9.09.2009

Politics, Religion, and The Gender Question

"Are you going to find out the sex of the baby?"

Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the most loaded, intensely debated question in the history of all pregnancies. (Aside from 'Will you breastfeed?' and 'Are you going to be a Stay At Home Mom or will you be a Working Mom?' These questions deserve a post of their own and they make me want a strong drink, so I must refrain from them at this time.)

People will throw fits, will roll their eyes, scowl at you and possibly even throw a hunk of food at your pregnant face if you do not answer this gender question 'correctly.' I mean seriously, besides politics and religion this must be the biggest reason for wars across the world. It's really that heated. At least, that's what I've discovered in the past few weeks. Anyone else with me?

On one side of the room we have the It's-The-Only-True-Surprise-Left-In-Life-So-Why-Would-You-Want-To-Ruin-It? camp. They stick to gender neutral nurseries/clothing purchases, and somehow by the grace of God agree upon a name for a girl and also a boy. They say things like 'Generations before us never knew the gender until the baby was born, and they did just fine, ' and 'I want my husband to announce our baby's gender in the delivery room because that moment is going to be the most special time in our lives.' These people are true saints in my eyes and I have total and utter respect for their levels of patience.

On the other side of the room, where both Nate and I firmly stand, is the It's-Still-An-Amazing-Surprise-In-Life-But-We-Will-Just-Find-Out-Twenty-Weeks-Earlier-Than-Delivery camp. We are the type of people that want to know our baby's gender as soon as possible for many reasons, but none of them have to do with the dreaded 'C' word: Control. Even before I got pregnant I came to the conclusion that the miracle of growing a human being inside another human being is so far out of my beloved 'control' that I just threw in the towel on being the one in charge here.

Sure, I'm a planner. I'm Type A. I am supremely detail oriented and due to all of these things, many people who know me (and my scarily similar husband) realize that it's just in my personality to find out the sex of the baby. None of my closest friends or family were surprised with our decision and yet many people feel the need to try and change our minds on this one. Not gonna happen, folks. And here is my reasoning:

I am still having a difficult time internalizing the fact that I'm pregnant. I've been blessed with a relatively easy first trimester and at times I seriously forget that I'm housing our first born child. It's very surreal and I can't visualize a real baby being born in March....for now it's just a floating, nameless, fruit-like object that might just be a figment of my imagination.

I want to find out the sex because I truly believe that will help personify the baby, changing from an 'It' to a 'Son' or 'Daughter.' I want to be whole-heartedly set on a name so that I can start calling the baby something other than 'Bloob' or 'Pedro.' Although I tend to be non-traditional in my decorating sense and would never decorate a boy's room all blue or a girl's room all pink, I do want to know the gender for some subtle decorating guidance.

And probably our biggest reason for wanting to find out the sex (besides being way too excited to wait 9 months) is because of the labor and delivery. You see, I want to eliminate as many unknown variables in the delivery room as possible. I'm well aware that it could be a stressful, intense time in our lives and I feel like if we at least know the sex of the baby then it's one less shocker to sneak up on us. I could see it being like this: expecting a smooth, easy delivery then all of a sudden something goes wrong and they have to do an emergency C-section after pushing for 24 hours and then although I'm convinced we are having a boy, out pops a girl. Too much information for my overloaded brain!

So I'd rather just know the sex, know our picked name, and hope for the best after that. It makes sense to us which I guess is what counts.

But those are my reasons and I'm certain that you will stand on one side or the other no matter what I say. I can understand the other point of view but it's just not for me.

As I've mentioned before I'm really feeling like we are having a boy. I think it started with Nate admitting to wanting a boy, but then following that up with 'but if we have a girl I will be just as happy.' It's true, we will be SO happy with either sex that it really won't matter if I'm totally wrong on my guess.

