Monday, September 23, 2013

Hot Spot: Baby Surprise

In this past year alone several of my friends have decided to forgo learning the sex of their baby prior to giving birth. For me and my hubby-- we went the other way and wanted to know as soon as possible. We liked having two surprises-- the sex... and then the actually birth and meeting our babies. I believe that whatever works for each soon-to-be parent is the best plan. But my first thoughts in choosing to not know are always, "You will still get a surprise no matter when you find out," "How will you decorate the babies room?"... and "How am I suppose to shop for the baby?" (much less important:). Maybe many of you have thought the same things. But obviously this is not a new trend. It's just that now as mothers we are in the mist of 'baby world' and more aware. My mother herself didn't learn the sex of my youngest sister (we secretly think she wanted a boy and knew she was carrying a girl).  I asked a couple of my girlfriends who decided to wait on learning the sex of their babies about why they chose to do so. Of course, after listening to their answers, a bit of guilt came over me for wanting so badly to know the babies sex, while they so obviously enjoyed not knowing.

Lindsay at her baby shower
What made you decide not to find out the sex of the baby? 
Lindsay: A long-time friend recommended we not find out because she had waited and felt it was totally
 worth the wait.
Whitney: Keeping the gender a surprise has been a tradition in my family for years.  Most recently, my brother and sister waited to find out the sex of their babies (which both turned out to be boys)
Michelle:  I love surprises and thought this would be the best one ever!  Unlike a Christmas present I wouldn't be able to sneak a look!
Vanda: I am the mother of 3 kids, Madeline (6), Jonah (5) and James (22 months).  The gender of the first 2 was a surprise for my husband and me, as we chose not to find out.  However, we did decided to find out for our third pregnancy. 

Was that what you always wanted to do or was that something you and hubby decided? 
Lindsay: I always thought I'd want to know right away but we both decided it would be fun to wait.
Whitney: I've always planned on saving the big reveal for the day of birth, and my husband just went along with my plan (but he was less into the idea as the baby grew!).
Michelle: Both my husband and I always felt it would be a lovely surprise!
Vanda: Even before we were married, when talking about having kids, Paul and I had talked about not finding the gender of our kids.  It was definitely something we both agreed about and when I was finally pregnant the decision not to find out was not hard at all.  
Vanda:  Even before we were married, when talking about having kids, Paul and I had talked about not finding the gender of our kids.  It was definitely something we both agreed about and when I was finally pregnant the decision not to find out was not hard at all.

Michelle with her baby Kiwi
How often were you tempted to find out? 
Lindsay: The only time it was a bit hard was when we went to the ultrasound. We kind of second guessed our decision for a moment but ultimately  decided to keep with the plan.
Whitney: As I got closer to the 35-week mark, when I had my baby shower, I definitely got more and more curious as to the sex each time I was in my doctor's office.  But I never considered just having the doctor tell me.
Michelle: No! Easy and exciting! Not many people believed us that we didn't know while we were pregnant!
Vanda:  We were never tempted to find out for babies #1 and #2.  And I can honestly say that it was a decision that worked for our family.

Was it a hard decision? 
Lindsay: Not really, it felt fun and different to do it that way. 
Michelle: Never tempted! Not even with number 3 pregnancy!  
Vanda: We actually rather enjoyed not knowing.  It was mysterious and fun not knowing and we felt it was pretty special to have a little baby growing inside me and not know   until the moment he or she entered the world.

Who would cave in to finding out the sex first you or hubby? 
Lindsay: Me!! Luckily my husband has strong will!
Whitney: My husband would have ABSOLUTELY found out the gender if I wasn't a big, round (hee hee) roadblock during this entire journey.
Michelle: Neither of us!! Both on the same page with this one thank goodness!
Vanda:  When baby #3 came around we were planning some home remodeling projects, including getting furniture and painting the kids’ rooms and I caved.

