Do we find out our baby's sex?
January 3, 2013 9:56 AM   Subscribe

We're pregnant! But we're on the fence about finding out the baby's sex. Parents: what did you decide? Did you regret your decision or love it?

HOORAY, we're 14 weeks pregnant and just telling friends and family the news. However, we're not sure if we should find out the kid's sex. Can you help us?

We broke it down thusfar:

Finding out the baby's sex:
Pros: People can buy us gender-"appropriate" clothes (more on that in a second)*, we only have to agonize over one set of baby names, we can refer to the baby as he/her instead of "little monster," and we can satisfy our curiosity

Keeping kid's sex a secret
Pros: ruins the fun delivery room surprise, thus extending the OMG factor several months longer, prevents our insanely excited parents from buying the baby gender-appropriate clothes (re: ugly onesies with baseballs/unicorns) for the time being until we can formulate a polite "thanks but no thanks" policy about ulta-gendered clothes, stops people from making stupid gendered comments about having a boy or a girl**
Cons: I know once the kid arrives I'll be thrilled!!! no matter what, but right now I have my heart set on having a girl. A tiny part of me is worried this wish will intensify as the months progress and I'll actually bit a tad glum if the kid arrives as a boy.

*I don't mind pinks for girls and blue for boys in moderate amounts, but I really dislike "Little Princess"/"Mommy's Little Hellion" garbage.
**I have generally noticed people more freely make stupid gender comments when the baby is still in the womb and thus not a real person yet? Perhaps I'm wrong.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (88 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite


We chose not to find out. There are few genuine surprises in life, and we wanted this to be one of them.
posted by hmo at 9:59 AM on January 3, 2013 [7 favorites]

Congratulations. I think if I were in your position, I would find out and then not tell anyone. That gives you a few months to settle in if you’re having a boy, but prevents non-gender neutral gifts. I think it’s just as good to be surprised on ultrasound day than it is the day you give birth.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:01 AM on January 3, 2013 [12 favorites]

Congrats! We chose to find out. As you pointed out , it helpfully reduces the options you have to deal with when considering clothes, blankets, paint colors for the nursery, etc.
posted by COD at 10:01 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Congrats! One thing to consider is that wiith the current ultrasound technology, the sex will be very obvious to the doctors at some point during your pregnancy. How do you feel about the doctor knowing and not telling you?

This would bother me a lot -- it's a very different situation than choosing whether to get a test that determines the sex, which I would be very likely to skip.

(I am not a parent, however.)
posted by insectosaurus at 10:04 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

right now I have my heart set on having a girl. A tiny part of me is worried this wish will intensify as the months progress and I'll actually bit a tad glum if the kid arrives as a boy.

I was the same way; heart set on having a girl. This is what happened when I found out we were having a boy.

posted by Lucinda at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I never had any question about wanting to know as soon as possible - partly because I am a supremely impatient personality, but also partly so that any subtle preferences or disappointments about the gender (whether mine or other people' s) could be processed and firmly out of the way before the child' s actual arrival. I especially recommend this if you feel like you might be kind of hoping for one thing (girl) because, honestly, I think that' s natural and human, but that way if it' s a boy you can get whatever feelings you have dealt with and have a few months of building excitement for the person you are actually going to meet. For me it' s just one more exciting thing to bring me closer to getting to know the child, if that makes sense.
posted by celtalitha at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2013 [22 favorites]

We chose to find out, as I think it helped us "bond" with the baby before birth.

I have a coworker whose wife is a midwife, and they chose to wait since she had seen the couples who decided to wait be so delighted when they finally saw their baby. She made it sound so cool to wait that I might be tempted to do that if I had another.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

So much about your baby is going to be a surprise. This one thing can be known now. Also, be aware that there is a risk of getting wrong information if the scan is read wrong. Taking home little girl "Timmy" could be awkward.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2013

I also had my heart set on a girl, and was a bit bummed to find out we were having a boy. Of course my son is the best thing in the world, but I'm glad I had time to process the gender disappointment before he was born, so the birth experience was only joyful and not tinged with any secret disappointment.
posted by Safiya at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2013 [7 favorites]

Also, people are pointing out that the doctor seeing the ultrasound will know - this is true, but an unmentioned detail is that if YOU are looking at the screen during the scan (as I always was) it might be awfully hard for you to not know too, whether intentionally or not, if you know what you' 're looking for. I never quite understood how people could just.... not look.
posted by celtalitha at 10:08 AM on January 3, 2013

We didn't find out. It drove some of our friends and family mad - I think they were sure we knew but weren't telling. Whatever, it was exciting and fun not to know, and did a wonderful job at preventing gendered gifts, as you mentioned. I think we had 4 names going into the delivery room - a first and second choice for each.

Didn't bother me at all that our caregivers might know when we don't. My wife has some experience reading sonograms as well but, as far as she tells me, didn't know from what we saw. It was fun to try, in vain, to make out genitalia details from the crappy ultrasound printouts, too.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:09 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also, people will probably buy you ultra-gendered stuff no matter what. My husband specifically asked his mom not to buy any "daddy's little slugger" type stuff, but we got some both before the birth, and after (at Christmas).
posted by Safiya at 10:13 AM on January 3, 2013

I'll second the "bonding" experience that rabbitrabbit had before birth.

You can take your time and decide on a name like non-finder-outers, but once you decide on a name, you can actually start using it ahead of time. "Hey, how's Joe doing in there?" "Man, Betty is kicking me hard in the kidneys right now". The baby develops a personality before delivery.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:13 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

right now I have my heart set on having a girl. A tiny part of me is worried this wish will intensify as the months progress and I'll actually bit a tad glum if the kid arrives as a boy.

I've heard it said if you feel that way, that you should find out to give yourself time to get over it well before the birth. We found out at the 20 week mark and I think it did help with the pre-birth "bonding".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:17 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

but right now I have my heart set on having a girl. A tiny part of me is worried this wish will intensify as the months progress and I'll actually bit a tad glum if the kid arrives as a boy.

I felt the same way as you did about wanting a girl. But I wanted to find out the baby's sex and did.
I was shocked when they told me I was having a boy. Then about an hour later, I cried--hard.