But then there's the infamous Chinese Gender Chart everyone talks about. You find your age at conception and then the month of conception and voila!! It's apparently 90% accurate, which solidifies my instinct even more:


Of course I realize it's totally not possible to predict something like this when it's all about X chromosome sperm versus Y chromosome sperm, but it's still fun. And when the little blue boy said 'Hi, Mom!' to me I got a little teary. Seriously, a bogus cartoon baby with one giant head almost made me cry. I'm obviously pregnant, huh?

Then there was this gender prediction website test I took. Again, team blue with a 70% chance this time.

I must reiterate, we will be JUST as pumped for a girl but I really do think it's a boy. My gut instinct has been majorly wrong in the past (assuming it would take months or even years to get knocked up) but we'll see.

So out of curiosity, I'm going to ask where you stand on this great debate. Let's all be mature adults about it and refrain from slamming the other camp because really----this has to be one of the most personal decisions out there. So what do you think? Wait to find out at delivery or find out before? Did I miss any of the major points from either side?

Also, if you care to place your bets on what I'm having I'd be delighted to hear your guesses:)

39 comments:

  1. Im gonna say boy but hell i was wrong about my own baby! I had to find out for the same reasons you did....i mean the anticpation to wait that long killed me!

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  2. We chose not to find out with any of our kids, but then the ultrasound tech forgot and told us with our third child we were having a girl. Having done both now, waiting until delivery and finding out at the ultrasound, finding out in the delivery room is 100 million times better! Yes it was fun being able to plan a girly nursery for baby number 3, but nothing can outweigh the awesome experience of being in the delivery room with my husband and finding out if we had added a son or daughter to our family. The name wars were very difficult for every child since we had to choose 4 names, first and middle for a boy and a girl, but well worth the reward in the end for us. Also wanted to tell you two other things. One, the chinese birth chart was wrong for ALL my kids. And two, some people have been told they are having one gender and then in the delivery room found out they were told wrong. lol! Just something to consider. :) Good luck! Oh and I knew without a doubt that my girls were girls from day one of the pregnancy, so there is definitely something to be said for mother's intution.

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  3. wow, sorry for the novel of a comment.

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  4. Hi! I'm a long-time lurker who decided to de-lurk! :) When I was pregnant with my daughter, I REALLY wanted to know. I was a young-ish mom and needed to be as prepared as possible (in all aspects!). But, stubborn little Abigail didn't let that happen! We had 3 ultrasounds and in none of them were we able to see! Everyone around me thought it was a girl, but I, for some reason, was thinking boy. I was wrong :). The next time (whenever that may be), I still definitely want to know! Good luck, and I'll be reading!

    Heidi

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  5. I'm with you, girl! Knowing is so much fun, and that day we found out was SUCH a special day!!! I love being able to call him "him" instead of "it."

    The Chinese gender chart is about 50% correct, if that, from what I've seen on the message boards. ;) It said girl for me so it was wrong!

    I do see you guys with a boy, though! Can't wait til you find out!!!

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  6. I am definitely going to find out what I'm having. There's no way I could not, but that's just me. I going to say boy, I think moms to be always have a feeling, so I think you are right :).

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  7. We aren't pregnant, nor do we have any children but we are working on that. With that said, these types of questions come up. We go back and forth thinking that it would be really cool to be apart of the 10% that doesn't find out anymore. Then I start to think about planning and showers and I just think that it would be more fun to know and connect with the little one while in the womb. I would want them to hear their name, over and over again and know whether or not to buy pink or blue clothes. Or even as simple as calling it a he vs. a she.

    I think that once it comes time and we are faced with this question, we'll probably find out. However, I think it's VERY cool when people don't.

    I don't care one way or the other.

    So to ask you a question now... are you going to breast feed? What are you thoughts? Give it 6 weeks and if it works, it works. Or not at all?

