A friend of mine, already the mom of two little boys, recently announced she was expecting her third. Because she'd found out her babies' genders during her previous two pregnancies, I figured she'd do the same with this one. Wrong. When she told me that they were letting this baby's gender be a surprise, I assumed it was because it was her last baby and she just wanted to mix things up. Wrong again. "If I find out this is a third boy, I know what will happen," she corrected me. "Everyone I tell will get a sad look on their face and ask if I'm disappointed, or say 'good luck with that' or 'man, your house is going to be crazy,' or something else equally annoying and offensive, and I just don't want to deal with it."
She had a point. As a mom who's firmly in the camp of finding out all information as early as possible (I even paid for a 14-week ultrasound with my second because I couldn't wait until 20 weeks to find out if he was a boy or a girl), it was the first time not finding out a baby's gender in utero actually made sense to me.
After talking to dozens of moms about their decision either to find out their baby's gender or to keep it a surprise, here are the best reasons we discovered for each decision. Still debating whether you want to know what you're having or fighting your spouse about that decision? Ask yourself if you fit into any of the categories below and the scales may just tip one way or the other.
- PRO: You're incredibly Type A (we feel you). Your registry was completed before your first ultrasound, you started a "nursery" board on Pinterest months before you conceived, and your baby is already on the wait list for a night nurse, nanny, and nursery school? Then, yeah, finding out whether that babe is a boy or a girl is probably the best way to keep yourself sane.
- PRO: You're totally into pink or blue everything. You're a shopper, and you need to know in which section to unleash your baby-gear buying beast. Will it be tutus, bows, and pink heart blankets or rocker tees, high-tops, and mustache-topped binkies? Either way is fine with you, but you need to know ASAP.
- PRO: You don't want to feel disappointed in the delivery room. If you have your heart set on one gender, finding out early might be your best bet. No one wants disappointment to be the first emotion they feel when they see their new baby, so give yourself time to process before the delivery.
- CON: You don't want to hear annoying condolences. People are crazy. This has long been established. So if you can't take hearing "you can always have a third" a hundred times because you are expecting your second boy or girl, or "hope you don't have any nice furniture" when you announce you're having your third boy, then a surprise is your way out. Once the baby arrives, people will still make comments, but you'll love your newborn so much, you won't care.
- CON: You don't believe in assigning gender. We're in a whole new world when it comes to gender roles and assignment, and you're as progressive as they come. Gender isn't important to you, so why place a label on your child before you even meet them?
- CON: You love surprises. Parenthood is full of revelations (who knew a 3-year-old could eat $6 worth of strawberries every single day? Or that sleep deprivation isn't a stage but a lifestyle?), but you'll never get a better one than meeting your new baby for the first time, so why not add even more surprise to that awe-inspiring experience?