Motherhood

Would You Find Out the Sex of Your Baby?

Would You Find Out the Sex of Your Baby?

When pregnant with her first child, my friend Anne found out her baby’s sex — but her husband chose NOT to. How fascinating is that? Here’s their funny story…


My husband loves surprises. But I hate them. Plus, it was my first pregnancy, and there was so much change in my body and so much uncertainty that I needed a concrete piece of information to hold onto.

Initially we were like, we can’t one know and one not! But then, we thought, I’m a really good secret keeper; what if there’s a way to make this work? We decided that the way to do it was not to tell anyone that I knew the sex — even my mom. When people asked us, we just said, no no no, and waved it off. I didn’t want any opportunities for cracking!

We both went to the doctor’s appointment, around 17 weeks. My husband left the room and waited in the reception area. The doctor told me the sex in the most monotone way possible (she’s not very excitable). Thrilled, I took a moment to compose myself before I walked out. Then I joined my husband, we scheduled the next appointment… and we never spoke of it again.

We had to discuss names for both a girl or a boy. We always had a frontrunner boy’s name (Benny), but the girl’s name was a much more in-depth discussion. We had a lot of back and forth, it was hashed out! I was still really into it.

What made it work is that we were very respectful of each other’s choice the whole time. He never pushed me to spill the beans; I never teased him. So we were able to clip along enjoying the anticipation in our own way.

There were times, when I was alone, that I’d talk out loud to the baby. It was special, the only people who knew his sex — and name — were me and him. It was our thing.

When the baby was born, the doctor held him up and said, ‘It’s a….’ And my husband was like, ‘It’s a boy!’ I was just lying there in amazement. We both got everything we wanted out of it, it was incredible.


Would (or did) you find out? With our first child, we found out it was a boy, and for our second baby, we kept it a surprise. Anne is doing the same thing! She’s due with her second in May:)

P.S. 13 old wives’ tales to reveal if you’re having a boy or girl — and how do you know if you’re ready to have a baby?

(Top photo by Bri Heiligenthal/Instagram.)

  1. I had to, HAD TO find out. We will never forget the technician asking if we wanted to know, and then the most monotone voice saying, “It is boy.” My friends and family were convinced it was a girl because I vomited multiple times daily (even on the day I gave birth). But no, my little guy did that to me.
    btw Can we take a moment to address this sex-reveal-party phenomenon? Some genius marketer really ran with that and it happen! I had actually never really heard of it until a friend sent me a photo of an Owl cake cut open with pink and blue icing oozing out of it it. It was horrifying. Like a cartoon owl had been brutally murdered and was being served a la Tom Petty ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’ video. I replied “OMG GROSS what is this?!” to which she replied, “I thought it would be super cute for your gender reveal party.” Whoops!

    • Jessica says...

      Nora, I’ve had lots of thoughts on these comments, but yours is the first I HAD to reply to.
      I TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT THE GENDER REVEAL PARTIES! It seems to be the new thing, and my brother & sis-in-law did it with their 2nd ( I was wrong, predicted boy, oh well). I think there are classy ways to do it and there are dumb ways to do it, but either way, its up to you. Its just totally not my cup of tea. But then again when it’s my turn, I don’t want to find out the gender ahead of time and I DEFINITELY don’t want other people to know!

  2. Heather says...

    We didn’t find out with the first. It was so fun. Strangers were weirdly disappointed but they loved telling me what they thought (everyone thought I was carrying like I was having a boy). A coworker of my husbands did a “gypsy ring test” where she tied a ring around a hair and read how the ring swayed. She predicted girl . When I finally gave birth, it felt like forever to hear what the sex of the baby was. My husband was so flustered, he yelled out, “It’s a cone-head! Oh, and girl!” I still tease him about it.

  3. Abby says...

    I found out with both of my kids. Two boys, brothers – it was fun. I don’t buy into the “ruin the surprise” theory. To me, you find out the “surprise” at 20 weeks or 40 weeks. It’s not like it changes…

  4. My husband and I tried doing the same thing, because he wanted to be surprised and I just wanted to know right away. We ended up asking the ultrasound technician to write and seal a card with the gender written inside and I asked one of my baker friends to bake a small and simple reveal cake the same day. We cut the cake with family and found out together. My husband got his short feeling of a surprise and I was happy to find out the gender the same day. It was a simple, but exciting way to find out the gender of our first baby!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so sweet, fariha!!! my friends had another fun idea: they had the doctor write down the sex of the baby, and they went to dinner and opened it together. it was intimate and lovely — more so than the average doctor’s office :)

  5. Laurel says...

    We didn’t find out the sex of either of our sons. It was very important to my husband to wait; it was kind of his thing to hold on to during the pregnancy. It was also his moment to shine during the birth by announcing the sex. He was so proud in those moments that I am happy we waited. Plus when do we really get a surprise like that in life?

  6. Thank you for using correct terms in this post! You find out the sex, not the gender in an ultrasound. Wanted to remind the commenters too. Sex and gender are not the same, a baby doesn’t come out having a gender.

    I didn’t care that much about finding out, my husband really wanted to. So we both did. I didn’t think I had any preference, but when the tech said it was a boy, I was quite surprised to find I was disappointed it wasn’t a girl! Got over that pretty quick. We had sorta talked about keeping the sex a secret because we didn’t want all the pink (or whatever) but once I knew it was a boy, I was happy to tell people, since I wasn’t so worried about annoyingly gendered stuff for boys. If I ever have a girl, I probably will keep it secret though, I still don’t want all the pink.

  7. Bethany says...

    So I went through pregnancy and delivery as an American in Italy and was taken a bit off guard by the difference in the whole lack of surprise element here. With my first child 3 years ago, we decided not to find out the gender, but it was a really big deal to everyone that we didn’t. I took a prenatal class and I think I was the only one that decided to wait to know the gender. And then everyone also expects to know the name you have chosen, which to me felt like sacrilege to even ask!! Complete strangers ask you who you are expecting and expect you to share the name and all. My Italian husband didn’t think twice about telling people but it took me awhile to get used to it. So I think all our Italian friends knew the names we had chosen, but everyone in America had to wait to be surprised.
    Now we are expecting our second in about 10 days, and we had planned to keep the gender a surprise as well, but during our second ultrasound, the dr, who had promised to keep it a secret, ended up writing ‘femmina’ on the computer screen and my husband saw it and I, unlike the author above, didn’t want to be kept in the dark if my husband knew. Plus there’s no way he could have kept it to himself!!! So I wasn’t thrilled about how it happened, but I’m happy to know my 3 year old girl is getting a little sister.
    However, I think I will miss that element of curiosity and surprise in the delivery room…it was something to focus on for sure. But on the other hand it’s been nice being able to feel maybe a bit more attached to who is developing inside of me.
    (Sorry for the book!!!)

  8. Daniela says...

    I’m 17 weeks into my 2nd pregnancy. My husband wanted to know the sex of our first so I caved for him. We had the tech write it down and we opened the envelope when we were alone over dinner. This time around it’s my turn so we aren’t finding out.

    However, I had the worst experience with the ultrasound tech and doctor at my ultrasound. I was VERY clear with both that I absolutely did not want to know the sex. The doctor must’ve asked me at least 10 times if I was sure. How many different ways can you say, YES” ?! While showing me the heart, stomach, and whatnot, he actually said, “Are you sure you don’t want to know? Because I just showed you on the screen. If you were looking you could see it.” I was so angry I couldn’t speak. Now I’m reading into that word, “it”. Am I having another boy? I feel like he ruined my fun surprise.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how infuriating, daniela! i’m so sorry to hear that! (i think “it” could go either way, but how maddening to not be respected in that very personal way!)

    • Dominique says...

      You should get a different doctor. If that person does not respect your choice about finding out the gender, they will not respect your choices during labor and delivery.

  9. I would want to know. I think it would be nice to just be certain, you know? x

  10. Meghan says...

    We have 2 boys and we didn’t find out with either. We had nicknames for them while I was pregnant; Cubby (which stuck and we still call him after almost 4 years!) and Puffin. I loved not knowing. I still felt a strong connection. I still spoke to them using their ‘names’. The best moments of my life was when they were born and put on my chest and my husband telling me, “It’s a boy,” each time. I love that we shared that moment together. I love that he was the one to tell me. It made it that much more special for us.

  11. Jon says...

    My wife and I were both on the fence about it… and so after much discussion we decided that I would find out and keep it a secret from her!

    A close friend of ours is an ultrasound technician and I was given a sealed envelope with the “photographic evidence”. My wife loved the anticipation of finding out, and I absolutely loved having a little secret between the baby and I. I realized that having that little tidbit of information helped me as a soon-to-be dad feel that much closer to the baby.

    My wife got the excitement of feeling every kick and murmur, and I got the joy of knowing deep down that it was a little boy that I was talking to!

  12. CSel says...

    Perfect timing on this post! I was set to hear back today from my doctor on blood work that would reveal baby’s sex and waffling back and forth on my original decision not to find out. Reading these posts reminded me of why it’s such a joy to leave that surprise for the delivery room. The doctor called midway through reading and I opted to wait! Here’s to the next six months of mystery and getting to know this little life inside!

  13. Jamie says...

    Let’s take it a step further. My friend is exploring what it means to raise your child gender-neutral. At first I thought it was a bit extreme, but then she likened gender to sugar-—some people eat way too much of it; some eat a moderate amount; some nix it from their diet altogether. I realized I occupy that middle ground: I recognize my toddler as a boy but cringe when gendered toys/clothes/roles are forced upon him. Why blue? Why trucks? Where do these associations originate? Why do they persist? Here’s my friend’s blog, Raising Zoomer, where you can learn more about her experience: http://www.raisingzoomer.com/article/2016/1/3/an-introduction

    • Lizzy says...

      With all due respect, truly, I feel that this child is almost a social experience for those parents. Yes, gender is a construct of society but…that child lives in society! I think it’s possible to raise a child who feels free to be themselves without taking it to this extreme. I really feel like this is unfair to that child.

    • Char says...

      I don’t think that parents have to buy into all of the social and cultural expectations of gender and gender expression, but I do think we have to consider that some of what can be viewed as cis-conditioning or gender-typing is actually just hard-wired into us; to ignore this is just as ridiculous as enforcing rigid gender roles onto kids. I think as parents we have the responsibility to allow our kids to lead the way in terms of their gender identity and expression, and I think this means providing them with the opportunity to “try on” both genders, and allowing them/ encouraging them to pursue whatever interests them, regardless if it’s gender neutral or gender norm.

  14. Kendra says...

    We aren’t decided on whether we will have kids or not, but we have discussed where we stand on many things if it were to happen (like midwife/birth center, names we prefer, cloth diapering, extended breast feeding, etc.) and the most important to me is that I don’t want to know beforehand! It doesn’t matter what the sex is and I think it is such a beautiful way to build a bond with your child that is totally unbiased and unaffected by societal standards of gender. It is something special that my husband and I could share the moment they would be born. Thankfully, he totally agrees. My grandmothers were a little horrified I would wait to find out (because with technology, why wouldn’t you?!!) and that I would not have a baby shower prior to birth. I have always been firm in wanting to have one after they were already born, bring food, have beer, BBQ and get to see and hold a new baby.
    Although we are undecided on kids, it is comforting to know we are on the same page with so many things and that we would have a general plan if the time ever comes!

