to find out or not to find out…

boy face, girl face?

It’s sitting on our cluttered dining table in a glossy white folder from the clinic, held securely in a sticky-taped envelope marked “gender”. The result is from our 19 week scan and sits there unread, waiting for one of us to open it. Two weeks ago this wasn’t going to happen. Two weeks ago it was plain, simple common sense; “Of course we are finding out the sex – who needs surprises now” was our mantra. This was our attitude the whole way along up until the night before our scan when my wife quite innocently wanted to check that we really wanted to find out the sex. It was then that we both decided that, for now anyway, we’d keep a little bit of the mystery going.

Our first pregnancy (I say our first loosely as we weren’t sick everyday for three months, we didn’t  get progressively larger and more uncomfortable and we didn’t have to push the proverbial watermelon through the eye of the needle – pregnancy was definitely designed by guys!) was a series of momentous occasions. The first two pink lines, first scan, first (of hundreds – not that I am complaining) slices of toast for dinner and first kicks but this second pregnancy seems to have been lost in the general haze of life. A toddler already in the family, moving and selling houses and work have meant that there just hasn’t been time to have the hallmark moment where I stare adoringly at my wife’s swollen belly. Instead there’s been brief moments that seem to fall in and around everything else that is going on where we both remember that another little illiterate infant is making it way slowly into our world.

So back to the logical case for finding out the sex. In short, it makes sense. We get to know whether we can re-use the half truckload of clothes we have vacuum bagged in our meager storage space, I get time to start learning to fish and tie a good knot (broad gender stereotype number one) or get to prepared for an easy 10 years before life gets very complicated (and there’s number two). We can start educating little miss 2.5 about having a little brother or sister and getting her a little more emotionally engaged. Then there’s the obvious plus of halving the baby names we need to sort through and simplifying bedroom colour pallets (anyone who knows the 6 weeks we’ve just had knows that I am joking about this one!)

So what happened? Where did my usual logical self go? Well it seems that this logical self already has a soft spot for the little person that is currently growing inside my wife’s slowly expanding tummy. And this soft spot thinks that it wasn’t really fair to fit the news of it having a John Thomas (or not) between meetings with real estate agents, painters and unpacking boxes. Luckily, my wife discovered the same soft spot which got us to this point, with a securely sticky-taped envelope marked “gender”.

So, here we are. Excited but unaware. We’ll probably look at the envelope but in our own time, when we’re ready. What did you do? Did you find out? Did logic win or do you like surprises?

Always happy to be sharing with with  Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

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37 Responses to to find out or not to find out…

  1. Mel says:

    I’m a planner, so I would definitely find out, especially for my first.
    Enjoy sitting down together and enjoying the special moment of finding out when the time is right 🙂

  2. I so relate, my second pregnancy was very different. I really wanted to find out the gender, but hubby has adamant he wanted a surprise. I must say in the end it was a wonderful moment, so it worked out for us. I’m not sure I would have lasted if the results were in my hand though!

  3. Lydia C. Lee says:

    If you have a preference, best not to know. I didn’t find out for 2 and then accidently found out for one. Asked not to and they put it on the form anyway. Struggled with it for a bit – then felt guilty about not being immediately overjoyed….

  4. We found out purely because my mother in law was ill and it was unlikely she would survive to see the birth of her grandchild. I wasn’t keen but after we knew I was soo grateful (not just for my mother in laws sake). I was convinced it was a girl but the news that it was a boy was something I needed to get used of (which I did very quickly). Knowing the sex really allowed us to see my bump as an individual. We named him (which was only known between us as a couple) and he had an identity. It allowed us to feel more connected with him before he was even here. We don’t regret finding out and in fact, I would want to again second time around. Good luck deciding. Either way, it’s exciting and you wont regret it!

  5. lyndal says:

    i would want to find out – but this post is written so beautifully, i’m definitely rethinking!


  6. We didn’t find out with any of our babies. We ended up with three girls and they were wonderful surprises. We loved it that way but we were super tempted with #3. I think a surprise is best but if someone really wants to find out I think they should. The baby will be loved and cherished just as much if you find out, and if you have a surprise.

  7. I have absolutely NO patience. Found out what I was having at my 20 week scan. I would love to have a surprise when I have more kids, but don’t think I’ll have the will power. I think that curiosity will get the better of me! At least if it’s a surprise you always have the option of looking, where as if you know what you’re having you don’t have the option to go back and un-learn what the sex is!

