I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby. I had suspicions that I could be pregnant. The anxiety was killing me. I woke up at 5am on a Sunday morning because I couldn’t sleep any longer, and took the test. It didn’t take long for the two pink lines to reveal my destiny in that little window, like one’s fortune in a Magic 8 ball.
Those two lines hit me hard. I became a huge ball of excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, and terror all in one.
One thing I knew for sure though; I did not want my doctors to reveal whether I was carrying a boy or girl. That is until he or she was born. No gender reveal for me, thanks!
There were two reasons I did not want a gender reveal before giving birth. The biggest reason was that I really wanted to be surprised once my baby was born. There are so few pleasant surprises in life. I really wanted to hang in until the very end with this one.
The second reason was that, if I was going to receive gifts, I preferred that they be gender neutral. I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with pink if I was having a girl, or loads of trucks and dinosaurs if I was having a boy. Not that the color pink, or trucks, or dinosaurs aren’t cute. They’re adorable. But, I wanted to feel like I could reuse everything I was gifted if I were to have a second child of the opposite sex.
Everyone asked me during that pregnancy if it bothered me that I did not know if I was having a boy or girl. Strangely enough, the answer was always no.
I was actually more anxious to know what the rest of my pregnant friends were having. Not once did I feel the urge to know. My 20-week ultrasound came around and the doctor asked me if I still preferred not to know. I did not flinch as I confirmed that I did not want a gender reveal.
I think it drove some of my extended family a little crazy not knowing. My mother, I believe, was chomping at the bit to buy something dipped in pink or doused in blue. But I kept us all in the dark and green and yellow reigned supreme.
When the time came, my little boy was born and it was one of the greatest surprises of my life. The feeling of elation when my husband told me was only comparable to few other emotions I’d felt in my life. I was incredibly grateful I had opted not to know his gender for all that time.
Time flew by quickly after that. My son became a toddler. While I was open to the idea of a second child, my husband was a bit more reluctant. I decided if my husband wasn’t all in with the idea of baby number two, that I could accept that we would have just one child. With thoughts of a second baby on the back burner, we moved into a house with only two bedrooms.
Life has a way, however, of eventually giving you everything you need, whether you know you need it or not. I found out I was pregnant again when my son was two and a half years old.
This time, my husband and I decided we wanted to know if we were having a boy or a girl.
I figured if my baby were a girl, having a few girly articles of clothing and other items would be nice. After all, everything else I had for a newborn was largely yellow or green or covered with ducks and zoo animals.
We also wanted to be prepared to think about whether we would have to create another bedroom for another child in the future. My husband and I felt we’d rather know that sooner rather than later as we prepared for our second baby’s arrival.
I went to my 20-week ultrasound myself (my husband was saving his days off for when the baby was born). During the scan, my doctor offered to write down the sex of my baby on a card and tuck it in an envelope I could open at home with my little family.
I let my son help me open the envelope later that day, with my husband present. It was actually a pretty anticlimactic gender reveal. We found out we were having a girl.
I’m really not sure why, but I wasn’t hit with the rush of emotion I’d been hit with when I found out at birth that my first was a boy.
Up until then, I’d been so sure I was having another boy. I’d even dreamed I was having a boy. But here I was, staring at a piece of paper that said I was having a girl.
I don’t think I was disappointed about having a girl. A little afraid, maybe, having gotten used to the idea of having only boys. However, the gender reveal also felt awkward. Like I’d ruined a surprise party I was hosting.
So, I decided to invite some friends over and have a pink/red themed dessert to announce we were having a girl. I thought maybe if I threw a small gender reveal party and gave my friends a chance to guess the sex of my baby before telling them that it would give me that excited feeling I was looking for.
That small party I threw was fun, no doubt. However, it wasn’t the same as not knowing until my baby was born.
For some people, knowing ahead of time is great. I understand that some people are planners. They have their visions of what they want their nurseries to look like based on whether they are having a boy or girl, what color car seat they want to install in their car, and want the perfect non-neutral outfit for newborn professional photographs.