  15. Darina says...

    Love all these stories!! We waited to find out the sex of our now almost 8 month old daughter (first baby!) Everyone kept saying it was a boy, and I didn’t really have any feelings one way or another, though I leaned for some reason toward it being a girl. It was easier than I thought it would be, we didn’t care about making a girly room, made it gender neutral and left room for some feminine pieces just in case :) And my mom bought a couple cute little girly outfits just in case. I had a really rough L&D with an induction that lasted 50 hours from start to when she was finally born. While there were technically no major complications, after about 30+ hours of crazy contractions that weren’t making a ton of real progress, I asked for an epidural to get some rest so I can keep going, but due to some weird fluke with the location of my scoliosis (which we didn’t realize until later into the process), the epidural didn’t work, in fact they inserted it 7 times by 5 different anesthesiologists and only the first one worked for about an hour, then nothing. So I ended up having to get a c-section, under general anesthesia (bc the epi didn’t work). I was so nervous and we asked them to bring in an ultrasound machine so maybe we could find out the sex of the baby before bc we wanted to be together to find out and with me completely under and my husband not in the room, that would be tricky. They tried, and our baby’s legs were crossed, so she was being shy and we couldn’t find out. The doctors and nurses came up with a great plan- once she was out, they put a diaper on her and gave her to my husband while they closed me up. He had her for an hour and did skin to skin, and both our moms got to see the baby who has feet identical to my husband’s and was a big baby (9lbs 1oz…2 weeks late!) so they were convinced it was a boy. Then when I was in recovery, everyone left the room and my husband and I took off her diaper and…GIRL!! I was so out of it from all the drugs, but we were so surprised. I LOVE having a little girl and it’s wild now thinking that it was a girl all along. I’m so glad we waited to find out! It really made for an extra special birth story that I’m sure she will love hearing one day. Now her closet is full of girly little outfits :)

  16. Fem says...

    My pregnancy was quite terrible, with loads of complications, health issues for me and a prenatal depression. So we did found out the gender as soon as we could, because I needed everything that was available to make the baby more real in my mind so that I could make it through.

    Our healthy baby girl was born a little prematurely and is now 9 weeks and thriving. As am I.

    I’m never getting pregnant again, so if we ever want a second child (I don’t think so), it will probably be through foster care, so the process and finding out the gender would be very different.

  17. MBH says...

    I have also always been convinced that if I were to find out the gender at an ultrasound I’d be in the small percentage where they were wrong and I’d have my mind/house prepped for one gender and out would pop the other gender (because that DOES happen)! I’d rather know when it’s 100000% and baby is in my arms

  18. Kelsey says...

    Hi Joanna! I’m 34 weeks pregnant now and my husband and I chose to not know the sex of our first baby. We’d actually not planned on this and had ridiculous names picked out for the in-utero time, Hildegard or Boromir, depending. But then, as it was time to find out, we balked! We decided we liked this period of fantasy too much to let go of it. As our baby has grown bigger and stronger in my belly, I’ve truly appreciated not being able to assign stereotypical gender norms to the kicks or post-meal movements. It seems like there will be years enough ahead for that to happen to our child, sometimes by us and sometimes by the world around us. So, we’ve been calling our baby Beauregard, because it’s the accidentally perfect mash-up of the ridiculous names we picked out last summer. ☺️

  19. Sil says...

    I know a woman who didn’t want to find out but her mother did want so that she could buy some clothes and stuff. It turns out that the mother told everyone that she was having a granddaughter. Nobody talked to the pregnant woman about the sex of the baby BUT gave her girly presents.

  20. Kerry says...

    As a gift, my sister and brother-in-law asked the doc to write down their baby’s name and seal it up in an envelope, which they then gave to me. So for several months, my niece Rowan and I had a sweet little secret.

    And then I blew it, just days before my sister delivered. Referred to “the baby” as “she.” DAMMIT.

    Luckily, my sister and bro-in-law thought it was funny. I think.

  21. Carly says...

    I’m pregnant with my second, and at the 13 week ultrasound the doctor asked if I was going to find out. I said yes, I’d like to find out at some point when it’s possible to tell the sex. He then said that as far as he can tell, he thinks it’s a boy. I wanted to find out, but not at that moment!! I was thrilled because finding out any new piece of info about your baby is wonderful, but I also was a little disappointed because my husband wasn’t at that appointment. We are finding out more definitively at the 18-20 week mark- together!

  22. Tanya P. says...

    We didn’t find out for either of our kids. I knew our first was a boy, I just did and I knew his name, and I was right. I was unsure with our second, but was hoping for a girl and we had no boy names picked out. He was also a boy and in a whirlwind decided on the perfect name.

    There are so few real surprises left in the world, this one has been really valuable to us. And boy or girl, either is a wonderful surprise!

  23. Bethany says...

    When I was younger, I always thought I would want the sex of my baby to be a surprise, but then when I actually became pregnant, I wanted to know. I thought for sure that I was having a boy, and so when the tech said it was a girl, I got all the surprise I needed. So much for “mother’s intuition”!

    • Tanith says...

      My husband and I have decided that finding out in an ultrasound is just as surprising as finding out in the delivery room! Honestly, what’s the difference, right? =)

  24. MBH says...

    We didn’t find out with either of my kids, and I loved not knowing–the speculation is fun. And I know people say “I’m too much of a planner to not find out” and I literally am the most plannery planner I know and it worked out not knowing! We planned for a BABY. I was happy with a neutral room, and we had all of the essentials we needed ( I would never have bought a pink or blue stroller anyway since I wanted it to last through a few kids).
    However, if I ever had another kid and decided to find out for some reason, I’d definitely ask the technician to put it in an envelope so I could open it with my husband at a more intimate moment. I have had friends whose technician threw the gender in mid-conversation and it bummed them out – I’d rather have a fun buildup and more memorable moment.
    As it was, my husband was the one to tell me each birth ‘it’s a boy!’ and it was sooo fun for him!

  25. Capucine says...

    We didn’t pursue finding out because it felt like an utterly unimportant detail at the time. That seems odd now, but it really felt like an afterthought. Nobody told us the gender after our first birth, for that matter, and we didn’t think to ask until twenty minutes later. Giving our baby a name felt like an afterthought too, a trivial detail that the hospital wouldn’t let us leave without doing – made no sense to me at the time. Of course, now that seems bizarre, but pregnancy and birth was a paralell universe where the constructs of gender and naming had no place for me, apparently, at odds with the drifting dreamtime I walked in through the whole of it.

    I had many miscarriages, and perhaps something happened there, distilled for me into the preciousness of life itself at the essence – gender and names and hair color all a secondary layer after the important thing, which was: life. I just held and held that living life in my arms and had no space for any thoughts, overwhelmed by just the first fact alone, which was that there was life.

    Now I think of it, probably the way I experienced birth has played a role in shaping my stance on how people self-identify in the world; secondary to the miracle that is their life.

    • Suzie says...

      This is really beautifully written, Capucine!

    • Katie says...

      This made me cry Capucine; it was so thoughtfully and beautifully written. I am so glad that you got to hold your healthy children (whatever their sex and name!) after such a traumatic time.

  26. Eve says...

    I will not find out. My mom has worked a lot with young pregnant moms and once told me that when things go terribly wrong, having known the sex can make the mourning worse because you’ve unavoidably dreamt up this whole life for the baby. I know firsthand a loss is hard either way, but that’s enough to make me want to wait. Plus it’s this weird tradition in my family to not find out, which I’m happy to be a part of.

  27. Erin says...

    We didn’t find out, but I would have bet our life savings it was a boy, I was SO sure.

    She’s 7 weeks old and I still can’t believe we have a girl :)

    • rach says...

      Haha yes! Same with my hubs and I! My daughter is 19mo old, and I’m in love. Honored to be raising a beautiful daughter. Enjoy your girly. <3

    • Jessica says...

      Same!! When I was pushing, my husband said, ‘he’s coming, he’s coming, he’s a girl!!’ We were shocked.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m loving these stories!!!!

  28. Theresa says...

    I’m a planner, so personally, it helped me to know the sex of our baby. I think my husband was fine either way. We did keep our chosen name a secret, didn’t even tell family. I’m glad we did. It was like our own special secret and when we’d text about her during my pregnancy, we would use her initials and it would make us smile.

  29. Laura says...

    I don’t yet have any children of my own but I have attended the births of hundreds of babies. I absolutely love when the parents don’t know ahead of time. I never announce the sex, but allow the parents to take a look for themselves. I truly feel it’s their right to get to know their baby at their own pace, not mine to force information upon them. It’s one of the many ways I try to keep the power balance in favor of the parents. Honestly, I have the baby in my hands for about 1 second before handing it over to the mom and often don’t get a chance to look anyway. What I find interesting is that given time, parents will often wait a few minutes to look. In the moment, with the excitement, relief, and awe that immediately follow birth, the sex of the baby becomes much less important and I think that’s beautiful.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really moving, laura.

    • Kathleen Anderson says...

      Love this! Thank you for sharing.

    • Sarah Beth says...

      Our midwife did the same thing! Due to a low-lying placenta, an unstable lie, and a VERY overdue baby, we had about 20 ultrasounds, so the secret was kept VERY well. But when our midwife held the baby up triumphantly, we realized that with all the swelling and the umbilical cord, we just weren’t quite 100% sure it was a girl. It was, of course, but you don’t want to get that wrong! We still laugh about how we waited all that time, and then in the big moment we needed a little help! After the stress of pregnancy and long induction, we were just so thrilled she was out and our confusion was a very happy, lighthearted moment.

    • MBH says...

      along these lines, I didn’t know the gender when I delivered and I think I was so happy the baby was out and healthy that any glimmer of sadness I had over not getting the other gender (my first I didn’t care, my second I had a bit of hope for a girl but got a second boy) was so short lived and went away quickly. When you’re looking at your new baby’s face you are just so happy to meet them, whoever they are!

    • I felt the same way! We obviously found out as soon as he was lifted out (I will always be grateful to my OB for letting my husband find out and announce the sex, even though we had an emergency C-section), but it wasn’t until the next day or even later that it sunk in that we had a boy. Weird. At first it was enough just that we had a healthy baby.

  30. Stephanie says...

    We waited until birth to find out the sex. Because my wife and I are lesbians, we already needed a moderate level of medical involvement (IUI and a sperm donor) in order to conceive, so we wanted to keep other aspects of the pregnancy as simple (old school?) as possible.

    • V says...

      I love this Stephanie. I am in a relationship with a woman too and we have talked about all the ways we could have children. Our favourite idea is to take turns carrying. Each would be pregnant with the other’s egg and the kids would be biologically related through the same sperm donor. Just out of curiosity, is this what you did?

  31. Amy says...

    My husband and I chose not to know until our daughter was born. There are so few surprises in life. However, if either one of us had a strong preference for a girl or boy, we may have decided to find out while I was pregnant. Knowing in advance can lessen disappointment and give you a chance to process the feelings that may come with having a baby that is not the sex you had hoped for. For example, a colleague has 4 boys and was hoping for a girl with their final pregnancy — nope, another boy! A funny story: I had a c-section and my ob/gyn had forgotten we did not know the sex. It took him about a full minute (what seemed like hours) of oohing over the baby, talking about how healthy she looked before he said, “oh, yeah, it’s a girl!”

