Did you find out the sex of your baby? #I've got a question!#gender#pregnancy February 22 | Stephanie Kaloi Offbeat Families runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Hailey has her 20 week appointment in two days, and is wondering whether or not they should find out the sex of their baby. What do you think? Photo by Abigail Batchelder, used with Creative Commons license. I am pregnant with my second child and I have my 20 week ultra-sound in a few days. I didn't find out sex with my first child, but this time I am unsure about waiting. I feel like I want to know, but you can't unring a bell and I worry I will be disappointed once it is done. I would love to hear people's take on finding out sex — did it help you bond sooner to your in-utero baby? Did you feel at all disappointed once you found out? Did you feel less or more excited about the birth once you found out? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Stephanie Kaloi I am the former editor of Offbeat Families, and owner/photographer at Stephanie Kaloi Photography in Portland, OR. PREVIOUS How two lesbian mamas share breastfeeding duties NEXT Reading fantasy fiction and raising independent kids Toggle comments [ 169 ] Comment navigation Newer Comments → I hate surprises so I HAD to know the gender of my baby as soon as the time was right! For one thing, I am a planner and it helped with registering for gifts and planning the nursery. More importantly, I felt more bonded (I should say more deeply bonded, because the bond would have been there either way) because we were then able to settle on a name and regard the baby by his name whenever we talked to my tummy or about him. But it's such a personal choice, you have to decide what's right for your family 17 agree Those are words out of my own mouth. I wanted to know for all the planning reasons but it ended up helping me to identify this "thing" growing in my belly as a real person with whom I could bond. 7 agree Likewise. I am pregnant with my first and plan to find out. I don't think in the long run it makes that much of a difference (I will love my child either way), but finding out is helping me grapple with the imminent parenthood when I have never really had that "mothering" drive to have oodles of babies. 2 agree I didn't find out with my first but decided to with my second. I was afraid of the lost mystery and debated back and forth on finding out but I can honestly say it didn't make a bit of difference. I'm not closer with my unborn baby now that I know he's a Ben and not a Charolette than I was with my first son. I don't think it will take away from the specialness of our birth either. 3 agree For me, Geneviève is my first pregnancy. We found out the sex about 7 weeks ago, and I can say that it's definitely helped me to bond a bit with her. For one, I'm not calling the baby "it" anymore (and while I realize pronouns might change in time for various reasons, I like being able to use a specific one for now). For another, it helps to make everything feel more real for my husband and me. She's a real person to us now whereas before she was this unexpected thing moving around inside me. Honestly, we were both totally excited about any sex, but I think I would have been too impatient to wait for it to be a surprise. Though we have been getting a lot of unhappy comments about "spoiling the surprise" for others…as if it's not our choice to share happy and exciting news. However, I will say that I don't think it has made me more excited. I was already excited enough regardless of sex. If surprise means a lot to you and you can handle the suspense, I'd keep it a surprise. You've already done it once, so you know what to expect suspense-wise. 6 agree The Christmas before our girl was born, my brother bought us a huge pile of children's books. When he gave them to us, he said, "This is a present for both of you and for Alice." It was the first time someone called her by her name and it made her real like nothing else had. I thought of that when I read your comment. Good luck to you and Genevieve. 0 agree I requested to know the gender, and now I get to talk my 28 week old feotus by name – I love that! Plus, I think that it really helped make the whole baby thing less abstract for my husband. He was constantly refering to her as "The Kid" up until he chose her name. Now she's more living being and less future object. 3 agree We still call our 7-year-old "The Kid." 6 agree We decided to find out the sex of our little fetus/baby at 20 weeks, and are happy with our choice. However, when it comes to finding out her gender, only time will tell. 87 agree yep, I too start a bit when people ask the gender of my baby 8 agree Touche. 2 agree Thank you! how many people have I corrected this pregnancy!!! 0 agree What do you mean by you know the sex but not the gender? 0 agree From http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/ Sometimes it is hard to understand exactly what is meant by the term "gender", and how it differs from the closely related term "sex". "Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. "Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. To put it another way: "Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. So while you can know the sex, ultimately your child will choose their own gender identity. Chances are high that sex & gender will line up along standard lines, but there's a lot of wiggle room. 13 agree Thanks for the clarification on this (and so quickly!) But letting the kid choose his gender? How does that work? Do you have children? 