Is it Worth the Wait? Solving The Debate on When to Find Out Baby’s Sex

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“Are you going to find out what you’re having?” There isn’t any scientific evidence but I’m confidant this is the second most asked question a pregnant women gets when she announces she’s expecting. The first question is, “When are you due?” Due date, however, is assigned. You have no say in when that baby is coming. Deciding on whether to find out the baby’s sex prior to delivery is your first major decision as a mom.

When I got pregnant with my third child I knew that I had to pick a side: to wait or not to wait. I had two boys whose genders were revealed through ultrasounds at 20-weeks. For my third, and final, pregnancy I had to choose if I wanted to be a “Finder” or a “Waiter.”

Finders like to know as soon as possible. Finders are planners, doers. Tell me what I’m having so I can be overly prepared. Waiters are on the quest to experience the most magical surprise in the world. A mom that waited will swear up and down and all around her uterus that waiting is the way to go. “There are no surprises in life!” a mother who waited will quip. Waiters frown at Finders and try to convince them there is nothing more exciting than when the baby arrives and the sex is finally revealed.

Was it really more special to wait?

Had I completely missed out on “one of life’s great surprises” by finding out via ultrasound? I decided to settle the debate myself. I would wait it out. Was it worth the wait?

Anxious doesn’t begin to describe how I felt with my first children having to wait until the halfway point to find out if I was having a boy or girl. I spent 20-weeks entering in my conception, menstruation, and birth date into Chinese predictor calendars; I dangled necklaces over my belly to see if they twirled or whirled; I read everything imaginable about what could possibly be growing inside of me. Waiting 20-weeks was hard enough and the thought of waiting 40-weeks was ridiculous.

During my third pregnancy I decided early on that I wouldn’t find out and didn’t think twice about it. I saved so much time and sanity trying to predict something that couldn’t be foretold no matter what the Chinese calendar prophesied. Once my mind was made up it gave me the freedom to not think about it the rest of the pregnancy.

Choosing to wait came with a weird side effect.

I couldn’t quite wrap my head around this baby. I had a deep connection with all three of my babies when they were in the womb. I relished every movement and little kick. Nevertheless, not finding out my third child’s sex meant I lacked a bond that I had felt during my previous pregnancies.

During my third “mystery” pregnancy I realized I was carrying a child I knew little about. I couldn’t refer to the child by name. I couldn’t talk to my boys about a brother or sister; their sibling became an impersonal “baby” or “it.”

Forming a deeper bond isn’t something I hear mothers talk about when they debate waiting verses finding out. Yet I felt a greater bond during my first pregnancies upon learning each time I was carrying a boy. Finding out I was having a boy meant I could start bonding with my son immediately. I began forming a relationship with him before he had even entered the world.

This baby inside of me was a complete enigma.

How could I start to form a relationship with a daughter if I wasn’t having a girl? I couldn’t form a true bond with something that may or may not exist

Forty weeks came and went and if I’m being honest I spent the last five days on the Internet entering my age into Chinese gender predictor charts. I went into that delivery room eager to meet my new son or daughter.  Was I more excited to deliver this mystery child? No, I was just as excited with my first two even knowing what was to come. Knowing that I would find out the sex didn’t make me push better or make labor less painful. Childbirth was equally as emotional for me being a Waiter as it had been as a Finder.

Every mother should freely and gloriously choose when to experience the big reveal of her child’s sex. I love that Finders and Waiters always become exasperated when they come face to face with a mother of the opposite choice. Most declare, “I could never do that!” And nor should she. As for me, was it worth the wait? My daughter was worth the wait; I just wish I had found out sooner.

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10 Comments

  • For me not finding out the gender during pregnancy was a decision I’ll never regret. I got gender neutral clothes as gifts (and drove family members crazy 😉 ).
    But for me it was like having a greater bond with my baby, trying to interpret her personality through kicks and hiccups made me focus on her more as a unique individual rather than as a boy or girl.
    Also the surprise was wonderful at the end.

  • We didn’t find out with ours (2 boys), and I loved it for 2 reasons: 1. If we had found out, we wouldn’t have shared that info, so I could honestly tell all the nosy people that we had no idea, and they couldn’t try to get it out of me, or interpret every comment I made to “figure it out.” 2. I felt like it was a special secret, in some way, and it also helped build up the positive anticipation for delivery. Thank G-d, my deliveries were fine, and no, I’m not going to pretend that finding out baby’s gender was even on my mind or in any way eased labor, but when all was said and done, it was like one more present (baby + knowing). Does that sound weird?

    All this being said, I have no problem with people finding out, and would never attempt to convince anyone that one way is better, I just know that for myself, I like the surprise. (Besides, our spiritual advisor recommended it with our first.)

  • I was a waiter for the first and will be a finder for the second! Best of both worlds! Mostly because my husband informed me he would need to know/prepare if he was going to be living in a house with 3 ladies! Lol.

  • I was a waiter for my first and only this year but it definitely was not the norm, because the nurses totally forgot to tell me the gender right away. There was a 10 min delay in him being given to me so I had to ask. It was a bit disappointing because after the fact I realized I was really looking forward to that announcement from the doctor. However the principle reason for being a waiter was to only receive gender neutral clothes as gifts. I really didn’t want only pink dress or blue truck clothes.

  • I’m pregnant with baby #3 & my first two were “surprises” and this one will be too. I’ve always been very prepared and bonded to my babies without knowing the gender. Also Daddy started calling this little one Nugget very early on and now that’s what the entire family calls him or her. It’s all personal preference in my opinion.

  • My pregnancy was a surprise in of itself followed by what I’m assuming was prenatal depression. Maybe I was a horrible mom, but it wasn’t until I found out his sex that I was actually excited about the pregnancy. I hated calling him ‘it’ and liked being able to decide names. I’m glad others are able to connect better, but the ceremony and having something palpable helped me accept my change of plans. It took me a while to connect after his birth too, but now I love him despite everything. He’s my little buddy.

  • Seriously, grateful for Mary’s comment above. I have no idea what sex my baby is, nor do I intend to find out, and feel a wonderfully connected bond to this little being

  • I was a waiter for my first and only (so far). My husband and I both wanted to wait, and like you said, it was easy once we made up our minds to do so. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I loved all the people guessing what they thought. I loved the moment at delivery when my husband got to tell the room what we had. I loved the family cheering when we told them we had a girl.

    That said, I also felt disconnected from the baby before she was born. I don’t know if that would be different for me if I knew the gender since I’m not cut that way. But at eight months we’ve more than made up for not having that pre-birth bond and I can’t imagine life without her.

  • I agree with the previous comment. I felt bonded to the child I knew I was having. How could I not feel bonded to a beautiful baby that was growing in me? That sounds all hippie like haha, but true. I think your whole viewpoint really hammers home every stereotype on the subject. I’m a planner but didn’t want to find out. I just planned and bought gender neutral things. I talked to my 2 year old son about the baby all the time, he was excited to have a sibling and didn’t seem bothered by not knowing. I also think women should find out if they want to, or not. But you make it sound like mothers who wait don’t form bonds and that seems so odd to me.

  • I felt deeply connected to my baby before he was born and I didn’t know the sex. I think it’s kind of sad that you need to be able to have a name and gender assign to get connected to something growing inside of you

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