I am really glad I had the chance to properly grieve for the little girl I wasn't going to have long before I met my beautiful, hilarious, sweet and otherwise perfect son in the flesh.
posted by murrey at 10:17 AM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

We chose not to find out, because I think it is one of life's beautiful surprises. Also I did not mind whether I had a boy or a girl. Also also, I absolutely HATE gendered baby clothing and colours. I was dreading the deluge of pink if we had a girl. We also chose not to share name choices with anyone - friends or family - in advance, as I consider that a very personal decision.

When it was ultrasound time, our doctors and technicians would warn us when to look away so we wouldn't risk spoiling our surprise. However, I will warn you that doctors in the US are not very good at keeping this secret. We had a feeling it was going to be a boy because my OB kept defaulting to "he", and then hurriedly covering up with "I am just using 'he' as a default".

A co-worker chose to find out the gender of both his kids. Their second baby was a girl, except when she was born it turned out she was a he, who had done such a good job of hiding his genitalia that the ultrasounds missed it. He had to go home in a pink onesie.
posted by Joh at 10:17 AM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]

My wife wanted to know and I didn't so I just stepped out of the room when they informed her of the baby's sex.

I was hoping for a boy and found out it was a girl about 15 minutes before she came out when I had to get something from my wife's bag at the hospital and saw pink clothes. I don't know if that extra processing time changed my reaction but there wasn't any disappointment when she came out.

One plus of not finding out - everyone will get you "unisex" clothes which means if you're planning on having additional kids you'll be able to re-use the clothes regardless of their sex (not that it matters for kids but some people get upset when a girl is "dressed like a boy" and vice versa).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:20 AM on January 3, 2013

We found out both times. Our thinking was that it is a surprise when you find out pre-delivery too. I also felt that prolonging the surprise when I could have known seemed like a slightly artificial exercise for me. Maybe I am more impatient than I thought!
posted by Athanasius at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2013

Finding out will mean you receive some gendered clothes, but you can lessen that by letting it be known that you're not a huge fan of the princess stuff, etc. Also, I was far more principled on that issue before my daughter was born. After she arrived, it was like, "What's clean? A dumb onesie with a frilly heart? Awesome!"

We found out, not for convenience but because pregnancy can sometimes feel like a slog, and it was simply fun to have that little discovery en route. But I guarantee that finding out the sex will tell you almost NOTHING about your baby. Our daughter's personality was a major surprise and delight, sonogram or no.
posted by cymru_j at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

We chose to find out. It was fine. Honestly it doesn't really matter either way. You won't find yourself sitting around the delivery room thinking, "well, I'm a little underwhelmed, we should have had a bit more surprise," if you do find out.

Do what you want. but it's a decision you can't really mess up because it really won't change anything. It was a moment of surprise when we did find out. We could have had that at the end of a long and exhausting process where everyone was tired, and honestly, it probably would have had less impact. Imagine getting an iPad for your birthday. That's cool, right? Imagine surviving snowboarding down Mt. Everest in an avalanche, and at the bottom you throw your arms up in the air and scream in triumph, and at the same time, someone says, "Hey, check it out, I got you an iPad!" Maybe not as much impact as on a regular birthday, right?

I know, I just compared finding out the baby's sex to getting a new iPad, but really, I think it's justifiable. It just really doesn't make that much of a difference either way.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:22 AM on January 3, 2013 [14 favorites]

With my first, we waited until she was born. With my second, we found out from the ultrasound. Both were delightful, wonderful surprises, one was just a bit earlier in the whole process than the other.

I found it was only a slight practical advantage to find out during the pregnancy (there's so much unisex clothing/nursery colours/etc, it didn't make much difference), but the name-picking was made so much easier.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:24 AM on January 3, 2013

We decided to find out, in large part to assist in coming up with a name, and do not regret it. Our second is due in late May, and we'll be finding out the sex in a week.

Seconding that birth itself, esp. for a first, is such an overwhelming event that you won't need any additional surprise, if you choose to go the finding out route.

I have generally noticed people more freely make stupid gender comments when the baby is still in the womb and thus not a real person yet? Perhaps I'm wrong.

I've been exposed to more gender parochialism since I became a parent than at any other point in my life (esp. from extended family). You will learn new things about the baseline assumptions of people you know that you wish you hadn't.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:27 AM on January 3, 2013

We found out both times but we refused to tell any family members because we specifically did not want gender specific gifts considering that (1) the finding of the sex isn't an exact science and (2) it means people will buy you non-practical gifts.
posted by zombieApoc at 10:27 AM on January 3, 2013

I have two. We chose to find out on both.

I think finding out as soon as possible has a number of benefits. It help to bond with the baby and you can start thinking of names. Every choice you make regarding the baby is going to be more informed: how to decorate the nursery, clothes for you (and others) to buy for the baby, and so on.

People talk about being surprised but guess what? It's still a surprise when you find out in the doctor's office, and frankly, it's not very much of a surprise no matter when you find out because there are only two possible choices. Maybe I am jaded but a coin toss does not surprise me. Besides, delivery day is full of other surprises such as whether the anesthesiologist will arrive too late to administer the epidural or whether or not you will poo yourself. (two surprises we experienced)
posted by Tanizaki at 10:28 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I didn't want to find out, my husband did. He is generally a more anxious person than I, so I gave in on that issue, my reasoning being that I was helping put him at ease. Later into the pregnancy I realized that knowing helped *both* of us bond earlier to the baby.

Having told people about being pregnant and the sex around 14wks (we had also done genetic testing, so we knew the sex early on), I absolutely refused to tell anyone the name we'd chosen. We still wanted to have some sort of surprise left toward the end of the pregnancy.
posted by vignettist at 10:32 AM on January 3, 2013

My parents didn't know what I was when I was gestating (no amnio, no ultrasound), but everyone said I was carrying like a boy, so everyone assumed I was going to be a boy.

They referred to me as Buster, what gendered clothes I did get at the shower were all for boys (including a hilarious "daddy's little helper" suit with an applique tool belt), I got a lot of gender-neutral toys, and my dad really wanted a boy. (Or, I suppose, wasn't mentally prepping himself for a girl.)

Evidently, when I was born and the doctor announced I was a girl, my dad said, "no, that's not right. He's a boy. Go check again." (But then took all of about 30 seconds to get over it.)

So, what I'm saying is, even if you decide to not know, there will be assumptions, and they may be wrong, but in the end it's a baby, and it'll be awesome, and even if you got it wrong, and even if your daughter wears boys' clothes until she's two, none of it will matter.
posted by phunniemee at 10:33 AM on January 3, 2013

On preview I agree it might be nice not to tell other people, but to know yourself for bonding purposes. your mileage may vary on how well this goes over with friends and family, though.