  32. Melanie says...

    We decided to not find out the gender of our first child…we didn’t care, and though I’m a planner, I am anti-pink&blue. So I made sure I had enough newborn things and fortunately I really like the color green ;)
    I was fortunate to have hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law who recently had a boy and a girl, thus we had clothes for either gender.
    I loved the sense of surprise.
    However, for our second child, I wanted to find out mainly for practical reasons. I needed to know what to do with all the girl clothing – should I keep it for the second child, or donate it. I knew it would be too stressful and I simply wouldn’t have time after the 2nd baby arrived, so it really helped to plan. But we really didn’t do anything differently besides that. We kind of just forgot the gender, but were generally excited for a new baby, and it was the same type of awesome experience. I don’t think this was a conscious thing, but looking back, I feel thankful that we did not dwell on the gender. Even when we try not to, we have unconscious projections about what to expect with a baby boy or baby girl and it can sometimes limit both us and our children.
    One thing I was conscious of (and offended by) was when people asked if/when we would try for a son since we have 2 girls. Seriously?

  33. We wanted to know our babies’ genders ahead of time, and for all three, I had a secret instinct for each one that was confirmed by the ultrasound!! That was special for me. And my husband and I had big discussions about names for our babies, so it was helpful to focus the discussion on one gender.
    My sister, a labor-and-delivery nurse, did totally freak me out by telling me that a family in their practice had been told they were having a boy from the ultrasound and then when the baby was born, it was wrong and they had a GIRL. That would have been such emotional whiplash for me – not to say what to do with all that gender-specific stuff that people love to get. . .

  34. Beth says...

    We did not find out the gender with our first two boys. It was a special experience that I don’t regret. We were pretty positive that our second was a boy because of some “thing” we saw in the ultrasound and we were right. We found out with our third son because we wanted to be able to tell the boys if they were having a brother or a sister and because we thought it would be fun to switch it up and experience knowing. It was a very different experience knowing the gender and I felt very connected to him throughout the pregnancy. So did the boys. He was born very prematurely at 26 weeks and we lost him after 10 days in the NICU. I hold onto the memories of being pregnant with him and secretly calling him by his name. Finding out he was a boy when we did made it feel like we had him longer and I’m forever grateful for that time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so lovely, beth. he sounds like a wonderful little boy. i’m so sorry for your loss. what was his name, if you don’t mind sharing?

    • Beth says...

      Hi name was William but we called him Will and his brothers still call him Baby Will. Thank you for asking his name, it always feels nice to still have a reason to say it or write it.

    • Sarah K says...

      Beth, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing a little of the story of Baby Will. I also lost a baby boy, stillborn at 26 weeks. His name was Simon. Because we found out at our 20-week ultrasound that he would likely die, the experience of finding out the sex of a baby is forever changed to a horrific memory for me. But like you, I am so glad we knew he was a boy and had named him so we could talk to him by name in the time we had with him. Much love to you and your whole family–and may I also say that I think it is lovely that your other children talk about him. My older children do, too, and I sometimes have to force myself to let them because it is hard to go there in my mind in the middle of a normal day when I need to be functioning–but it means so much to me that the kids remember him, and include him when they list our family members. These babies are part of us forever, though we only got to hold them briefly.

  35. Liz says...

    We did IVF because I have a genetic condition, so we knew the genders of all of our “normal” embryos. We chose to put in 1 girl and 1 boy (since we only had 1 transfer covered by insurance) and both stuck and we now have twins!

    We wouldn’t tell anyone the genders until my baby shower, it was nice to have a secret.

    • Breck says...

      I definitely want to find out, but not telling other people until the shower sounds like a great way to avoid some of the external gendering that goes on. Great idea!

  36. Kathleen Anderson says...

    What a fun arrangement that couple had! I have an 11 month old son and we didn’t find out for a number of very personal reasons. Superficially, I don’t care for baby blue or pink and prefer the neutral colors. I’m the female half of boy-girl twins and really resented all of the pink that was shoved at me, less from my parents and more so from the rest of society. Which leads me to the bigger reasons why I didn’t want to find out. Gender is a social construct and finding out the sex of a baby doesn’t really tell us anything about his/her temperament, preferences, personality, etc. but we automatically and subconsciously start assigning traits to them (even the idea of a “gender reveal” is misleading: you’re revealing the sex). It’s inevitable, of course, for us to begin assigning gendered norms (and colors and toys) onto our children and I am in no way trying to raise a gender-neutral child, but I wanted to hold off on those projections for as long as possible. I used to nanny a child who now identifies as transgender and so I’m additionally sensitive to this. Finally, as someone who runs a little anxious, I knew that the minute I found out the gender I would be flooded with all of these fantasies (and fears) about raising a son or a daughter, fantasies that – again – don’t necessarily have anything to do with the child growing inside of me. I already struggle with staying present and so maintaining the mystery helped me stay centered on the pregnancy and preparing for this new life.

    • Kathleen Anderson says...

      Please note that, when he came around the curtain (I had a scheduled c-section due to breech presentation), my husband and I were so overwhelmed that we both yelled “those are balls, right? It’s a boy?!”. While funny, it was not quite the reveal we had expected.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahah, love that!

    • Stephanie says...

      These are my thoughts exactly. Eloquently put!

    • Jami-Lin says...

      Really appreciate this, Kathleen! I have my anatomy scan coming up in one month and have gone back and forth about “knowing”. I have many gender non-conforming and transgender friends and am also acutely aware of these issues. I was worried about other people treating me differently based on baby’s gender (if announced) and buying gendered junk I don’t want so we had thought about finding out the sex but not telling anyone. But you make a really good point about the tendency to launch into fantasies about raising a son vs. daughter while carrying. You may have actually convinced me not to find out! :)

  37. I don’t think I could ever totally keep if from my husband, but kudos to Anne for making it work! I love that they wanted opposite things and were both able to get what they wanted.

    With both of our kids, we chose not to find out. It was a fun surprise to add to the ultimate surprise of meeting your new family member after delivery.

    A friend of mine lost her baby when he was three months old and though they had been surprised with both him and his older brother, they decided to find out the sex after getting pregnant again. She told me that no amount of time with any of our kids is promised to us and that they wanted to find out as much as they could as soon as they could about any other babies joining their family. I thought that was beautiful. Maybe we’ll find out if we decide to have another.

  38. Amy says...

    Yes we did for both of our girls. My husband and I are so impatient, I could barely stand to wait the few months leading up for our ultrasounds! I wanted to think about names, decorating the room, etc. I wouldn’t change how we did that!

  39. Janell Ives says...

    My sister kept my nephew’s (her first) gender a secret. My mom and grandma were SO convinced it was going to be a girl that everyone in the family started believing it! Once he was born, everyone was thrilled and amazed! My mom and grandma, not so much… It made for a great laugh, except that my sister and bro-in-law hadn’t thought of any boy names! So they hashed it out in the hospital room. He went for nearly 3 days without a name before deciding upon the most regal name of all time: Remington Augustus. He’s my favorite (and only nephew) and I love him to pieces.

  40. Lo says...

    I will 100% NOT be finding out the gender – you’ve got to at least have some sort of excitement to look forward to when you’re pushing a human out of your vagina!

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

  41. Elizabeth says...

    We didn’t find out the gender of our baby until she was born. Our doctor said we were the only people in the practice who didn’t find our the gender. So when our daughter was born he forgot to announce the gender. I couldn’t see her yet so I had to ask “but what is it?” Which still sounds silly to me!

  42. Char says...

    We found out with both of our children. My opinion is that it’s a surprise whenever you find out, whether it’s mid-pregnancy or once baby is born! Also, my husband and I are both planners, so knowing baby’s sex helped us to feel more organized and prepared!

  43. Leslie says...

    I couldn’t wait to find out what I was having with my first pregnancy (and shopping, organizing, and decorating specifically for a girl calmed my nerves in a constructive way.) But if I have another I’d like to be surprised!

  44. Meg says...

    We did not.

    Made it very clear to the tech. Upon entering exam “hi. We do not want to know the sex” :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      technicians, nurses and doctors must become geniuses at not using gendered pronouns!

    • Meghan says...

      This is exactly what we did too :)

  45. Rebecca says...

    I did not find out. I guess I did not have the same feeling that the baby’s sex was necessarily a “concrete piece of information.” In any case, I didn’t want that information to dictate my decisions.

    I did have both boy and girl names picked out. But! Once the baby was born, we ended up giving him an altogether different – and gender neutral – name. It only just occurred to me that there might be a connection.

  46. Bethanne says...

    We have a boy and a girl, found out sex with both. I’m due with our third child in two days (!), and it is a surprise. We are ready for either!

  47. Elizabeth says...

    For both our children we decided to keep it a secret and I loved that! We have video from our family waiting in the lobby guessing what gender the baby was and who he or she would look like. My dad guessed a boy with red hair that would be 7lbs and 2ozs, everyone laughed and laughed, it was so sweet (neither my husband or I have red hair)! We had a little red-headed boy that was 7lbs 12 ozs. How close is that guess?!

    With our second we didn’t find out either but I assumed I was having a girl because this pregnancy had been so different from the first. As I was delivering my doctor said: “What a beautiful girl…its a boy!” I was so confused and kept trying to get my husband’s attention to tell me what the baby’s gender was! He was so overwhelmed with taking pictures he didn’t think to tell me. Turns out it was another boy, I guess my doctor guessed by looking at my son’s sweet face that he was a girl. Everyone does say he looks just like me. :)

  48. Brittany says...

    Before getting pregnant, I always said I wouldn’t find out. Then, I got pregnant and at eight weeks found out we were having twins. That news alone was a big enough surprise that both my husband and I instantaneously knew we would find out the genders. Had we not had twins, I think I would’ve tried to not find out and kept it a surprise. It’s so hard to say, though! I loved the ability to bond a bit more with them knowing it was a boy and a girl, and the names clicked for me instantly once I knew the genders.

  49. Kate says...

    My husband and I chose not to find out the sex of our first baby and it was the best surprise! I am pregnant again (due in exactly one week!) and we are waiting this time as well.

  50. Ivy says...

    I’m not pregnant, nor do I have any kids, but I already know that I absolutely don’t want to know the gender of any of my kids. Team Green! (As my friend says.) I have known too many people who once they find out the gender, they tell everyone the name and it just seems so impersonal to me. What if the baby comes out and they don’t look like that name? If your Aaron Robert looks less like an Aaron and more like a Roger, how do you explain why you backtracked? I mean you can, and I’m sure people would be more than understanding, but I’d rather come in with three names and see which one the kid looks like instead of determining their destiny beforehand. Maybe I’m the weird one!

    • Evie says...

      I like the way you think and your idea is how it worked out for us.
      We could not decide on a name for our son.
      We had 4 names in mind and when my son was born, 23 hours of labor and an urgent C-section later, I was a bit dazed and my son had meconium in his airways so he was whisked away to a station in the OR. We got to see him briefly but I didn’t get to hold him until 5 minutes after the delivery. During those 5 minutes, my husband paced back and forth from the baby station to me, saying things like: “He looks like a Sebastian, but hang on….” Then he’d come back and to say “He looks like an Everett, I am sure of it: He is an Everett”.
      And he was right, he is definitely an Everett. :) And I’m glad he is, because my youngest brother-in-law had said he’d call him “Sea-bass” if we named our son Sebastian.

    • Aline says...

      No, you’re not weird but some people seem pretty sure of their name-decision. My sister and her husband told us (close family only) the name they chose for their son a few weeks before his birth and we all felt weirdly connected to him before meeting him because of that. It was Christmas time and we spent a few days together and we talked a lot about him without saying “the baby”. It felt like we already knew him, it was nice. A few months later, when i was expecting my daughter, we decided to wait for her birth to announce her name… Exactly for the reason you gave, what if the only name we chose does fit?! But it fitted ?

