Did you compromise with your partner on finding out your baby’s sex?

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By: Abigail BatchelderCC BY 2.0
My husband and I are expecting our first child and will be able to find out the sex of the baby soon. I want it to be a surprise, but he hates surprises and is adamantly against the idea of waiting until the birth to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl.

This really upsets me — I kind of feel like he’s taking the magic of our pregnancy away from me. I think it will obviously be a lot less exciting to mull over names and guess what we think the sex might be if he already knows — it actually brings me to tears whenever I think about it.

If one of you wanted to know the sex and the other didn’t, what kind of compromise did you and your partner reach? — M

Comments on Did you compromise with your partner on finding out your baby’s sex?

  1. If you don’t know, you (and everyone else) will buy less unnecessary stuff. Newborns don’t use half the stuff people think they do, and by the time they will need more, it will already be born and you can pick appropriately cute items 🙂

    I agree with the comment above that said, if this is moving you to tears, I think he should back down…

  2. I would say, just keep talking about it. Make sure he knows how important it is to you and discuss possible compromises, like those mentioned by other commenters. Talk about the very real possibility that even if you decide to find out, you may not be able to (happened to us at our ultrasound this month! Baby kept hir privates private) Or that if you choose not to find out, baby may be ultra-cooperative! And really explore your own feelings about it because it may change for one or both of you. It did for me and I’m completely at peace with our decision, even though it wavered for me several times. Good luck!

  3. I’m 28 weeks pregnant with my first child. Before I got pregnant, I was 100% sure I would not want to find out the sex until birth – there are so few surprises in the world, and I didn’t want to have the whole pre-gendered pink/blue dichotomy, etc.

    I went all the way through my first trimester completely convinced. At some point after that, though, around 15 weeks, two things started to happen: first, because I wasn’t feeling any of my crazy first trimester symptoms anymore, but wasn’t feeling the baby move yet, and had lost a bunch of weight early on, I just stopped feeling pregnant, which was sad and confusing. After a few weeks of this, I realized that I really wanted to be able to connect to this specific little person inside me, not just an abstract “baby”, and that finding out the gender might help with that. Second, I came to realize that I was entirely sure that this was a boy – and I was a bit disappointed, because I’d had a lot of fantasies about having a girl, but I somehow just knew, completely, that this squirmy little person I’d seen on the 12-week scan was absolutely, incontrovertibly, a boy.

    Once I got to 20 weeks and had the opportunity to find out, I figured I might as well confirm what I already knew, and it’s been very sweet to feel more connected to my boy after watching him swim around on the scan for an hour, and learning a little bit more about him.

    What LizB said above about paying attention to your own feelings about this is, I think, the key. Because I am single, I don’t have to negotiate a partner’s feelings about this, but I know lots of women who have conceded this point as a way to help their partners feel more connected, even if they felt that it wasn’t useful to know this themselves. Best of luck negotiating this.

  4. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice for you about if/how you should/shouldn’t compromise but I will say this. I did not want to find out the sex (there seems to be a theme here…) and my husband did. I caved and said we could find out the sex. And you know what? For the rest of my life I will never forget that day. I’ll remember how my husband lit up the second the ultrasound technician said it was a girl. I’ll remember holding hands crossing the street outside the hospital and the crossing guard (seeing the ultrasound pics in my hand) asking us what we were having and the two of us answering proudly. I’ll remember how happy we were that day for a long long time. I know it may seem like you’re taking away all the magic by finding out the sex but if you do decide to find out like I did it could add another special memory to your pregnancy.

  5. It seems like the two of you have very different ways of enjoying an event. You get joy out of the possibilities, hence the excitement for picking boy AND girl names. The uncertainty is part of the pleasure. For him, the uncertainty is NOT OK! In order to enjoy this child, it seems like he needs to be able to plan for it, to imagine having a son or a daughter. I would hope that he’s not insisting on knowing just to spoil your fun, but that his way of processing impending parenthood is different than yours. Both of you have equally valid points, and both of you deserve to be heard about this.

    If I were in your situation, I would do this. Agree to wait. You are ABLE to find out the sex at the 20 week point. So maybe neither of you actually look. You have the tech write down the sex on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. You have discussions about names and all that other fun stuff that can happen without sex confirmation, and that lets you have your day dreamy feelings of possibility. At a certain point later in the pregnancy, like at the 7 month mark, when you need to start preparing materially for the kid, that’s when you open the envelope. It allows your planner, no-surprises husband to get a concrete handle on the sex of his child before he has to simultaneously deal with the struggles of newborn parenting.