My fiance' s mom gets my kids TONS of ultra- ultra- gendered crap no matter what I say. Before and after birth. At least now that I have one of each, I can argue with her to buy neutral things "because that way we can pass it down to little Mr" and that works somewhat to tone down the level of princess- Barbie- diva- nauseum. She would have pitched fits if we waited to find out, but I might have actually enjoyed that a teeny bit... Instead, I took forever to choose names, waiting two days after birth with my daughter and a week with my son. Now THAT drove people nuts!
posted by celtalitha at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2013

We decided we wanted it to be a surprise (echoing hmo's sentiment -- there are so few surprises left in the birthing process, and this one was guaranteed to be a good one, so why not).

I also went in not really sure whether I wanted a boy or girl more, and scared that I actually did have a preference and that the baby would come out and I would be disappointed. So it was pretty great when my son came out, face down and genitalia all tucked under, and the doctor announced, "It's a girl!" - giving me great joy - and about a half second later turned him and said, "Whoops! It's a boy!" - giving me great joy again. She had been my OB all through the pregnancy, so she would have seen all the ultrasounds, and I know she wouldn't have played a trick like that on purpose. So I'm guessing that if we had been told earlier based on ultrasounds, we would have been incorrectly expecting a daughter all along. And I think (at least in my case) expecting one and then getting the other could have been hard.
posted by Mchelly at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2013

We chose not to find out and don't regret it one bit. For much the same reasons you listed. It was nice to be able to tell people we were waiting to find out so that we could avoid gendered gifts.
If you do choose to not find out make sure your doctor knows and any technicians giving you ultra-sounds and the like. Usually they were good about asking, but sometimes they can forget.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:43 AM on January 3, 2013

You don't need to formulate a policy. Just say "look, we'd like gender-neutral clothes and toys". It worked well for us and continues to work well, except for a few people who are kinda assholes, but those people will be assholes anyway.

We also are more than happy to accept hand-me-downs, which keep the consumption down, and it helps to know what clothes will work.

Keep in mind, however, that gender-neutral stuff or even just not insanely gendered stuff can be hard to find!
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:43 AM on January 3, 2013

We didn't find out with one, and aren't finding out with two. I really don't think it matters much - you're going to be surprised when you find out no matter when it is. The main advantage for us was, knowing we wanted to have another some day, we got all gender neutral baby stuff. Baby's daddy in particular did not want to know; I think it gave him something specific to look forward to/focus on during delivery (especially the first time, not really knowing what to expect).

It is harder with the second one because the first one would like to know, but it's been interesting to watch her go back and forth.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:44 AM on January 3, 2013

Oh and I don't think it matters too much whether you find out or not, honestly. People have been fine both ways. At least for us, it was the least of our concerns during birth. I won't go into it, but our child could have been an ewok and we would have been thrilled that he was a healthy and thriving ewok.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:46 AM on January 3, 2013

I didn't want to find out -- because it's one of life's few, true mysteries. This lasted all the way through my pregnancy, and then in the 9th month I was at my OB/GYN when a nurse accidentally blurted it out. I said, "I hope you didn't just tell me my baby's sex because I didn't want to know," and she didn't even have an excuse or cover story. Bitch.

I was totally depressed for about 12 hours, and then I got over it. Mr. BlahLaLa and I didn't tell anyone else, however, so at least they got to be surprised. But I"m still a teeny, tiny bit bummed about it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:46 AM on January 3, 2013

Forget pros and cons. What do you really want to do? Will it drive you nuts knowing you COULD know but have decided not to? Will everyone harassing you about your not knowing make you more nuts than their sexist nonsense? Because you can't avoid the sexist nonsense. I was asked by someone in a babies-backwards-r-us, when I said I was looking for a particular car seat design, "boy or girl?" It's baked into the system and you can't stop it by avoiding it.

If it had been a decision left to us I'd have been in favor of not knowing and I'm sure my wife would not have been able to not know, but then that's a general attitude difference between us anyway (regarding learning things we cannot change and which won't alter our decisions/behavior). You should do what you feel is right and enjoy the brief bit of control :)

If you're unsure what you want, keep delaying finding out. It's not like you can't just change your mind and ask the doc or ask at the subsequent ultrasound.
posted by phearlez at 10:47 AM on January 3, 2013

My brother and sister in law chose not to find out about my niece until birth, and chose to find out about my nephew ahead of time. I don't think it made one whit of difference to them or to anyone else around them ahead of time either way. Their reasons for not finding out about the niece were almost in hmo's exact words here, and I think with my nephew they just figured it would be easier than having everyone at the doctor's office doing all kind of contortions to keep it a secret from them.

Although, amusingly, SIL just happened to pick predominantly blue clothing for the baby registry for the gender-surprise one, and got a couple of confused calls from family asking "wait, I thought you said you weren't finding out ahead of time?" (SIL just really likes blue and hadn't noticed she'd done that!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on January 3, 2013


I chose to find out with both my two boys, and it was great to be able to get through the naming process in advance and start thinking of baby by his name.
It also prevented the post-partum hormone wackiness from interfering - for about a week after he was born I was considering scratching the pre-chosen name and calling my eldest "Thieftaker". Hormones.

What I always tell first time parents is this: Do not worry about diminishing the element of surprise, your labour and delivery are going to be chock full of Surprises as it is. You won't miss this one.
posted by Catch at 10:50 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can I just add that if someone gives you a bunch of "Mummy's Little Princess/Daddy's Little Hellion" stuff you are under no obligation to use it. Immediately throw it in the thrift-store pile and dress your baby how you like.
posted by Catch at 10:54 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

>right now I have my heart set on having a girl. A tiny part of me is worried this wish will intensify as the months progress and I'll actually bit a tad glum if the kid arrives as a boy.

I was the same way; heart set on having a girl. This is what happened when I found out we were having a boy.

I had the opposite experience. We elected to not find out. As stated previously, there are so few true surprises left in life.

I come from a long line of only boys on my dad's side. I'm an only child. My dad had one sibling, a boy. His father was one of three boys. My great-grandfather was one of three boys, and it goes on for two more generations. We were destined to have a boy.