  51. Anna Steiner says...

    I am currently pregnant with our first baby and we are not finding out the sex. We think it will be such a fun surprise! The funny thing to us is that all of our friends around our age (mid 20’s) think we are crazy and say they could never not find out but everyone older than us thinks it is so fun.

  52. Michelle says...

    My husband and I just found out we are having a girl YESTERDAY! We had my parents over and his parents viewing from skype. We popped a balloon, pink confetti flew everywhere and we celebrated with pain au chocolat (since the baby was made in Paris) and mimosas! We have it all on video including a nice little slow motion of the balloon exploding and our hilarious reactions. I’ve watched it 500 times and it’s the sweetest thing. This is our first so I think we both wanted to know to get our game faces ready. Perhaps the next baby will be a surprise!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how exciting, michelle! congratulations!

  53. jen says...

    All 5 were a surprise! The crazy thing is, I always have a gut feeling of what it is, and never got it wrong!

  54. I HATE surprises, and there are so many surprises in pregnancy and birth anyway, so it was an obvious answer for me. I found out all three times! It was also important for my husband and I because our first baby was a total (and honestly, at the time, unwelcome) surprise so I felt that finding out would help me bond with her. It didn’t help much, but I’m still glad I found out (BTW I did bond with her after she was born and tomorrow she turns five and she is literally the best thing that has ever happened to my life). With my second we considered not finding out for about 10 seconds, and then remembered that we hate surprises almost as much as we hate trying to agree on baby names, so we quickly decided we wanted to know. It turned out we didn’t need to decide because the second the ultrasound tech put the wand on my belly he showed us, in no uncertain terms, that he was a boy!

    This time around was a little different. I did the blood test for chromosomal anomalies, and with that comes the results of the sex of the baby. We decided a phone call was kind of a lame way to find out, and I always worry about the 20 week scan so the sex reveal takes my mind off of the concern a little bit. It was torture knowing that the doctor knew and I didn’t! I almost called the doctor several times to find out, and my husband was ok with me knowing as long as I didn’t tell him, but I felt guilty and I am the worst at keeping my own secrets, so I held out! I’m glad I did because this time I have some pretty serious complications and I did need the distraction (although the complications did overshadow the very excited news that we’re having a girl, just a little bit).

  55. Nora says...

    We found out both times. My husband’s take on it is, even if you know the gender, pick out a name and have a dozen ultrasounds, there is still a huge surprise when the baby is born and you first look into his or her eyes and begin to find out WHO your child is. That moment was so huge and awe-inspiring, I still get shivers. For me, adding a gender reveal to it wouldn’t have added anything. Meanwhile, I liked having a tiny piece of information ahead of time.

    However, we did NOT tell other people the gender or even let on that we knew. I didn’t want to get involved in name discussions (my mom and MIL had questionable boundaries about that kind of thing) and that made it easier to discuss in vague terms.

    My sister announced both gender and name ahead of time, and that was fine too – our mom had mellowed by then!

  56. Inge says...

    We did the same but opposite: I didn’t know but my husband did, from 13 weeks on (we took the NIPT-test). The doctor gave my husband a thumb up (girl) or thumb down (boy) when I looked away. My husband kept it a secret the whole pregnancy. Next time will be the same, I really want to be surprised.

    We did use this for fun: everyone visiting our house the last 4 months of pregnancy, had to fill in a small paper with date of birth, sex, weight, length and a name (we needed inspiration for a girls’ name). The one who had the sex right, birth date right (2 people) and closest in weight or length won a bottle of champagne or beer. We hung all the papers on the toilet wall during pregnancy :-) Of course we had a winner who didn’t drink alcohol, so we gave 4 cinema tickets instead. I kept all the papers in my child’s box with memories, so he can read all these guesses later.

    Idea for another topic related to this: what if your last child doesn’t have the sex you want? I have a boy and would love a girl next time. I admit that I would be a tiny bit disappointed not having a girl, but I know for sure already I don’t want a third child. So if it’s two boys, it will be that way. But I’d regret not having a daughter, I think. I struggle with that a little bit, although I would love a boy with all my heart also. But I would love to have the same bond with my daughter as I have with my mother (during pregnancy for example). It’s different with sons (not saying better or worse, just different).

    I know you don’t want a third child, Joanna, but do you never regret not having a girl?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your note, inge! and for your honest question. i actually love having two boys, and they are so, so, so sweet and chatty and wonderful, more than i ever expected. when i was pregnant with a boy the first time, i was a little disappointed to not be having a girl, but now that i’m so close to my boys, i don’t feel regret not having a girl at all. i hope that answers your question! i have to say, one thing that really surprised me was how different anton was from toby — that might seem obvious to say, but when we had a second boy, i was thinking that they’d be similar to raise, but they’re SO different. so that has been really exciting, too. thank you again, inge!

    • Meghan says...

      Totally agree, Joanna! My boys are completely different too :) I thought, “I have this totally figured out.” No way.

  57. MW says...

    Does the hyperlink to ‘anne’ work? It shows up as a reality fantasy league!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! that’s her company! :)

  58. We chose not to find out, both times. I always knew that I didn’t want to know, so the decision was easy. For many reasons, I was convinced my first was a boy – when my daughter was born, I was shocked. I loved that moment, and it was a big reason why we chose to do the same thing the second time (also a girl). What drove me crazy was everytime someone said, Oh, I could never do that, I’m too much of a planner, I would want to have the room done and clothes bought, etc. That insinuates that because we don’t know the sex of our child, we’re going to the bring the baby home, naked, nameless and with only a box to sleep in. Both girls were named as soon as they were born, came home to finished rooms (even though they slept in our room for the first couple months, anyway), and have an amazing family who came to the hospital with bags of girl’s clothing within hours of their births. I have zero regrets about waiting.

    • Myra says...

      I loved not knowing too . I also loved our midwives’ and nurses and doctors responses at the hospital. They were like ‘you don’t know, that’s so great!’ :) with our first I was convinced it was a girl (it was a boy) with our second I somewhat wished for a girl but convinced myself it was a boy and….it was a girl. I loved the surprise, truly.

      but yes some people thought we were kind of crazy too

  59. We have three and didn’t find out with any of them ahead of time. Although, I was fairly certain that my first was a boy (and he is) because the ultrasound made that fairly clear to me just by looking. I was hoping that my second was a boy, because…brothers! My husband has a sister and I have a brother, we both wanted our son to experience the brother/brother relationship. And our second is also a boy. We didn’t find out with our third either, even though we had two boys, and it drove people crazy that we didn’t find out. However because I was AMA, we did that genetic test and my doctor’s physician assistant called me to see if I wanted to know the sex, this was around 12 weeks. I have known my doctor and his assistant for over a decade, but I told her that we wanted it to be a surprise. Well, it was quite a surprise when my daughter was born! I was so happy that we had kept it that way, I was completely at peace with the notion of possibly having three boys, but I was also excited to experience a girl. When I went to my doctor for my post partum check up when my daughter was 6 weeks old, my doctor and his assistant confessed that they had both known all along that I was having a girl (because of the genetic test), and they said how difficult it had been to keep it a secret all those months! I loved that so much.

  60. Anne says...

    With our first, my husband and I found out the sex, but kept it a secret from everyone else (which wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be), so our friends and family had the big anticipation, which was fun–we felt it was best of both worlds. With our second we found out and told everyone, mostly because we wanted our older child to know and start to think of the baby as a tangible person.

  61. Libbynan says...

    Back in the olden days before ultrasound we had to rely on the “old wive’s tales” which are NOT reliable. I just knew my first was a boy and he was. With my second, my doctor said that the slow heartbeat meant it was a boy and I had dreamed twice that it was a boy and even dreamed his name. So I just knew again. They had to put me out at the last minute due to an emergency and as I was waking up, my dear MIL kept telling me that I had a beautiful baby girl and I kept saying “no” and going back to sleep. I hadn’t even picked a girl’s name. Back then you stayed in the hospital for three or four days and they finally told me I couldn’t leave until I named the baby. I just think it’s a lot more fun not to know. Frustrating, but fun.

  62. Kiley says...

    My fiancé and I are too impatient to wait! I think our first child we’ll definitely find out and then see how it goes from there!

  63. Kristin says...

    Regardless of whether you find out the sex, here’s another piece of unsolicited advice: have a name picked out! (If you don’t know the sex, come prepared with one boy name and one girl name). We knew we were having a girl but didn’t decide on a name, thinking we would wait to meet her in the hospital. But our little girl was rushed to the NICU shortly after birth, and with all of that stress (and my C-section recovery), we didn’t have time to talk about a name until right before we left the hospital. She was “Baby (Last Name)” for her whole NICU stay, which drove me nuts because we have a last name that is also a male first name, and the doctors kept calling her a boy!

  64. We found out the first two times, but the third time around we wanted to be surprised, especially because we already had a boy and girl and thought a tie breaker was just a great time to be surprised….unfortunately, the ultrasound tech was not helpful. She knew we didn’t want to find out, yet she didn’t give enough warning so my husband saw the screen just when she was checking, and then she used a pronoun. I am still frustrated about her looking back, it was just not ideal and I didn’t feel she was doing a great job checking out the baby either (not that I’m a tech…). So after that we were like, do we know? do we not know? I wanted to still treat it like a surprise because we hadn’t clarified, but we basically knew the whole time. We would like another baby in the future, and I think we will find out again. I am really bummed that we didn’t get the magnificent surprise I was hoping for, but I don’t think I want to go through that again. Plus I wouldn’t want to get my hopes up for an entire pregnancy that it would be a second girl if it wasn’t…I would want to know and be excited for a third boy and prepare my daughter for that as well. (We are pretty big on keeping names a secret though. My brother would always try to get it out of me and be like, ‘but the birthDAY could be the surprise!’)

  65. Alison says...

    I love this story! My parents were the opposite – my mother wanted a surprise, but my dad said “sure, I’ll find out!” They actually did tease each other about it… mainly because while my mom loves secrets, she’s also a total snoop (the one person in our family who digs for Christmas presents!). My dad was great at keeping everything hush-hush and when she’d ask him what color they should paint the nursery, he said yellow – always keeping everything neutral. It was such a fun surprise!

  66. We found out with both. My son, Charlie just turned 5 in January and my second boy is due in 7 weeks. We saved nearly everything from my first, so I really wanted to know if I should donate all the “tough little guy” type clothes.

    Oy, the tech was in such a crappy mood when we went for the fetal scan with my first. I said about midway through “Am I seeing that right? Is it a boy.” She snapped back me “I don’t know what you’re looking at!” Ummm, I’m looking at two legs, a penis, and testicles lol and sure enough, I was right.

    With my second, my OB was worried that the baby was measuring a lot larger than he should be, so she did a quick ultrasound to measure his legs. She asked if we wanted to know. y husband and I both said “Sure! Why not!?” and she announced half giggling “Looks like Charlie will have to share all his toys with his little brother!”

    • Also, a weird thing that has happened throughout both of my pregnancies is that every single stranger who has approached me has guessed correctly on the sex. I haven’t gotten a single guess for a girl. I’m always dumbfounded when it happens!

  67. Elizabeth says...

    I didn’t find out and I had twins. Everything thought we were crazy but my thought was if I was pregnant with one baby I wouldn’t have found out so what is the difference. A friend actually said to me “you’re so brave”! What!? So glad we didn’t find out and it was such a good surprise. It’s a boy! Three minutes later it’s another boy! :)

  68. LG says...

    I’m due in 3 weeks and we decided to find out, but I sometimes regret it, because the #1 question I get asked now that it’s obvious I’m pregnant is “do you know what you’re having?” and it feels so personal to tell strangers! I have thought about lying or just responding “we’re hoping it’s a baby, but a puppy would be fine, too!” but I am terrible at lying on the spot and you don’t want to make people uncomfortable. I always wonder why strangers seem so invested in it, like if I said we were having a boy they’d have some extra concerns to tell me about.

