Monday, August 19, 2013

Purposeful Parenting: to find out or to not find out - the million dollar question!

photo credit
If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know we didn't find out Bug's gender until she was born. Should God bless us with another biological child, we plan to not find out again. There are many reasons one could give for finding out or not finding out, and ultimately, it's totally up to you. Here are some of the reasons (the good and the not-so-good) we've heard for both!

You really want to know the gender because...
  • You have other children who may desire one gender over another, and you really don't want to spend the first days post-partum dealing with children not excited over their new sibling because s/he isn't what they wanted.
  • You want to buy all blue or all pink clothes, strollers, bedding, etc. (but may I point out that should you have another child in the future, you may have to then re-buy all these things unless you're cool with a baby boy lounging in a pink stroller and car seat?).
  • You're facing pressure from your family to find out.
  • You want to have a fun gender reveal party.
  • Your child's wardrobe will be primarily filled with garage sale finds and at the time of their birth, the season will not be conducive to garage saling (we were able to find several gender neutral clothing items for Bug, but I was very grateful when we started garage saling just seven weeks after she was born to fill out 3 - 6 months size and beyond).
You don't really want to know the gender because...
  • It's a surprise if you find out at the ultrasound or in the delivery room, but it's super special to hear your newborn's cry and, "It's a girl!" or, "It's a boy!" at the same time.
  • If you were really hoping for a boy or really hoping for a girl and you find out during your pregnancy, you may have a harder time coming to terms with the gender of your baby. If you wait to find out at delivery, I promise you won't care what gender your baby is when you hear your baby's cry and see his/her little face.
  • You don't want a lot of blue or pink stuff.
  • You feel not knowing will help you push in the delivery room and withstand the pain and work of labor.
  • No matter how accurate ultra sounds are nowadays, there are still mistakes, so what's the point in painting a room blue or pink and decking it out with that color if you have a surprise of the other gender?
  • You think it's funny, in a very sick but real way, that it annoys people who think they should know the gender of your baby and you didn't find out so everyone will just have to wait and see. But you're rather sure it's probably a boy or a girl. You're at least hoping it's human (when people ask you what you're having, it is so much fun to say these things!) (well probably not for them, but for me, it totally was).
There is certainly no right or wrong answer here. You should definitely do what's best for you. I think you can tell by the fact that we have more "not to find out" reasons than "to find out" reasons, we are huge supporters of not finding out.

The joy we had in not finding out was that I really didn't want a lot of blue or pink stuff. And even though I was a bit bombarded by pink things once Bug arrived, she had plenty of green, yellow and orange things. And she had some blue things I had picked up at garage sales that I felt could pass for either gender. One of my favorite sleepers of hers was a striped blue sleeper. It was clearly meant for a boy, but she rocked that sleeper like nobody's business. I never would have found and bought that if I'd only been looking in girl clothing bins at garage sales.

I knew not knowing the gender would help withstand pregnancy, labor and delivery. Even though I never got the chance to push (sob!), I'm pretty sure the excitement of finally finding out helped me withstand 27 (!!!!!!) hours of labor.

All back labor.

Very strong contractions.

Labor is a joy, truly. It really is. I would totally do it again.

As long as I can have a home birth.

With candles and singing kumbaya.

I think I really am a hippie deep down inside somewhere. I think my parents would be proud (they eloped in Vegas on New Year's eve.... and my dad has an afro in his wedding pic).

I'll be honest - in the beginning of my pregnancy when no one even knew I was pregnant (besides me, Jason, my parents, his parents, the doctor, everyone we told in Petoskey while we were on vacation because we didn't really know any of those people so we knew we could do that and no one back home would really know... you get the idea), I wanted one gender slightly more than the other. I definitely had good reasons, but private ones so too bad for you - I'm not sharing them here. But as the pregnancy progressed, I really, truly didn't care either way. I was just so excited to finally meet this little person growing inside me. I wanted to hear his/her little cry. It was an incredible moment when Bug was raised in the air, and the doctor said, "It's a girl!" I knew either way, whatever gender it was, I would cry.

And I did.

Only a little.

I was too, "Jason, you better not let her out of your sight, so help me, God. Do not let them give her any vaccines, sugar water, a pacifier. You better make sure they follow our after-care plan. You go with her. Go."

I was then left by myself for quite a long time, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I digress. I'm a bit passionate about birthing and babies, if you can't tell! Anyway back to the gender issue - when Jason called my mom to tell her the baby was here and it was a girl, she really thought Jason was joking. Ever since my bump had become, well, a bump, she was convinced I was carrying a boy. I was carrying very low, and she was just convinced that meant it was a boy. But secretly, she wanted a girl. She really could not believe Bug was a girl when Jason told her. It was honestly hilarious in the moment. When we talked the next day at the hospital, she told me she was extra glad I didn't find out because if we had found out it was a girl ahead of me, she said she wouldn't have believed it anyway - that's how convinced she was I was carrying a boy. So it was a fun surprise all around for her. That was fun for us to be able to surprise her in that way.

Finding out the gender before birth isn't really a serious issue, but it's certainly fun to talk about. No matter what you choose to do, stand strong in your decision. This is one of your first decisions as a parent, and standing firm now will help you to stand firm later in the big decisions.

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