I’m going to start by taking this back to 2014. My husband and I had just finished staring at a positive pregnancy test (he made me take two because he couldn’t believe it) and we were immediately planning for the future.
We had so many questions, so much excitement, and so many decisions to make. Do we find out the gender? That was an easy one. Yes. My husband was passionate about this choice. He wanted to know. We found out early in the pregnancy, at the end of our first trimester when our genetic test results came back.
We were having a boy, a healthy baby boy! We celebrated. We cried. We got excited. We were so happy. I will never forget getting to tell my husband that he was going to have a son. It was a moment that will go down as one of the most special in my lifetime. We named him almost immediately after and for the rest of our pregnancy we were able to connect with him as he grew inside me.
When we met him, it was incredible. We finally got to see what he looked like, what he sounded like. We got to smell him and smother him in kisses. Now that wasn’t one of the most special moments in my life… it was THE most special moment in my life. Sorry Gav, our wedding day had nothing on this moment. I have never felt such love and sweet relief because having him on my chest meant he was safe with me (and that horrifying experience they call labour was finally over).
Fast forward to 2017. We were staring at another positive pregnancy test with both excitement and fear. With the second, you aren’t naive. You know you are about to embark on a pregnancy filled with no sleep, swollen feet and hormones that force you to act in a way that makes Britney Spears and her shaved head look sane. But this time you get to do all this while chasing around a potty-training toddler. Luckily you also know how much love you are going to get to experience and that it is all worth it. Most days.
Now to the question, do we find out this time? We decided not to. We heard (well, were scolded) throughout our entire first pregnancy that we were doing it wrong. Finding out the gender at birth is the “only real surprise left in life.”
But honestly, we didn’t find out this time because I didn’t want to. My husband did but he respected my decision. We also didn’t really care what we were having. We were just happy to be pregnant. We were happy to have a healthy baby on the way; the gender didn’t matter. I don’t believe in the “millionaire” or “complete” family of having one boy and one girl. I find those terms a bit distasteful to be honest. My parents had four girls and we are all great friends. We share a bond that I am so grateful for, and it is perfect in its own way.
I also think my opinion on the significance of gender has changed in the last couple years. I know that frilly dresses and hockey skates don’t define gender. My children will choose to be the people they are comfortable being and the activities they enjoy and those things won’t be dictated by their anatomy.
My only fear regarding gender throughout my second pregnancy was that when they placed the baby on my chest, I wouldn’t have that same amazing experience of connection. I would be caught up in wanting to know the gender.
Now on to the day our second child was born. Well, I can honestly say gender wasn’t on my mind when they placed the baby on my chest. In the moments before I knew I was able to experience that same, amazing feeling I had with my son. Well, until quite quickly after the baby was born my husband exclaimed, “Here he is.” I replied with excitement, “It’s a boy?” Nope, it wasn’t. It was a girl! He hadn’t actually looked at all. Men…
I can now say that finding out beforehand and after was, in my case, equally awesome. Both ways had their benefits and we loved our experiences each time. In the end, it is about what you want as parents and there is no wrong choice. So please don’t let people bully you into believing your choice is wrong.
If we have another baby, we would probably find out the gender in advance. Why? Because the surprise isn’t something that can be altered by knowing what genitalia your baby has. It is the feeling that you get when you hold your baby for the first time. The way they look, the way they sound, and the way they make you feel. I could have never imagined that feeling before I experienced it.
Oh, and as far as all those people telling you, “It is the only real surprise left in life,”... Nope! Life is full of surprises. Just the other morning while I was in the shower I heard my son screaming. I jumped out to find he had zipped his penis into his pj’s. Life with children is nothing but surprises…
* EDITOR'S NOTE: Please feel free to add why you found out or didn't in the comments! (I've added a few comments already submitted by readers below). Ashley