    • Jessica says...

      Oh I’m good with making people uncomfortable if they’re going to be that nosy. “What are you having?” “A human!” is going to be my standard response. And if they push, “No, but like a boy or a girl?” the reply will be “Yep, its probably one of those!” and if they don’t get the hint by then, its BYE FELICIA! None of that is a lie. Strangers don’t get to touch, and if you don’t want to share, they don’t get to know. If they can’t think of another one of literally millions of topics of conversation, they’re probably too boring to talk to in the first place.
      Hope your last 3 weeks went well and you had everything you wanted from your birth!

  69. Kimberly says...

    I waited. It was my favorite thing about being pregnant. I had a crazy high risk pregnancy and pretty much knew everything about the baby’s anatomy, placenta, placement, etc..except the sex. When he was finally born after a crazy ride, (healthy too! just teeny!) it was awesome.

  70. Mollie says...

    We chose to be surprised. A large part of being able to do this is we weren’t longing to have a boy or a girl, if either of us had been, I think we would have had to find out just so we could wrap our heads around the idea of not having the sex we had longed for.

    It was fun to do all the old wives tales, and see what everyone thought the baby would be. I was convinced it was a boy. So you can imagine my surprise when they held up our baby and it was a little girl! We were immediately enamored and very much in love with her. If we choose to have another baby we’ve decided to find out, that way our daughter can wrap her head around the idea of having a baby brother or baby sister.

  71. Margaret says...

    I’m 27 weeks along with our first and we decided not to find out before the birth. I’ve always wanted that moment of greeting when you see the baby for the first time and know all at once the gender and the name. My husband would have preferred to find out, but he’s terrible at keeping secrets and we agreed not to know at least for this baby.

  72. Kate says...

    I have three girls and never found out the sex for any of them. I was most tempted the third go-around, because I knew it would be our last. But hands-down, they were the greatest surprises of my life! (I always thought I was having a boy!) In this know-everything age, there’s something so sweet and refreshing about NOT knowing. Those nine months of blissful ignorance are truly the best!

  73. We didn’t find out with our first two – both boys (although we were so sure our second was going to be girl!). But we did end up finding out with our third and last baby – a girl. We thought it might make it more understandable for our eldest who was three years old when she was born (our second was only 21 months so he didn’t get it anyways).

    It’s fun to have tried both ways – knowing and not knowing, but we both agreed that knowing didn’t really add anything to the experience for us. We’re done, but if we weren’t, I don’t think we would find out again. Finding out the sex at the birth was amazing both times – such happy surprises. We didn’t care what we had, but I think if you are really hoping for one or the other, it’s better not to find out ahead of time. You’ll never be disappointed by what comes out, but at an ultrasound,ä months before you meet your baby, you could feel sad about not getting the sex you’d hoped for…

    http://www.minipiccolini.com

  74. Karen says...

    We did not find out for either of our two pregnancies and if I would ever get pregnant again, I would do the same.

    For our first, part of my logic was that everyone would gift gender-neutral. People so lovingly give so much stuff when your pregnant and I like things simple (I think I registered for 18 items). By people not knowing the gender, all of that newborn stuff that the child grows out of so quickly we could easily use with a second child should it be a different gender (he was not). I think it prevented people from over buying outfits in pink or blue and allowed us to keep things simple and not too overwhelming for us.

    Also, I’m a planner and I did not want to over plan for something I really knew nothing about. It was also fun having people analyze your body shape and being so confident they knew it was a boy or a girl.

    The best surprises of my life.

  75. Tracy says...

    Our journey fell to the extreme side of the spectrum, since we actually chose gender, so we knew from the very beginning. We did IVF with embryo testing to prevent a genetic disease, so once we knew of the healthy, unaffected ones, we decided to implant a boy (my husband is the only one in his family to carry on the family name). I know this kind of process isn’t for everyone, but I feel like I’ve bonded with the baby even more since we chose him specifically. He’s due in July and we couldn’t be more excited.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so exciting, tracy! congratulations :)

  76. Christine says...

    I’m a type A planner in my daily life but was committed to not finding out—and I loved the experience! (Fortunately, my husband was also on board.) People loved to speculate, which led to some funny moments. Everyone including the busker outside my office swore I was carrying a girl, but I didn’t indulge in the same speculation. We picked out a girl name and a boy name, and when the moment arrived, my husband revealed the sex by saying, “Meet Edward.” Like one of the other readers above said, I liked not having any gender-based pre-conceptions of the child ahead of time. I can’t explain it, but it was freeing to just think “oh, he or she will be sweet or smart or creative,” vs. imagining particular physical features or life events. Plus, as our friend pointed out, you often get better (more practical) shower gifts when you don’t know the sex. :)

  77. Emily says...

    We found out with our first after much debate about what to do. If we are lucky enough to have a second baby I think I would like to wait and be surprised : )

  78. shannon says...

    Joanna, I’d love to hear Anton’s birth story and what it was like to find out his sex after all that waiting – if you’d like to share.

  79. nora frank-cisneros says...

    So with our first, my daughter– we were planning for a surprise, but the sonographer told us the sex by accident! She said “Oh look SHE’S waving at us!” :O We were pretty shocked/ upset at first (though elated that we were having a girl!). We decided to keep it a secret from everyone (we really dislike gender coding! and most folks assumed we weren’t finding out) and it was a sweet surprise for our friends and family, and now we have so many sweet gender-neutral (white, cream and gray) baby clothes and things to pass on to her sibling. This baby (due in September!) will absolutely be a surprise, we are forgoing the sonogram altogether (I have home births with an incredible midwife) so there is no chance to find out! I love wondering and making guesses. This pregnancy has been night and day to my last (in a good way!) so everyone says “boy”— I am not convinced! My daughter will be almost four when this baby comes, and will be there at the birth (with a dear doula friend for support)– and it is her job to announce if it is a boy or a girl. We are all elated!

  80. Sarah says...

    I felt strongly about not finding out with our first. I am pregnant with #2 and this time I really want to know. It’s odd to me that I’ve had this switch. My son will only be 17 months when #2 is born so it’s not really for his benefit to prepare him. I can’t explain why I feel different but… I do.

    • Karen says...

      Same here! Our first was a surprise and it just felt right…getting everything that we could prepared and recognizing all of the “unknowns” of a first pregnancy and birth. I’m 31 weeks with our second, another daughter, and it was so comforting to find out this time. I’ve had an unexpectedly unpleasant pregnancy, and it brings me a bit of peace to have a few less unknowns this time.

  81. Mer says...

    There is no way I could have pulled this off. I just found out the sex of my baby a few weeks ago. I came back into work after the ultrasound, but was planning on waiting until the next day to tell all my coworkers. Within the first 5 minutes, I slipped up and said “he.” There is absolutely no way I could hold on for 4 or 5 months without slipping up to my husband!

  82. Emily says...

    I always thought I’d wait for the surprise not only just for fun, but also to fend off cheesy gender stereotyping / gifts for as long as we could. However – well, long story short – it turned out that my husband and I had to do IVF to have a shot at having our own biological child. That experience changed everything I previously thought about related to pregnancy and parenthood. Fast forward through years of heartache, hormones, surgeries, anxiety and debt and we got a BFP!

    As eternally grateful as we were to even have access to IVF, the whole experience shook us to the core and I felt like I was on tenterhooks every day the first half of my pregnancy. I was terrified something would go wrong and we would lose our only shot at parenthood after having come so close. The anatomy scan was a huge turning point – finding out we were expecting a healthy girl made the baby REAL – it made us instantly EXCITED and the IVF anxiety began to melt away. Whether the baby’s sex was male, female or something else didn’t matter to us, but finding out was the first of many ongoing incidents that revealed her individuality to us. She was no longer just a lucky ball of cells with the vague promise of becoming a person, she was our daughter. (And for the record, if our kid’s gender identity eventually reveals otherwise, it’s all good!)

    One thing we did keep secret was our name choices though! And so glad we did. Definitely recommend that. :-)

    • Erin says...

      Emily, I had IVF to achieve both my pregnancies. With so many infertility treatments, so many BFNs, so many miscarriages, I was also a nutcase! I was scared everyday that it would all be over! You explained perfectly why I needed to know the sex. I was scared to even hope or even bond. Every detail I could know about my babies (sex, if they have hair yet, habits like utero thumb sucking) all made it feel like it might actually happen this time! It helped me step away from my fear and start to bond with my babies.

      For the record, I have a 3 year old daughter and I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a boy!

  83. kathy says...

    haha! my husband wanted to do this for each of our kids (e.g. i find out but keep it a secret from him) but i refused. i am not a good secret keeper and it sounds like torture for me.

  84. Lisa says...

    We are having this discussion right now. For our first child, I was on the fence and my husband didn’t really want to. At the 16 week scan we spent the whole time discussing whether or not to find out, even while waiting in the queue to book the next appointment! In the end we didn’t, and only found out we had a boy when the doctor held him up.
    Lots of people admired us for not finding out because it’s so uncommon these days. Shortly after having him, I read the book “unnatural selection” about sex selection, missing girls and the consequences it has on societies. It goes into when doctors first figured out how to determine a baby’s sex, and how revolutionary it was. It was to be used to determine whether or not a baby was vulnerable to a particular genetic disease (eg haemophilia) and thinking that this profound scientific development is being used by some people so lightly didn’t really sit well with me. I didn’t regret our decision then.

    But, I’m now pregnant with number two and the same discussion has come up. I really can’t decide (though we have some time before we have to). My husband doesn’t want to find out again, but I know (because I really really suck at keeping secrets) that I couldn’t find out and not tell him. Argh! I also don’t have that thing that some friends have where they just “knew” it was a boy or girl. I have no clue. All I know is that I’m having a baby

  85. Em says...

    I could find out in two weeks, at a really early ultrasound. My husband and I always said before I got pregnant that we would want to be surprised, but here we are, and part of me really wants to know, because there are so many unknowns–and this would be one thing to make me feel closer to this new tiny life. I’m waffling. I don’t really mind what people give us–but this is our first (and possibly only), so maybe that’s naivety speaking! Thanks to everyone who said it didn’t take away any of the magic and joy finding out in advance–and that it is possible to keep it a secret if your partner prefers an alternate route. I’ll think about that!

  86. Alesha says...

    Both of mine were a surprise but, my Mommy heart knew they were boys :)

  87. We’ve decided to find out at 11 weeks! There’s this blood test you can take now that will tell you. It’s our first and we’re just too excited to wait, but luckily we’re both on the same page.

  88. RBC says...

    I am pregnant with our 4th (and last) and am finding out on Friday. I found out the sex with my first 2 and since we already had a girl and a boy, I decided not to with our 3rd. I hated it! I find I feel a deeper bond with the baby in utero if I know, and it makes choosing a name much easier. Labour is so crazy that by the time it’s over and the baby is finally out of me, that’s all that matters to me – not the sex of the baby. I’m way too overwhelmed and relieved in that moment to care! Haha! Plus, it led us to practically picking a name out of a hat (literally) since we hadn’t known the sex. So we are finding out on Friday and assuming everything with the scan goes fine, we are spending the weekend going through our boxes of baby clothes and passing on all the clothes we won’t need! Hooray for a purge and more space in our storage room! :)

    • RBC says...

