Tuesday, October 20, 2009
the gender thing
As you may know, my husband and I have chosen to wait for our baby's birth to find out whether our child a boy or a girl.
In fact, that's what we usually do. People will say, incredulously, "You don't want to know?!" It's not that we don't want to know...we want to know, just not yet. I am as interested as the next person (well, I'm sure I'm quite a bit more interested, actually) as to what the gender of our baby is. It isn't as though we don't care.
We just find it such a payoff, so much fun to have that surprise: to labor through, to put in the time, to do the work... And then to be rewarded with meeting our baby, and learning the news. It's then that we really begin the process of discovering just who s/he is. And what a journey!
There was one instance when Jeff and I opted to "find out," though. It was during my second pregnancy. Benjamin was an active 2-year-old, and we were so excited to have a baby on the way. Jeff would have preferred to wait for the surprise of discovering our baby's sex at birth, but I just really wanted to know. I'm still not sure quite why. But somehow, that time, I wanted to know right then.
And in a way, it was fun to know. There I was, pregnant with Kyle Warren, and stocking up on the blue. When we were expecting Ben, we'd had all the baby showers before he was born...and there was a lot of yellow and green. A lot. I grew so weary of yellow and green. Aren't there other gender-neutral colors? There was evidently a shortage in 2002. So it was really fun to be able to buy and receive clothes that were unabashedly boyish. To know.
All the same, there was a dark side to that knowledge. I had several people say things like "Oh...I'm sorry you're having another boy." What? How inconsiderate. How rude. And again, when I was expecting Owen (and his gender was unknown at the time), an acquaintance who gave great credit to her "intuition" once laid her hand on my arm and said "I'm really sorry to tell you this, but you're having another boy." Excuse me? How insulting! And how arrogant. How dare they?!
I've grown fiercely protective of my boys. They're wonderful, fun-loving, full of life. I wouldn't trade them for an army of girls. As much as I would enjoy mothering a little girl someday, I believe that my family has been crafted by God, and that each addition is the perfect new member for our household, male or female.
The subject of a baby's gender was one I thought about a lot during my last pregnancy. I keenly remembered the perceived insults to my precious little ones. There's little doubt in my mind that they played a big part in my resolve to wait for my third time around.
I challenge anyone to see a healthy, thriving babe in my arms, and offer me anything like pity.
Another factor for me is the stories I've heard about being told the wrong gender by an ultrasound technician. I know it's rare, but it does happen. In fact, it's happened to people I know. I really think that would be incredibly difficult...to plan and prepare, to refer to the baby by name, perhaps...and then find out that the baby wasn't the child I thought. I would imagine I'd even mourn for the child I'd grown to love. Regardless of boy or girl, I believe I would have a really hard time with that.
But truly, more than any of these things, my husband and I love the surprise. The wondering, the dreaming. The knowing that God has a wonderfully secret gift planned, but the gift is still in its wrappings.
I'm not trying to convince you that it's better to "not find out." Everyone is different, and a lot of people choose to discover their baby's gender during pregnancy. I'm always excited to hear a friend's news when they've been to their Big Ultrasound. Different people do things in different ways.
But these are the reasons that Jeff and I have chosen the other path. To have the big surprise happen in the moments just after birth. To revel in the uncertainty, the mystery, the wondering.
To wait for it.