On one of my recent posts, a friend commented on the fact that we've chosen not to know our baby's gender.
The comment was "seems odd to me. You have soooooo many surprises in line for you, and I'm not talking about the color of hair and eyes, I mean will that kid like reading or playing ball, will she be curious, mathematical, spiritual, difficult or easy? will he have good or bad coordination, will she be a picky eater or not? The very least you can do is at least know the gender so you can prepare the clothes, crib color and all :-)"
Well, here's the thing. Actually, some research has shown that parents who *do* know the gender before birth have difficulty bonding with their babies, because they have more of a picture in their mind of what "a girl" or "a boy" should be. Oftentimes, their particular girl or boy is not at all like what they expect. My husband, for example, thinks that girls like to organize things and put them away neatly. He obviously never met me... He thinks boys like to take everything apart and leave a big mess. He obviously never met my oldest brother. So that's one argument against knowing.
Secondly, I'm not a superstitious person, but I do subscribe to the tradition of not buying things for the baby before the baby is born. Most of my readers are now saying "yeah, right, you're not superstitious. uh huh! we know all about you." My mother, on the other hand, is probably nodding her head.
Many years ago, my father had the experience of visiting at the home of a bereaved couple after a stillbirth. There was a perfect nursery, with sweet curtains and a crib and pastel-painted walls. There were teddy bears and rattles and pacifiers. And there was a huge empty space that should have been occupied by a baby. It's unlikely, but it's not impossible. These things happen.
On the other hand, the room we plan to use for the baby has already been painted as a baby's room - the previous owners had two children in that room. We also plan to have the baby in a bassinet in our room for the first few months. We'll use that time to finish any decoration of the baby's room.
Next comes the very basic issue of the fact that ultrasound is only about 85% accurate. Which means that if you are "mentally prepared" for one or the other, there's a 15% chance that you'll have to make a pretty radical readjustment.
Finally, in some ways, we'd like to know (although we have possible names picked out for both a boy and a girl) but we don't want to tell other people. If we know, one of us (the one who has the baby inside of her) has a slightly big mouth... and probably we would end up telling everyone else... so we're going to stick to not knowing.
And one more thing to the guy who asked me... If you've never been pregnant, you really don't know how it feels. I didn't know how it felt until I was pregnant. I always assumed that most women wouldn't want to know, but I was told by the dr who did my ultrasound that about 90% of women he sees *do* want to know - and honestly, I understand the wanting to know. It's just not for me.