      Update: baby kept its legs tightly closed and we didn’t find out! *sob* Luckily, I have one more u/s in 6 weeks…I guess we’ll have to delay our purge

  89. Liz says...

    With our first 2 children we didn’t find out and we loved being surprised. We had planned to do the same for our third. Unfortunately, I accidentally found out when I was in the first trimester (I looked up my own results for the genetic test not realizing that the gender was included). At first I was so disappointed and mad at myself for ruining the surprise. I didn’t tell my husband right away but I am a TERRIBLE secret keeper and even though he didn’t want to know we both knew there was no way I would make it through pregnancy without slipping up. Knowing this time around has been better than either of us expected. It was especially nice to tell our 2 older children so that they could get excited about having a baby brother. And my daughter (who really wanted a sister) has had time to get over her disappointment and get excited about the baby.

  90. Annie says...

    There’s no way I could ever wait. I have one of each now and we’ll still definitely find out for our third. Not surprising since we neither of can ever wait for actual holidays or birthdays to open the presents. We are so not surprise peopke

  91. Currently pregnant with our first and I was adamant in the beginning that I didn’t want to find out – mostly because I didn’t want a bunch of gendered baby stuff. When it came to our 20 week ultrasound, the tech accidentally blurted out that its a boy – good thing we weren’t super married to keeping it secret. We have, however, kept it just between us.

    Surprisingly, I found that knowing has really helped both of us bond with the baby. It’s nice to call him by name, instead of “it” :)

    • Kirsten says...

      So interesting to hear about the bonding aspect! My 20 week ultrasound is coming up in a couple of weeks, and while we initially decided that we were going to leave it a surprise (for exactly the reason that you mentioned), I find myself alternating between being sure about that and desperately wanting to know. It’s our first baby, and both my husband and I have found it odd how little we feel bonded to this thing that’s growing inside of me. It just doesn’t seem very real. Maybe that will change for us after the big ultrasound where we can see a thing that looks like a baby, but thinking about it I feel like knowing the sex and being able to imagine a little boy or girl with a name might help us out…

    • I had three babies and knowing their genders in utero definitely helped me bond with each of them. I hated saying “it” and I’m an English teacher so I refused to say “them/their” to refer to one baby.

  92. Angela says...

    We both found out for our first, a boy, and our second, a girl. We are unexpectedly pregnant with a third, and we are doing just the opposite than Anne. My husband, the engineer and planner, NEEDS to know! Ha! But I have told him all along that this would be the only situation in which I would choose to be surprised. We have one of each, and since we will ensure this will be the last, I think I could stand to be surprised. Here in a month and a half or so, we will do the anatomy scan and he will find out, but I won’t. I also am planning to ask my midwives to let me be the one to look and announce the sex upon birth.

  93. emily c says...

    baby #1 coming soon and we aren’t finding out!! it’s such an emotional and amazing surprise and we cannot wait!! plus, we’re really enjoying keeping our entire family on their toes :)

  94. Summer says...

    Both of mine were a surprise. I seemed to be the only one out of my group of friends who didn’t find out. I don’t think it really matters, either way it is a surprise :)

  95. Carrie says...

    When my sister was pregnant with her son, I dreamed it was a boy. And when my other sister was pregnant with hers, again I saw her baby girl in a dream. For this reason I think i’d like to keep the gender of my future child a secret. I’d like to put my skills to the test :)

    • Carrie says...

      Oh but I hope I have a girl because I have the cutest girl name picked out!

  96. Maggie says...

    We find out next week for our first. I’m so nervous!!

  97. Colleen says...

    We didn’t find out, the whole pregnancy was a surprise so we kept the gender a surprise too. When my daughter was born she came out very fast and they whisked her and my husband away to the newborn room because I had some complications. I asked the clinical team if it was a boy or a girl and no one had checked! They figured we already knew (so much for the birth plan) so I didn’t find out for several hours.

  98. Even though I am a super planner, I waited to find out the gender with both my pregnancies! It was so out of character for me, but it just seemed so right. I mean, there are only a few true surprises in life, right?

    • Beth says...

      Same here! I am an obstetrician, so I already knew too much about pregnancy (or so I thought- I learned a LOT!). It was also a much more practical decision, as we avoided gender-specific baby gear almost entirely! There are very few truly happy surprises no matter the outcome, and this is one of them! That moment at delivery is awesome.

  99. Kate says...

    I never wanted to find out, but then practicality intervened. We’re Jewish, and we were living far away from our families at the time. Our families needed to know whether they needed to be there RIGHT AWAY for a brit (circumcision) or if there was a more relaxed timeline.

    I suppose it made things easier, it just wasn’t what I thought I had wanted. In the end, we had a girl :) Everybody could book visits with air miles…

  100. Kate says...

    It’s funny you ask….I keep getting that question from people now. I am pregnant with my third and we decided we wouldn’t find out again. Both the first and second were complete surprises to me (I guessed wrong both times). I think it makes the actual labor process a little more exciting when you also know you are so close to finding out what the gender is after all this time.

  101. Kristin says...

    My husband says that to find out the sex is, “like unwrapping a Christmas present and then having to put it back under the tree.” So we didn’t find out for our son (turning two this week!), and we will not find out for our second child, due in September.

  102. Heather Lemoine says...

    We are not finding out the sex for several reasons. One is that we had an IUI so the process of getting pregnant was rather prescriptive and predictable and not finding out the sex at birth just seems right. Additionally, we found ourselves asking the question: “What does it mean to know the sex of our baby?”. And try as we might, we just never landed on a reason to find out the sex. There are so many gender norms in our culture that clearly begin before birth. I think that these ideas are restrictive. Our baby gets to be free from those constraints and others projections…for 9 whole months! Without a gender- they get to be endless in their creativity. It brings tears to my eyes to think of how our expression of masculinity and femininity is so narrow and confining. I wonder what it would be like if my boobs weren’t sexualized or if my brother was allowed to fully express his sensitivity. What kind of world would it be if a feminized boy/man were accepted and not outliers (like Prince and David Bowie) and girls/women weren’t objectified or made small?

    • Lisa says...

      I agree about the gender stereotyping. We didn’t find out, so anything we got ahead if the birth had to be “gender neutral”. It drove me NUTS that even things as boring as changing mats were either pink or blue. It’s a baby! They don’t care! All they’re going to do is pee and poo on it. In the end we found a neutral one, but I was pretty annoyed (repeat for every baby item)

    • Megan says...

      One of the reasons we didn’t find out is the same, but b/c of IVF. So I wanted some surprise. I also knew I was going to do a gender neutral nursery because I know any more kids we might have will be sharing a room. I’m so glad we waited, and I was obsessed with not finding out. I even made my doctors office write on the front of my chart that I didn’t want to know because I was afraid the results of the genetic testing were visible and a well meaning nurse would say something. The reveal ended up being sweet, I had an emergency c section and my husband was not in the room. I remember being lucid enough to exclaim to the nurses and doctors not to tell me just yet, because we envisioned being together, but someone still said it was a girl. At first I was upset, but then a minute later I heard my husband come in and I was able to tell him myself (while still being on the operation table) we had a girl. Her name is Clio and she is amazing.

    • I’m not a fan of all that pink/blue gender stereotyping, either. My favorite color is blue so I went ahead and did most things blue for my two girls and boy :) And my girls have blue eyes, too, so all that blue looks great around them.

    • Stephanie says...

      I agree whole-heartedly! As a society, we’re slowly becoming more accepting of a gender spectrum, but for now I think it’s important to be as open-minded as possible! Nevermind girl or boy – will they be healthy, curious, sleepy, grumpy, bright-eyed?

  103. Rachel says...

    I had a boy, and then a girl. For our third and last, I wanted the surprise. It killed my husband a little bit not to find out, but he got on board. Since my pregnancies are so tough (7 mo of bedrest, I have to use a walker or a wheelchair and can’t go anywhere), I really needed something extra special to get me to the finish line. The was the best moment of my life and such a great reward. (It was a girl.)

  104. Mary says...

    We didn’t find out with either of our two (boy and girl!). We won’t find out with any future kids either! Such a special surprise.

  105. KC says...

    I’m such an anxiety-ridden control freak I couldn’t stand to wait and never considered it BUT I’d love to be the person that could wait to find out, I think it would be exciting.

  106. Cle says...

    Didn’t find out for our daughter (spent the whole pregnancy imagining a little boy) or for our twins, a boy and a girl. Our daughter’s birth was nuts, so we didn’t have that great ” it’s a girl” moment, but with the twins we had that moment x 2 and it was amazing, especially because we got one of each which is what we had hoped for. Very healing from our first birth which was really traumatic.

    Funny thing is that my husband wanted to know with the first, but ended up like not knowing so much he was the one who insisted on not finding out the second time around.

  107. We kept it a surprise for all 3, though I was tempted with number 3 because we already had 2 boys and I felt like I needed to be prepared if it was another boy. In the end we had a girl and it was as exciting and surprising as the other 2. Waiting till the end is the best!

  108. Emma says...

    Similar to Anne, I had to find out. I’m such a type A person that having this small thing that I could take control of (knowing the sex) felt really important to me. I like to think I might be able to go without knowing next time, but we’ll have to see. I still have to get through the end of this pregnancy first…

    Interestingly, my brother-in-law’s brother and his wife had the same situation as Anne and her husband, but the other way around — the brother is an OB/GYN, so when he saw the ultrasound he knew right away, but his wife didn’t want to know, so they went through the whole pregnancy with the husband knowing and the wife not knowing. I don’t think I could do it — I have a hard enough time not spilling the beans about our baby’s name (which we knew before we even knew he was a boy, but my husband wants to be a surprise to friends and family)!

  109. Dominique says...

    We did not find out with the first one. I did not want to get a whole bunch of gendered baby things because first off, they are unnecessary and secondly, I knew we were planning a second one and I wanted to be able to reuse everything. Also, for the first one, it didn’t matter to us as much what the gender was. Our first one ended up being a girl. We did, however, find out for the second one. We really wanted a boy and wanted to be able to talk about the gender with our 2 1/2 year old. The second was a girl and I’m really glad we found out ahead of time. It gave us time to process the disappointment before the baby arrived. It did not make it easier to decide on a name, though. Thankfully, Arizona gives you a whole week to decide, which we used all of for both kids.

  110. Laura C. says...

    I found out twice with my two girls. I couldn’t go without knowing!

  111. Islay says...

    I’m a prenatal genetic counsellor in Toronto, and the highlight of my week is getting to let my patients know the sex of their baby. I was absolutely shocked to find that about 98% of my patients WANT to know – I thought it would be more of a 70/30 split.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so sweet, islay!!! what a fun part of the job :)

  112. Whitney Kaye says...

    Also, with each of our three girls, there have been people who have not liked each one of their names (they are common enough names). I learned a long time ago to not care what people think. It won’t make me change my mind or baby’s name.

  113. Liz B. says...

    We followed the same process with our second child. My husband knew from week 12, and I did not know until the moment she arrived. He really wanted to know and I respected that choice. In turn, he fully respected my decision to not know. He said that he slipped many times, but he was so good about mixing around pronouns that I never thought anything of it. The one thing that he would not do was to discuss names, because he thought that might lead to a more noticeable slip. As a result, our daughter nearly left the hospital without a name because we were fully starting from scratch in the hospital (I was under the mistaken impression that since he had known for 6+ months, he already had a short list). Our friends and family all knew that he knew, but he never told a soul. It was great for us and I appreciated what a great job he did with it. Although I always joke that how well he kept that secret makes me a little worried for other secrets he might be keeping!