    Maybe the longer you wait, the more you will want to know. Maybe, the longer you wait, the more he’ll enjoy the anticipation. You have the ability to open that envelope at any point. Sometimes knowing you CAN do something helps you put it off for longer.

  6. I am 20 weeks pregnant with my first & always said i wanted to keep the sex a surprise & hubby wanted to find out. The closer we got to the ultrasound (it was 2 days ago) the more tempted i was to find out but the tech couldn’t get a good enough view to be sure of the sex so now we are having a surprise & i’m so glad i didn’t find out. It was as if the universe knew i still wanted a surprise deep down!

  7. I didn’t want to find out but my husband did. I asked him why, and he said he if it was a girl he needed more time to mentally prepare for the fact that she’d be dating and having sex. I laughed and told him he’d have 12-15+ years to prepare for that.
    We left it alone for a little while, and he said it was okay with him to do what I wanted because I was the one carrying the baby.
    Part of the reason I didn’t want to know was to avoid the explosion of pink nastiness. I am not a fan of pink and can’t stand how everything at baby showers becomes pink or blue based on the sex.
    My husband actually changed his mind and decided he was glad we didn’t find out. Someone else told me it also gives you something to push for, literally! And I’m all for that!

  8. I didn’t want to find out but my husband did. I asked him why, and he said he if it was a girl he needed more time to mentally prepare for the fact that she’d be dating and having sex. I laughed and told him he’d have 12-15+ years to prepare for that.
    We left it alone for a little while, and he said it was okay with him to do what I wanted because I was the one carrying the baby.
    Part of the reason I didn’t want to know was to avoid the explosion of pink nastiness. I am not a fan of pink and can’t stand how everything at baby showers becomes pink or blue based on the sex.
    My husband actually changed his mind and decided he was glad we didn’t find out. Someone else told me it also gives you something to push for, literally! And I’m all for that!

  9. I didn’t want to find out but my husband did. I asked him why, and he said he if it was a girl he needed more time to mentally prepare for the fact that she’d be dating and having sex. I laughed and told him he’d have 12-15+ years to prepare for that.
    We left it alone for a little while, and he said it was okay with him to do what I wanted because I was the one carrying the baby.
    Part of the reason I didn’t want to know was to avoid the explosion of pink nastiness. I am not a fan of pink and can’t stand how everything at baby showers becomes pink or blue based on the sex.
    My husband actually changed his mind and decided he was glad we didn’t find out. Someone else told me it also gives you something to push for, literally! And I’m all for that!

  10. I had to withdraw my comment because this is more important:

    Most non-pregnant parents want to know the sex because they’ll feel better prepared knowing what to expect. My husband was scared of the unknown, but didn’t realize it until we had talked it out hundreds of times.

    The baby, how he feels about it and interacts with it, how good of a parent he is, won’t be any more of a “sure thing” just because he knows what sex it’s going to be. A male doesn’t guarantee a boy, a female doesn’t guarantee a girl.

    My experience was that a.) I deserved that moment of surprise as the mother and the one doing the heavy lifting, pregnancy-wise; b.) when he realized how much this meant to me, he didn’t want to take that moment away from me.

    At the time we compromised that if the element of surprise turned out to be really bad for him, then next time we’d find out the sex. My theory was that no matter what, this surprise would be a good one, and I asked him to focus on that fact because there are so few true and truly good surprises in life.

    Ultimately he decided to give in, and he loved that surprise so much he decided against learning the sex of our future babies before they’re born.

    If you can make a deal with him like that to get him over the hump, then go for it. If not, you always have the option of telling your doctors you do NOT want to know before you go into the scan, and they cannot tell him. (Mine faked it, “I can’t tell, I’m sorry.)

    Good luck!

    • Your doctor lied to your husband? I feel like OBM needs to have a dialogue about non-pregnant partner abuse. Not saying that this is abuse, but at the very lease it’s incredibly disturbing.

      • A woman’s doctor has no obligation to her husband – the only obligation is to the patient. If she doesn’t want certain medical information shared with her husband, that’s her call, and the doctor must abide by that.

  11. Just to throw out a possible compromise, my friend and her husband had the tech write the sex down in an envelope which they opened on Christmas day! Maybe you could do the same on any day that is special to you, a birthday, thanksgiving, 4th of July?? ha. I think it’s a cute idea.

