Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To Know or Not to Know- That is the Question

For "Mrs." who asked me to compare knowing the baby's sex before hand, vs. not knowing until the birth day. My apologies for it's disorganization. Sleep deprivation and breastfeeding are to blame-both of which come with the territory and which I wholeheartedly embrace during this season!)=)

As you know, during my pregnancy with Addison, when the notorious 20 week sonogram rolled around, we chose not to find out her sex- at least not out-right. Actually we compromised initially because I really didn't want to know the sex of the baby, as we had already experienced what it was like to know before-hand with Caiden. But, Jeff was of the opinion that if you can find out, why wouldn't you? So we decided to have the sonogram technician put the secret in an envelope and seal it. The original plan was to go out to dinner as a family and have Jeff open it and tell us. However when we got there Jeff shocked me with his willingness to leave The Envelope as the Keeper of the Secret. We were, after all, half way through the pregnancy. However, I was convinced that the secret would be out before the baby was, because, who has that kind of will-power?! I will say that we hid The Envelope from view so it wasn't a daily temptation.

Long story short, we made it! Jeff was supposed to announce the baby's sex at birth, but our Doctor/friend forgot and excitedly announced: "it's a girl". It's was a short proclamation in the midst of a symphony of sounds and exclamations. I'm surprised it even registered in my hormone inebriated brain and during the climax of the birthing process. I don't think either of us would have thought to look for a little while. There's just something magical about the moment your child makes their appearance, and in that moment, nothing else really matters. I remember the announcement being startling at the time, not because I was surprised of Addison's gender, but because I had gotten used to bonding with my baby without gender playing a role. It hadn't been a factor in the development of our relationship. All of a sudden, this little one that was so bonded to me already had a face, and then suddenly a gender, and her person began to take shape in my mind. She was no longer just an idea, or spirit, or One-Causing-Me-to-Grow, my precious child, my teammate in the birthing process, but she had a physical qualities that weren't factors in the budding of our relationship while she was in my womb. Does that make sense?
I don't remember it being that way with Caiden. With her, we did find out, and she was our "Sweet Baby Girl" from that point on. I'm glad we found out with Caiden, because she was our first, and the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth is so hard to wrap your mind around, but knowing that she was a girl made it seem more real and more tangible. She was always just Caiden- my little girl, we had struggled together to get her here safely, we had learned together what it meant to be pregnant and how to become a mother. We had bonded as mother and daughter before she arrived. I don't remember my view of her changing after her arrival. Part of that may also be that the sonogram pictures we got of Addison were not clear at all. (She was constantly moving, and wouldn't be still long enough to get a good picture.) So we didn't have that glimpse of her developing face and form like we had of Caiden. (Whose sonogram pictures were mindbogglingly clear and look just like her newborn pictures!)

Both Jeff and I agree that it was more fun NOT knowing "what we got" before hand. We like surprises, and it seemed fitting that after the challenging pregnancy, and all of the work we did to give her the best possible birthing experience we could, that we get a nice surprise for our efforts.

I think it was probably beneficial for us that we didn't know in advance, because we likely would have subconsciously expected her to be like Caiden, and she is nothing like her sister in any way. We didn't have any preconceived notions about who or what she would be. It was a clean slate, and I think it was rather nice to begin getting to know HER face to face.
Unlike some, we weren't able to come up with a name for our girls before they made their appearance, and in fact both of them received their middle names several days following their births. So that definitely wasn't a differing factor in knowing the gender or not.

On a superficial level, it was nice to have been able to pick out and set up the nursery in advance with Caiden, Addison's room still isn't finished. =) As far as clothing goes, we had enough gender-neutral gowns and onesies to make it through the first few days, so I wasn't worried about that much if we had had a boy. Maybe as a first time Mom that would have been more challenging- there are so many unknowns, it's nice to be able to be organize and "prepared"- at least in the material sense. The second time around all I was concerned about was having diapers- the rest we could figure out easily enough. =)

So which do I prefer? I think not knowing is super fun, but given the chance, I wouldn't have changed the way we did it with our girls. Both ways were perfect for us at the time. If I do this a third time I don't know what I'd do. I think I'll leave that for another day- I've got two beautiful girls who need their Mama right now. =)

1 comment:

Mrs said...

Thank you so much, Shae! You have described this perfectly . . . your paragraph leading up to Addison's birth describes my experience exactly, while your paragraph about Caiden's partnership in your pregnancy gives a valid argument.

You wrote: There's just something magical about the moment your child makes their appearance, and in that moment, nothing else really matters.

This is exactly why we never found out! That moment can only happen once, after all.