I remember clearly the day in 1996 when I took my very first pregnancy test. I had been married for 11 months, and my husband and I had decided to go off the pill just weeks before. I never expected to see that line, but it was clear: I was pregnant.
I was thrilled and terrified in the same breath. There were so many things that I thought my husband and I would discuss and plan while we tried to conceive, but here I was…pregnant already. One of the first discussions that came up after we figured out the typical logistical dilemmas (the baby was due on Christmas Eve?) was the topic of finding out the baby’s sex.
The question of whether or not to find out the baby’s sex was not an important issue for me. But it was of utmost importance for my husband, who believed that we must keep the baby’s sex a surprise until the delivery day.
I figured that I could as easily wait until the baby’s birth to find out if it was a boy or a girl. It would be a surprise at either time. I went along with my husband’s desire to wait….without complaint.
It wasn’t until my family and friends found out that I was pregnant that I discovered the problem with waiting to find out the baby’s sex. Although my husband and I were just fine waiting, nobody else was. It drove my family crazy that we didn’t know (this was the first grandchild on either side of the family). Our friends looked at me with shock when they asked, “What are you having?”
When I answered that we were keeping the baby’s sex a surprise, they were dumbfounded. “How can you NOT find out? How can you plan for the baby? What about shopping? What are you going to buy? How are you going to bond with the baby if you don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl?”
People gave me a hard time. I couldn’t understand why anybody else but my husband and I would care.
I decided to ignore the jests and strange looks and stick with our family’s decision to wait until the birth to find out the sex, not only with our first pregnancy, but with all five of my pregnancies. Although what we did was not the norm for our generation, once I heard the doctor announce “It’s a girl!” and immediately hand me my brand new daughter, all questions in my mind were eased. There was nothing quite like that moment, meeting my newborn child for the first time. Excitement, wonder, and the overwhelming feeling of knowing this new soul flooded my senses. There was no lack of bonding. There was no lack of preparation. There was only abundance. Blessings and joy beyond what I could have imagined.
I’m sure I would have felt that same thrill had I decided to take a peek at one of my ultrasounds in a subsequent pregnancy. Honestly, I have no problem with all of my friends and family members who do find out the sex at 20 weeks. But that small decision to wait turned a first pregnancy trial into something I couldn’t wait to repeat.
When did you find out the sex of your baby?
Becoming pregnant changed my life, and I’d love to hear more about your best or most difficult pregnancy moments. By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an all expenses paid trip to a conference on mothers hosted by the UN Foundation in DC (Jan/Feb 2012), an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs September 19 to October 16, 2011. A random winner will be announced by October 18, 2011.