  12. we found out with our first one and not with this current pregnancy. i have found it much better for me to not find out, but during my first pregnancy my husband was gone from before we knew i was pregnant until 3 weeks before the baby was born. it was more important to him to find out because he felt so removed from the pregnancy. this time he has only missed 3 months of the pregnancy, so i chose. i really have preferred to not know, it is making the pregnancy more exciting, but i was just as happy knowing i was having a girl before i had her. also, i know of couples who have the sex written in an envelope and open it later. and some who had the cake for their baby shower reveal the sex (after everyone has bought their gifts so there is no gender bias). it doesn’t have to be stressful, it can be fun whatever way you find out!

  13. My husband and I just had our first and we had a similar situation. We did decide to find out and his excitment was very contagious. By our 20 week ultrasound, I was just as excited to find out our baby’s sex.

    I feel like one parent knowing and the other not knowing could get very tricky. Maybe if there’s another issue you have opposite feelings about then it can play a role in this compromise, he gets this and you get something else you want. Just a thought so that you don’t feel like you’re the only one making the compromise.

  14. I would just like to say, that this is a post I would love to see a follow up to. I really hope M writes back to let us know how it all turns out.

  15. My boyfriend wanted to find out so he could prepare… And he’s terrible at surprises (the minute he finds out I’ve bought a present for him he has to know what it is, Christmas is torture for him!). I however did not want to know. Being a control freak, I figured not knowing was the one thing I could control about the pregnancy (that and I wouldn’t go nuts buying baby clothes). Our compromise, He chose the boy name and I chose the girl name and per his request we didn’t share our names with anyone. He survived the suspense and got his boy :).

  16. My .02 on the topic. With our first two we found out the gender ahead of time. It was exciting, but looking back a little ho-hum sitting in a dark room with a tech who says, “oh looks like a girl”.

    After my sister and husband decided to not find out with their first- we were hooked and decided with our 3rd we would not find out. Sitting in the waiting room- waiting for my brother in law to come in and tell us was SOOOOOOOOOOOO exciting- so much more exciting than getting a phone call saying “we’re going to have a boy” or going to lunch to hear the announcement. It also made for more fun than just a delivery date bet in the family- we also bet on the gender. LOL

    So with our 3rd- I knew I was having a c-section after 2 unsuccessful attempts at vaginal births with my first 2. Not knowing the gender gave me something to look forward to. Even though almost everything we had was PINK for girl- I didn’t care and didn’t want to know. If a baby boy had to sit in a pink swing- I didn’t care- it’s a baby swing for petes sake.

    Anyways- I cannot tell you the joy of going through a c-section (again) and not only waiting for the baby to cry- but hearing my wonderful OB cry out “ITS A GIRL!!!” It was SOOOOO much more exciting than hearing during an ultrasound.

    Now some advice for others- especially first time parents.
    (1) No matter how much you plan and think you are ready- you are never ‘ready’ for a baby.
    (2) Finding out the gender at 20 weeks DOES NOT make you bond more closely with your baby for the rest of your pregnancy. This is YOUR child, YOUR baby who is inside of you- and whether you know if it’s a he or a she does NOT dictact how much you will bond with your baby.
    (3) If you want one gender more than the other- DONT FIND OUT THE SEX AHEAD OF TIME. Finding out early only gives you 20 weeks to go “oh crap- its a XXXXX and I really wanted a XXXXXX. If you wait until labor- you are so elated and so excited and INSTANTLY INSANELY IN LOVE AND AMAZED with your baby- the gender will be ZERO on a scale of making any difference or meaning anything to you. LOL

    Now my dilemma is that I am due with baby #4 and want to NOT find out again- meanwhile he is stuck on finding out- he thinks he can keep it a secret from me? yeah right!

  17. My husband doesn’t really care either way, but his mother made a VERY valid piece of advice for us that I’ve heavily considered. She did it with my husband, not revealing the gender until the birth. The reason? She explained that for her baby shower, people were apt to give practical gifts that she needed more than just a bunch of pretty clothes that would last a month. She never regretted it. Maybe you can compromise with your husband, maybe knowing about the gender with just the two of you and not sharing with others..where he isn’t surprised, and you still get the benefit of surprising others. Or even letting your husband speak with your doctor, and keep the information of the gender from you. I guess theres different ways you could go about it. Maybe this might help a little. Good luck!

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