real life

It's the biggest decision of pregnancy. How do you make it?

Should you or shouldn’t you? It’s one pregnancy’s big question.

This week the man who wrote Atonement, Ian McEwan, came out and said that finding out the sex of your baby is a form of “moral kitsch”. Now, we’re not even sure what that is, but we don’t think he meant it in a good way.

What we do know is that it’s a very personal decision. So here we go – food for thought from both ‘sides’ of the great gender reveal debate.

Don’t find out, it spoils the fun – by Holly Wainwright

Why do we have to remove all the mystery from the most incredible thing that will ever happen to you?

Why do we have to be in control of everything all the time?

And why does it matter what sex your babies are?

Those are my three main arguments for not knowing what flavour baby you’re carrying until they arrive.

"When I thought the ultrasound technician had let slip a "he" during an appointment, I was furious."

Of course, I'm happy for everyone to have whatever kind of pregnancy and birth they want, and to make what decisions they feel happy with when it comes to their unborn baby, but personally, I loved not going what sex my two kids were when they were in my belly.

Because it didn't matter. It didn't matter at all.

Some people (hi, Mum), didn't understand that one little bit. "How can you resist?", "But don't you want to get prepared?", "Don't you want to choose a name?"

None of those things matter. I was happy to wait (obsessive about it, in fact, when I thought the ultrasound technician had let slip a "he" during an appointment, I was furious. I was also wrong) for a surprise. I love surprises. Don't like knowing what present I'm getting, love nothing more than my other half organising a night out for us that I have no clue about, HATE stumbling across a spoiler for my favourite TV shows.

I'm not a pink and blue type of parent, so I didn't want to rush out and colour-code the nursery. I don't believe in excessive gender stereotyping (or at least, I didn't until I actually had kids, and they kicked my arse with their own pink and blue tendencies) so I didn't want to to start all that assumption about personality until I'd met them.

And choosing a name? We had one of each. Not that tricky.

But the most hilarious thing about not finding out? I realised that my maternal intuition was bogus. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my secret hunch was that I was having a boy. When I was pregnant with my son, I thought I was having a girl. Ha!

But the best bit was when those babies were born. I'd always wanted one of those "It's a boy! It's a girl" moments, and that's what I got. It made for a wonderful, yes, surprise, at the end of a long and fricking painful journey. I was soooo surprised when my daughter arrived that I actually pulled myself up straight, smacked my partner's hand out of the way and said, "a girl? GET OUT!"

It's one of my very favourite memories.

Find out - it helps you bond - by Jo Abi.

I don't understand why everyone doesn't want to find out the sex of their baby.  Whenever I ask anyone why they don't want to find out they say something like, "I want it to be a surprise". In my mind, childbirth is 'surprising' enough. Finding out the sex of my baby didn't ruin anything at all.

When I fell pregnant I already had two stepsons so there was a bit of pressure on me to have a girl. "It would be so nice if it was a girl," they would say over and over again. I felt defensive of my child straight away. If it was going to be a boy I would be so extremely happy. So I wanted to find out in order to break the news to all those who made it seem as though they'd be disappointed by a boy.

"When I found out I was pregnant with a son I was thrilled. 20 weeks in and I was already bonding with my child."

When I found out I was pregnant with a son I was thrilled and decided to name him Philip. Twenty weeks in and I was already bonding with my child. I used to say good morning to him, I'd talk to him, I'd buy little cups with his name on them. It was so much fun. When he arrived, I felt like we already knew each other well.

When I fell pregnant the second time I knew I'd find out the sex as soon as I could because I so enjoyed the closeness I'd experienced with Philip. I found out I was having a boy, I named him Giovanni and our conversations began until he was placed in my arms.

Falling pregnant a third time by accident was a huge shock but again, I knew I'd find out. The pressure on me to have a girl was enormous but I would have been happy with either another son (three brothers!) or a daughter. I found out I was having a girl. I named her Caterina and happily chatted to her until I met her for the first time.

Finding out the gender of your child is a personal choice and not one I think we should hassle each other about. If you do want to find out the sex, don't let anyone talk you out of it. For me, finding out the sex of my children helped me to bond with them and removed some of the surreal feelings surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. It helped me to prepare for what was ahead and better imagine what life would be like.

Did you find out the gender of your baby before the birth?

Like this? Try:

My wife is crying over having a fourth daughter. What do I tell her?

When the big baby sex reveal goes horribly wrong.

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