1 agrees I don't have kids, but I am familiar with the theory from my sociology classes. Pretty much the child's sex is predetermined, but how he or she chooses to express themselves is their gender. You could have a masculine acting girl or a feminine acting boy. They choose whether they're into dolls or trucks or blue or pink (I'm totally stereotyping here, because society has labeled certain things acceptable for boys or girls and what they like isn't always the same as those ideas.) By being supportive of their choices and development, you're letting them choose their gender expression. 5 agree We did not find out the gender, and I'm so glad we didn't because it didn't make any difference whatsoever. There wasn't one thing gender-related that we had to deal with that would make us regret not finding out. And selfishly, we loved that we got to hear "IT'S A ___!" like we've always dreamed of. The only difficult thing was that we had to pick not one, but two names! 6 agree We wanted to be surprised by our first bub, but tried to find out for our second. Tried and failed, because on all of the ultrasounds she had her hand covering herself very modestly. *Laughs* 0 agree I found out with my daughter and in hindsight, I do regret it. I'm now pregnant with my second and won't be finding out… really looking forward to the surprise 0 agree I didnt find out, but I KNEW I was having a girl and I was right. But for the next baby, we will find out because it will be the last one. We will then go through the piles of clothes we have been hanging on to and decide what to keep and what to donate. 1 agrees I've only got the one, but we didn't find out the sex ahead of time. We enjoyed the surprise and had two names picked out that we really liked. For the next one, whenever that is, I don't know. It might be easier to explain to Roland if we can tell him whether he'll have a brother or sister. I'm not sure lol. 3 agree I think it's probably different for everyone, but I can honestly say that yes-I was happy to have found out. I am not really one who likes surprises though either. It did help to bond imo because I was calling the baby by name each time @ around 5m. Of course I think this can be achieved with a pet name as well, but for me, saying "him" or "her" helped. 0 agree Well I always knew I was having a girl. I could just feel it! So when I found out that she was a 'she', I listened to a Queen and jumped around singing with the hubby! I liked being able to call my belly Penny, and I liked being right! Although, I kinda wanted to be wrong when she was born, that way I could say "SEEE!" to all of the people who insisted in getting her pink things and not gender-neutral like i wanted! 2 agree Totally agree with that last statement. The one thing that bothers me about sharing the news with family is that they think they can buy her all pink stuff now. What about all those other awesome colors?? 20 agree Hmm … I totally intend to find out, but you've now given me a pretty good reason to not necessarily *share* that I've found out. I'll have to give it some thought. 9 agree That is exactly what my husband and I did. We found out but chose not to tell anyone, mostly because I wanted to avoid the onslaught of gender-based gifts. And well, the lesson is…people just waited until after the birth to give us gender-based gifts. People just can't seem to help themselves. I chose to find out because I did have a preference and I wanted to give myself enough time to deal with it potentially being the "unpreferred" sex before the birth. I didn't want to potentially be "disappointed" by something as ultimately inconsequential (I have since realized) as the sex immediately after the birth. 9 agree This! I'm still kinda inbetween wanting to know or not but one of the main things that's making me lean towards not knowing is the fact that people won't buy half as much pink or blue crap. And unfortunately they'll do that even if you request they don't buy a lot and please not this or that colour. So, you end up with your house completely cramped and no way to politely donate or chuck it since the gift giver keeps a close eye on it (yes, I mean you MIL). I could keep my mouth shut no matter how much people dig but I'm not so sure hubby dearest could 3 agree I see where you guys are coming from but keeping the sex a secret for that reason really backfired on a friend of mine! Basically hardly anyone gave her a gift for her baby shower and instead waited till after bub was born THEN gave her tonnes of pink. Thing was she had already bought everything they needed (after not getting it at her shower) and so ended up with waaay too much stuff. Just something to keep in mind. 2 agree We're also waiting to find out, partly because of the pink/blue stuff issue. If something similar happens to us, though, I think my response would be to donate all the pink, and if anyone objects to my not keeping their gift I would point out that I already had such and such an item, and it's such a shame they weren't comfortable gifting necessary items until after I'd already purchased them myself. 3 agree I was very, very nervous that our families would give us tons of stupid over-the-top princess pink stuff at my baby shower etc. if we told them we were having a girl. I was pleasantly surprised to find that although I received 'girly stuff' it wasn't always pink, and in fact most of what we got is purple, blue or red. Maybe it's just my family? I love bright colors, and pastel yellow and green just don't do it for me. I wanted hot pink, bright orange, green, blue and purple. Also, I love vintage 60s & 70s bold contrasting patterns, which I incorporated. Unless your mom has Disney fettish, I wouldn't worry too much about the princess stuff. That's not really in vogue at the moment anyway! Just look at carters.com (my favorite mainstream baby store!) 