As we all know, it's really just chance. Subconsciously, I was worried about relating to a little girl, so I convinced myself that our fetus was a boy without any evidence.

Finally, the baby emerged and of course the attending nurse announced "It's a girl!"

My first thought about my new daughter was "That can't be right. A girl? What am I going to do?" Obviously, I got over that stupid, stray thought very quickly and I'm genuinely thrilled to do the little girl things that I never thought I could embrace. I attended a pretend picnic just this morning where the other invitees were stuffed animals and I enjoyed it.

So I'm glad that we didn't learn the gender early. I spent months being a dad to a growing boy in my head, I got a genuine surprise, and I learned something about myself in the process.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:56 AM on January 3, 2013

We just found out the gender last week. Like you, I don't want a bunch of gendered nonsense, that's why I'm not having a shower. As far as commentary, people will make stupid comments anyway. Knowing has helpfully narrowed down the list of names. Now that I know it's going to be a boy, I'm not really planning to do too much differently. We are accepting pink hand-me-downs. We were planning a space-themed nursery regardless of the gender. We're having the circumcision debate, which I'd really hoped to avoid. I appreciate having some time to think about how to raise a feminist son. I'm also more worried because the incidence of Autism is higher in males.

You could always find out but keep it to yourselves. That's what we're doing with the name.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:56 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

We found out, figuring that there would be plenty else new and exciting once the baby arrived. That turned out to be the correct assessment. It also had the benefit of cutting the name discussion in half, with a couple who agreed on literally one name. We kept that name to ourselves instead of the gender, and I think it was sufficiently suspenseful for everyone else.

As a data point: We subscribed to cymru_j's "hey, it's clean" philosophy, and ended up with a girl who has never been interested in princesses. I really think it was a genetic dice roll, more than anything.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:59 AM on January 3, 2013

Not a parent, but as a simple spectator, I always enjoyed the surprise of the final revelation.

Hearing talk for months about 'Billy', when 'Billy' is going to come, how you're preparing the upstairs room for 'Billy' -- man. I've had enough of Billy, and he's not even here yet.

I admit I may be a big ol' crankypants with a low baby-convo threshold.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:00 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also addressing some people talking about the doctor knowing and you not. In our case our doctor also didn't know. She said that is her policy so that she doesn't have to attempt to conceal information. The ultra sound is performed by a tech who is not the doctor and sends the doctor the images she needs making sure to not reveal the gender. YMMV but the people we delt with were very upfront about this issue and were very accommodating.
Most everyone involved likely did not know the gender because they avoided finding out themselves so they couldn't slip up.
posted by MrBobaFett at 11:01 AM on January 3, 2013

We found out both times and don't regret it at all. In the whole scheme of things, particularly with the first one, discovering the gender of the baby seems to pale in comparison to the simply stunning, overwhelming experience of the birth itself and finally holding baby in your arms. Several years later, I still tear up at that memory, not at finding out the gender. I also have to echo the point that whenever you find out, it's still a surprise. On the gender-specific gifts, we are not particularly gender-focused people, so are not so fussed about receiving gifts like "Daddy's little slugger" or "Mommy's little princess" onesies. (In fact, I was a bit more militant on the non-gendered thing than my wife, at least initially.) Whether you actually use the gifts for their intended purpose is entirely up to you, and they grow so fast, you might not even get the chance to use the gift anyway! In any case, we dress our daughter (the younger one) in her big brother's clothes all the time, and they both play with the same toys (dolls, trucks, etc.); we really don't care what other people think about that (although to be fair, our family members and friends generally aren't the type to be gender focused anyway, and the kids have plenty of good role models for behaviors and attitudes).
posted by odin53 at 11:03 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

We wanted to know. So did the other two kids. It was great, planning for a son.

Also, I took home a copy of the ultrasound that gave visual proof that, either he was indeed a boy, or he would have an extra appendage of some sort.

By the way, we chose alternate birthing. I delevered him myself (at a hospital, just in case). The OMG factor cannot get any more massive or intense. Imposible.
posted by mule98J at 11:06 AM on January 3, 2013

We chose to find out, because if we'd had a boy, we would have had to have a bad fight about circumcision (I'm/kids are Jewish, husband thinks circumcision is bad). So it was good to know ASAP that we were having girls.

On the other hand, I'm horribly superstitious about choosing to name the kid before hand/referring to the baby by name.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Hey, congratulations! We thought we'd wait to find out, but in the process of all the testing we ended up requiring, my husband was called in to do some blood tests regarding some concerns about the baby's chromosomes. The nurse asked him if he understood the why he had been called in. He said, "Not really, but I do understand that we're having a boy or you would have called my wife in, too." Grade 9 science FTW! Anyway, as mentioned above, it's a surprise no matter when you find out, and you're going to get gender-specific gifts regardless, if not before the baby comes, then after. Good luck!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:08 AM on January 3, 2013

I feel uniquely qualified to answer this question, as we just found out the sex of our little butterbean less than an hour ago. (The butterbean has a frank and beans!) We chose to find out because (1) it gives us more time to psychologically adjust, (2) we were curious and we'll find out eventually anyway, and (3) my wife thought it was a boy and I thought it was a girl so we wanted to settle the bet. I lost, but yay, I win anyway! Our best friends in the world had a kid a while back, and they chose not to find out until the delivery room. It was a lot of fun guessing and speculating for that. Ultimately, I don't think you'll go wrong no matter which you choose to do, but I found it very satisfying to slake my curiosity. Plus, now we can concentrate on picking appropriate names without growing too attached to a nonexistent girl named (x).
posted by hilaritas at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

We found out ASAP, for many of the reasons already stated: bonding, ease of name choosing, avoiding doctor slip-ups, etc. We did not regret it and would do it that way again.

I'm a bit surprised at all the emphasis on gendered gifts. I get the gender thing, and I agree in principle. However, you can't really control what other people give you as gifts. If you don't want to use the gift, then don't. Donate it or re-gift it or exchange it. Second, making a decision based on the gifts it might provoke is giving a lot of power over your own happiness to other people. Seems unwise.

I was really against gendered clothing before my son was born. I still don't like it, but it takes some effort and time to find neutral stuff these days, even when I go shopping myself. Effort and time that I'd rather spend on things that are more important to my kid at this age. So he has a fair amount of stuff emblazoned with trucks and puppy dogs and dinosaurs because that is what Target has that fits and is comfortable.

