Next Friday is our anatomy scan ultrasound. This is when most couples these days find out the sex of the baby. While the temptation is definitely there (waiting another 5 months seems SO long!), we don’t plan to find out. Since it’s a topic that comes up a lot, I thought I’d take a moment to explain our reasons for going this route.
For most of my life it never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t want to find out. I guess I had it in my head that the only reason not to was “to keep it a surprise,” and I figured it’s a surprise whether you find out via ultrasound or after birth. But sometime last year I read an article on reasons not to find out, and I actually liked a lot of them.
The first, and primary, reason is that we want to avoid enforcing gender roles as much as possible. We plan to practice gender neutral parenting. If we have a girl who loooooves princesses and pink, or a boy who cares about nothing but trucks and sports, that’s totally fine. But we want to be sure they don’t feel like there’s any pressure at all to like those things, or to not like things that don’t match with their gender. The catch is that I’m a totally girly girl in a lot of ways (pink is definitely my favorite color), and Christopher is very into typical guy stuff, so our instinct is to be more gendered than we want to be. If I knew I was having a girl, I would NOT be able to resist having a super bright pink nursery, and all pink clothes and toys. I just like it too much. And Christopher would dearly love a sports boy nursery. But we’re not going to repaint and totally redecorate the nursery when the baby is old enough to start noticing the genderedness (it’s a word, hush), so we need to start neutral. I don’t want them to start getting that message of what they’re supposed to like based on whether they’re a boy or girl before they’re even old enough to understand the difference between being a boy or a girl.
Related to that is what I mentioned about wanting to buy all pink (or blue) clothes and toys. Generally, I think the gendered products are just cuter, so if I knew what we were having, it’d be harder to resist registering for them. But if we did that, and then had a second child that was not the same sex, I’d be less happy about reusing the gear. It doesn’t really matter if we had all pink gear and then had a boy, but if we went gendered once, I’d want to again. Neutral means easily reusable. We’ll get plenty of non-neutral stuff once s/he arrives, but at least we can start out with less. Also, one article I read said that people are less likely to buy you way too many clothes at the shower, and more likely to buy things you actually registered for, since the neutral clothes aren’t as cute/tempting. Don’t know if it’s true, but it’d be a positive if so.
As a side note for those of my readers who plan to buy us baby clothes- don’t ignore something just because it’s too “boyish” and not neutral. Girl stuff, yeah, pretty much doesn’t work for a baby boy (unless you’re prepared for a lot of weird questions and attitudes about it), but boy stuff can be girlied up really easily. Add a skirt, or a bow, and you’re good. So if it’s cute, and doesn’t actually say “boy” on it, do NOT hesitate, I promise we’ll love it. 🙂
Moving on, another reason we don’t want to find out what we’re having is that every person I’ve talked to who waited said that the moment of finding out after the baby was born was really special and a great memory. I’d like to have that moment.
One of the big reasons I originally had was my fear of gender disappointment. I really wanted a girl more, and I felt like it’d be easier to be sad about it if I’m having a boy before they were born. Once they’re here, I can’t imagine being anything but thrilled with them. That one’s actually not as much of an issue for me anymore though. I’m getting more and more totally happy with the thought of a boy or a girl, particularly as I make the paradigm shift towards gender neutral parenting. It might still be an issue for Christopher though. He’s pretty nervous at the thought of a girl, and would like a boy. Since it’s generally harder for the dad to bond before birth, it might still be good for him to not know until he’s holding her if it’s a girl.
And one of my biggest reasons, even though it’s probably the silliest, is that I’m really afraid that if they tell us based on the ultrasound they’ll be wrong. It’s rare, but it does still happen. I think if we were having some kind of genetic testing done, so they could tell us with 100% certainty, I’d be willing to at least consider finding out. But I’m way too freaked out by the idea of being totally set on one and then the baby popping out the other to trust the ultrasound techs.
It’s also, I think, going to be fun to be able to get predictions from people. I’m really wanting to take “bets” on gender and arrival date at my shower. And I figure pretty much everyone I meet will have an opinion. I’m going to try to keep track and see what percentage of guesses are right. Plus, I’m pretty socially awkward, so having that as an easy topic to talk about will be nice.
And lastly, the least serious reason, is just that people don’t expect it. I’m a little contrary by nature, so I like that it’s not doing what “everyone” does. People always look a little surprised when we say we’re not finding out, and it kinda makes me happy. (Yes, we’ve already been asked many times if we know what we’re having. Turns out the majority of people think you can somehow know pretty much from the first positive pregnancy test.)
So there you have it. Whether you think we’re ridiculous or totally agree, now you know why we’re team green. 🙂