0 agree We decided to find out last week, but haven't told anyone yet because of the pink/blue issue along with random people's generalizations about what girls/boys are like. But now I'm having second thoughts. Maybe some gender specific stuff wouldn't be bad…ALL green and yellow might be boring. I'm also afraid we won't be able to sustain the secret! 2 agree It's not a bad idea to keep this secret…People will still buy you lots of gender specific stuff after the baby is born. Plus, it's nice to have some things (like stroller/car seat, etc) as gender neutral, in case you have more kids later. 1 agrees I'm not a parent yet, and have no plans for the near future. However I do know that I would want sex-neutral items for specifically the above reason. We intend on having multiple children (fingers crossed), so I'd like to be in a position to reuse the items. A request will be given for sex-neutral coloured items so they can be reused by us at a later time. As a side note, I've purchased some light/bright blue clothes as a gift for a sex-unknown-baby-to-be for a friend. Regardless of colour the babygrows were too cute! 0 agree I'm 15 weeks pregnant with my first, so I have been thinking about this a lot lately. For some reason, I don't seem to get any reassurance from ultrasounds, doppler, tests, or anything. Oddly enough it almost distances me from the baby, like I have to get a stranger to be the middleman between me and the baby. So I think that I'm going to wait until it's born to find out the sex. Plus, I love surprises! But I honestly think that there is no right or wrong way… do what feels right for you, for this pregnancy. Good luck in your decision! 4 agree I concur with the other posters. We found out we're having a girl at my 18 week ultrasound. I feel like it made her less abstract (and put an end to our boy-name troubles!). There was one reason that I really chose to find out: I had already convinced myself that it was going to be a boy (I'd dreamed it! I also dreamed I'd give birth on February 17 and here it is the 22nd and I'm still pregnant–oops). And because I had myself convinced, I was beginning to create this idea in my mind of my future son, our relationship, etc. I knew if I gave birth and the baby turned out to be a girl instead of the boy of which I'd convinced myself, I'd feel like she was a total stranger. Knowing this, I decided to find out. I'm so glad that I did! Now let's just hope that the ultrasound tech wasn't wrong! 2 agree Because my partner is a gender sociologist, I feel compelled to point out that what you're really finding out (or not) is the sex of the baby. Gender is a social construct and not measurable by physical tests. That said, we chose to find out the sex for both of our sons mainly because I'm an information addict. It didn't change anything to know for us though. One good reason to find out would be if you're undecided/uninformed on the issue of circumcision. In that case, if you found out early that you were having a boy, you'd have plenty of time to do your research and make an informed decision. 22 agree I totally just changed the post title, but would like to acknowledge that I had it as "gender" originally so that your comment makes sense. Considering I received my BA in Sociology, it kind of kills me that I overlooked that. 2 agree We're going to find out the sex, but only my partner and I will know. We're not telling anyone because I know people will either start bombarding us with blue things with construction trucks or pink things with princesses. 2 agree Of course, there's also intersex! It gets even more complicated! Intersex isn't actually all that unusual, I don't think. 5 agree wow. i really had no idea that gender is a social construct and i admit, i don't really get the difference between sex and gender, even knowing this new bit of info… 2 agree Sex is biological..i.e. the parts you are born with (penis vs. vagina vs. ambiguous). Gender is much more than that..what you identify as. I don't think it is as simple as that but it is an easier way of explaining it. 1 agrees i mean, i guess that makes sense to me but i'm old-fashioned, maybe. to me, a girl is a girl and a boy is a boy, based on their bits. regardless of sexual orientation, if a girl is a tomboy, she's still a girl and if a boy is effeminate, he's still a boy. that's just the way i think, so it's interesting to look at it from this lens of disassociating biological sex from gender. 6 agree I do not have kids (yet) but I photograph newborns at the hospital and always like to hear about the parents experience with finding out or not finding out. The most memorable though was the time the parents were told they were having a girl and out came a cute little boy. I think it was really tough for the parents who packed all kinds of pink and purple things in their hospital bags and you could just see on their faces that they were still in shock. I think I will choose to wait just because I think it would be so exciting (like Christmas) to find out on the day of but I hear good things about both options. 2 agree If I'm honest with myself, I'll admit that I wanted a girl, and was very glad we found out we were having a boy at 20 weeks so that I could grow to love the idea. Since I'm only having one child, I had to fully release sadness over the fact that I'd never raise a daughter. It was an emotional process I was glad to get out of the way BEFORE my son arrived on the scene. 