Why would finding out the sex in the delivery room prolong the surprise for several months longer? Pretty much everything involved with this experience will be surprising. In fact, I don't think humans have enough dynamic range in emotions to experience the full surprise all at once. The best way to make the sense of wonderment last *longer* is to find out beforehand. Afterwards will just be a whirlwind.

I also kind of wanted a girl, and so did my husband. It was nice to have time to adjust. And we did, and it was great!

It's a pretty great experience either way, so you can't wreck it!
posted by pizzazz at 11:14 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

We opted to find out. My spouse was like you, and really desired a girl. That's all she would talk about during her pregnancy, actually. Personally I did not care either way, so long as the kid was healthy. We had also chosen a name that could work for either gender, so we weren't pressed for more options.

When it came time for the second ultrasound (and when it would be possible to determine gender), I told my spouse essentially the same thing that celtalitha addressed; how is she going to feel if the child is not a girl? I felt it might be better to discover the gender at that point and if it's not what was desired, we had time to process it.

As it turned out, first glance at the kid's bottom and it was VERY obvious we were going to have a boy. My spouse was fine with it after about an hour (with some disappointment), and completely okay with it after about a week.
posted by CancerMan at 11:17 AM on January 3, 2013

Our friends chose to find out and then not tell anyone, and laugh when people made guesses. That seemed to work really well for them, and given your concerns, is what I would suggest.
posted by dame at 11:18 AM on January 3, 2013

We chose not to find out.

I knew we would bond with our baby regardless, and although I had secret gender preferences I was prepared for either gender.

I had a moment of weekness with my littlest one when the ultrasound technician asked us if we wanted to know....the sage advice she gave us was that its not something you can unlearn. To be very, very clear that we wanted to know, if we did find out.

So we chose not to find out. Or share name choices. (Well, I came to you lot for name advice, but my non-net friends were kept in the dark for maximum surprise factor.)

I'm very, very glad we didn't find out. Once there is a perfect little scrumptious baby in front of you, gender is irrelevant. Particularly with your first.

Congratulations, whatever you decide. Babies are the loveliest thing in the world.
posted by taff at 11:20 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

There was really no choice involved for us. We both knew that we wanted to know, especially because our prior two miscarriages had been monosomies that involved a deletion of one X chromosome. So, when we saw the flag flying, as it were, on the ultrasound, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief that we were at least not looking at a third monosomy.

With our second, I really wanted to know to confirm my gut feeling from pretty much the moment I took the pregnancy test that I was having a girl, especially since she would be the first girl in the patrilineal line in 80 years. I was right, although hubs did not believe me until the third ultrasound or so.
posted by Leezie at 11:23 AM on January 3, 2013

MY wife is pregnant and hopefully on the 12th we will find out the sex. We decided to find out if its a boy or a girl. My wife and I rather know what its going to be so we can plan. I hate leaving things to the last minute.
posted by majortom1981 at 11:24 AM on January 3, 2013

We both wanted to know - husband says it was for "planning" reasons (?), I say it was for my own sense of "this is an actual person growing inside me and not a miscellaneous lump". I was sort of hoping for a girl; husband was sort of hoping for boy. Turned out to be unmistakably a boy. I was a little disappointed, but both our families tend to have more boys than girls anyway for whatever reason, so not too surprised. We ended up having the best kid in the universe anyway, and I use "kid" very intentionally there because he's 2 now and still doesn't strike me as real clearly one gender or the other (other than during diaper changes, of course).

We did get a lot of blue crap, but to some extent that was unavoidable because we were very broke during the first year of his life and most of his clothes were Walmart onesie packs, which ONLY came in pink or blue. We haven't had to deal with "Mama's Little Hellion" etc, luckily. Aside from some comments from my mom about "he's just like you if you were a boy!" and "I hope your next child is a girl!" (who said we're even having a second child?) it's been really really overall good.

Congratulations on your child - be sure to give yourself plenty of opportunities for sleep. :)
posted by agress at 11:36 AM on January 3, 2013


We just had Baby June a few weeks ago, and didn't find out her sex until she arrived. I'm totally convinced that, at least for us, it was a great decision. The surprise in the delivery room was genuine and affecting (especially because we had become convinced that the baby was a boy, even going so far as to nickname it Roy G. Baby), and it prevented anyone in our families from (innocently or not) injecting their gender bullshit in to June's life before she even got here, so we've been able to manage expectations in that regard somewhat. However, that said, expect a tidal wave of pent-up bullshit to be unleashed once your little one arrives, in the form of tiny baseball hats or ballerina outfits or straight-up hatefully-sexist-and-more-than-a-little-creepy advice books about how best to be a father to a daughter, etc.

I also think the abstraction of the baby's sexlessness kept us from pinning even more worries on it than we would have if we'd known. Something about that extra question mark made her just a little less real, and thus a little less terrifying, so we were able to prepare for her arrival with marginally clearer heads.

As an added bonus, especially where newborns are concerned, the gender-neutral clothes with ducks and stars and stuff on them are WAY cuter than all the princess/sports crap.
posted by saladin at 11:37 AM on January 3, 2013

Had our first yesterday. We didn't find out the sex. It just forces a little gender neutrality on pre-birth gift givers. Which maybe isn't the worst thing? Also I like the gender neutral stuff better anyway.

We would do the same if we decide to have a second.
posted by JPD at 11:42 AM on January 3, 2013

Our baby is two weeks old and we didn't find out. I'm so happy to have waited. We had to go through IVF and that was a big part of the decision - in many ways, I was so future-oriented for so long as we tried to get pregnant, that not knowing the sex helped me to be mindful of the present as I was experiencing my first pregnancy. It also felt like I didn't have this preconceived idea of who my baby was until I actually met him, which i liked.

Congrats, though - I think either way it's an amazing moment when you find out!
posted by boofidies at 11:42 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

We found out. Very happy to have done so as well. We had a girl, and I was getting stressed because we couldn't think of any boy names that we liked, so were happy to not have to do so! We named our girl within a couple of days of finding out her sex, and some of my favorite memories of my husband is listening to him talking to her in my belly, using her name, for all those months.

(Of course, that meant that by the time she - Madeleine - was born, she'd gone through a host of nicknames already. Such that when she came out, my husband hollered "it's the Mad Dog!" The midwife was somewhat... taken aback.)
posted by gaspode at 11:47 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

We chose not to find out. It was great.