  8. You are a strong (willed) guy! With our first, it was all about the shoppnig – I had to know so that I could buy pink and purple or blue and green on a quick trip to a cheap Asian destination to shop. No other reason than that.

    We didn’t plan to find out with the twins….until they said “it’s twins”. At which point I only wanted to know so that I could blame my husband for something in the whole “holy crap we’re having twins?!” scenario – that being the gender, and if I ended up with 2 more of the same. The relief on the poor guy’s face when the ultrasound tech said twin 1 was a boy. I’d warned him that if the first was another girl, he should start running before I could roll myself off the table to kill him if the second twin was also another girl.

    Nothing against my girls, they are awesome – but I wasn’t planning on having more than 2, let alone 3, and so if I didn’t get at least one of each out of that, there was going to be trouble. Trouble and a distinct lack of baby clothes shopping for the twins – which would’ve been a tragedy for me.

    Anyway I totally would’ve steamed that envelope open to find out by now.

  9. Jodi says:

    I found out with both kids! I needed to plan and organise. If I am allowed to have a third, since we have one of each now, I will probably let this one be a surprise! 😉

  10. Kelly HTandT says:

    Yeah, I get it. First time we found out, I desperately wanted to know what to plan for. Second time, during the 19 week scan we both spotted the family jewels by accident, no decision necessary, it was plain as day in front of us. Third time, hubby said we needed to know if our house full of boys stuff was going to need a feminine touch! Next time will be the last time, so there will be NO FINDING OUT! Just once I’d like to experience the mystery, just once. But I couldn’t do what you’re doing, I couldn’t have it in front of me and ignore it!

  11. We were on different sides of the fence for this. Dave wanted to know, I didn’t. In the end we found out and I am kinda happy we did, somehow it made it feel a little more real, I felt like I knew what was coming and it was something I could actually prepare a little for. I couldn’t sit there with an envelope taunting me though, that would be torture. I would not have made it through a day before ripping it open!

  12. MeaganM= says:

    Oh I am so torn on this one, haven’t yet had to decide, hopefully in near future. But as many have said, id find it very hard if it was in an envelope within my grasp!!!

  13. a beautiful perspective! having ocd when it comes to planning and preparing, i HAD to find out
    i would have gone crazy otherwise – just picking one name was hard enough!!
    and when i started to read your post, my mind was made up – find out!
    but i got to the end and thought, hang on a minute, this little journey is different…wait a little while longer…the moment will be right soon enough xxx

  14. I have always maintained that I wanted to be surprised and I did with my first pregnancy even when at 38 weeks my ob told me she could tell me the sex and if I decided later I wanted to know to just call – torture! But I figured another week or 2 wouldn’t matter so I resisted. Second time around I was also certain of not finding out, but it was very difficult to stay strong during the 20 week scan, the longer the scan took, the harder it was not to ask. I am so glad I was never given an envelope of intrigue, I would have buckled! I am just hoping that I don’t need any more scans between now (30 weeks) and hubs arrival or I may just lose my nerve.

  15. Our first was a shock enough, so finding the gender was on top of the list. We were so excited! The second we wanted to find out but couldn’t at the 20week scan. We held off until two weeks before she was born. I was given another ultrasound. I couldn’t contain myself, I had to ask!! Sad really that I couldn’t hold out but I hate surprises. And it gave me time to sell off all the boys clothes before she was born.
    Prue x

  16. daddownunder says:

    Congrats mate, imagine the blogging opportunties of two children (they are of course more than blogging opportunties), never ending surely? We didn’t want to know the sex but the radiographer hovered over a perfect outline of a cock and balls for an eternity.

  17. Salz says:

    My friend never found out the sex of her baby. It was so hard to buy a present for her. But once she had the baby I made sure I’d buy the baby some new clothes in the appropriate colour. With me I couldn’t wait with all of them I had to find out. It wouldn’t have been a surprise after the 2nd girl that the next 2 would be girls too. I need to be organised and wanted to make sure whether we would need blue clothes and get rid of the pink ones or keep the pinks ones.

  18. Rita Azar says:

    I don’t have kids yet but for me, I would want to find out! I just followed your blog.

