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.


Anonymous said...

Mindy, I think it's awesome you wait! I always wanted to do it but waiting isn't a strong point of mine :)

I will warn you, you'll get rude comments from folks no matter what gender you get this time. People would say things like, "Oh you FINALLY got your girl! Were you just trying until you got your girl?" Or "Did you REALLY want a girl? I can't imagine all those boys, ugh!" Are you kidding me? Not only would they say this to my face, they had the gall to say it in front of my boys! I would just look at my boys and think, hello? Can't you see them? They're right here and they have EARS! The comments have ebbed for the most part now but boy, people need to think before they say something rude about a child, when the child is right there to hear them. I LOVE my boys as much as I do my girl! Oh and my all time favorite is that Emma would/will be a tomboy! Having brothers doesn't mean you'll be a tomboy. She's actually pretty well balanced but she leans towards the girlier side!


cingoodrichards said...

I love this post! We also waited, and loved the surprise! I still got the comments about whether we'd be as happy if the second were a boy instead... the nerve of some people! And because our family is currently balanced, many openly guess that we're done having kids (don't know if we are or not)... argh!!! I feel your pain. Enjoy the waiting! And congrats on being an aunt again! :)

Me and Madeline said...

Love this post! Exactly why we waited!

I'm SO excited to find out what you are having! I have to say, I think it makes it more fun for everyone else too! When most of my friends are pregnant, I already know the name, sex and sometimes the arrival date well before the birth. Takes all the fun out of it!!

There was absolutely nothing like when the doctor held up Madeline and I blurted out "it's a girl!". Justin was supposed to make the announcement, but I had an involuntary reaction!

Lauren @ When Happiness Finds You said...

I love the way you described this.

paige said...

we've done both - & my favourite so far is *me & neil* knowing... & nobody else. it kept my mind open to the u/s being wrong... & everyone else was free to guess... but i felt like i got to know something intimate about the little one i was carrying.
i love your reasoning. & i think as people get to tease you about the size of your brood, they will care less about their sex. hehe. There will always be something to tease about!

Sarah said...

Heh, I still remember looking down when Seth was born thinking, wow that's a lot of scrotum. Wouldn't have been nearly as memorable had I been expecting it. ;)

Deb said...

Good for you for waiting..I had people say things to us about having 3 girls and if we were going to try for a boy..etc. etc. I wasn't really offended tho- I just think people don't think before they speak. I also had a lot of that when we miscarried. At the time it was so hurtful, but looking back on it, for me, I just think people don't know what to say sometimes. I'm so glad that you guys are waiting- I wanted to wait but always gave in to peeking :-).. I think Scott played a big part in that saying things like "technology is our friend Deb... come on! " lol. We are so excited to meet our new little cousin- boy or girl- EEITHER WAY THEY ARE A BLESSING! :-) Stay healthy! xoxo

Erin said...

Hah, Hah, I just read Sarah's comment and lost what I was going to say. hmmm... oh yeah, I am totally there with you. We found out with #3, just to see what it was like to find out and I don't think we'd ever do it again. When that precious, healthy, baby is born, of course we will be excited to know the gender but there will be no good or bad about the answer, it will just be the miracle of him/her being born!! Yay, I am getting excited!

steve and corrine said...

I loved this post. I am so proud of you and Jeff as parents and I love the very thoughtful way you go about having and rearing your children. Boy or Girl, the baby will be a blessing and will be blessed to be in your home and family. Love you guys and love reading this blog.

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