Modern Parenting

8 Reasons for the Progressive Mom to Wait to Find Out the Sex of the Baby

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A few weeks ago when my husband and I went to the all-important anatomy ultrasound, we were asked at check in if we were excited to find out the sex of our baby.  We said we were excited for a surprise.

Once in the ultrasound room, the tech asked us if we wanted to know the gender.  When we said no, the tech said she would go ahead and put the sex in a sealed envelope for us.  We had to explain, again, that we didn’t want to know the sex until the baby’s birth, and to not bother with the envelope.  She was surprised, and told us how increasingly rare it is that parents wait until the birthday to find out the gender.

I think she really wanted us to take the envelope option.

While covered in goo and stretched out on a crinkly bed, I looked away from the screen while the ultrasound tech checked out my baby’s genitals.

The doctor came in after our scan to go over our ultrasound results with us, and he asked us AGAIN if we were sure we didn’t want to know.  He even asked for our first child’s gender… what the heck does that matter?  Why is everyone going so crazy about this?

I was starting to get worried.  Was something unusual about our child?  Was our child intersex, and this was only the beginning of doctors trying to assign a sex?  I asked the doctor if everything looked typical with the genitalia, and he said yes.

So for hopefully the last time, the doctor asked if we wanted it marked in our records that we do not want to know the sex.  YES! FINALLY!  How many times do we have to say it before they write it down?  Apparently, half a dozen.

I understand that most parents find out the baby’s sex before birth.  However, we are sticking to our guns and waiting until the big day to find out.  So if you are on “team green” with us, or perhaps are undecided about finding out, check out our 8 reasons for waiting.

I want to be surprised on the big day.

There is just something about waiting through the whole pregnancy, including labor and delivery, that makes the big reveal that much sweeter.

I want to hear the doctor (or my husband) tell me “It’s a _____!” while handing me the child for the very first time.  Meeting your baby is magical, and I am convinced that the magic is multiplied when the mystery of your baby’s sex is revealed at that moment.

Joy, love, and hormones will be flowing.  All the hard work of labor and delivery is almost over (don’t forget that placenta), making the experience more precious than just finding out at an ultrasound.

I found out my first child was going to be a boy early, and having an ultrasound tech tell you while you are watching a screen was kind of a letdown.  The excitement before the appointment was short lived, and although we were very happy to be having a boy, it was certainly anti-climactic to find out early.

Guessing is a fun tradition.

It wasn’t until the last 40 years or so that we even had the option to find out the sex of a fetus.
Before that, folklore and cultural tradition enabled the whole community to get in on the guessing game.

When you don’t find out the gender, you can expect your relatives, friends, and complete strangers to tell you their guess based on their great-great-grandmother’s fool-proof method.  Some moms find this invasive, but I think it is a really fun way to get excited about the new baby.

Some traditions I have heard so far:

  • If you are carrying high, it is a girl.  Low, it is a boy.
  • Craving sweet = girl.  Sour or salty = boy.
  • Hang a ring over your belly and if it swings in a circle it’s a girl, if it goes back and forth it is a boy.
  • Offer a pregnant woman a key, and if she grabs the narrow end, it is a girl.  If she grabs the round end, it’s a boy.
  • If your partner gains sympathy weight during the pregnancy it is a girl.
  • Chinese gender chart can tell you based on the Chinese lunar calendar.  Legend says the chart is over 700 years old.

Each of these different methods has 50% accuracy, so have fun guessing with each of the methods.

Not finding the sex ahead of time makes people mad.

I know, I know, I am a horrible person.  But every once in a while it really gets under someone’s skin that I don’t want to know the sex.  And I LOOOOVVVEE that!

There are lots of planners out there; in fact, I am proudly one of them.  But sometimes it makes people have a mini heart attack when they find out you are letting something as “big” as the sex of a new baby go.  People love to be in control, and for some reason a few of them just can’t handle it if someone does things differently. It is almost like they want YOU to do things THEIR way.

This is silly for a million different reasons, but I just get a huge satisfying kick out of watching people get upset because they don’t know the sex of OUR child.

Someone actually said to me, “Oh, just find out already!” as I laughed like a villain in my head *mua ha ha ha*.  Sticking it to the man and standing up to pressure about my own body, pregnancy, and family feels really freaking good.

The ultrasound tech might be wrong about the sex.

This happens!  Even today!

It happens in about 10% of cases, according to the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

Sometimes the baby is being shy, and you can’t get a good view of the genitals.  Sometimes the baby is in a weird spot in the uterus, or the testicles haven’t descended quite yet (making it look more like a girl).  And sometimes things just happen, and the tech is wrong.

