The Gender Issue

Here’s this week’s Regarding Annie column.

“There is a reason a baby’s gender should sometimes be a surprise.

This is our last child, and I am so glad we haven’t found out the sex of the baby. I sit around staring at walls and random strangers, contemplating the possibilities of Its gender and all the things that go with it. Logically, I want a girl. We’ve got two boys and a daughter, even numbers are so refreshing. Besides, who doesn’t like the idea of clearing out all the mini-male paraphernalia once and for all? It will simplify so much.

The funny thing is how many people are horrified that we have the gall to wait it out. If they only realized the upside of ignorance.

With our first baby, Harrison, I was so certain and so hopeful that he was a girl, just the idea of a boy gave me fits. Quite frankly, nothing short of a c-section could have convinced me otherwise, and I can tell you right now that had we found out, I would have mourned my expected little daughter.


The moment the doctor pulled him out and said the word, “Boy!” I was madly in love. I didn’t have a chance to miss my baby girl, she had been replaced with a handsome, strong, new little man that took over my world with his first wail. It was magical, shocking, and I instantly forgave him for entering the world with the wrong chromosome.

With June, my third, I also “knew” she was a girl. Unfortunately, I had to admit that my intuition is totally faulty. My sweetheart was adamant that we wait for the surprise, but I came up with a list of personal reasons why I needed to know, and committed the ultimate crime: I secretly found out the sex of our baby and didn’t tell my husband.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve only recently revealed this treacherous act to my darling, who no longer trusts me and thinks I’m the world’s worst person/greatest liar. Mr. Honest John is convinced that I know what we’re having this time and am full of sneaky, underhanded mom-foolery. (He’s also been secretly investigating the possibility that I’m an undercover Russian spy.)

Having been on both sides of this gender fence, and looking back at my experience with June, I so wish I had waited for those three magical words–“It’s a girl!”

When it comes right down to it, there are so few grand surprises left in the world, I don’t want to mess with one of God’s most thrilling moments. And I know how fun it was in the ultrasound room, but it didn’t hold a candle to meeting my baby in person.

Boy or girl, it really won’t matter. This will be our last baby, the last time I’ll experience the magic first hand. We don’t care if it comes out pink or blue (figuratively speaking). Bringing a child into the world is a first-class miracle that I’ve been privileged to experience, and I wouldn’t trade this sacrifice for anything.

Now, if I can just avoid labor until my husband comes home from Never Never Land.”


  1. Crossing my fingers that labor does not come until after neverland!!

  2. I don’t know why, but I keep feeling this one is a boy too.

  3. Oh Anne, I committed a crime like yours as well and I’m still not forgiven 5 years after blurting out the truth. It was when he was stationed in Korea, we had sent each other christmas presents and his came a month early. I lasted 3 days and opened it and when it came to c-mas day, i pretened to open my present on the phone. To this day I’m the cheater, ,cant be trusted. UGH! We don’t find out the sex either and I have thought about sneakily finding out myself this time like you did with June but I think you gave me extra confidence to go ahead and keep with the suprises! I hope you get exactly what you want, because truly sex doesn’t matter, it will be perfect, because its yours. 🙂

  4. I found out each time. However, with my first I was told I was having a boy and she turned out to be a girl!! She was a huge surprise to us. Second time around my husband insisted we didn’t find out, but he couldn’t make it to my scans… Which meant I found out as I really wanted to know. Whenever people asked if I knew what I was having I would answer, ‘part of me wanted to know and part of me didn’t want to know’. I couldn’t just lie and say that I didn’t know so I had to say something. They all thought I didn’t know, in fact she was a few years old before I admitted that I had always known. Fun days.

  5. Now that I’m done having kids, I can with a certainty that I wish I had NOT fallen to the peer pressure I felt to find out the sex of my babies.

    It would have been a wonderfully, magical experience to hear those three little words.

    I’m sort of a little jealous.

  6. Still thinking about you & hoping you’ll be able to hold out until J gets home! I loved this post and wish I hadn’t found out the gender with my babies, but I just couldn’t stay strong enough not to. With our second, we weren’t planning on finding out, but both of us thought we saw what it was on the ultrasound, even though they didn’t tell us. So that wasn’t a fun experience – not knowing, but then pretty sure we did know. I love that part where you talk about melting when they said Harrison was a boy. I do think that would be a great experience – but I won’t ever have it! I admire you for being strong and not finding out!! Can’t wait to hear when this little one arrives!

  7. My baby was born yesterday! Couldn’t resist the full moon, I guess. And no matter how strange and cruel it sounds to say it, I’m glad you are still pregnant!

    We didn’t know the gender beforehand, and I wanted to have a girl so badly (because I already have a boy). And you know what….it was a boy! And I couldn’t agree with you any more about instantly being madly in love with him. I was in shock for a split second, when my husband said it was a boy. I thought he was joking. And then, I thought, “Yay!!!! I have another boy!”

  8. I’ll tell you this much: Having another boy will simplify your life, because multiple daughters – as you well know – ramp up the drama factor exponentially. But there is also something so wonderful about having sisters, and having your daughters have sisters. So I’ll celebrate with you, no matter what you get!

    Love you, Annie Bananie! Let us know how things go!

  9. “Back in the day” we never knew what we were having. I used to tell the kids that whatever the baby turns out to be, we’ll find out that’s what we really wanted all along. And it’s TRUE.
    However, on my last (who is 25), I had an ultra sound about 2 weeks before my c-section date. The tech asked if we wanted to know – I said we already had 3 girls, so don’t tell us if you’re not 100% sure. Well, it turned out to be wonderful to have a little heads up! After you’ve had 3 of the same sex in a row, your chances of having the opposite sex drop dramatically. My husband – a pilot – is convinced we had a boy because he hadn’t been flying for 2 years before the Man-Child’s conception. Statistically, pilots have way more girls than boys – it’s not just anecdotal experiences. But, I soon knew why he came last: it was so that I’d have another 3 sets of eyes to help watch him!

  10. I’m with you, boy, girl, it doesn’t matter. Pink, blue on the other hand. That matters a lot.
    Let’s go with pink shall we?

  11. Oh you Valentine girls, I know you love not knowing. You know, I am too OCD to NOT find out. It would be the worst experience in the world to come home to an unfinished nursery with gender neutral clothes and probably no name on the baby since it has taken hubby and I approxiametly 20 weeks to settle on a name even knowing the gender!

    I also thought for sure Brody would be a girl (thanks to the string…) and when the ultrasound said boy, although I wasn’t disappoint-just surprised, it took me less than 2 hours to do an absolute total 180 flip and not be the most thrilled woman in the world to be having that precious boy.

    I love people having babies no matter what and whether it’s the day of birth or the day of the ultrasound, getting that phone call to find out what the gender is so super exciting! Either way works for me. And I’d better get some kind of phone call the second your darling peeks into the world, via Grandma or Jenny or someone or you are busted woman!

    Love you, so happy for you, good job on keeping it in so long, I’ll be thinking of you.

  12. I LOVE that you didn’t find out this time! We haven’t found out either, but it’s been KILLING us this time to not know. I keep losing my resolve, especially when driving by Fetal Foto. Reading your post is strengthening me to know I CAN wait to see what’s been cooking in there all this time. 😉