The Case for Waiting to Find Out Your Baby’s Gender

As you know, in today’s medically-advanced age, we have the convenience at our fingertips to find out the sex of our future babies. And many Americans want to take advantage of this indicator. According to a Harvard study in 2015, an astounding 58% of parents decided to find out their baby’s sex before labor and delivery, a trend that has only increased. And for perfectly good reason – who doesn’t want to prepare early, choosing a nursery theme and onesies and blankets and towels … the list goes on. A friend of mine recently waited to find out her baby’s sex, which is what I did too for my daughter. And how exciting it was, when her daughter was born, friends and family were overjoyed, with many of us guessing what she was carrying. It brought me back to my personal decision and why, while it may be unpopular, it was one of the most incredible moments.

Truthfully, it is an oxymoron to my personality.

I love to plan, am detail-oriented, and have lists coming out of my ears. Just ask my husband when I am organizing our finances. But I grew up with the idea that waiting to find out was a special thing to do. My mom and aunt practiced that for all four of their children. (Fun fact: my mom’s doctor thought I was a boy her whole pregnancy. But of course, she never had to experience whiplash at birth because she had never asked.)

That’s not to say that the journey was easy. There were many times I wanted to know so badly if I was having a boy or girl. But at the same time, it made pregnancy even more exciting and mysterious, always imagining what the future could hold. At one appointment, the nurse overseeing the ultrasounds kept calling our baby “he.” For the longest time, we wondered if that was a mysterious sign that we didn’t ask for. But it still made it fun as we prepped and planned.

“But how will you buy clothes and set up your nursery?”

This was the most popular question my husband and I were constantly asked. In a society that is centered on dressing babies in appropriate colors, it was seen as too much of a burden to not know what sex you were shopping for. This never bothered me though, for a couple of reasons:

1) If anyone wanted to buy clothes, it would be gender-neutral so I could use them again for maybe a future sibling, regardless of their sex.
2) There were so many fun nursery ideas that were neither tied to female or male. I ended up choosing a sweet and creamy classic Winnie the Pooh theme.
3) Isn’t this is what Amazon and Target drive-up was made for? After delivery, I could easily order more clothes that were appropriate and they would arrive in days. I didn’t see a need for pre-delivery preparation.

The Real Reason to Wait

And then of course … there is that moment. Labor and delivery, naturally (forgive the pun) will become cemented as one of the most memorable experiences of your life. But there is a special friction in the air when you have just delivered your baby after enduring pregnancy for the past nine months, after surviving all the pains and ills that brings upon your body and lifestyle. You lay there for a minute, feeling like a freaking superhero for bringing life into the world, and are slightly distracted wondering just what degree of tearing you inflicted on your lady parts. Then you see your husband, face filled with incomparable emotion telling you if you have a son or daughter … there is just no other experience like it.

It’s magical.

Gender disappointment doesn’t exist in that world. Because before you can fully wrap your mind around it, you see your newborn baby, and you forget what sex you wanted because whatever you have, THAT is what you were meant to have. If you prayed for a girl the whole time and ended up with a son, you don’t care, because you just met your son, and you realized you didn’t want a girl anyway. Or vice versa. Your baby already is a unique individual to you, someone who cannot be changed with a flick of a wand, and you can’t imagine them being anyone else. And how did you get so dang lucky to be their mother?

I still understand why people find out what they’re having as early as possible. I even imagine this trend will continue to increase in popularity as science continues to advance and evolve. But if you have any kind of inkling or desire to wait for the surprise … do it. There’s no way you’ll regret it. 

Katie Templet
A kid at heart, Katie loves all things writing, Harry Potter and musicals. At any moment, she is down for either a cup of coffee or margarita. Her passions are building and improving her community of Lafayette, where she was born and raised, and teaching her one daughter to have a British accent. (Not so successful at that last part yet). She spends her day as a nonprofit ambassador, helping nonprofits amplify their mission and creating more social good.


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