  114. Alissa says...

    I’ve always known I wouldn’t find out the gender when pregnant and it was as exciting as I’d imagined. Early on, everyone, even strangers, told me it was a girl and then later when I was visibly pregnant, that it was a boy. I am far from a tomboy but averse to pink but I have a friend who still believes we knew we were having a boy because there’s a navy wall in the nursery. Silly, because I’m a blue-a-holic and I’m female. The moment after he was born when I waited for my husband to tell me our baby’s gender was amazing. My husband was so in shock about seeing our child, he forgot to look!

  115. Katie Swanson says...

    We found out with our first and we tried to not find out with our second but… at the end of the hour long ultrasound the tech said oh I forgot to measure the legs. And baby flashed us. I think if we hadn’t seen our first son in utero or if it had been a girl we still wouldn’t have known but immediately I was like, that’s a tripod. ? I didn’t want to let the tech know she’d spoiled the surprise so we asked her to write it down on a card in case we changed our minds. Immediately after we walked out my husband was like, so you saw it’s a boy right?! Now we are on baby 3 and I think we will just go ahead and find out ha!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that’s so funny, katie!!

    • Such a funny story!

      I was sure I had seen the tripod with our second, but my husband had zero faith in my ultrasound-reading skills. For the rest of the pregnancy we were convinced we were having a girl. Turns out I was right – a lovely little boy.

  116. Whitney Kaye says...

    We’ve found our with all 3 of our girls because my husband has to know everything. We think we are pregnant with our 4th (I’ll get around to a test when I have the time :)) and a women I met suggested I not find out but let my husband know. My husband is not on board with this, but I’ve given in 3 times, it’s my turn now to have my surprise.

  117. I still remember the moment the ultrasound tech told us we were having a girl. I immediately started crying. I didn’t even feel pregnant. It had all felt so abstract. Now the future was real. There are so few moments in life when the curtain hiding the future is lifted to reveal a major piece of your life. It’s a truly astonishing moment, even when you find out months in advance.

    • cooper says...

      I love this way of looking at that moment, Amanda! I feel like sometimes deciding not to find out the sex is promoted as superior because of the surprise element but I like the way you explained finding out as unique opportunity to peek into the future. So sweet!

  118. I found out. I could not, not. My mom had 5 girls. My son’s father decided before the birth he liked alcohol more than he wanted to be a father so I had to do it on my own. And I needed to know. Thinking as a single female parent who grew up with sisters, a girl would be easier. And then I heard it was a boy…and I had to figure out how I was going to do that. And everytime I hear little girl screams…I thank GOD for my boy (and most other times too!)

  119. Katie K says...

    We found out. I figured, it’s a surprise whether you find out when the baby is born or before. Also, I’m really just not a patient person. I had to know asap! We don’t want anymore children but if we did I think maybe I’d consider waiting…though I don’t know if I’d actually be able to handle that;) I really loved knowing. I felt like it brought me closer to knowing this tiny human growing inside me.

  120. kayla says...

    i’m due at the end of august with our first baby and we’re planning to find out the sex! not sure why i’ve been surprised by this, but “are you going to find out the sex?” has probably been the question we get asked the most. not sure why i’m surprised but i guess i just continue to brace myself for people asking more invasive questions and sharing unsolicited advice. ;)

  121. Cate says...

    We didn’t find out either time (one boy, one girl). We now know so many details about our bodies and the whole pregnancy experience. I delight in holding onto some of the magic, allowing the baby to exist in their own mysterious world for a time. For me it just added to the excitement of bringing life into the world!

  122. I love surprises that I don’t know about…. like if I got home and a surprise package were there that would be awesome! But a surprise that I know about kills me… like if the package was there with a note that said “Don’t open until…”
    That being said, knowing I am bringing a baby into the world, well I need to know what it is! I found out with both of mine- a boy, and a girl.

  123. Emma says...

    Wow, I almost cried reading that story, so awesome. I was SUPER DUPER sick almost my entire pregnancy, I kept thinking I was hung over for 7 months and not actually pregnant so I really really needed to know that there was actually a human inside there, growing. I couldn’t wait to find out and it made me feel more connected to the experience instead of wishing it was all over. My husband wanted to know too, we are too practical. We also announced the name ASAP — maybe for number two we will opt to be surprised?!

  124. Betsy says...

    I wanted all surprise babies, but the doctor accidentally showed me #2’s penis at my ultrasound. They tried to cover it up with terrible poker faces – “oops! I mean, ummm, that could be anything, it could be the cord, yeah, maybe the cord!” and when he was born, they sent an apology and congrats.

  125. Emily says...

    I am currently pregnant with my third. We have a girl and a boy and we found out with both of them at 20 weeks. I loved knowing with both of them, but I’m thinking this will be our last baby so I would also love to have the surprise! My midwife says that she would not announce the baby’s sex. Once the baby is born I would be able to find out myself without someone telling me first.

  126. I am 10 weeks pregnant and my fiance and I don’t want to know the sex of the baby. We are getting a lot of the same pushback other commenters have (people asking “how am I supposed to buy a gift?” and “don’t you want to be ready?” ha!) What I love is something my fiance heard and we’ve been telling people; there are so few good surprises in life, why not keep this one a surprise?

    • Shira says...

      I didn’t find out with either of my pregnancies, and that question (“How can we buy a gift if we don’t know?”) always really irked me. I didn’t want things that were traditionally “boy” colors or “girl” colors anyway, and there are so many gender-neutral options as far as clothes go, and why baby gear has to be one or the other I’ll never know.

  127. I don’t understand the waiting. What is the point? It’s out of your control. Anyway then you just accumulate a bunch of yellow and green things since no one knows. It creates expectation as everything thinks they know what it is from how it sits on your body. If that is wrong you might be disappointed.

    -Kirsten//

  128. Jessica says...

    I did not want to know either time. I have no reason but I just didn’t want to know until they came out. People kept saying, “that’s so hard” “how can you not find out?” “How can you stand it?” The truth is that it wasn’t hard for me and that’s the only way I could do it. If it were hard, I’d find out!!

    The funny thing is that I’m terrible with surprises–I always tell people what I got them for gifts weeks ahead and I want to know what they got me. I want others to tell me what their baby is when they know, etc.

    Now I’ve had a boy and a girl and the pregnancies were SO different that if we go for a third, I think I’ll know what it is based on symptoms.

  129. Jami-Lin says...

    This is so timely for me! My anatomy scan is coming up in exactly one month (eek!) and we’re still debating whether or not we want to know. Actually, we’re pretty sure WE want to know but not so sure we want to tell the whole world (even–no, *especially* family lol) and have our baby immersed in gender stereotypes before it’s even born! I don’t want a mountain of pink w/ flowers or blue w/ trucks clothes/junk. I just want to let my baby be a baby without having to be “pretty” or “boyish”. Is that crazy?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i don’t think that’s crazy at all! would you ever find out and then just tell people you don’t know?

    • Steph says...

      We found out for both of our kids and only told a couple close, trustworthy friends for EXACTLY that reason :) Despite clear wishes to not dress or relate to our kids in hyper-gendered ways, we were still given a ton of pink/frilly stuff after our daughter was born so I’m really glad we started with a neutral palette.

    • erin says...

      Yes! Jami-Lin, my husband and I knew we were having girls but didn’t tell anyone else. Joanna’s suggestion is probably the kinder way of handling the surprise with your family – I told everyone that we knew but were keeping it a surprise :) It was fun keeping them to ourselves and it was like we got the joy of two surprises – first when we found out, and again when our daughter was born and we told everyone!

    • This might be silly, but I think we would have kept it a secret if we found out we were having a girl. The gendered onslaught happens both ways, but I feel like girl stuff tends to have a more negative impact–the reinforcement that you’re just there to be pretty/decorative, the lack of toys with STEM themes or moving parts… boy stuff can delve into toxic masculinity too but it feels a little less like they’re being denied opportunities so somehow the inevitable trucks and planes and whatever don’t bug me as much as the pink ruffle princess crown stuff, haha. But I don’t know since we’re having a boy; we’ll have to see how we feel if we end up with a girl for kid #2!

    • Not crazy at all. We learned after our first to not even share our due date with anyone. We just told people the month the baby was due. It eliminated a LOT of annoying phone calls and emails.

    • emily says...

      One of my best friends and I have due dates days apart. She and her husband didn’t want to find out because they were worried their families would go overboard with the gendered gifts, but when my husband and I opted to find out for our baby, they decided to do just want you are doing. The four of us best friends know what they are having, but no one else (especially not the families) has any idea they even know! It’s been a fun secret between the four of us who have been friends since childhood.

    • Madeline says...

      This time last year I met a woman while out walking in our new neighborhood. She and her husband had just learned of their late-in-life pregnancy. She was anxious to share too much info with her friends and family, but itching to tell SOMEONE, so she told me! I would get quick updates whenever we’d spot each other (“I’m at ten weeks!” “It’s a girl!” “We have a name!”) and she could share her secrets without spilling the beans to everyone. Now I get to see them out walking as a family of three! How amazing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that!

  130. Amy says...

    We found out the first two times (a girl and a boy) for my own love of planning, but the third time I was happy to have it stay a surprise. However, our oldest was pretty hesitant about us having a third baby and declared a number of times that it *might* be okay if it was a girl. So I found out and because she was indeed a girl, we told the family – if it had been a boy, we would’ve kept it a surprise! It did help our daughter accept the fact we were having a third so it was worth it. We’re trying for a fourth, and maybe this time it can be a surprise!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awwww that’s so cute!!

  131. Oh man, not only did we find out, but we did a version of early genetic testing (cell-free fetal DNA) that included a chromosome screen at around 11 weeks so we would know earlier. (We weren’t medically required to take the test, but since it also tests for some genetic disorders and since my husband is adopted and we used an egg donor, we wanted to have that much more reassurance that our baby was healthy early on.) We never considered not learning.

    It’s been such a tough road for us, with 5+ years of increasingly frustrating struggles and medical interventions and expenses, that I think we wanted some sense of control over the whole process. But we’ve strategically kept the sex info back from one set of my in-laws, haha, because we aren’t wild about being inundated with either pink frills or blue trucks, etc. However I think my stepmother-in-law actually demonstrated sensitivity about this, apparently my husband heard her nag his dad on the phone “They don’t want pink or blue stuff Ken, they want black and white stuff!” Ha! She gets it. :) So maybe they’ll get let in on the secret info after all.

    It’s funny; we were hoping for at least one girl (we plan to have two kids) and we actually plan to make our IVF clinic test the remaining embryos for gender when it’s time for number two, even though they advise against it because it’s not medically necessary (it doesn’t cause harm though). They’re really judgy and sanctimonious about this because they don’t want parents getting too attached to the idea of putting in a certain gender embryo when it might not be the healthiest option. And I’m like, you idiots, of COURSE we’re not going to put in an unhealthy embryo just because it has a certain chromosome we prefer, but after all the hardship and extremely non-natural-ness of our eventual family planning story, I think we feel perfectly fine exercising this one tiny modicum of control and preference in the process. It’s been an exercise in assertiveness and boundary setting–“Thanks for your feedback. We will be having you perform the tests we ordered and paid for. I look forward to the results. Please let us know how to proceed.”

