Dear Father Hood: should we find out the baby’s sex?
If your little one has been born, I’m going to give you the all clear to peek inside the nappy and discover the baby’s sex. If he or she hasn’t, I’m going to plant my backside firmly on the fence and tell you that the only people who can make this decision are you and your partner. So far, so really rather unhelpful, but let me attempt to make up for my opening gambit by sharing the arguments my wife presented for finding out the sex and the counter arguments I offered for keeping it secret.
My wife’s argument as to why we should find out the baby’s sex
- You can find out…
…so why wouldn’t you find out? At first glance, this point seems rather straightforward. But after being on the receiving end of it 20 or 30 times you begin to realise that this simplicity makes it really, really difficult to argue against. Unless, of course, you just keep saying, ‘But why would you?’. Which I definitely didn’t resort to. Okay, so I might have done it once. Or twice. Or…
- It makes planning easier
Most couples who find out cite this as the reason for their decision. “When we knew it was a boy, we were able to paint the nursery blue and stick his name down for a Chelsea season ticket.” “When we discovered it was a girl, we were able to start purchasing pink sleepsuits.” Etc. Etc.
- It helps you choose a name
If you don’t want to find out, but are naturally lazy this could be the hurdle that trips you up. After all, why struggle through two sets of long lists, short lists and final lists of names when you can struggle through one?
- It allows you to begin the bonding process early
The theory behind this contention is that the moment you discover you’re having a boy or a girl is the moment you begin to form a stronger emotional connection with the baby. If you’re organised enough to have chosen a name you could also begin ‘prepping’ the kid for its arrival.
My case for keeping it secret
- It’s more romantic
If you like your arguments to be packed with facts, then this is not the ammunition for you. Primarily because it involves wittering on about mystery, excitement, intrigue and Gone With The Wind.
- It’s one of the only surprises left in the modern world
At first glance this appears to be almost identical to point No.1. But while there are some overlaps, this is less of a tug at the heartstrings and more of a lament about the in your face nature of the 21st Century. Quick tip: don’t use the fact Sky Sports sends you push notifications about Premier League goals as the crux of your case. Comparing our unborn baby to a football match didn’t go down too well, and most people know that you can turn off push notifications.
- It may make bonding more difficult
If we got to the birth without finding out the sex, I knew that I’d adore whatever cried its way into the world. But I also knew that deep down I wanted our first child to be a boy. Thus I was genuinely worried about experiencing a level of pre-delivery deflation if I discovered my wife was carrying a girl.
- What if I start to bond and something happens?
This line of reasoning saw me claim that I didn’t want to get to know my little chicken in case it didn’t hatch. My wife told me this was utterly irrational and everyone else who I spoke to agreed. But irrational or not, it was how I felt. So it could be how you feel too.
Romance or pragmatism?
So, there you have it. Those are the cases my wife and I put forward and, in the end, we decided not to find out the baby’s sex before it arrived (FYI, the romance point won her over). Now, it’s your turn and, as I said at the start, the only people who can make the decision are you and your partner. So talk through your feelings and agree how you want to proceed.
If you choose to stay in the dark, get ready for your heart rate to go through the roof when the doctor smiles and says: “It’s a…”. And if you decide to find out, get the ultrasound sonographer to write the information in an envelope rather than telling you there and then. Why? Simple. Opening an envelope to reveal the sex of your child when you’re both dressed to impress in a fancy restaurant is a tad more romantic than finding out in a small, dark hospital room.
Until next time…