My biggest reason, aside from all others, is that I didn't want this new person to come into the world already laden with preconceptions and baggage, as much as I could prevent it. Same reason we kept the name decisions to ourselves. This worked out perfectly.

Admittedly, since I'd been through things not working out before, I also hoped that this would keep me from getting too entwined with a concept of the little spark, because I knew it would be hard enough if something happened, and knowing that much more was likely to increase the agony. I'm grateful that this ended up a pointless bit of self-protection.

Despite grumbling and gnashing of teeth, people figured out pretty quickly that there were gender-neutral options in most baby things, and we let them know ahead of time that we were pretty sure the baby wouldn't be judging things on a gendered basis for at least a couple of years, so this left them free to do whatever they liked as far as gifts went. This ended up just fine.

I explicitly did not want piles of things for a ton of reasons, and especially not specific-gender belongings, which was a real risk if we'd found out and announced. Avoided this neatly at the beginning. Predictably became an issue as soon as people knew. Glad I had that respite. That said, this pause in the expectations most people have of how these things go meant that other folks ended up charmed by our goal and when they passed on hand-me-downs and such, they ignored gender cues and focused instead on whether or not it was a good fit. That was excellent.

I didn't have the internal argument over one gender over another, and the co-parent says he felt the same. Whenever my brain wandered into wondering, I would reset it with thoughts that even being born into a particular gender is no guarantee of gender identification down the line, so it was better to work through it in some fashion at this point. And then I would indulge in lengthy, candy-coloured imaginings about how awesome either option would be. After everything, I admit I do kind of wish I could have the experience of also raising the other gender, but there has been no other type of regret.

Here's what really made this one of the best parts of the whole process: my OB/GYN decided not to find out, either. I'm sure she could guess from the ultrasounds, but she didn't. And she told the team in the delivery room that no one knew, so we'd all find out together. I was getting a C-section (transverse breech) and this whole team was immersed in accomplishing everything as the amazing professionals they are, and then Doc pulls out the baby, co-parent stumbles over announcement, gets a little help from the incredibly awed-sounding Doc, and the whole room erupts in "IT'S A GIRL! IT'S A GIRL!"

Later, we were told that since most parents find out ahead of time and it becomes part of the chart, it's a real pleasure for most teams to be part of that kind of surprise and discovery, meeting this person for the first time in all senses. The energy of their enthusiasm and my own jolt of stunned introduction combined to tell my heart that this was absolutely the right approach for us.

Whichever direction you go in, it'll work out and you'll be happy.
posted by batmonkey at 11:47 AM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's such a nice decision to have to make - congrats!

We chose to know, mostly because I hate surprise events (gifts, yes - performances required of me, no.) The only problem was that (she) refused to reveal (her) (cheeseburger) for the definitive shot. Twice. And not well enough for the OB/GYN either, so we were only ever about 80% sure we were having a girl.

We told nobody though, to avoid the gendered clothing, the comments and opinions. That was fun, and kind of an interesting social experiment. Other people couldn't stand not knowing.

After she was born, we did get a lot of clothing that whether it as pink and frilly or not, was stupid and uncomfortable and didn't fit. And much of what we got beforehand was already too small - she never fit newborn sizes and her feet were too huge for most sleepers. I had a drawer full of gender-neutral things that she never wore, but that I'd dutifully prepared. My advice there is to not take the tags off things and wash before wearing as is often advised - wait until the baby's born to see what works. A friend who wants to offer to help can then wash the clothing that you know you'll keep. The rest can go in a bag by the door in case you're ever near where it can be returned or donated.

We were asked to register for things for a shower that was being thrown, and I took care to register for neutrals - thank goodness the choices for gender-neutral clothing is ever-expanding.

If I can make one more suggestion, especially if you're having some anxiety over having a boy, please do read "It's a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons" (edited by one of MeFi's own) - a collection of essays that explore this topic. It's moving - some of the stories explore the conflicted feelings (other stories have topics you might get emotional about, depending on any triggers) but in every story there is no doubt about the love the mothers have for their sons.
posted by peagood at 11:48 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

We did not like the binary decision of know now (weren't ready) or wait until birth (could be too long).

We did not want to know on all three at the ultrasound. But, we recognized we might change our mind in the middle of the night or something and panic. We asked them to write it down on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. We figured we might even open it over a romantic dinner. We never did open the first two. We had a boy and a girl. We opened the third one about two weeks before the birth because we still could not agree on a boy's name and were hoping to save time. #3 is a boy. He has an unusual name.

I STRONGLY suggest not telling people the name in advance. Unless he is a Jr. or named after his mother, you risk all sorts of unintentional reactions of people giving their opinion on the choice. "Oh, I hate that name. It was my 4th grade teacher's name" sucks to hear. Once little one is born, people are polite enough to not say anything. Even my in-laws who I suspect were a little "confused" or taken aback with our 3rds name, chose to grin and bear it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:49 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

My wife and I found out because we are agonizers and didn't want to have to double agonize about names, etc. I also thought that knowing would help me develop a relationship with the little bean (a boy) before he was on the outside. This ended up being pretty important, actually, not least because when we did find out, I realized I had been 100% expecting a girl. No logical reason, that's just where my brain went.

So I'm a fan of finding out, but recognize it's not for everyone. One thing we did and I'm really glad about is we asked our ultrasound tech to write down the sex so we could find out on our own time. An unqualified good decision.
posted by that's candlepin at 11:59 AM on January 3, 2013

hmo: There are few genuine surprises in life, and we wanted this to be one of them.

That's exactly why we didn't find out. Of course, back when we were pregnant 10+ years ago, ultrasound technology was such that even the best U/S tech could make a mistake, and our doctor preferred to not even investigate the issue too closely, to avoid what could be a very problematic error.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:01 PM on January 3, 2013

I can still recall my surprise and delight at learning our newly born baby was a little girl, eleven years later. YMMV.
posted by mecran01 at 12:14 PM on January 3, 2013

 In my opinion, you can choose to be surprised when the baby arrives or be surprised before the ultrasound. We have chosen to be surprised at the ultrasound both times and are both very happy. In fact, we just found yesterday, it is a boy!
posted by Silvertree at 12:17 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

With my son, we chose not to find out, which rightly pissed a lot of people off because they didn't know what to buy! Umm. Yeah. Clothes? Diapers? Really?