    And with all that said, gender doesn’t even seem to matter anymore in nearly the way it used to–when we first started trying, we felt more strongly about it, and we wanted to avoid picking any names that could be gender ambiguous (like “Robin”) to avoid our kid getting teased. Now, we’re like “hey, that might make it easier if they ever want to transition” (because you never know!) or “that might be an advantage when she’s applying for jobs” (because the patriarchy!) so it’s been a perspective shift, I think commensurate with gender getting treated differently in our society.

    Anyway! Long comment! You caught me in a Pregnancy Sharing Moment, haha. We are thrilled to be welcoming our little XY into the world this summer. :)

    • Leah PS says...

      Congrats on your sweet baby! We also PGS tested our IVF embryos before transfer so we knew the gender from the very beginning. We have 2 remaining embryos for future siblings – both girls – and look forward to expanding our family with more daughters! Ha! Such a strange and exciting feeling to already know. Also, I had the opposite experience with my IVF clinic: the nurse was as excited as I was to reveal the results from our testing :)

  132. Sarah Beth says...

    We didn’t find the sex, which we loved. We got a lot of pushback from our families, but we didn’t care. It was partly out of Jewish superstition (for the same reason, many Jews don’t have baby showers or prepare a nursery before birth), and partly bc we just thought it would be fun! We loved guessing what it would be. I thought boy, but the day before my induction, I woke up and thought “it’s a girl!!” and it was! We picked out baby names for each, and it was so thrilling to go through labor, see our teeny baby, and get to call her by her name for the first time!
    The only part that was stressful came when I was scheduled for an induction the Thursday before Thanksgiving, and realizing that I might have to schedule a bris on Thanksgiving if it was a boy! The rabbi was very cool about it, but we were very glad that having a daughter made it a moot point.
    We would definitely not find out again, and besides, we’ve already got our boys name picked out so we’re halfway done!

  133. Angela Robertson says...

    We’re less than three weeks away from meeting our first little one and we don’t know the gender! It is a bit strange to still be saying ‘the baby’ or ‘it’ but like another commenter, we are really appreciative of the gender neutral-ness of our gifts. The main reason we were so sold on not finding out was because as the mom, I got to tell my husband we were having a baby. As the dad, my husband gets to be the one to tell me if it’s a boy or girl. His own special moment throughout this whole process that will entirely belong to him!

    • Vanessa says...

      That’s such a beautiful explanation! You Both get to share special news!

    • Sarah says...

      These are the exact same reasons we didn’t find out with our first. I was so excited for my husband to tell me (though I had a hunch) and when Ben was born, the put him on my chest with his back to my husband and since Ben wasn’t crying, the fiddled with him for what seemed like minutes (it was 10-20 seconds) but that meant my husband still couldn’t tell if it was a boy or girl.

    • shannon says...

      Love the way you put this! We don’t have children yet, but in my ideal imagined-future-labor-and-birth process, my husband would get to announce the sex for this exact reason :)

    • Katie says...

      This is so sweet. I’m 20 weeks along and we are going to be surprised. I never thought about having my finace announce the gender, but now I’m sold! I’m daydreaming of this hospital scene and getting teary/excited!

  134. Martha says...

    We were just the opposite! For our first baby, my husband really wanted to know. I really didn’t want to know, because I wanted a surprise at the end of my labor. So, the technician wrote it down on a piece of paper for him. Everybody else was a bit freaked out about our arrangement, but as Anne said, it was no big deal at all between us.

    • Jana says...

      Same here! We told everyone we weren’t finding out so no one would bother my husband.

  135. Heidi says...

    Didn’t find out about either of mine. With my first I had no feelings about what it was but my husband was sure it was a girl. The second I was positive it was a boy and was shocked when my second daughter arrived. Secretly, I had really wanted a sister for my first, so I was thrilled!
    I loved the surprise and there was no question we would ever find out. But I was shocked how that really annoys people! At least once a day a friend, family member, or co-worker how I was crazy and “how am I supposed but a baby present”. I was even asked by several people how they were supposed to prepare if they didn’t know the sex….Uh, aren’t I the one who needs to prepare?

  136. Michela says...

    We have two girls, 2 years and 9 months old. We chose not to know her sex before birth just because I think we were happy to be surprised. It is so difficult in our modern lives being surprised by something that we wanted something special. Of course we thought we were expecting boys and then we had girls but it didn’t matter. At the delivery wse told our midwife we didn’t know so at birth they just wrapped them and out them on my chest. Then I unwrapped them and found out what they were…GIRLS! I had two very different deliveries but this bit was identical and I wouldn’t change it!

  137. Andrea says...

    We just had our 20 week ultrasound for our first baby and didn’t find out. As much as I can’t wait to find out, I love the surprise. Is there any better surprise in life? :)

  138. jenn says...

    I’m due in less than 2 weeks!! we were going to flip a coin in the doctor’s office to decide whether we find out or wait, but my husband missed the appointment (the ONE time I got in at my appointment time without waiting for hours in the waiting room). so I had my doctor put the gender in an envelope, and we were going to flip a coin after I met up with my husband… but… after having the gender IN MY HAND I couldn’t NOT look at it… so even though we flipped a coin and shouldn’t have looked, I had to look (my husband wasn’t happy with me AT ALL)… so… we’re having a boy!! …but finding out the gender wasn’t exactly a rainbows and unicorns experience… we’re obviously excited none the less ;)

  139. Meghan says...

    My husband and I chose not to find out the gender. Mostly because we wanted to keep our choices gender neutral and our family would have been sending ALL THE PINK (and bows and dolls) and ALL THE BLUE (and camo and trucks). The funniest thing was that when people asked the gender and we told them we didn’t know, they were all so, so concerned about what color we would paint the baby room. EVERYONE!

  140. My husband and I chose to not find out. I kept expecting to have some big revelation while I was pregnant – like in a dream or something – where I knew for certain the gender of the child I was carrying, but that never happened. When the doctor announced that it was a boy, it was truly the best surprise ever!

  141. Chantal says...

    We didn’t want to know the sex – we liked the element of surprise. I actually wanted as few scans as possible, so when they found the heartbeat (with a regular stethoscope) during my first appointment at 12 weeks, they didn’t schedule the first “necessary” ultrasound until week 20. We still didn’t find out the sex – but did have the surprise of finding out there were two of them in there!! A surprise we wanted, a surprise we got!
    After the twins, I had a miscarriage last spring, so when I got pregnant again this past fall, I had a number of ultrasounds more than the first go (both to make sure the baby was doing well, and to make sure there was just the one in there!). We decided to go for the element of surprise again – not much can beat the surprise we got last time, but I still love the element of not knowing! (The twins ended up being a boy and a girl, so we’re also pretty set regardless of what we end up with this time around ;) ).

  142. Hannah says...

    We just had our first baby and my husband really, really wanted to keep it a surprise. I was not so sold because I really, really wanted to find out! I wanted to prepare with all the cute boy/girl things. But, since it was our first kid I decided “why not?”, mostly because I envisioned it saving us money. And it did!

    I couldn’t stock up on a lot of clothes at sales and definitely waited till after the baby was here to buy the fun “extras”. This saved in two ways: one, I was able to buy stuff as needed, when I decided it would be a useful item for me (and baby ) to have. Two, the stuff I did buy before (the nursery, newborn clothes, sleepgowns, etc) can all be used for baby #2!

    Lastly, I went with it because I wanted a girl so. bad. I was afraid if I knew I was having a boy I would be disappointed, and you can’t be disappointed with your baby once he/she is finally outside of you, right? Spoiler: we had a girl. And I didn’t believe my husband when he told me- I made all the midwives and nurses check before it finally sank in. And like they say, it was the best moment ever.

    I think for the second baby I’d like to find out. I keep thinking back to that wonderful “it’s a girl” moment, though, and how extra full-to-bursting my heart was because of all 10 months of anticipation. It’s one of those last true surprises left in life.

    • Taysa says...

      Same here — I’ve loved the money I’ve saved by not knowing, and I definitely started my pregnancy wanting a girl, but because I’ve had the chance to spend time envisioning both outcomes, I’m now at the point that I can honestly say I do not care what sex the baby is. I love it so much already without knowing. :)

  143. Amanda says...

    My husband and I did this as well :) I had terrible postpartum depression with our first babe for many reasons, but one was that I was expecting a boy and out came a girl! Even though I was thrilled to have a girl I had to grieve the loss of that boy, it was hard and hindered my ability to easily and quickly form a bond with my daughter. So with our second and third babies I found out, but my husband, who loves surprises, did not. I loved it, best of both worlds. I was able to bond so much deeper knowing what the gender was before birth. And I had a ton of fun playing tricks on him, messing with his mind!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is SO interesting and relatable, amanda. i’m so sorry you had such a difficult time — that sounds really really hard, and you’re amazing for getting through it. a friend of mine actually found out the sex of her baby, but the doctor was wrong! she said it was a boy, and then about 6 weeks later, realized that it was a girl. the doctor was mortified by her mistake, and my friend felt the same as you — she had to grieve the loss of the boy she thought she was having.

    • B Cres says...

      I used to work in OB and this is very common (both the PPD and grieving the loss of what you expected). Thanks for sharing, you are definitely not alone!

  144. Carrie says...

    We found out we were having a boy as soon as possible and I’m glad we did – there’s so much uncertainty when you do it for the 1st time and so much planning…I was happy to have 1 thing confirmed! I also talked to him a lot during my pregnancy so it was nice to call him by name & gender!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, it’s so nice to know because it makes it so much easier to imagine the actual baby in your arms! i loved knowing :)

  145. txilibrin says...

    I’m not a control freak but I need to know. All the time. Everything. When I had my first ultrasound at week 11 the technician asked me if I wanted to know, BF wasn’t there. I said I think so, and while I was asking my friend (she came with me to the doctor) whether I should or not, the technician just said, IT IS A BOY.
    So… I kind of didn’t have any other option :) :) :)

  146. Kelsey says...

    Why didn’t I think of this before?! I just assumed we both needed to do the same thing and that’s what we did for all four births. But, I really like your idea, Anne. If I could turn back time…

  147. Jenna says...

    I was so, so, so sick, and finding out kept me going. I always chuckle/roll my eyes when first time parents say things like “We aren’t finding out because its one of the only surprises left in this world”. Believe me, when they hand you a newborn baby it is surprise with or without knowing the gender.

    • Kelsey says...

      This is true, Jenna. After all the effort, it’s still a shocker.

  148. Taysa says...

    I’m currently pregnant, due in six weeks, and we decided not to find out. It was my husband’s wish and I thought it would be hard not to know, but the hardest part was just getting through the first ultrasound. I’ve actually loved not knowing and I appreciate that I didn’t get a lot of gender-specific (and stereotyping) clothes and toys at my baby shower. Since this likely will be our only child, I’ve also appreciated getting to anticipate both having a daughter and having a son.

  149. Sam says...

    I never wanted to find out, but after 3 miscarriages my husband and I did want to find out for my next successful pregnancy. We’re both pretty type-B, so it had nothing to do with planning and everything to do with bonding after our losses. I’m glad we found out the sex of the baby, have no regrets and have chosen to find out again during my current pregnancy. I personally don’t think it took any magic away from the whole experience.

    • Olivia says...

      Thank you for sharing, Sam. After multiple miscarriages, I feel many of the same things.
      When we conceived our first, I was dead-set on it being a surprise, so my shift in thinking has been the biggest surprise for me. Also, we made the choice to name each of our miscarried babies, even though we didn’t know the sex. I’m so sick of gender neutral names now (which I used to love!) that finding out makes the naming process much easier.

  150. Erin says...

    Absolutely I did! But, I am just a bit too Type A to not have known. ;)