Gender RevealGender Reveal

Is Life’s Biggest Surprise Worth Waiting For? Cue the gender reveal.

By Babe | Illustration by Ana Hard

In our series The Debate, our community of real moms tackle the pros and cons around the idea of the gender reveal. The truth is, like so many decisions around child rearing, there is no right or wrong answer. At HATCH, our job is to give voice to both sides of any debate, peppering real mom wisdom with the necessary facts so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

For some women, the idea of waiting an entire pregnancy to find out the gender of their baby is absolutely ridiculous. After all, why wait when we have the technology available to us? Yet, for other women, their baby’s sex isn’t something worth knowing. Who cares about something as trite as gender when the baby is healthy and thriving? Particularly when one parent wants one a specific gender, the notion of “finding out” is a weighty proposition that’s almost too heavy to bear.

Let’s hear from our community of real mamas on their decisions surrounding whether or not they found out their baby’s gender. They share their experiences, below.

Need to Know Basis

Rebecca Mark
Charlie, 7 + William, 5

I just really needed to know. I needed to know and I can’t say why. What I do professionally, as a contractor, is me constantly looking 15 steps ahead. It’s my job to anticipate not just tomorrow, but what can happen in six months. It’s not that I went out and bought anything, but I just needed to know what I was getting into. I like to plan. I send out emails about my kids’ birthday parties months in advance. I can’t help myself. If something is happening in six months that I could know about, I need to know. It wasn’t so much about connecting with my baby or needing to name him, it was honestly about knowing what I was getting into.

I have an older sister who didn’t find out, and I was so astonished that she didn’t, that I remember thinking, well I’m definitely finding out. I usually do what she does, but it was one of those things. I mean, how can you not find out what’s in there if someone’s giving you an opportunity to find out? I always want more information. It doesn’t sound so profound when I say it out loud. It was about having a plan, and being able to look ahead.

I remember the moment I found out with my second son, William because I had my fingers crossed for a girl – both times. But that ship has sailed very permanently. When William’s doctor called, she said, “Well, at least one of them is a boy!!” And I said, “One of them? OMG what do you mean?” And she goes, “Oh, sorry Rebecca, I’m looking at the wrong chart! I know you’re dying to know, so I grabbed the information as quickly as I had it.”

I think being a mother of boys totally works for me. It came together. I definitely cried out of disappointment. I always pictured my life with girls. But I gave myself ample time to get over it and then got excited about it. I started getting excited about the idea of brothers and that sort of stuff, and I’m really happy about it.

Anyway, I was really glad I knew.

How To Celebrate If You’re Finding Out….

But We Love a Surprise

Jamie Stelter
Traffic anchor and a “Mornings on 1” co-host at NY1
Sunny, 2 + Story, 2 months

Everyone thought we were completely crazy for not finding out. They’d say, how could there be a thing that you can know and not want to know? But I always knew I wanted a surprise. My mom was surprised with all three of us, and I loved hearing her stories of the surprise. Plus I think because we did IVF and had a miscarriage before we finally had healthy pregnancies, that this would be the one fun, spontaneous part of this whole process.

The truth was that we weren’t going to do anything different. I love girls and boys in all prints, patterns and colors. I wasn’t going to buy a whole pink wardrobe, or paint the room pink or blue. Everything was going to be the same, regardless. So there was no real reason to find out. I just wanted a happy, healthy baby. We even had gender neutral names that we were going to use regardless. Of course it just happened to be that way, but it hammered the point home of who cares whether it’s a boy or girl? There is so much wrapped up into gender. I very much feel like why do we need to put girls in pink and set them all up for this pink tutu life? It feels very strange for me. 

When people have these crazy gender reveal parties, and they’re disappointed, how do you explain that to a child? They’re going to hear about it or see it. It’s strange to me to cheer on one or the other. For me a surprise was so much fun. Maybe I’m talking from having so many problems getting pregnant, but every baby is a miracle. So when I see people really wanting one or the other, it makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the luxury of knowing that if you don’t have a girl this time, you can try again and have another girl, whereas my struggles took something I was already feeling and heightened it. 

With Sunny, everyone told us we were having a boy. They’d say your belly is shaped like a boy. Boy boy boy. Growing up I said I wanted five boys. I thought for sure that’s what my body was meant to create. I had a c-section, and when the doctor handed her over the curtain, I saw a plastic umbilical cord that I thought was a penis. I really thought she was a boy. So when they said girl, I was in shock. I was so deeply in shock. And then Brian and I started hysterical crying that we have a girl! It was very emotional. But it took me a second to be like OMG, we have a girl!

With my son Story, people were divided on what I was having. Every few days, we’d say it’s definitely a boy, it’s definitely a girl. I couldn’t make up my mind and then I had a planned c-section. When the doctor handed the baby to Brian, he said, “It’s a boy!” I truthfully didn’t care either way. What surprised me the most was that after having a girl, I couldn’t picture what having a boy would be like or feel like. I was surprised by how much I loved him. I only knew a daughter’s love so far. He’s only two months old but I already feel strong, beautiful differences in the two. I feel very very lucky.

How To Toast If You’re Staying Neutral….

Eight traditional signs of having a girl

You have morning sickness.
You suffer extreme mood swings.
You gain weight around the middle.
You’re carrying the baby high.
You experience more sugar cravings.
Your stress levels are higher.
Your baby's heartbeat is higher than 140 beats per minute.

Traditional signs of having a boy

Your baby's heartbeat is lower than 140 beats per minute.
You're carrying all out front.
You're carrying low.
You didn't suffer from morning sickness in your first trimester.
Your right breast is bigger than your left.