Posted: Dec 26, 2012 5:00 AM
To find out or not to find out — that is the question! Moms who had to know share the relief they felt when they found out the sex, and others who braved the unknown, recount the sweet surprise of learning the gender of their babies at birth.

The sex of your baby may be the hottest topic of conversation while you are pregnant. While finding out ahead of time makes it easier to decorate a nursery or purchase gender-specific clothing, there is also the magic and wonder of surprise. We spoke with several moms about their decision to find out — or not.

Just can't wait!

Julie, mother of 10-year-old Nathan and pregnant with her second boy shares, "I love knowing ahead of time so I can shop gender specific — very few stores sell unisex anymore. Also it makes it more real for me to call the baby by name. With this one Nathan and I talk a lot about what he can do with baby Logan and all the things he can teach a brother."

Katie Sluiter, blogger and mother of two boys, remembers, "We totally wanted to find out! The first 20 weeks of not knowing were excruciating to me! We wanted to find out and give them names so we could start addressing them as the people they were — Eddie and Charlie. I definitely felt like it helped me bond with my boys, talking to them and calling them by name."

Molly Smith, allParenting writer and mother of two, shares, "Yes, yes, yes! Neither my husband nor I are patient people and we could not wait to learn the sex of both of our babies. With the first, it was amazing to watch my husband's response as we learned we were having a son. We had such a fun time preparing for our baby boy before his arrival, selecting his name, choosing a nautical nursery theme and finding awesome pieces in antique stores and discount stores, as well as decorating it with some of my husband's Navy medals and more."

I also feel that it helped me bond with each of my child through the pregnancies.

"One of the ways I prepared for motherhood was talking to my son every day on the way to work. I'd tell him about the music I liked, why I fell in love with his dad and all the fun things we'd do together when he arrived. I think this time helped me prepare for becoming a mother and all the responsibilities that would come along with it. When we found out we were having a girl during our second pregnancy, my mom and I could not stop buying cute clothes! Knowing the sex of our children before they arrived helped us prepare their rooms and purchase the appropriate items, but I also feel that it helped me bond with each of my children through the pregnancies."

AllParenting writer Ami Burns remembers her first pregnancy. "My mom and husband (barely) convinced me not to find out the sex the first time around. My husband was late for an ultrasound and as I lay on the table, the tech told me she could tell the sex if I wanted to know. I was dying to know, but knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I found out the sex and my husband didn't and wouldn't be able to keep a secret. I didn't find out and told him I almost did."

Her experience the second time was different. "During our second pregnancy, I told my husband I didn't care what anyone else thought, I was finding out this time. I used the excuse that I wanted to know if we could re-use clothes, which was true. We found out we were having another boy. I just wanted a healthy baby, but my husband says I 'lit up like a Christmas tree' when the ultrasound tech said she saw a penis."

Blogger Lizz Porter, mother of Max, remembers her pregnancy. "We found out at 19 weeks. I knew he was a boy in my heart — I just wanted confirmation. Originally, we decided to find out because, as a high-risk pregnancy, I had an ultrasound at every appointment. We wanted control over when we found out, instead of some tech accidentally saying the gender. I'm especially glad now, in hindsight, because of how dramatic his birth was. I was basically unconscious for the first 4 days of his life, and I didn't think he really existed. To imagine that all those people (concerned family and friends) might know something as important as my baby's gender — when I didn't — would have killed me. We kept his name a secret, so my husband, Jamie, got to announce that to everyone when he was born."

AllParenting writer Katie Kavulla, mother of three, says, "At first, we didn't want to know and had vowed to not find out, even making it through our ultrasound! But, after needing another unexpected ultrasound a few weeks later, we cracked and completely gave in. But, I was so glad we did, as I loved that additional connection to Janie before she was born. For our second and third kids, we didn't even hesitate finding out!"

Keep it a secret

AllParenting writer and mother of two Rachel Voorhees shares, "We didn't find out the gender of either of our kids. I wanted the surprise when I met our baby for the first time. I had a feeling the first baby was a girl and I was correct. The second time, I couldn't decide either way so, yes, a surprise!"

In a life full of Facebook, smart phones and overall instant gratification, where there are relatively no surprises anymore, it was the best surprise I could have ever been given.

Lisa Steinke, allParenting writer says, "When I was pregnant, my husband said he didn't want to find out the gender of our baby. As a control freak, I initially balked, but gave in because, to be honest, I was deciding pretty much everything else. In the end, he was right — in a life full of Facebook, smart phones and overall instant gratification, where there are relatively no surprises anymore, it was the best surprise I could have ever been given."

"We didn't find out with our second baby," shares Heather O'Brien Webb. "I loved the excitement of not knowing until the moment of birth, when my husband gave me the news."

"I found out with my second child, but not my first. So glad I didn't — it was the only true surprise and the best surprise of my life," shares Jennifer Reeves.

"I didn't want to know — wanted to be surprised and I was! I was sure my son was going to be a girl — thought my daughter would be a boy," says Pamela Power.

Time will tell

Whether you find out your baby's sex during pregnancy or keep the secret until birth, you are certain to be surprised either way.

More about your pregnancy

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Important travel tips for pregnant women
Are second trimester ultrasounds necessary?