Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Finding Out the Sex

To wait or not to wait...that's the ultimate question. I've got a girlfriend who's toying with the idea of not finding out the sex of her baby. Her husband totally wants to, but she kind of doesn't want to. I told her to stick to her guns; if she doesn't want to find out, don't do it. ;-)

Most of the time I love the baby articles floating around Facebook. They're usually written by parents who have a knack for understanding, self-deprecation, empathy and humor, and they're usually almost always funny and/or hits you at the core. However, I came across the following article about why you should wait to find out the sex of your baby, and I was a little put off by the dad who wrote it. Completely understand it's supposed to be light-hearted and funny, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.

My first disclaimer is that I admit I begrudgingly like the guy who wrote the article. I did some research on this clown and checked out his blog; not only is he NOT a clown, but he's a totally accredited blogger dad who's seems awesome, and I found myself pretty in love with his blog. I mean, this dad is kinda boss -- he's smart, quick-witted and extremely well-written, but what's most amazing to me is that he's a dad who has a blog about parenting. There are so many mommy blogs out there (hel-lo) that it's fun to hear from a dad's perspective. The proud love he has for his sons and wife is endearing, and his honesty and truth about being a parent is refreshing. Plus, he's funny as shit, and I agree with majority of his posts (especially like this one). 

My next disclaimer is that we did find out the sex of our baby. While Jordan was okay to wait, I was definitely not. I'm too much of a planner, and I wanted at least one certainty in a giant pool of unknowns. Okay, okay -- fine, I just wanted to get started on the nursery. ;-) Ironically, though, I desperately wish I could have waited. So many of our friends who didn't find out adamantly say it's the most amazing experience during delivery, and I find myself a little wistful when parents-to-be say they're going to wait. However, since patience is not exactly my virtue, I wouldn't have changed a thing and can only hope I can maybe wait it out with Baby #2.

I asked around to my friends who waited why they came to that decision, and their answers ranged from "We just wanted that awesome surprise," and "There aren't too many surprises in life anymore, so we wanted a big one," to "It was my 3rd and I already had a boy and girl, sooo..." and "I just wanted a healthy baby and nothing else mattered." All perfectly wonderful reasons, and they all echoed the same sentiments that it was the best experience of their life. With the exception of number one (below), none of them listed the following reasons... My editorial comments in blue.

