With Penny, we were surprised to find out her gender at birth. My reasons for not wanting to know were as follows:
- Wanting gender-neutral baby stuff that could be re-used for any future babies
- The possibility that it might help me get through labor. I wanted a natural birth and thought the excitement of finding out at birth would give me the extra push I needed.
- Afraid of being overwhelmed with light pink if it was a girl. I mean, I love pink, but I went to an "it's a girl" baby shower once, and it was just too much.
- The surprise of it all. I love a good surprise, and this is one of life's great ones.
- I had a strong feeling she was a girl (so did Josh), so I sort of felt like I didn't even need to find out.
With Olive, we found out that she was a girl at our ultrasound. Our reasons for finding out were:
- Wanting to know whether I should sort and organize our girl wardrobe to be reused or purchase some boy clothes
- No baby shower for the second baby, so the whole wanting gender-neutral stuff didn't apply.
- I had one natural birth under my belt, so I didn't feel like I needed the gender surprise to get me through.
- Wanted to give Penny something more concrete to help her understand the pending addition to the family.
- Having already had one girl, I knew that no matter how much gender-neutral stuff you want, as soon as a girl is born, packages of pink arrive at the door, so it didn't really matter in the end. And the light pink baby girl outfits really are just adorable and precious anyway.
I am happy to have had both experiences, and I think each decision was right for us at the time. If you are trying to decide, this will give you some things to think about on both sides of the decision. Also, it is completely a personal decision, so don't let anyone bully you into one way or another. The only rule I think is that mom carrying the baby should get final say. If mom doesn't want to find out but dad does, mom should get to decide whether dad can know or not. That's my two cents.
Alternative options that we did not choose:
- finding out but not telling anyone else
- having a gender-reveal party where you are surprised along with friends and family