35 agree I was about to write a comment that said the exact same thing. I wanted a girl and for some reason was always sure I would have a girl. I had to deal with quite a bit of disappointment after the 20 week ultrasound – but I'm also glad I worked out all of that emotional stuff before he was born. For me, it was almost like a grief & loss experience – I had to mourn the loss of the girl I had imagined. By the time Felix arrived I was in love with him and with the idea of raising a boy. 8 agree That's how it was with my second son. My first one, from the moment the test was positive, I just knew he was a boy. I would have went to Vegas on those odds. So when the ultrasound showed boy parts, I wasn't shocked. With the second, I couldn't truly tell if he was a boy or girl, and was really really hoping for a girl. I too had to go through some disappointment when he PROUDLY displayed his bits. I'm glad I had the time to work through that or else the first few months would have been a difficult road. 1 agrees I also wanted a little girl but when I found out on December 23 that I was having a little boy- I was happy (that's what my husband wanted). I think I'm glad I had time to adjust to knowing he's a boy and get excited about buying little boy clothes instead of the little dresses I had imagined (and I know I am kinda buying into gender constructs by buying what's seen as 'boy' clothes but for now I feel like I can just buy based on his sex until he decides to define himself gender-wise). So I was glad to find out and be able to talk to Xander and tell other people about Xander and make him seem more 'real'. 0 agree Same for me as well! I was convinced I was having a boy. I would tease my husband that our baby was a girl, but deep down I knew my baby was a boy. So when the technician said "it's a girl!" what did surprise me was the sudden depression I felt. It took me a few days to mourn and feel depressed and just let it go. But like others said here, I am SO happy that I found out ahead of time so that I could get VERY excited about having a girl. I'm very afraid for what could have happened to me emotionally if I had waited to find out. As for others buying me tons of pink stuff? My friends and family know me well, I have so many great colors in my baby's wardrobe! Pinks, blues, orange, black even! Make sure that you register for gender neutral items (like green and yellow) and spread the word about loving ALL colors. People will get the hint. My baby is due in 4 weeks….if she turns out to be a boy…well, we get to go clothes shopping again haha. 0 agree I was convinced I would have a boy. I am a tomboy, how am I supposed to raise a girl? The world wouldn't do that to me. When I was about 16 weeks along, our friend, who is an ultrasound tech, secreted us into the hospital with a big group of friends. He hadn't done a pregnancy ultrasound since school, and we were early, so he didn't want to hazard a guess, but after I prodded at him for a while, he told me that he thought it was a boy. Duh, I wanted to say. Fast forward a few weeks. When my husband and I went in to have our official ultrasound done, it was quite a surprise when she told us we were having a girl. Although, I was excited and happy, I did have to re-order things in my head. I felt like I had lost the dream of having a boy, but I do love my little girl. Of course, now she's three and will only wear dresses. At least she likes dinosaurs. 1 agrees This is exactly why I wanted to know. I wanted a girl and my biggest fear was that it would be a boy and that I would be upset and not be able to love him as much. From the very beginning I had a very strong idea that it would be a boy, but sometimes I would still call it by my girl name in my head. In the moment of truth at the ultrasound I was totally unsurprised. Halfway through the appointment I went to the bathroom and said to myself, "well, this way I probably won't have to deal with princess culture." I am planning on only having one child, and it took a few days to grieve that broken female genetic line/bond and also to get over the idea of not being able to pass on certain heirlooms/toys. But I made a list of all the things that I will be able to enjoy doing with my CHILD regardless of being a different sex. I found out that there are still so many special things that the two of us will be able to share. Furthermore, I decided that I can still give my baby some of the things I wanted to pass on. My old soft pink blankey that I always had is still going to be his because love and comfort doesn't care about colour and the baby quilt that my great-grandmother made for me when I was born is still a connection to a family that I finally realized was important to me when I found out I would be contributing a new member to that family. Maybe he'll never want the dollhouse that my parents made for me, but I am so happy to be having a boy, THIS boy, that I can't imagine anything else. I'm so glad I found out because it allowed me to commit my full self to this little baby without worrying. That all said, we refuse to tell anyone else the sex and are looking forward to being able to surprise everyone else. 4 agree Hopefully you might have already discovered this, but your son will probably love your dollhouse! At least at a younger age like 3ish 0 agree There's no right or wrong answer to this, but if I could have found out the baby's sex with the first at home pregnancy test, I would have. I really, truly, deeply did not care what the sex was, but I really, really wanted to know. It made everything a little more real to me, I guess; on the other hand, it made it harder to get anyone to buy anything gender neutral. My sis found out the sex at an early ultrasound and had the ol' switcheroo pulled on her at a later one, which really just reminded all of us that it didn't matter either way. 3 agree haha i was Matthew, right up until the day i came out. then i was Nicole. 