I have a friend who was all decked out in blue gear, ready to welcome a bouncing baby boy when there was a HUGE surprise at the hospital and they took home their baby girl.

The only way to increase your chances of getting the sex right before birth is to have a diagnostic test like the ones they do to screen for and diagnose genetic disorders.

Gender is a spectrum.

…and genitals have nothing to do with it.

When a new mom goes to her anatomy ultrasound, and the tech checks out the baby’s junk, what she finds out is the SEX, not the GENDER.

All the sex tells you are what genitals the baby will have.  It is not an indication of gender at all.  Gender is basically the personality characteristics that society generally accepts as belonging to either males or females—how “masculine” or “feminine” a person acts, dresses, etc.

And gender is a spectrum.  You have cisgender girls who hate dresses and bows, and cisgender boys who love princesses.  It may turn out that your child’s gender doesn’t match their sex.  And this is ay-okay! Every child should be celebrated!

Because gender is a spectrum, when you find out the sex of a baby before they are born, you aren’t really learning as much as you think about your child.

Gender neutral gifts are amazing.

Baby stores are notorious for getting new parents and grandparents trapped in a binary gender rut (boys like this, girls like this—basically drawing a line in the sand).  In Carter’s, there is literally a line down the middle that divides the pink side from the blue side.

I think this is a sales tactic to force parents of both a boy and a girl to feel the NEED to keep buying stuff to match the “gender” of their newest baby.  You can’t put a little girl in a baseball onesie, after all (YES, you can!).

When you wait until the baby is born to find out the sex, your friends and family won’t really have a choice but to buy gender neutral clothing and baby gear.  And that is a beautiful thing.

Not only is it infinitely useful for all future children without people giving you the stink eye, but it is usually beautiful stuff.  Grey, green, blues, yellow, purple, orange…oh my!  Break free from the whole closet being pink!

A gender neutral nursery will also be able to grow with your child, and they will be able to put their mark on it with their own personality and flair without competing with pink walls and butterflies.   For example, my son’s nursery is a grey and white Harry Potter theme.  He can do a lot with it later, and I won’t have to repaint or buy new furniture.

You can get gender neutral stuff for your baby even if you do find out what you are having early.  However, in my experience, other people love to buy pretty gendered stuff, regardless of what you ask for.  Maybe go the middle road and find out the sex but don’t tell anyone if you really have your heart set on gender neutral gear.

You can postpone sexist comments.

When you don’t find out the sex of your baby, you have this beautiful 9 month window in which you can postpone all those awful sexist comments.

And who wouldn’t want that?

Some common sexist comments include:

“Good thing you are having a boy to carry on the family name.”

“Two boys?! When will you try for a girl?”

“You are having a girl?  You are going to have to beat the boys off with a stick!” – Great, already sexualizing a girl that isn’t even born yet.  You better back off before I hit YOU with a stick.

I think most people who say these things are generally well meaning and have no idea they are being sexist.  However, it gets exhausting to call them out all day every day.  Postponing the comments for even a little bit is a wonderful break for a feminist mama bear.

Gender reveal parties are stupid.

There, I said it.  I hate gender reveal parties.

For those of you who don’t spend hours on Pinterest like I do—a gender reveal party is when you present that infamous envelope containing the sex of your baby to a baker, florist, etc., and throw a party where you cut the cake to reveal the sex via pink or blue icing.  Some people do balloons in a box, others do silly string, but there are a million creative ways to do the actual reveal.

It is a party for those who love attention and love forcing a binary gender identity on their kid before they are even born.  Popular themes include “Blue or Pink, What do you think?”, “Wheels or Heels”, “Lashes or Staches”, “Guns or Glitter”.

It’s “girls are like this, boys are like this” all over again, re-enforcing and outright celebrating ignorant gender norms.  No, thanks.

Sure, after your little one is born, the tidal wave of pink or blue will hit you.  You can’t postpone it forever.  But celebrating a new life is different than just celebrating the gender of your baby, like with the reveal party.

Not very many people wait until they deliver their little one to find out the sex these days, but there are a lot of great reasons to wait.  It makes delivery all the sweeter, gets your friends and family in on the guessing game, postpones sexist comments, assures you of some great gender neutral gifts, and it is a great way to celebrate gender as a spectrum.  Whether you find out the gender or not, always remember that as a mama, YOU are the one who knows what is best for your family.  So go to that ultrasound with confidence!

If you are on team green with me, don’t forget to add some gender neutral gear to your Amazon Baby Registry!

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