My experience of people’s responses upon finding out that we’re having a baby is similar to Dan’s.

From the overwhelmed to the underwhelmed to the one friend who (although she didn’t) would have been justified saying ‘I knew you were!’ because, demonstrating some kind of sixth sense, she’d randomly asked me if my wife was pregnant the day before we did the pregnancy test.

However, following a variety of initial reactions, nearly everyone I’ve told has gone on to ask, ‘so, boy or girl…are you going to find out?’

Apparently, this issue divides the British population to a similar extent that the EU question does. In our staff room at work it provoked a passionate debate. Dan was asked by one friend if he was going to do the ‘right’ thing. It appears what I thought was a fairly minor personal choice might be a genuine moral and ethical debate.

So, like any good History and RE teacher, I’m approaching the question in the only way I know how; by considering both sides of the argument. On the one hand, the Surprise camp make a strong case for the joy of the unknown, while on the other hand team Find Out give compelling reasons for being prepared…

Reasons to find out the sex of our baby

  1. Knowing helps you prepare. Two of our friends are about to become parents and have invested in an undeniably cute blazer and flat cap for their forthcoming baby boy. Others have told us that they loved being able to choose clothes/design nurseries/select prams based on knowing whether their baby was a boy or girl. Of course you can go for neutral colours and designs, but a lot of more individual clothes and products are geared towards one or the other.
  1. Knowing helps you connect with your unborn baby. Some mums I’ve spoken to have said they loved being able to talk about ‘him’ or ‘her’, and finding out has meant they feel like they know the person growing inside them a bit better.

Reasons to keep the sex of our baby a surprise

  1. There aren’t many surprises nowadays. 500 years ago English people had an enchanted view of the world; many things were not fully understood and remained mysterious and not understood. In many people’s eyes, that is no longer the case. We understand many scientific processes that we once didn’t, which has led to less room for surprise or mystery. This is one of those few moments to enjoy the sense of unknown.
  1. The birth date is even more exciting. Because you don’t know, a sense of anticipation about the gender question grows and you can keep guessing. (In fact, other people will also keep guessing. Including friends and colleagues who ‘just have a strange feeling’ that it’s a boy or girl. Inevitably, at least one will be proved right and claim ‘I knew it!’ as if they’d predicted something with far less likely odds than flipping a coin and getting heads.) Joking aside though, a number of parents have told us that the joy they experienced upon discovering they had a little boy or girl was wonderful.

Should we find out the sex of our baby?

I still don’t know if we’ll find out or not. We might follow in the footsteps of two friends who left themselves about 30 seconds to spare, making the decision once they’d reached the waiting area for their 20 week scan.

Either way, the whole question is a nice reminder that there are some things we can’t control. Maybe it’s a boy, maybe it’s a girl. But whatever, that’s what they’ll be regardless of any wishing, willing or strange intuitions. And that’s quite a liberating feeling.

Author Joe

History teacher in Exeter. Enjoy something resembling golf, having retired from amateur football by 27, and performing with Exeter Musical Society.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Rebecca Baxter says:

    Another reason for finding out, which sadly did become a reality for us.
    We didn’t want such a joyful hugely exciting moment to be lost in the blur of giving birth.
    Some women will have a beautiful calm birth where they feel fully aware and conscious enough to delight in finding out at the birth. But sadly we knew there is so much unknown with birth and you can’t be sure that will be the case.
    For us; amidst a frantic siren blaring, numerous professionals rushing in, being ‘high’ on copious amounts of gas&air and sadly a sudden haemorrhage straight after birth this did not make for the magical moment of finding out/processing/revelling in the news of what gender we had. It would’ve been totally lost; and I’m SO thankful we already knew long before and I could just focus on my baby is safe and I will be too soon.
    I pray you make the right choice for you and whenever you find out the moment will be precious for you both.

    • Joe says:

      Wow, thanks Becky. I’m really glad your choice helped you get through that moment. Also, I’ve got increasingly massive respect for what you and other women go through in giving birth!

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