Gender: To Find Out Before Birth or Not?

Some friends of mine are having their first baby and are coming up on the time when they can decide if they want to find out the gender of the baby or not.  Mommy-to-be is feeling pretty sure she wants to find out, but Daddy-to-be thinks it might be fun and romantic not to find out.  He wrote to me and asked my opinion, since he knew I had made the choice not to find out my baby’s gender when I was pregnant.

Truthfully, one option is not any better than the other.  Its not like something bad is going to happen if you know the gender ahead of time (of course, it does sometimes happen that they make a mistake and tell you the wrong gender, but even then, what’s the worst that will happen?  You’ll have to return some baby clothes?  You shouldn’t buy too much before the birth anyhow), and its not like the baby will be born without gender if you don’t find out ahead of time.  It is possible to be totally prepared for a baby without knowing it’s gender (just buy gender neutral clothes and do gender neutral decor), but it is kind of fun to start buying gender specific things for your baby too.

I do, however, personally prefer not to know, and I know that he was wanting to hear why my personal feelings lean that way.  This is what I told him.

  • I think its more fun not to find out.  Or, like you said, romantic.  It gets everyone guessing, and it leaves a nice surprise for you on the delivery day.  To me, finding out the sex ahead of time is like finding out what you’re getting for Christmas at Thanksgiving.  Sure, its still fun to get the presents, but it would have been more fun if you were surprised by them.
  • I think gender neutral room designs are cuter.  Furthermore, they can be reused for subsequent children no matter what gender your future children are (saving you money in the future), or they can be more easily sold in garage sales or to consignment shops when you’re done with them (increasing your chances of making money back from them).  Although these days I’m more of a fan of forgoing a specific theme, or at least not making every thing fit that theme, because then you either have to do the same theme each time, or get all new stuff each time.  My mom painted an under the sea mural on Elijah’s crib.  Its great, but now every child has to have an under the sea room, or we have to get a new crib.
  • Gender neutral clothes are abundant in new born sizes, and are more easily saved for future children.  Its not like you need to get gender specific clothes before hand.  When your baby is born, you can start buying them then.  You’re going to be in a constant state of clothes buying for the first year anyhow since the baby grows so much.  You’ll probably have outfits the baby will never even wear.
  • If you don’t know the gender of the baby, you are more likely to get things you actually need at the baby shower.  If you find out, 90% of what you’re going to get is going to be gender specific clothes, and then you’ll have so much new born clothes that your baby will certainly never wear them all.  If you have a girl, its even worse, because 90% of the clothes you get will be super frilly dresses.  You will get very little practical gifts.  You can be assured you will get something practical from me either way though.  I’m a big fan of practical gifts.

Whatever you decide about when and how to find out the gender is your choice to make.  Like I said, neither choice is any better than the other.  But, if you’re on the fence, maybe these ideas will help you decide.

PS  Here are some ideas for gender neutral decorating themes, if you’re interested.  I used to work at Babies R Us, so I would think about these things all the time.

  • Under the Sea
  • Noah’s Arc
  • Celestial
  • Animals (either specific animals, like lambs – which is how my mom did my sister’s baby room – or a whole bunch of animals, like at the zoo)
  • The Forest
  • Popular Children’s Books (Where the Wild Things Are, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, etc.)
  • Balloons
  • Music
  • A garden
  • Just pick a color/s and go for it (my mom, who also did not like to find out the gender, did my baby room in primary colors)
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About Rockingthehomestead

Badass feminist environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Babies and Kids, For Fun, Pregnancy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gender: To Find Out Before Birth or Not?

  1. Jeff says:

    Don’t forget the feminist ideal of letting children become whichever gender appeals to them…

  2. jessimonster says:

    You’re thinking of sex, not gender. There is a difference, anthropologically speaking.
    You can let a child become whatever sex that appeals to them, but their gender is totally dependent on what chromosones they have, and cannot be altered. You’re either born with a Y or an X.
    I suppose you could find out if your child has a Y or an X ahead of time, and still let them grow up to become whatever sex appeals to them.

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