7 Reasons Not to Find Out the Sex of the Baby 
As the big day drew near for both of my sons' births, I was going nuts with anticipation and excitement. Excitement about adding to our family and becoming a dad, for sure, but also because I was finally going to get the answer to a very important question -- are we having a boy or a girl? 
Yup, that's right. We didn't find out. That's a decision that has drawn some mixed reactions and opinions to say the least, but it's one my wife and I stand behind 100 percent. 
I didn't always feel this way. In fact, it was the cause of much marital strife six years ago when we had our first child, because I wanted to know the sex and my wife didn't. At first I was ridiculously angry, but she kept on telling me how great of a surprise it'd be and that it was worth the wait. Simply put, I thought she was full of shit. But as usual, she was absolutely right. Finding out right then and there in the moment was absolutely fantastic. 
Yet out of all the questions people asked us during her pregnancies, the no. 1 query by far was "HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY WAIT TO FIND OUT?" and "WHY IN HOLY HELL WOULD YOU NOT FIND OUT ASAP?!" Well, here are seven answers. 
7. The Old Wives' Tales -- In the absence of a conclusive ultrasound, people never cease to surprise me with their methods of determining whether we're having a boy or a girl. People say if you're "carrying high" it's a girl, and low means boy. They ask MJ what foods she's been craving and if she mentions something sweet, they automatically say girl while sour equals boy. It's really quite interesting to hear the theories bandied about by these baby soothsayers, which all seem to have been handed down by grandparents and great-grandparents and are NEVER wrong. In fact, 50 percent of the time they guess right EVERY time. 
I've actually always heard that if a woman is carrying high it's a boy and low it's a girl -- which goes to show you Old Wives' Tales are nothing but nonsensical fun hypotheses from well wishers, usually from old people. Why does this really matter to him? Can't he just indulge the sweet old lady who's predicting his wife is having a girl based on the cupcake she's eating? I certainly did (especially the cupcake eating), and it never bothered me.
6. Delaying Stupid Stereotypes -- If we found out the sex at 18 weeks, that means I'd have 22 weeks to listen to people moronically babble on about what it means to have a boy or girl. Especially when my wife was pregnant with our second. If people knew we were having another boy it'd be "Oh man, MJ is gonna be so outnumbered" and "Oh... well, when are you going to try for the girl?" And if it's a girl I'd be fed a steady diet of "I know you hate guns, but you're gonna need one before she starts dating." Either way, boy or girl, I hate that crap. It's boring, played out, and often insulting. Not finding out the sex cuts off this avenue of discussion completely. 
This is just a weird statement (and "moronically babble on" is a bit dramatic). If him and his wife did find out they were having another boy, the "Oh man, MJ is gonna be so outnumbered," isn't a stereotype; it's a definite fact. When people told Jordan he was going to need to get a gun when they found out we were having a girl, it was jokingly meant to be a compliment. And doesn't everyone love compliments?? Evidently no. He says he "hates that crap" because "it's boring, played out, and often insulting." I feel like maybe he was a Bitter Betty when he wrote the article.
5. Cuts Down on Disappointment -- Sure you might be hoping for a boy or a girl, and the common argument is if you find out at 18 weeks then you get the disappointment out of the way, and have time to wrap your head around it. But I disagree. Even if you were hoping for a girl, but get a boy, and you don't find out until he/she arrives, you're too blown away by what just happened and caught up in the joy of the moment to give a shit whether you got what you wanted. You're just thankful for the new life you're holding in your hands. Same goes for relatives. It's a lot more difficult for your mother-in-law to express her disappointment when you hand her her brand new grandchild. 
I whole-heartedly disagree with this. I told Jordan maybe we could wait to find out the sex of Baby #2, and he vehemently shook his head no because if it's another girl he knows he has about 20 weeks to finish the basement for his man cave. ;-) But in all seriousness, regardless of whether you find out right away or wait until delivery, majority of parents have that 0.00001% ounce of happiness or disappointment -- just no one admits it because they'll feel like a terrible human being. And the truth of the matter is that all you really and truly care about is having a healthy baby, so he's right -- you're too blown away by what just happened and caught up in the joy of the moment to give a shit whether you got what you wanted or not but that's regardless of whether you found out the sex beforehand. I bet this guy might've been whistling a different tune had his wife delivered two daughters...
4. Added Motivation in the Delivery Room -- This one is mainly for the ladies. I've heard from reliable sources that childbirth is pretty painful stuff as you're trying to squeeze a large object out a much smaller opening. But my wife told me she kept pushing steadily through the pain in large part because she was so motivated to finally find out the sex of the baby. Who knows, that ounce of added motivation just might be the thing that gets you geared up for that final tough push. 
This "reason" was actually why I felt so indignant compelled to even comment on this article. Added motivation?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, DUDE? Let's have you try squeezing a bowling ball through your manhood and see if you need any "added motivation" to push. Maybe his wife said she kept pushing because she was so motivated to find out the sex, but with 100% certainty the reason I kept steadily pushing through the pain is because having a watermelon lodged in your lady parts SUCKS. "That ounce of added motivation just might be the thing that gets you geared up for that final tough push." Man, you have NO idea...
3. No Pink or Blue -- If you have a boy, people will buy you a ton of blue shit with footballs and baseballs on them. If you have a girl, I guarantee you it will look like Barbie and the Pink Panther butchered each other, and your nursery now runs pink with their blood. And if you're anything like me, you hate the idea of being pigeonholed. By not finding out the sex, you effectively force people to think at least a little bit outside the box and consider things that are gender neutral. Lots of greens, yellows, and reds -- all absent the gender stereotypes parents like myself and MJ are trying to move away from in general. 
Um, first our nursery runs pink with AWESOMENESS, so shut it. Secondly, if getting a blue blanket with a football on it is being "pigeonholed," then I guess yes, you are being pigeonholed when you know the sex. But if you don't find out, aren't you then being pigeonholed to a bunch of gray or yellow things with elephants on them? And couldn't you think outside the box and consider things of greens, yellows and reds even if you knew the sex of your baby?? Before I decided on pink walls for Sydney's nursery, I was pretty close to painting them navy blue. I digress... He says him and his wife are trying to move away from gender stereotypes in general, which is awesome and I truly do applaud, but sometimes stereotypes are not necessarily such a bad thing. He wrote a cool article about raising feminist sons, and in the post he states he was raised to hold doors open for women (and men), to pay for dinner on a date with no expectations, and to always make sure a woman gets to her door/car safe and sound. He says they are just polite actions but also says according to many feminists his good manners are only good manners to him and not respecting the difference of opinion about good manners is bad manners. Well, I don't know about all that, but playing Devil's Advocate to him, aren't all those "polite actions" he was raised to do just reinforcing gender stereotypes? I would say yes, but I would also say reinforcing those gender stereotypes aren't necessarily a bad thing. If we have a son, I will most definitely raise him to hold doors open for his sister and mama -- not because I'm misogynistic but because I believe that shows respect.
2. It Pisses People Off -- I've written about this before but it bears repeating. Some people -- especially the control freaks, Type As, and rabid planners out there -- need as much information as possible at all times. And I've discovered they don't just need it for themselves, they need other people to have it too. I'm serious. I've talked to people who literally get hives when we tell them we're waiting, because the mere thought of not knowing drives them into a panic. We've even had people tell us we are wrong and that we're ridiculous for not finding out. Making people uncomfortable and bucking societal norms is basically a part-time job for me, so the contrarian in me revels in their obvious discomfort. Try it, I highly recommend it. 
I will say it again -- this is weird. Who are these people this guy surrounds himself with?!? When our friends have told us they're going to wait, it's so exciting and fun. Sure, I'm willing to bet those friends have gotten the same reactions from people this guy and his wife had gotten -- but they're the same people who have the same audacity to say, "Oh my gosh, you're HUGE! You're so big. I can't believe you're only 20 weeks! You're going to have a monstrous baby." (Yes, this was seriously told to me.) Those people--otherwise known as ignorant randoms--are people you have to learn to brush off and forget. People will say the damnedest things (myself and my mother included), and most of the time don't realize how rude or inconsiderate they're being; just let it go, man. And for the record, making people uncomfortable sounds like an awful part-time job. Stick to blogging.
1. It's a Surprise Like No Other -- Some people will say it's a surprise no matter when you find out. That's true, it is. But for me, there has never been a happier, more exciting, cooler surprise than jockeying for position in the delivery room to see whether I had a son or a daughter. It's already such a magical moment watching new life enter the world, and the fact that I'm finding out for the first time whether I have a new son or daughter just magnifies the moment exponentially. Then you get to announce it to friends and relatives dying to know and celebrate with you. There is nothing that's equaled that feeling in my life, and if we ever have a third there's no way we're finding out ahead of time. 
He's got me there. I have heard from so many friends it's the coolest experience in the whole world and seeing their partner's faces was one of their favorite memories. When we found out Sydney was a girl, it's actually somewhat of a bittersweet memory for me because the ultrasound tech was so...I don't know -- robotic about it? She was like, "Well, look here -- what do you guys think? Congrats!" And both Jordan and I kind of looked at each other like, " you know?" and felt a little stupid for not knowing right away. Jordan hesitantly guessed girl because he's always thought girl from day one, but I had no idea what I was even looking for (kind of felt like Rachel from Friends). So that's how we found out. There was no fun reveal, no crazy reactions...I think we both felt a little cheapened out of the whole experience of finding out your baby's gender. Also, now after seeing a baby boy ultrasound pic, we feel even more stupid for not knowing because there's not a lot of room for error when it's a boy.
Of course, all of this advice is moot since I was 100 percent sure we were having boys both times. I knew because MJ carried low.
Whatever, dude. I carried suuuuper low and we had a GIRL. Boom.

