Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Don't Want to Know the Sex of the Baby

We live in an amazing age. When else has technology enabled us to buy cans of stackable potato chips, check the current weather in any part of the planet, make video rental stores a thing of the past, and magically erase heretofore impossibly removable stains from the perfectly flat, impeccably painted drywall in our effortlessly temperature-controlled homes? NEVER! I would hazard to guess that even the wise guys who threw the Tower of Babel together hadn't developed an affordable and safe method of surgically enhancing one's buttocks or purchasing fifty-pound bags of dog food (delivered free, to your door) with the click of a button.

All this to say, why wouldn't we be able to create a window into the body when one has never existed? Why wouldn't we be able to watch our fetuses (feti?) play around in their pods of amniotic fluid? Of course we can peer between its legs and figure out if it's a boy or a girl before it's even able to survive outside the womb! So why don't I - lover of Pringles, Netflix, Amazon, and - want to find out what kind of baby I'm getting?

I'll tell you. These are my reasons. Their listed order does not indicate their ranking of importance, AND I should say, this is just me. Other parents feel differently and that is TOTALLY fine.

1. People who wait until the birth to find out the sex are said to be on Team Green (vs. Team Blue for those who find out they're having a boy and Team Pink for those with girls). Anyway, I like the color green way more than blue or pink. Simple choice.

2. I find that my friends' births are more exciting for me when they don't know what they're having. How much more exciting, I've surmised, will it be for me if I'm the one having the baby? Waaaay more, dude.

3. I feel that knowing only the sex of the baby is knowing only a tiny facet of who the baby will really be, like receiving a few sentences of a love note in the mail rather than reading the entire letter at once. I think it would be tempting for me to hear the sex and then build expectations around that one aspect of my child's personality before it even had a chance to be born. When this little one kicks me at night, I smile to think that God is developing my baby continuously, at every moment; the design of its hair, cheeks, eyes, body, and soul is still in the works. While I know that a newborn baby is not a fully developed personality by any stretch of the imagination, I'd rather meet the whole package when it's ready to emerge rather than steal information ahead of time. I love the anticipation of that.

4. People say, "I could never wait; I'm too much of a planner." Well! I'm no fly-by-the-seat, wispy-brained valley girl, thank you much! To that I say, "I could never find out ahead of time. I'm even MORE of a planner and I don't want to shortsightedly purchase everything in pink or blue in case God gives us another child and it's different than the first." Believe it or not, it's possible to plan for a baby without knowing whether it's a mister or a miss!

5. I feel a bond with women throughout history who spent their pregnancies not knowing whether their babies were boys or girls. It's my way of living a tiny part of history, of understanding a piece of a world that didn't have cell phones, medical advancements, televisions, cars, or food unrecognizable in nature. Not to mention, pregnancy isn't that long. It's not a matter of years, just a few months.

6. Brian wanted to find out ahead of time, but thankfully he let me have my way. Honestly, he was part of the reason I wanted to wait, because I know he'd like to have a boy first. He says that he wouldn't be disappointed if he found out at the ultrasound that Baby Dubs was a girl, but I can imagine the difference in his demeanor if he heard "boy" instead of "girl." I can imagine bright excitement versus an accepting grin. BUT I can't imagine that happening at the birth. I imagine a big, old lit-up face at meeting our baby, boy or girl, and a happy voice announcing the news to everyone in the room. Waiting is worth that!

7. I'm planning a natural birth. I'm hoping for one, sure, but I'm also delivering where there are no drugs for the pain. So I had better be able to do it! And I'm hoping that not knowing ANYTHING about the baby will give me a little bit of an extra incentive to PUSH!

8. I like to drive other people crazy, too! When I don't know, NO one knows! Muah HA HA!

9. I'm enjoying not feeling pressured to fill a closet with gender-specific clothing. Part of me would love to buy specific things for my son or my daughter - but Lord willing, I'll have a lifetime do do that. So for now, I'm not breaking the bank buying heaps of tiny clothes that may be unbelievably cute but may also be worn once or never. (I'm breaking the bank buying other stuff, though.)

10. Finding out the sex ahead of time makes it really tempting to name the baby ahead of time, too. For some people, this may not be an issue at all, but for me: what if the baby is born and doesn't LOOK like the name I've been calling it for months? What if I paint its name on the nursery wall, but suddenly the name doesn't FIT? OR - what if the ultrasound tech was completely wrong to begin with, and suddenly I'm mourning the 'loss' of the child I thought I'd been bonding with for 20 weeks? I'm willing to let this little baby be a sort of nebulous, abstract presence in our lives until BOOM - it arrives!

11. I have NO maternal feeling, no instinct, no clue. A few old wives' tales point to girl, and a few point to boy. I could not guess one or another for the life of me. Which makes it totally more of a surprise!

12. Everyone seems to have a little more apprehension about raising one sex over another. For me, I have apprehension about raising both. Being a girlish girl myself, will I know what to do with a boy? Being a wife and a homemaker, will I set an example good enough for a girl? For me, finding out the sex ahead of time would give me extra time to worry about the future. But I know that I won't feel apprehensive when I hold my baby for the first time. I will just feel bliss, and hope, and quite possibly the determination to be the best mom I can be, whether it's to a son or a daughter.

13. When I hear others announcing that they found out at the ultrasound ("It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"), I feel a secret thrill of happiness that even though their surprise is over, mine is still on its way. I used to think that it would be the same 'surprise' either way, and technically it is, but it feels different and more secret when you're on Team Green. Maybe it's the extra 20 weeks of waiting, or maybe it's the fact that at the birth, not only do you find out the sex of the baby, you also see its chubby cheeks, find out whether it's bald or got lots of hair, find out its weight and hear its cry for the first time, too - all at the same time. Ahhhh, I can't wait!

I'm so thankful to be able to look forward to that moment. I know there are no guarantees in life, but all signs point to Baby Dubs arriving in late May. Right now, that arrival feels like it's going to be the most amazing minute of my life. Whether it's a boy OR a girl. It's going to be a baby, and that is going to be an incredible miracle no matter how you look at it.



  1. Agreed. To all of those reasons.

  2. You are very thorough. However, I didn't see this one Maegan, that it runs in your family to NOT know the sex, as YOUR MOM (& dad) didn't know either! YOU were a total surprise, and an awesome one at that. I'm so glad we didn't find out for ANY of you four kids.


    Love you. Dad