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  8. My husband and I are in the same camp as you and your husband, for the same reasons. It will definitely still be a surprise (just a little earlier, as you said) and I like the idea of knowing what it is and adjusting to the whole Yes I'm actually pregnant and I'm having a boy/girl instead of an It. I did the whole surprise thing with my mom many times (five). Also, financially speaking it's definitely more cost effective, and what better time then when you're buckling down and starting a family?

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  9. Oh Boy!!! So fun!!! I just checked out the calendar to see what my future child will be depending on when we conceive someday. I love that!

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  10. Oh...and I don't believe in all of that "it is the only true surprise in life" stuff. Aren't you going to be surprised when you find out at your ultrasound?!? I also agree that everyone thinks they are right about what they decide. A lot of people had opinions about where we got our dog too and you just have to take comments and suggestions with smile!

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  11. We're hoping for a baby sometime after the new year and this is one of those things that we just will go with our gut on. I always said I want to be surprised in the delivery room, but now that it's an actual possibility (as in bye bye BPC), I just don't know, and it's funny because it's for the same reasons you stated - so that I would be able to get my head around that fact that I'm housing an actual person. So who knows - I could feel 100% different when I am actually KU, so we'll see!

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  12. I know about 20 people who used the Chinese gender chart and I have never seen it been wrong. It makes no logical sense but it works!!

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  13. We are not finding out the sex. I just want that surprise at the end, and the doctor calling out, "It's a ...!!" I can't imagine anything more awesome than that moment.

    Plus, there is a totally selfish side of me that wants it to be a surprise. I can't believe I'm admitting this but...I hate when people buy clothes for babies. When you go to a shower, I think you should buy the mom the necessities she needs, not a ton of clothes that a) she probably wanted to buy on her own and b) she may not even like. One outfit along with a pack of bottles is great, but when all you give is a bunch of clothes (which more often than not, I don't think are cute at all), you are completely missing the point of a shower. So in my mind, no one knowing the gender sorta eliminates all the ugly outfits. :)

    One thing I've found - when I tell people our age that we aren't finding out the sex, the response is typically, "Oh my gosh! How can you do that? I'd die. Now way could I wait." But when I tell people my mom's age that we aren't finding out the sex, the typical response is, "That's the right way to do it!!" I definitely think it's a generation thing.

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  14. I am totally with you on finding out the sex of the baby. I am firm on finding out.

    I dont get the logic that it is the last true surprise in life. It will still be a surprise when you find out at 20 weeks, right? What is the difference between being surprised at 20 weeks or 40? Besides the fact that you actually see the baby at 40, there is no difference.

    And to those that say it will help them get through labor, I disagree. I think the anticipation of seeing and holding my baby is enough.

    You will prob have a boy because EVERYONE is having boys! Or maybe that means it will be a girl....

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  15. Well, you know where I stand on this one :). All I can say is it was the right decision for us. It was still one of the most awesome moments of my life and something I'll never forget. And, actually being able to call her Olivia, visualize our little girl, etc. makes the bonding and pregnancy process that much more fun for me.

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  16. I honestly cannot understand why anyone would try to convince you one way or the other--why do people think it's any of their business???? It's your child, it's your decision, period. I can't imagine the amount of annoying comments and questions about what you're going to do and why! Hopefully you can just let it all roll off your back and know that some people are just overly opinionated and that's never going to change! :)

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  17. I also want to say that I wrote my comment before reading all the other comments--I meant in general why would people try to convince you, it wasn't directed at any specific comment already on here :) Just wanted to mention that.

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  18. I just want to agree with what The Girl Next Door just posted. It's such a personal decision, as is everything with pregnancy. I'll never understand why people get so up in arms over someone else's decision. I'm just as excited for you to find out at 20 weeks as I would be for you to find out at 40.

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  19. Chose not to find-out and having my husband announce at her birth was wonderful...for us.

    Glad you are happy and comfortable with decision.

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  20. I was absolutely *positive* that I was having a boy...but the u/s tech said it's a girl. I told her that I'm not sure I totally believe her, lol!

