Monday, August 18, 2014

Keeping the Gender a Surprise--Would I Do It Again?

Our nursery is painted with a green wall. The decorations? Peter Pan. Before our baby arrived the closet was filled with onesies and nightgowns in yellow, some green, white, and gray. All of our toys are gender neutral. Why? We chose to wait until the birth of our baby to find out the gender.

Would I do it again?

We didn't keep the gender of our baby a surprise for any reason out of passion or strong objection to buying blue or pink clothing. We did it because we had decided that long before we ever even married. It was something I always felt I would do and, when I shared that with Zach, he felt the same way. There was never even any discussion when we got pregnant about whether or not we'd find out the gender. We always knew it would be a surprise.

Before I answer my own question, I thought I would list out the pros and cons of our decision for those of you who may be trying to decide whether or not you'll find out the gender.

Reasons to keep the gender of baby a surprise

Gender Neutral
Zach and I assumed that by keeping some clothing and all baby gear/equipment gender neutral, we'd save money in the long run. We also assumed that people would buy us more "necessary" items instead of cutesy clothes based on gender. We were actually wrong. We still received mainly clothes and blankets as gifts and they were all gender neutral. We love that we can use them down the road should we have a boy, but our plan to "save money" by staying gender neutral didn't exactly pan out. 

No Disappointment 
I always said I would be fine having all boys and no girls. I didn't think I wanted a girl and I really wanted a boy. I loved the name Zach and I had for our boy. We always referred to the room that would someday be our baby's as "his room." I didn't want to experience any disappointment if we were to find out the gender of our baby and I knew that I wouldn't be able to be disappointed once s/he was actually here. In all reality, though, I remember that 20 week ultrasound like it was yesterday, though it was almost a year ago. I remember feeling totally and completely enamoured with our baby. I fell in love and I fell in love hard. I saw a baby with a beating heart and legs kicking around and I realized I did not care if I was having a boy or a girl. I was head over heels in love.

The Best Surprise
There are very few good surprises in life. The birth of a baby is full of them. Zach and I wanted to experience that surprise for what it was. I thought it might even be motivation during labor. Everyone around us was eagerly waiting to find out what we were having. Our midwives were so excited that we didn't find out. They couldn't wait to find out either and said that very few people keep it a surprise anymore. I will say this...It was the best surprise. It did not disappoint. 


No "Fun" Outfits or Toys
We purchased one adorable going home outfit for a boy and one for a girl. Aside from that everything we had to dress our baby in was yellow, green, or gray. All of our blankets, outfits, and baby gear were gender neutral as well. This didn't really bother me, it made it more fun to shop for our baby girl with her right there. She had a personality and a spirit and shopping for her after her arrival was every bit as fun (if not more) than before her arrival would have been. We got loads of outfits as gifts for her. I still have a desire to "girl up" her nursery a tad, though. I have been a bit surprised at how in love with girl clothing and toys I have been. I didn't expect that.

A lot of people want to find out the gender ahead of time for the sake of names. They want, if nothing else, a list of top names to choose from. Choosing a name is hard for a lot of couples and narrowing down both boy and girl names might be difficult. For us it wasn't difficult at all. We had a boy and girl name picked out before we even married. Those have been our kids' names forever. We went to the hospital knowing that we were walking away with one or the other. 

Knowing whether you are carrying a boy or a girl really helps some moms mentally prepare and connect with the baby. They are better able to imagine the birth, the first few months, and even farther down the road. I did struggle with feeling connected throughout my pregnancy. I often wonder if knowing the gender would have made a difference. Then I go back to that moment with my ultrasound and my feelings of complete and utter love and I think that it must have been something else. I think I had a major fear that something was going to go wrong and I was too afraid to love too much. I am not entirely sure.

Would I do it again?

The moment I gave birth to my baby and my husband said, "It's a little girl!" was one of the moments from her birth that I relive over and over. The joy in his voice is unlike anything I've ever heard from him. He was so in love with her instantly. I can't explain why that was such a special moment for me, but it was. I wouldn't trade that moment for all of the gender reveal parties (which would be SO much fun, I won't lie), pink outfits, and baby dolls in the world.

All along I had been thinking gender. I had been listing the things about having a boy or a girl in my mind. When JaiseAnn was born, I suddenly realized I didn't have a girl, I had a daughter.  Associating the idea of my daughter with her the very moment she was placed on my chest is a priceless moment. For me that moment alone made it all worth it.

Zach and I see no reason to find out the gender the next time. It was the best surprise, after all.

Would you/did you find out the gender of your baby in advance?

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