4 agree same with me. i was brandon before i was born, and jennifer after. 1 agrees My grandma thought she was going to have another boy when my mom was born. 0 agree The only advice I can give you is go with what your heart tells you and don't let anyone change your decision. Unfortantely I feel that happened to me. I was head strong on not knowing then through people saying "well you don't want a bunch of yellow and green for your baby shower" or "how can you decorate the baby's room" until I really started thinking like that as well. This is my first and I'm having a girl (so they say, but I won't believe that until she's born) and I swear for my 2nd child I will NOT find out! If you find out, do it because YOU and your other half want to! Good luck with your decision, it's not an easy one when your on the fence. 2 agree I'm an English teacher – "they," the word a cousin used, is inappropriate and "it" is uncomfortable for me. We looked, but the baby wasn't cooperative. The tech said that she's 80% positive the little fish is a she… so we say "she" since it won't hurt if she's not and if she is, it's better to use a gendered pronoun than "it." Whatever you choose, remember that you don't have to tell anyone else. I'm building a human, not a princess or a firefighter. I enjoy the vague quality of our "diagnosis" as we can defer the pink explosion coming from the mother-in-law. 6 agree lol, I'm a linguist and have a different perspective on epicene 'they'. It might be officially ungrammatical, but using the plural pronoun instead of the singular in contexts like these (where the actual referent is still singular) has actually been around since early Modern English (Laitinen 2007 'Agreement Patterns in English') and many folks today consider it more polite than gendered singular pronouns. It makes me feel much better about my automatic use of 'they' in casual & oral language contexts. : ) In regards to 'it', sometimes I feel like if "It's a [boy/girl]!" is grammatical, then 'it' should be an OK pronoun to use elsewhere, too. But they're different 'it's, so it still makes sense that we're ok with one and not the other. : P Sorry, just had to geek out for a sec. 15 agree I found out with my son, and it was very exciting! Though we were both certain we'd be having a girl, so there was a couple moments of mental readjusting when we found out. That said, I've been debating not finding out next time. For one, regardless of sex the kid is getting to big brother's baby hand-me-downs. Also, I'm curious what that moment post-birth is like. BUT I also know that I want a girl next time, and I agree with what Ariel says above — I don't know if I want the birth of my child colored by my moment of, "Aww maaaan." Soooo I don't regret finding out the sex, but I'm curious what it's like from the other side. 1 agrees we didn't find out, but i also can't tell you what that moment post-birth of "it's a ____!" is like, because i was so out of it from 23 hours of labor that i didn't hear the announcement! i was the last person in the room to know that i'd just delivered a little boy. 2 agree Aww, bummer! I can imagine it being hard to focus at that very moment — honestly, I know I stared at my son when they were cleaning him off, but I don't really remember it. Childbirth is a weird experience. 1 agrees I found out the sex of our first and only child basically so I could figure out if I was right or not. I had the feeling she was a girl from the time I took the positive pregnancy test, so when the time came I asked to see. I had been looking at ultrasound pics online and everything, so as soon as we got to that part of the ultrasound I looked at it once and said that's a girl. The tech was even suprised and said yep it is. I also didn't want to go that long without knowing for sure. 0 agree I found out my first was a boy and dealt with the disappointment that I had. I had wanted a little girl so much and had been convince that he was a girl. I found out that my second was a boy, but I knew fairly early on with him just from my own intuition. So, that was no problem to accept. We decided not to find out the gender of our third because we had a homebirth midwife and would have had to pay out of pocket for an ultrasound. So, we actually decided that we wouldn't have an ultrasound unless there was some indication of a problem. As much as I wanted a girl, I knew that if I didn't find out, I had to accept this baby as a separate individual. I think that I am closer to this child both in and out of utero. I felt no disappointment when I heard, "It's a boy". I just maintain that I'll adopt a girl at some point. 1 agrees I found out with both. I don't do surprises and now I know (well almost know, 95% sure) this is a girl I feel more bonded to her than I did when she was it or fetus. And she has a name I can refer to her as. It just makes it more real for me. 0 agree I knew I was having a boy and the ultrasound confirmed it. We found out to satisfy our own curiousity and for the benefit of generous family members. Plus I invited my mom to the appointment and she was so overjoyed to be there when we found out. It was a special moment. I don't think our family would have let us wait a full 9 months to find out. When my cousin was pregnant she did not find out the baby's sex, but her in-laws bought her all boy clothes anyway because they wanted a boy. She now has 3 boys. 0 agree Comment navigation Newer Comments → Comments are closed.