Tuesday, May 14, 2013

To wait or not to wait.

Waiting to find out if you are having a boy or a girl until the day of delivery is something I think is gaining in popularity.  I feel like technology gave us a big push towards immediate gratification in all aspects of life in the last decade (or 3?), and that trend is slowly ebbing as people realize there is joy in having a to wait for something from time to time.  I think the gender reveal has followed suit...much like forcing yourself to wait until Christmas morning to open a present, there's a lot of fun in the anticipation of a surprise. That being said, I think finding out the gender of your baby early is not always about being patient or impatient.

We found out what we were having at the second trimester ultrasound for our first 2 children.  For the third, we decided to wait until the delivery day.  I don't like saying "we wanted it to be a surprise" because that's not an accurate statement....it's still a surprise, no matter when you find out, instead I'll say, "we wanted to wait for the surprise."  An even more accurate statement would be, "my husband wanted to wait for the surprise."  Don't get me wrong, I was on board.  I was kinda curious if it would make a difference.  I mean, most people I talked to that had waited until the delivery day said it was an amazing experience, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  I also didn't for one second want to be disappointed about the gender of this baby. Also, I knew if I found out we were having a girl with a lot of time to spare before her arrival, I would spend WAY more money than necessary on a nursery and clothes. So we waited for our surprise, and here is my honest-to-God opinion: If you are going to wait for the surprise, do it for the first child or don't do it at all.   

Allow me to elaborate...

First: there is a huge urge to nest when you are pregnant, and when you don't know if you are having a boy or a girl, especially the second or third time around, your nesting capabilities are limited.  You can't purge boy clothes or girl clothes, your preparations are limited, so you find other outlets.  We cleaned out our kitchen cabinets, garage, office and bedrooms.  I mean, all that energy has to go somewhere, and honestly all that stuff needed to get done, but what REALLY needed to get done was shipping off and consigning 5 years of boy clothes and purchasing a few girl clothes.  Stuff that ended up getting done in the wee hours of the morning between feeding sessions because I needed to get it done while Thing 1 and Thing 2 were sleeping and not running through my piles of clothes.

Second: Gender neutral baby items. If you wait to find out the gender of your first child, you end up purchasing and receiving all gender neutral baby items.  This is what we should all do as parents, especially with big ticket items like pack-n-plays and car seats anyway, but we don't. We try to, but who wants to put their little princess in anything other than the pink sparkly bouncy seat?? Anyway, all this gender neutral loot is perfect to reuse for subsequent children regardless of gender.  If you find out the gender early for your first child and not the second or third, there is a good chance your daughter will wear dinosaur pajamas for the first three months of her life.

Third:  Waiting may make it harder for some moms to bond with their baby.  It is a well kept secret that many mothers don't bond right away with their babies.  I know, I know, you're all shocked, but it's the truth, and here's the kicker...for many moms, that amount of time increases with each child.  So if it's possibly going to take longer to fall in love with your second or third child, why give yourself an the added deficit of not knowing what you are having and being able to visualize and mentally prepare for that baby? On the other hand, most parents really do fall in love quite quickly with their first child (because there is nothing else to do other than stare at them 24/7).  Plus you don't know what to expect or have anything to compare it to on your first go-round, so if the bonding process takes slightly longer than average because you waited to find out the gender, you're none-the-wiser.

Forth:  It was somewhat overrated.  This is my personal opinion but one that I know a few other people share.  For many people the surprise is worth the wait, that just wasn't the case for me.  I was going to be surprised no matter when I found out, and frankly finding out anything after 20 hours of hard labor is a little anti-climactic. I know some women say the unknown helps motivate them through the hard moments of labor, but I personally wasn't any more or less motivated that when we did know the gender.

At the end of the day, waiting or not waiting is a deeply personal decision, and there's not a right or wrong answer.  I've just shared my point of view because, I think it's important for people to see that it's not about being patient or impatient, there are pros and cons to waiting.  It's about doing what's right for your family and enjoying the journey! :)

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