Anyway, I guess the whole reason why this article bothered me was because to me it felt ridden with lecture and judgment to other parents who had made the decision to find out the sex of their baby. He said him and his wife stand behind their decision 100% -- great. My husband and I stand behind our decision 100%. Why make people feel there's a right or wrong answer to such a personal and exciting decision? There's a movement out there called "End the Mommy Wars"; basically it's a virtual movement to stop moms making other moms feel inadequate due to how they're choosing to raise their child. Perhaps the movement should change its name to "End the Parent Wars" now?

Again, let me be very clear that I actually wish I had the patience to wait it out. Even now I get so dang excited for pregnant mamas when they don't know -- it's one of life's biggest and best surprises! I cut myself down for a bit during my pregnancy and kept asking myself why I couldn't be more patient and why I had to find out. I ultimately realized that wanting to find out wasn't the equivalent to being a bad mom; it just made me who I am, which is totally okay. I, by all means, am NOT criticizing parents who chose to wait; in fact, it's the total opposite and I admire you and envy the experience you had or are about to have. I am, however, wondering where this guy got off shaming people about such a personal choice.

Anyway, either way you choose, remember this: you're golden. Just like there are pros and cons to every decision, there are pros and cons to knowing or waiting. You know what's best for yourself and your family, and that's all that matters.

What about you -- did you find out or wait, and why?


  1. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the kind words sandwiched in between scathing rebukes. That's much Kinder than most of my critics. Also, I like your writing style too. Conversational, smart, funny - good stuff.

    But I did want to clarify something. I wasn't preaching or lecturing at all with this piece. There's nothing in my article that degrades anyone who chose to find out early. Hell, I wanted to find out early with our first. I totally get it. I'm sorry some people are reading it that way, but that's not how it was written or intended.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond. I can't wait to dig into your archives more.

    1. Lol, well you're just as awesome as I knew you would be. First, a very sincere thanks for your comment -- so honored you even took the time to read my silly post on my tiny little blog! Secondly, another very sincere thanks for your clarification. I think the only people who read your article and maybe took some offense are obviously the ones who chose to find out beforehand, but I think my opinion was heightened due to the comments on the Facebook thread of the original post I found. (So maybe I was a Bitter Betty while writing my post?)

      Anyway, thanks again for your comments and keep up the awesome work on your blog. I seriously LOVE it.


Blog Design by Get Polished