I loved being pregnant. I had a few weeks of nausea, but rarely actually became sick. I am prone to headaches, yet while pregnant they were practically nonexistent. Despite my attempt to gain as much weight as possible, I was never chastised for being too far ahead of the curve. My blood pressure stayed below or right around normal. I did eventually have swelling, but it wasn't until the very end. And although I was incredibly large and at times uncomfortable, I don't recall losing too much sleep (aside from bathroom trips). I am so very thankful that my pregnancy was a healthy and uneventful one, and I can only hope that any future pregnancies would result in the same.
But aside from physically and emotionally adapting well to pregnancy, I loved being pregnant because of the anticipation and excitement it holds, especially for a new mommy. It's a blessed adventure to embark upon - a gift from God. And in addition to the natural anticipation that comes with expecting your first child, we thought we'd add just a little more by taking the road less travelled - by opting to not learn of our baby's gender prior to his arrival into the world.
I can hear the gasps now - the I could never do thats, I wish I coulds, and there's no ways with the occasional we thought about its and we did it that way toos. In all reality, it was an incredibly tough decision. Knowing is so much simpler. It allows you to plan and prepare with specifics. And when you're having a new baby, especially for the first time, you want to be as prepared as possible. I get that, I do.
We had gone back and forth prior to the appointment - my husband opting for being surprised and me straddling the fence. We'd mentioned it to our families and friends, who all thought finding out was a must. How can you even begin to shop and prepare without knowing? Because there just isn't much to choose from in the neutral department. We did have one family testimony where they did not find out their baby's gender for any of their three children and loved it.
We actually made the final decision in the doctor's office during the ultrasound. As exciting as it was to find out the gender of our baby at that very moment, we decided that it would be even more exciting and special to wait. And since I was on the fence and he was sold, I finally said okay. The deal, however, was that the decision was made at that moment and at no point during the remainder of the pregnancy would we re-discuss finding out - meaning, at each appointment we were not going to consider asking what it says in my chart.
It was a complete blast, not knowing. And anytime I have the opportunity to share my story with other mommys-to-be, I do so in hopes that they'll consider taking the road less travelled too. Because it really is an awesome experience.
So, in hopes of giving you something to think about the next time you find yourself or someone you know trying to decide which path to take, here are my top five reasons why expecting parents should consider being surprised.
1. The items you receive will actually be more useful. Say what? I thought the whole point of knowing was to be better prepared? Well, yes and no. In all reality, when you know if you're having a little boy or a little girl, family and friends want to buy precious new baby all of the cutest clothes and accessories - blue everything and pink everything. From bedding and toiletries to clothing and pacifiers, it all comes in adorable blue and pink. Neutral things simply aren't as abundant and not nearly as appealing to shoppers. So, what you end up with are the necessities - diapers, wipes, toiletries, and breast feeding supplies (if that's your plan). We did not have to buy diapers for at least six months, wipes even later than that, and it was well after a year that we purchased our first baby lotion and shampoo. We received clothing, certainly, but with less to choose from, it was easier for those wanting to give us a gift to purchase the practical.
2. You can reuse the neutral. This really goes along with the first. Not only will you receive more of what you need, but what you do receive will be reusable - either for your next child or for a friend. And I'm not only thinking of clothing here, I'm also talking about the "baby hardware" - the bedding, the crib, the bouncer, the swing, the pack 'n play, the stroller, the car seat, the towels and blankets. These are all things that you can tailor to boy or girl, yet if you opt to be surprised, will be reusable when baby number two comes along or your family member or friend is expecting and in need of such things.
3. Eliminate the worry of a doctor's mistake. I realize with technology today, it almost seems impossible to misjudge the gender, but I've heard on more than one occasion where the doctor was mistaken. Sometimes, I think that's just God's way of reminding us that He's in control. I've also known expecting mothers who, although were told the gender of their baby at five months, continued to worry until the day he or she was born - having put so much preparation into what they were expecting and knowing full well the chance existed that baby boy was really baby girl or vice versa.
4. It's unique and fun. Seems overly simple, I know, but the truth is, not knowing is actually fun. I loved when people would ask me if I knew what I was having. I would say no, and they'd look at me a little strangely trying to decide just how far along I was. I'd enjoy breaking the awkwardness by responding with we chose to be surprised. Then, the conversation would go into I think it's a boy or I think it's a girl and you just don't hear of that anymore, that's so exciting - good for you. I guess I personally like to stand apart from the crowd a bit, and this was by far a perfect way to do it. And once our family realized that we really didn't know and just weren't not telling them, they were on board as well. Just tonight, while talking about this very thing, my mother-in-law commented how fun it was and that she wouldn't want us to do it any other way going forward.
5. Fosters more bonding as a family. I truly believe this. I know that the experience of expecting our first baby was an incredible opportunity to bond as a family and we did, but I also know that sharing in the heightened anticipation and excitement of whether little baby was a girl or a boy drew us closer together too. We became closer as husband and wife, as parents to be, and even as an extended family. It was constantly being discussed and debated - each and every one sharing their opinions and thoughts. And knowing full well that God knew and that He was in control even helped bring us closer to Him.
I'd love to hear if you chose to be surprised at the ultrasound or in the delivery room!