hats, headbands, leg warmers, diaper covers, mitts, etc.)
- Not knowing curbs impulsive spending
This is a fact, and your spouse will definitely be on board with this idea.
- It takes like 40-some odd weeks for some couples to agree on a name anyway... (ahem)
- It's your baby and this is not the wrong choice
And now I'm curious, where are my other surprise mamas at? I want to hear your experience! Did you find out? Did you choose not to? Are my assumptions correct that you really can't regret your decision either way? Comment below what you might add or take away from the pro's and con's list.