With my daughter, my husband and I chose to find out -- but we were really ambivalent about it. We couldn't decide. And when the technician asked us, we were like...well, we don't know...and she couldn't tell anyone because my daughter was flitting around too fast. When the doctor came in, he said he could take a guess, but he couldn't be 100% certain. So we decided might as well know as not. But because he wasn't 100% certain (she was still moving too fast for any decent looks), we chose not to tell other family members and kept it a secret between me and my husband. And that was something really special.

I was pleased with our decision both times.

Also, I was a teeny bit relieved because we had settled on a girl's name, but were having a really hard time coming up with a boy's name since we felt we had already picked the best boy's name out there for our oldest.
posted by zizzle at 12:20 PM on January 3, 2013

I STRONGLY suggest not telling people the name in advance. Unless he is a Jr. or named after his mother, you risk all sorts of unintentional reactions of people giving their opinion on the choice. "Oh, I hate that name. It was my 4th grade teacher's name" sucks to hear. Once little one is born, people are polite enough to not say anything. Even my in-laws who I suspect were a little "confused" or taken aback with our 3rds name, chose to grin and bear it.

This is SO TRUE. I was about to come and say it but I'll just quote it for truth. No matter what, don't ask name opinions.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:26 PM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]

I did find out. I always thought I wouldn't want to, but once I was actually pregnant, I did.

A lot of folks kept telling me how special and exciting it would be to find out the sex the day the baby was born, but the day I gave birth was a special and exciting day as is. I don't think the added surprise would have made it any better of a way.

Also, we found out the sex at 22 weeks (which is late, due to a cancellation of our first appointment), but I wasn't really showing yet. I think finding out the sex made the pregnancy a lot more "real" and exciting to my husband (who was already happy about becoming a dad, but the pregnancy was still theoretical to him). I liked being able to share this with him.

Congrats! One thing to consider is that wiith the current ultrasound technology, the sex will be very obvious to the doctors at some point during your pregnancy. How do you feel about the doctor knowing and not telling you?

At my doctor's office, all the ultrasound stuff was done by a technician. The doctor didn't have to know the sex. And during our anatomical ultrasound, even if we didn't want to know it was a boy, we would have known. Sure, we could have said "Maybe it was the cord?" but we would have known.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 12:40 PM on January 3, 2013

I won't tell anyone the name, but I have told everyone it's a girl, and I have gotten zero stupid gender comments, more just the usual banal small talk you would expect, like "oh, that's great, I have a girl too!" Sometimes people say things like "oh, girls are a handful" or "oh, girls are so much easier" - but I take it with a grain of salt because I feel like people say the exact same things about boys.

I will note that if you don't reveal the name or the sex to anyone, you take away a lot of the potential for easy small talk. Every single day I get asked about my due date/gestational age, the baby's sex, and the name. Be ready for a lot of blank looks or people flailing about for something to say.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:41 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

This might sound a little weird, but one of the unexpectedly positive side effects of not finding out the sex of either of our children prior to birth was the intensity of the discussions about baby names. We were able to settle on a boy's name quickly, but it took a LONG time to settle on a girl's name (and, when the first was a girl, we had the same intense discussions of girls' names with Baby #2 as we did with Baby #1). We had a lot of good, honest conversations about which names were deal-breakers, which we each preferred, etc. and in retrospect I'm proud of our ability to work through that fairly consequential decision in a productive way.

Plus, hmo has it with the very first comment... it is truly going to be a wonderful surprise either way.

posted by cheapskatebay at 12:44 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

+1 for finding out for yourselves, but not telling anybody. People get really scary with baby clothes when they have a target for their fantasies ("I never got to have a girl, so I had to buy all chiffon fluff onesies!" etc.)... It's bad enough when they're bouncing (boy) or delicately supporting (girl) the newborn, blah blah.

But we took so long to agree on one gender of name, I think we'd still be having the discussion years later if we'd had to agree on two! :))
posted by acm at 1:39 PM on January 3, 2013

People are going to say stupid gender shit to you regardless of whether you know. They will say you are carrying high or low and that means boy or girl. They will take bets and make jokes. Etc.

We found out, and told, but we refused to tell anyone the name beforehand. We called him "Herkimer" which alarmed those who took us seriously, even after we had decided on his real name. That was quite fun.

One way to get less-gendered stuff is to decorate the nursery in non pink or blue. Circus animals, zoo animals, jungle animals are popular. The ocean. Winnie the Pooh. You will get more green/yellow/black and white stuff with those.
posted by emjaybee at 1:53 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Congratulations on having a baby!

Unless you are sure you will only ever have one baby, or you can afford to buy a whole new set of everything "just because", the most appropriate big purchases will be gender-neutral anyway. So that blows away one of the arguments.
posted by Idcoytco at 2:51 PM on January 3, 2013

We found out. I had no preference but 'knew' it was a boy. When we found out at the ultrasound I was not surprised at all. My husband thought it was a girl, so he was surprised. I just turned and smiled.

I am still glad we found out.

However... I would get sooo annoyed when people would say the obligatory 'Oh, why would you do that? It is one of life's few real surprises. You're such a party pooper'. Ugg. My token response was always 'Well raising a human will be full of all sorts of surprises, but thanks anyway.'

If you do chose to find out, be prepared for that. Or the two of you could find out and keep it to yourselves either until birth or if you change your mind and want to share.

My sister in law was planning on not finding out, but gave in as soon as she saw the baby on the screen. She always wanted a boy, but found out they are having a girl. She is glad to have the time to adjust.
posted by MayNicholas at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2013

I don't have kids but my friend does. The first one (boy) she kept a surprise, the second (girl) only she and her husband knew but didn't tell the rest of us. She said finding out was a bummer because it ruined the fun surprise, although she was thrilled with having a little girl. They didn't tell anyone else because they didn't want to be bombarded with pink.
posted by Neekee at 3:40 PM on January 3, 2013

We found out, because it helped with planning and made it easier to wrap our heads around this new little person we were waiting for. And we didn't tell a soul the name -- in fact, we never uttered it aloud even amongst ourselves, but the name was the first thing my wife uttered when our baby arrived. And as far as the gender stuff goes, the friends and family who really know you will give you cool stuff -- we got three or four Ramones onesies!
posted by AJaffe at 4:10 PM on January 3, 2013