  19. iSophie says:

    We didn’t find out for the first two boys. The 3rd time I needed to know, we found out but kept it a secret from everyone. I endured MANY well meant comments all throughout the pregnancy “Oh I bet you’re hoping for a girl then..” It was a boy. I needed to know because I didn’t want to believe it was a girl for 20 more weeks, have a really fun (sigh) labour and it be a boy. Which is completely wonderful, but part of me did want a girl, obviously, isn’t that just human nature?

    #4 pregnancy again found out for the same reasons. Actually told people it was a boy too, as I didn’t (couldn’t) take another 20 weeks of people telling me I wanted a girl.

    I -think- I’m done. 😉

    Having the envelope would be way too much temptation for most people, and there is no harm in looking, Surprises are always nice too.

  20. BossyMummy says:

    With my son, we found out, but told everyone we hadn’t found out. If we are blessed with a second, husband is adamant that we don’t find out, but i LOATHE surprises, but I figure that I am at more drs appts than he is, and it may just slip out of the sonographers mouth????????

  21. mamagrace71 says:

    We didn’t want to find out at first but because we had a high risk pregnancy, we were having fortnightly ultrasounds from about week 18. At week 20 we caved. We left the clinic saying we didn’t want to know but then we called them from the car. Of course, I wanted to first make my prediction that we were having boys (you know, really hone in on my maternal instincts early on) and then we called to “confirm” I was right!
    Then we got really cheeky and didn’t tell anyone. I somehow managed to walk down the aisle at 25 weeks, do a speech about “the twins” in front of our 120 guests and still didn’t spill the beans.
    I don’t regret we found out but I do like the idea of keeping it a surprise. Nothing like a bit of anticipation in life 🙂

  22. We haven’t found out the gender of either of our babies. But then again, I don’t like to know what I’m getting for Christmas either!
    Good luck with the envelope! (Visiting from #IBOT)

  23. Jacana says:

    I found out at the first opportunity I could. Made my life very easy from that point on – he had a name. However I like you idea of keeping the mystery happening for a little while at least.

  24. Gosh I admire that you both haven’t “snuck a peek” in the envelope yet. I don’t think the curiosity would have gotten to me by now. We wanted to find out with my first daughter and said that is we had another we would have the whole “suprise” but as you can guess, next time around we found out again 🙂 Such an exciting time for you all 🙂

  25. I found out both times, the first because I had a dream about giving birth to a baby girl and wanted proof the universe wasn’t screwing with me. The second because it was my partner’s first, and I let him make the choice. I don’t regret either way, if we had more children I think I would leave it a secret so we had a suprise to look forward to. I guess you know what is right for you.

    I found you through IBOT 🙂

  26. I just love that you recognise that your wife went through the pregnancy and you were along for the ride. But partner always says to me “i lived it too!” and I sometimes just want to kick him!

    We are pregnant with our second and are currently having the same debate. In theory, finding out is what I want to do, but I just dont feel that urge to actually do it! I will be doing the same as you. Having them write it down and then decide when and if it is right for us.

    • morander says:

      congrats on the second.

      I’ve been surprised by the amount of people that either don’t believe I don’t know or who think I won’t last a week with the envelope unopened.

  27. We found out with all three of ours. I love that you have waited and will probably look at a better time.

  28. You opened that envelope yet Mr??? We just had our scan today & I didn’t ask for the envelope.. I wrote a post about it. It’s a very strange feeling. Love to Shan. xoxo

  29. Zareen says:

    If you’re thinking about not finding out if it’s a girl or boy, then you should know about an online baby registry that may affect your decision. It’s an online registry called NotFindingOut that caters specifically to parents who are not finding out but want people to be able to buy them both gender-specific AND gender-neutral gifts. All their items are paired into girl and boy counterparts and most are offered in a gender-neutral option as well. You can register for the items you want, you just don’t know whether you’ll receive the girl or boy version. Once your baby is born, the gender-specific gifts are shipped to you right away so you are equipped with gender-specific items. It’s fun to have some gender neutral and some gender-specific goods when you’re not finding out so this registry lets you do both! For baby showers, anyone who buys you an NFO gift will bring a wrapped Preview Card that shows the item purchased for you in both the girl and boy version so that you can see what they bought you but not have the surprise ruined. No one finds out what the baby is until it’s born. VERY FUN!

  30. Pingback: Caught my eye Friday – 2012 | the illiterate infant

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