Boy or Girl – to know or not to know?

boy_girl_symbolsOver at A Mothers Secrets, a place where mothers swear to tell the whole truth and only the truth, a suggestion from OMG We’re Pregnant for posts about finding out the sex of your baby while pregnant has inspired me to put my fingers to the keyboard and share my thoughts and experiences on the subject. 

My experience is with two pregnancies.  The first we didn’t find out the sex until I delivered my baby and my second (current and last!) pregnancy we have found out is a girl, so I have experienced one pregnancy not knowing and one pregnancy knowing. 

Whilst my personality is extrovert and often seemingly spontaneous, my nature is very much that of a planner.  I very much lead with my head and deal with facts rather than thoughts and ideas.  So, rewind the clock a couple of years to 2006 and everyone was amazed that I didn’t find out whether I was expecting a boy or a girl with my first pregnancy.  During this pregnancy I held a senior role in a large Plc, working silly hours with many days and nights spent away on business trips.  The main reasons I didn’t find out what I was having were… see, the planner in me wants an ordered list! :

  1. We wanted the news to be a surprise
  2. It didn’t matter to us, we had no experience of, or stuff for, babies – be they a boy or girl
  3. It limited how much planning, doing and shopping I was able to do (very successfully on the shopping front!)
  4. Both sets of first time Grandparents-to-be also wanted the sex of our baby to be a surprise on arrival

On my side of the family the eldest child is a girl for generations gone by – my Great-Great Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother and me are all the eldest child.  As my pregnancy, my bump and other peoples guesses progressed, I became more and more convinced I was having a girl.  Still I never bought anything pink or blue, I was Mrs Unisex – all about the neutral, white & creams!  We had a nickname for our bump, “Baby Boo” and spent 40 weeks coming up with names for Boo’s arrival – we had agreed a name for a girl and had a short list for a boy.  Then baby arrived and “its a boy!” Mr L told me excitedly … having survived over 36 hours of labour, followed by nearly two hours of an assisted delivery I had completely forgotten that at the end of all this would be the long awaited “surprise”.  The truth is that the “surprise” part completely missed me as I was reeling from post delivery shock and stitches! 

Baby Boo was dressed in his unisex cream baby gro, “Baby Boy Lancaster” was written on his wrist and ankle tags and his cot was labelled “Unknown Lancaster”.  These bracelets and this label are in his first year memory book and I feel so bad about them, it looks like we weren’t bothered.  But post labour and delivery I just couldn’t confidently answer the question “do you have a name for him?” There was no surprise, there was a shock, that Baby Boo was not a girl.  In fact it was such as shock that I think it took me a good three weeks to get used to Lil’ H’s name because I just thought for no reason what so ever he would be a she.  That said I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I adore Lil’ H with all my heart and know he will be a great Big Brother in just a few weeks time.

When it came to second time around, I felt strongly about finding out the sex of our baby and my reasons were not directly related to my experience of Lil’ H’s arrival, certainly not in my mind anyway.  Our reasons for finding out second time around were: 

  1. We wanted the news to be a surprise – at a time that I would be able to appreciate the news
  2. We had four suitcases of grown out of boys baby clothes, if this one wasn’t to be blue they needed new homes.
  3. With a toddler in tow time to prepare, do & shop is limited, knowing focussed the to do list & makes it easier
  4. Both sets of Grandparents in hindsight confessed to be frustrated by not knowing during the first pregnancy!
  5. This will be my last pregnancy and my only opportunity to experience a pregnancy knowing

Interestingly in writing this post the reasons for not finding out and finding out are pretty much the same just from a different perspective.  The perspective of a second time mum-to-be with a toddler, still working, but now for myself on my own terms but still short of time!  I don’t deny finding out is for mostly more practical reasons.  It has afforded me the three months that I have spent selling Lil’ H’s clothes on eBay.  I don’t have a nickname for my bump this time around apart from “baby number two” however I know what her name will be (nope I’m not sharing!) and feel closer to her for it.  I have enjoyed choosing outfits for her, rather than looking through the limited choice of unisex items and have been able to take advantage of discounts and sales.  I definately had and enjoyed my “surprise” moment at finding out – we were told 80% likely a girl at the 12 week nuchal scan which was confirmed at 20 weeks.  It has been great to be able to talk to Lil’ H about being a big brother and having a little sister.  Grandparents-to-be have knitting needles loaded and clicking with pink & lilac wool and sewing machines humming with similar shades of fabric for bunting & playmats. 

Before I sign off it is worth pointing out that “knowing” isn’t definate and my birth plan does state “We have been told that the sex of this baby is a girl, it will be a shock if not!”  I will write a sequel post when she arrives on if knowing influences me during labour, delivery and those first weeks.  But for me I’ve experienced both and they were both right for me and my family at the time of my pregnancies.  Knowing was neither better or worse, just different.  So I guess the killer question is … if I was to have a third child would I find out?  There is no answer to that question because I will not be having a third pregnancy and if I was there would be way bigger questions to answer than is it a boy or a girl … it will be a full on case of “I’M A PREGNANT LADY GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Boy or Girl – to know or not to know?

  1. Interesting you are able to have a comparison (and I didn’t know you could even tell anything at twelve weeks). We are in a strange position with this pregnancy, our hospital does not tell you which was fine with my son, as I wanted a surprise. With this pregnancy, everyone thinks it’s a girl as I’ve been much sicker. Even my 2 year old thinks he’s going to have a sister. However, DH comes from generations of men and a girl has always been off the radar for us. With so many people so ‘sure’ around us, I worry I’ll be disappointed.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble!! And interesting post

  2. We found out Kai’s sex during my pregnancy and it was the best thing we could have done. I agree – it didn’t spoil the suprise at the end. In fact I’m glad I knew he was going to be a boy, the whole experience was such a shock to me (I had a pretty rough time too after delivery) that the feeling of being handed my baby boy gave it such a sense of familiarity – I knew him already, I was just getting to see him for the first time. THAT was the suprise for me.

    The other thing was we found it helped my hubby a lot during the pregnancy. As the muumy we get the lovely kicks and movements and familar with the baby in a way that our OH’s miss out on. Knowing the baby was boy allowed my fella to bond with my bump in a much deeper way – it was “his boy”.

    And it did help us to plan too – and as someone who likes to be organised I loved that, a lot 😉

    xx

  3. Jordan

    Fab post & v. interesting to read your reasons for/for not finding out.

    We just have one little boy (nearly 3!) & we didnt find out what we were having. My main reason for this was because, it was me that was experiencing the pregnancy & people asked me about how the baby was etc for 6months, rather than my hubby – now, i knew that when baby was born, it was HIS news to tell & i just loved that (& i think he did too).

    We are planning another & if we will do the same, i just don’t know. I do however think it is a lovely thing to think about.

    Good luck over the next few weeks & hope everything goes to ‘plan’! x

  4. Great post. How interesting that you have experienced both sides. It sounds like we had similar first births, but for me finding out I had a son was so magical that we didn’t find out for baby number two either.
    Not long now! Good luck x

  5. I’ve just read that back and it doesn’t make a great deal of sense! What I meant was we didn’t find out baby number two’s sex until he was born. Although I can appreciate for the second child it is more practical to find out at the scan!

  6. Thank you for your post! I did find out both times because it was important to me. Now if we have a third I am pretty sure I will want to live my pregnancy not knowing, to know what it feels like 🙂

  7. great post! i think ur reasoning is great, i will find out the sex of my next one if we have another but i’ll be keeping names a closely guarded secret. i dont know what but i hate it when people call the bean by her name. its odd, but for some reason i feel like its tempting fate.

    hope all is well with you xx

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