Whitney with hubby at baby shower
What have your friends and family said about your decision ? 
Lindsay: Most friends and family were frustrated with our decision on because they said it would be "hard to know what to buy" 
Whitney: Most complaints about our decision to not find out have come from friends who want to get us something very unique and personal for the baby.  Their intentions are so sweet and genuine, but some of my girlfriends can get downright feisty!  It was always funny to tell a friend for the first time that we weren't finding out the sex, and then listen to that friend complain about how that was a really selfish idea (always said with a smile, though)
Michelle: They have been happy and supportive in our decision if not somewhat surprised at our ability not to find out early!
Vanda:  it was mostly positive.  Most of our immediate family also did not find out gender during their pregnancies, and a few of the extended family didn’t know either.  So we weren’t exactly breaking the mold.  However, so many others couldn’t believe we didn’t know and weren’t going to find out.  The top 2 comments we heard were 1) “I just couldn’t not know! or 2) “but how will you know what to buy?”  I always understood comment #1, as even I couldn’t believe that with the option to find out, we actually didn’t want to, but comment #2 was usually the one that got to me.  Those who said it would give me this puzzled look.  For me it was simple.  One blue outfit and one pink outfit for the hospital and the rest would come later.  Anyhow, we always knew that we would try for more than 1 child so I never planned to buy pink everything or blue everything.  The major stuff such as car seats, strollers, playpens, etc., and especially the nursery, would be used for all babies in our home so it would be gender neutral

What have been the challenges in not knowing the sex?
Lindsay: I don't know if there really were any real challenges. I felt comfortable with a neutral theme for all of the baby gear and decor. The BIG pro was all of the anticipation.
Michelle: No challenges! Only tiny challenge was convincing people we didn't know the sex! The pros were that all our new born baby gear was neutral colors as well as the nursery! So all baby gear could be used for any other new editions to the family!

Did you ever have second thoughts about not knowing the sex?
After letting the technician know our decision was to not know the sex, we felt really strongly about not wanting to know.

Michelle: Never had second thoughts! Wanted a healthy baby! Happy with either flavor!

Vanda and Family
Did you guess right on what the sex was? And have other peoples opinions on what they thought you were having have an impact on you your thoughts of the sex? 
Lindsay: YES! Other peoples opinions really had a way of swaying my thoughts, but only because it seemed almost everyone thought it would be a girl. I was SO wrong but I got what I wanted, the surprise of a lifetime!!
Whitney: My husband is sure its a boy, but aren't they always?  The feedback I've received from complete strangers, as well as friends and family, is that I'm carrying as if its a boy. So I think that has probably shaped my opinion a bit, as I, too, am leaning more towards boy at this point.  But in the beginning, I was thinking girl, probably only to counter my husband's strong boy-push, so we'd be prepared either way.
Michelle: 3 times I thought I was having a girl and 3 times I had a boy! Each pregnancy was very different!
I wish I'd kept a list of who thought I was having which sex as some people were so convincing! Others opinions didn't influence my thoughts!
Vanda: I was convinced that Madeline would be a boy.  Paul came from a family of 4 boys and his brother had 3 boys.  In my mind I was destined to be a mom to boys.  Then I heard “It’s a girl!!!”  It was an amazing moment.  One I will never forget.  When it came to Jonah I didn’t prefer one gender over another although a small part of me thought it might be a girl.  Again, I was wrong (hahah!) and I heard “it’s a boy!!!” It was fun to have family, friends and even complete strangers guessing based on how you looked or felt.  Everybody had an opinion!  For baby #1, a family acquaintance was convinced that we were having a boy based on her “ring on a string” test.  According to her, she had “never been wrong.”  And so our family and friends waited to find out, just like we did!

If you have another child will you find out the sex?
Whitney: I think if we're lucky enough to have another child, we probably WILL find out.  We'll have enough going on with our first child, and more surprises may not be what we need!  And that way, we'll get to experience both versions of pregnancy -- the complete mystery, and the planners paradise.

How was it different knowing then not knowing? 
Lindsay: As glad as I was to wait to find out the first time, I definitely knew I wanted to know the second time around. When you when you wait to find out, it feels like you're finally able get to meet the baby you've been wondering about for 9 months and it's just an incredible surprise. Knowing the sex the second time around was thrilling because you get to really prepare, mentally, emotionally and materialistically.
Vanda:  I do wish we had not found out for baby #3. I regretted that decision almost immediately after finding out.  In that one moment in the ultrasound room, as happy as it was, the mystery was gone.  With so much being instant in this world, 9 months is not eternity and that wonderful feeling that I had experienced while pregnant with Madeline and Jonah of not knowing and the anticipation of the birth to find out, was gone.  Of course, it didn’t make that moment any less special.  James was born and our family of 5 was complete.

Was it just as big of a surprise? 
Lindsay: I was definitely more surprised with the first time, but knowing is EVERY bit as wonderful :)

** Whitney has gone on to have a healthy beautiful baby boy!