    Here's the thing for me personally--it's said that babies hear what's going on outside the womb by about 20 weeks. They recognize their mother's and father's voices, and studies have also shown that they will recognize music that was played while they were in the womb.

    My thinking is that I wanted to start calling this baby by her name as soon as possible. To tell her, by her name, that I love her. If, God forbid, anything were to happen to her (or me) along the way, it's important to me that she has that recollection, no matter how subliminal, that I loved her and called her by name.

    But I agree that this is SUCH a personal decision, and one that each couple must address on their own. I've never understood why some people get upset about whether others choose to know or not to know...

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  21. I can't believe this is actually a contentious issue. Why do people care whether or not you are finding out the sex of YOUR baby. That seems odd to me. Oh well, more things to look forward to. I think we will wait until birth to find out, but who knows when the time actually comes. And FWIW, I think it's a boy and my predictions have been spot-on lately;)

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  22. Reason I won't be telling anyone else even if I DO find out:

    1. I don't want all pink or all blue baby gifts, which is what will happen if we reveal the sex ahead of time.

    Reason I don't want to find out:

    2. I want my husband to say this "You can do it honey, aren't you excited to find out whether you will have a boy or a girl?" Then I will say " Yeah, like a birthday present! I love surprises!"

    And thus, my reasonings for why not to find out.

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  23. We decided not to find out the gender of our little one primarily because I envisioned this magical moment when, shortly after delivery, my husband announced the sex. Well, after stating this wish to our doula, nurses and doc, things got a little busy in the delivery room and the doc ended up spilling the beans before my husband could.
    We were both a little bummed...I was mostly because I spent more hours looking for the perfect gender neutral bedding than I did my wedding dress!

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  24. I had to find out what I was having...I wanted to start calling the baby his/her name. I also wanted to decorate and buy clothes. I'm not good at surprises. Also, all the gender predictors I did said girl and I had a boy! :)

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  25. I'd like to think I don't want to find out. Our first born will have the same name regardless of sex (which I will argue is just as heated of a debate as whether you find out). But, not being with child, I cannot say with 100% certainty what I will want when the time comes. I respect both viewpoints and think neither is wrong. It's all about what works for you.

    And I'm guessing girl, but I could totally see you guys with a little boy. Awwwwwwww!

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  26. Hey Julia,

    I’m all for finding out! I had the same reasons as you – I couldn’t believe I was really, truly pregnant and I needed to know what I was having to identify with my child. When I found out I was having a girl, I could really start to imagine myself with a daughter and she became “real” to me. I also chose her name, Claire Elise, early on and began to think of her as “Claire” instead of “it” or “the baby.” Another bonus to choosing a name early is that you get TONS of personalized gifts. Claire had personalized everything – diaper bags, blankets, bows, pacifiers, burp clothes, onesies, clothes, frames, nursery decor, etc. It was wonderful! Don’t worry about what everyone else says about finding out – all that matters is that you’re comfortable and happy with your decision. Trust me – it didn’t take anything away from the delivery. That’s the most amazing moment you’ll ever experience, with or without knowing the sex of your child.

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  27. Ha! The finding out issue reminds me of this video that a friend sent to me after watching all our friends go through pregnancy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRzBpFjJS8

    Ok, and I hope you do not take offense to the video in any way. It's just supposed to be humorous re: what not to do during pregnancy. I got a kick out of it that's all!

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  28. OMG how cute is that baby on the Chinese Gender Chart?! haha.

    I always thought I'd find out the sex of the baby, but after watching 2 of my friends go through their pregnancy and waiting for a surprise, I think I'll opt not to find out for the first one.

    I totally agree with you though that calling your baby "girl name" or "boy name" is so much better than "it" :)

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  29. We aren't finding out and pretty much everyone thinks we are insane. It's always interesting to see how people react. I'm with Kristal though-- the people my parent's age think that it's great-- probably because they never had the option.

    I might want to find out with future babies, but we decided not to this time because...