Out of four pregnancies, I was pretty sure of the sex once, semi maybe sure once, and had no idea at all twice. I wanted to know every time. Even if you *do* choose to discover the baby's sex, you can't always see, and then you have a lovely surprise. I was thrilled with what I got every time, too; knowing the baby's sex didn't spoil anything, and not knowing was ok too.
posted by thylacinthine at 5:25 PM on January 3, 2013

I chose to wait, and I'm really glad I did. My daughter's birth was hard and it was wonderful meeting this brand new person for the first time without any idea who or what she would be. It was exhilarating. Congrats!
posted by Space Kitty at 6:36 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I found out, but only told close friends and family, because as soon as you say, "We're having a girl," the next question is, "What's her name?" I found it much easier to simply say, "We're going to be surprised," to the many chit-chatting strangers and acquaintances. I didn't know her name until I saw her and talked awhile with my husband -- I certainly didn't know ahead of time. I did enjoy having a pre-birth name for my daughter though -- she was called Baby Boo before she was born and she still likes Little Boo as a nickname. I received both pink and blue things as presents, dressed her in both, and cheerfully let strangers think she was a baby boy. (It is possible to buy un-gendered clothing, but it is difficult -- you have to work at it.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:45 PM on January 3, 2013

Consider whether you would be irritated if you didn't want to know until delivery, but your doctor slipped up and disclosed it beforehand. 2/2 for me.

(A tiny annoyance, I should say, in a very happy proceeding!)
posted by lakeroon at 8:08 PM on January 3, 2013

Before I was pregnant, I was entirely sure I'd wait. So few genuine surprises, etc. But once there was an actual person growing inside me, I suddenly wanted to know all I could about who this person was. At some point around 12 weeks, I realized I was pretty sure he was a boy, and when the tech at the 20 week scan asked if I wanted to know, I said yes.

Though it makes no scientific sense, and I'm a fan of science, I was intrigued when the tech told me that most moms who have a strong sense of the sex are correct. Not everyone has a strong sense, of course. In my case, my small boy is sleeping right next to me now. All the best as you get to know your little person, both before and after s/he arrives.
posted by judith at 10:41 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

It just so happens that I've had about a dozen babies enter my life in the last few years between family and close friends, with nearly all had parents who either waited until birth to learn the baby's gender or waited to disclose it.

All awesomeness.

Waaaay better baby shower gifts. Early start on the perpetual "I know you're being a well-meaning and loving older relative with strong opinons but really, gonna do it my way" issue. Conversation tends toward pregnant mom focus instead of imaginary fantastical BABY GIRL!!! BABY BOY!!!
posted by desuetude at 11:59 PM on January 3, 2013


i am due in march and chose not to find out.
my mom says that with her 3 pregnancies (and 4 kids), part of the motivation for pushing, to finally find out what the baby is!
posted by sabh at 6:36 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

judith: "...Though it makes no scientific sense, and I'm a fan of science, I was intrigued when the tech told me that most moms who have a strong sense of the sex are correct. Not everyone has a strong sense, of course. In my case, my small boy is sleeping right next to me now. All the best as you get to know your little person, both before and after s/he arrives."

My wife was sure for all three of our kids of the sex and was wrong all three times. So sure that when the first one came out, and the doctor said "It's a girl!", she said, "no it isn't, it's a boy." The doctor replied with, "I have done this hundreds of times, been to med school and I am sure it is a girl." I let out a meek, "I think he's right dear."

Since we bet a night off of parent duty, I gave her first choice. I figured it was a 50-50 proposition and maybe she could gain an edge because the thing was living inside her. Wanted her to win. I never collected on those winning bets.

As I said upthread, if you cannot decide, have the technician put the answer in a sealed envelope so you can change your mind anytime. (Our doctor claimed it was not put in any record and he was not in the room for the ultrasound so we would not be able to just call back and ask.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:09 AM on January 4, 2013

My mom found out because she's not a big fan of the unknown when it could be known. I still grew up in a gender neutral yellow muppet themed bedroom.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:04 AM on January 4, 2013


My wife didn't want to know. I did. We discussed it for a couple of weeks.

Then we went to the perinatologist for her scheduled ultrasound appointment / checkup. The doctor is doing his thing, marking off structures: "Spine looks good. Everything looks like it's forming very nicely on Baby A. Oh wait, what's this? I think I see... yes, yes. Ah! That is definitely a clitoris!"

He was beaming and totally oblivious to the looks on our faces. The nurse noticed, though. She smacked him on the arm: "Doctor! They may not have wanted to know the sex of the baby!"

"Oh. Oh. Well. Uh. Look at it this way: I have a fifty-fifty shot of being wrong."

The nurse, to us: "I'm very sorry. He just gets excited."

Amusingly enough, he was right: My daughter was Baby A. My son, Baby B.
posted by zarq at 11:35 AM on January 4, 2013

My SIL was pregnant same time as me (six months ahead) with her second girl and her mother, my MIL went carrying on about how it was time to have a boy and how boys are sweeter and more fun and so she just knew I'd have a boy. So, it was so completely worth it to wait to find out just to deny her the knowledge. Oh, she was so mad and frustrated that we wouldn't tell her -- she was sure we secretly knew.

Unless you have family to torture, I really think it doesn't matter when it comes down to it. I really hate the overly gendered stuff and it was important to me then as it is still today to give my child lots of variety and keep horizons open.

There was something really cool, though, about hearing my husband say, through happy tears, after a long labor and eventual c-section: "It's a girl! It's a girl!"
posted by amanda at 3:09 PM on January 5, 2013

I'm just over two months postpartum and I can tell you it is possible to be disappointed with your new baby. I was on a pregnancy forum where it happened to a woman there who wanted a son, but hadn't realized how much until her daughter arrived. I also felt disappointment the first time I looked at one of my sons. He had been squished by his twin brother and was a bit misshapen. I didn't start finding his asymmetrical smile and elf ears cute until I fell in love with him. I'm so glad I found out early because I've always wanted one of each and some part of me is still sad I won't have a daughter (although not enough to go through pregnancy again). People say that keeping the sex secret will motivate you to push, but believe me, at the end of your pregnancy, you are usually so huge and uncomfortable, you'll be motivated plenty. Sex is such a small part of what makes us who we are, and I discover my boys all the more with each passing day.

posted by PrimateFan at 5:57 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

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