Monday, November 29, 2010

Going old school

By Tom Erickson

Having a baby is the ultimate conversation starter. From the minute we started telling people about my wife's pregnancy, friends, family and total strangers have been eager to tell stories, dispense advice and ask questions.

The first trimester was filled with stories about morning sickness, strange cravings and other issues related to being with child. Even people you meet at a party are quick to share their best (and worst) memories.

Now that we're into the fifth month, one question stands out: "Have you found out the gender yet?"

The answer is: "No, we've decided to be surprised."

That's right, we're old school. We are happy with a boy or a girl. The excitement of having a baby is greater than knowing its gender before delivery. Unless the baby decides to "show off" the next time we see it on the screen, gender will be a mystery until delivery.

Reaction to this announcement has been mixed. Most are surprised, but respect and like our old-school ways.

My mother reminded me that sonograms were rare when I was born, so every baby's gender was a surprise. Others told stories of preparing for a boy or girl, only to find out the sonogram wasn't accurate.

And a few friends said they wanted to be "surprised" when the baby arrived. Most with more than one child said they wanted to know the gender the second or third time, because it made planning easier.

That's what we'll do when our second child comes along. And it will be fun to share that news with its older sibling.

So we've been accumulating gender-neutral clothes (most newborns just wear onesies anyway) and making plans to use yellow as the primary color for the baby's room.

Admittedly, seeing the baby and hearing its heartbeat via sonogram is pretty cool. It's an emotional experience, especially the first time. But babies were born for centuries without their gender being known ahead of time.

And ours will, too.

Tom Erickson is a dad-to-be and the web content specialist for Texas Health Resources.

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