The surprise of our baby’s sex

When I was pregnant for the first time, I liked the idea of not finding out the baby’s sex until its arrival. While I like to always know about and prepare for things as much as possible, keeping this a surprise felt like a good thing, somehow even romantic in my otherwise oh so planned life. I held this thought for as long as I could. Which was about three weeks, ha! I think a couple of things came together that made me change my mind..

Husband and I talking about names.. and me realizing, as my long name lists crimped away during our discussions about them, that finding our perfect name would be at least a little bit easier if we had to just do it for one sex. Me hardly having any pregnancy symptoms and not feeling pregnant at all for the first weeks and hoping that knowing the sex would make this whole thing more real, more concrete. And finally of course my humongous curiosity and impatience, always my faithful companions! They made keeping the sex a secret for 35 weeks seem like an unachievable goal. And wasn’t giving birth, how that would go and everything that was to come after it enough of a surprise already? So there we were at 16 weeks (I couldn’t even make it to the standard 20 weeks ultrasound), looking at that tiny human in my bump, hoping it would collaborate and keep its legs apart for its curious parents. And he did and we proudly left the place with an ultrasound picture that said a a boy! with a little arrow drawn towards the place where indeed there was proof that we’d soon be parents of a son.

Even though knowing the sex indeed made the whole thing kind of more tangible, I sometimes still thought that keeping it a surprise would have been nice. Anytime I’d meet someone who didn’t know their baby’s sex until birth, I’d admire them in a way. So this time around, I again felt like I should try. What made that feeling even stronger was that I quite often got the comment that hopefully it would be a girl! Like having a boy, you should be hoping for a girl and no one could wish for two children of the same sex. Recalcitrant me felt even stronger now about not knowing. Henrik also had a lovely quite unisex newborn warderobe, so either way I wasn’t planning to buy a whole new pink and flouncy collection if we’d have a girl. So, this time around, I did hold out! I must give big credit to husband too though. Even though he’d have preferred to know the sex, he supported my wish. If it wasn’t for him, I would probably have let my impulse rule and shouted at the ultrasound lady: tell us already, I changed my mind! Funny enough, people around us, especially family o course, turned out to be just as curious and could often not get why one could not want to know the sex. If baby turns out to be a girl, I think I did my mother’s wallet a favour though. She definitely would have bought a pink warderobe by now :-). For her and anyone else wondering, here’s my top reasons for not finding out about our baby’s sex:

  1. Experience the probably most special surprise one can ever get. While it seems we have information at hand about almost anything around pregnancy and having children, while we check the baby’s health as far as possible, while we try to prepare with birthing class and reading.. This is one small big thing no one can tell me and I look forward to enjoy this surprise.
  2. Get some extra motivation when giving birth. Even though every birth is different, I’ve now been through one before and am not expecting a huge surprise. I think not knowing the sex will give me an extra motivation to get the baby out because at that point I’ll finally find out if we’re having a boy or a girl, if we’ll use name A or name B. And I know this is probably from watching too many Hollywood movies, but I actually have that special moment in my head where husband exclaims: It’s a boy/girl!
  3. Enjoy the fun of guessing and having people guess. As I actually am a curious person, I have by now read all the sex guessing theories out there. Taking all my symptoms, shape of my bump, cravings and the Chinese pregnancy calendar into account, my conclusion is that I’m having a boy or a girl haha :-). Also funny is hearing other people guess. Especially in Peru, every single person I met (also people like my grandparents’s neighbors whom I had never seen before) expressed their opinion straight away. Like Oh you don’t know the gender? Well looking at you I think it’s a girl! In Peru, it’s quite common to share the sex and the name of your baby, so people reacted even more surprised there about our choice.
  4. Avoid annoyance. As mentioned before, I found the returning comment about our second baby hopefully being a girl very annoying. If we found out we’re having a boy around 20 weeks, I’m pretty sure that during the 20 weeks after that, I’d have to often listen to comments like Wouldn’t you have preferred a girl? or So you’ll have a third to have a girl? as a next step. I hope that as we’ll only find out once baby is born, the fact that we’re holding a healthy child/grandchild/greatgrandchild in our arms to present to our family will blow all those nonsense thoughts and expectations away and people are less likely to express their opinion about what you should rather have had.
  5. I love challenges and new experiences. Like I mentioned before, I’m very curious and impatient. I am also a planner and can be a control freak. So not finding out our baby’s sex was a personal challenge for me and I am positively surprised by myself that I persevered. I also like to grab chances for new experiences. As I have experienced how it is to hear about my baby’s sex during an ultrasound, I’m taking this opportunity to experience finding out after giving birth. And well, I was also curious to know how it feels like to not know for 9 months. I would never know what I like better if I didn’t try both, right?

The question that I get most often – once I’ve answered the question if we’re having a boy or a girl – is if I think I know. Of course I can never know for sure, but I can also never refuse a bet. I still like coffee, I have not thrown up due to nausea and pink bows give me chills, so I am tending towards a boy :-).

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