    A) I truly don't care which sex it is. If I was dying for a boy, I might want to find out to get used to the idea in the case that it was a girl.

    b) Even if I was finding out, I always wanted a very neutral nursery. (Just my taste-- love the yellows, creams and ivories.) So there wasn't much of need to find out for decorating purposes.

    c) I'm with kristal again in regards to the clothing thing. I've seen some ugly baby clothes out there. I wouldn't say that's a "reason" for not finding out....more like a perk. :)

    I totally understand why people want to though-- and like I said, we might want to for future pregnancies.

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  30. The Chinese got mine right. Oh lord, he's crying right now...I'll make this quick.

    As my father said: no matter when you find out, it's still a surprise.

    Now, how far away is twenty weeks? :)

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  31. I can see you guys more with a boy. However, I think it would be interesting to see you with a girl! So, I really don't know! Also, I am with you about finding out the gender beforehand. I personally don't see the point in waiting around :-)

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  32. I'm with you. I'm not pregnant yet, but I've thought a lot about this question. To each, his own, I say. But for me, I would NOT be able to wait 9 months. I want to pick out a name, decorate a nursery, buy gender specific clothing, etc before the baby is born. I understand what you're saying about personifying your baby...when you know the gender, it's like you know him or her a little bit better :-)

    But I totally understand why someone would want to be surprised and really cherish that moment. I just know I wouldn't be patient enough :-)

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  33. I want to find out when the time comes. I completely agree, it's STILL a surprise, you just get to find out earlier! I do see the need for gender-neutral stuff, though. I kind of like the idea of having the u/s tech write the gender down and seal it in an envelope for us to open later. I've also seen people have a bakery make a cake with gender color-coordinated filling in order to find out. That'd be cool, too. :)

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  34. Such interesting answers and lots of food for thought! I never understood why people get so upset with personal decisions like this but I promise you....a few people I know have been 'very disappointed' in our decision. Oh well! A few points I must mention:

    hopeful #1: I really think it's more like 50/50 these days for who finds out before and who waits until delivery. I swear my doc even said that it's a toss up lately. Oh and breastfeeding? Totally going for it since it's free and will help me lose weight (while being good for the babe). When I'm back to work full time it might totally suck but I'll still give it a go.

    Julia~ great name and I have seen this video before. Absolutely hilarious. And the tune gets stuck in my head for days:)

    hjett~I know a girl who wanted to find out and then the baby was too modest for the money shot. So they waited and were so happy they did. If the babe doesn't want to show his or her junk, we'll respect that (I think?) :)

    Angie~Don't have the big appt scheduled yet but I'm thinking in about 5 more weeks. I never knew you could schedule it from 18-20 weeks so I'm all about the 18:)

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  35. I kind of always wanted to wait, for various reasons, but my husband is the most impatient human alive, and we had a 'conversation' about it, and agreed we will find out (when the time comes). I'm not adamant either way, so it's not too much of a sacrifice for me, but I know it would drive him insane, so he wins this one. ;)

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  36. I'm with you. I love it when people wait to find out-- but I just couldn't do it. I had to know because it helped me make that baby into a little person!

    So.. the chinese gender calendar thing was right for me.... BUT... the one from the bump was wrong. it said girl. but every other calendar said boy. not sure why the one from the bump is different than the others for me. :)

    i'm guessing boy!

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  37. It definitely does personify the abstract thought that is your child. Tony and I were just talking about in the future if we would wait with any of our kids and it surprised him that I might be open to it!

    I'm going to have to wait to see how you carry lol.

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  38. To each his own, but I would want to know! It would psych me up even more and be even more excited for the baby to actually be born.

    On another note: A friend of mine wouldn't tell anyone the names she had picked out for her baby before the baby was born because she didn't want anyone commenting on the names she picked or putting pressure on her for "family" names.

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  39. Just found your blog! Love it! Congrats on expecting! Nice to "meet" you!

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