What Every Parent Should Consider Before Throwing a Gender Reveal Party

Full disclosure: Out of nine children, I have never sought to learn the gender of any of my babies before they were born. However, I have secretly opened my Christmas presents, and then carefully retaped them.

Penetrating the secrecy of the shelter of the womb where a child is forming has become so commonplace that the pros and cons of it are seldom thought out. Instant gratification is not only the norm, it is the expectation. Sonograms have all but eliminated the most agonizing part of the nine months before labor—the suspense of waiting for the gender reveal.

That used to be called birth. Now, it’s a party.

Don’t get me wrong—no judgment here. This is not a moral or right versus wrong decision. It is, however, something to consider well. There are major trade-offs both ways. It’s important to choose, not just fall into one or the other. After all, the only one who can decide what is right for your family is you, in the circumstances you are currently in.

If you are planning on finding out the gender because a gender reveal party sounds like so much fun, or because it is easier to shop, consider weighing what you are trading. There are several good reasons to find out the gender of your child, but convenience is really not one of them. It’s like saying you need to peek at your Christmas presents so you’ll know how to decorate, or where you’ll put them.

There is nothing in this world that can compare to the flood of emotions that overrun you with the birth of a child. The only thing that has the capability of enhancing that moment is the discovery of who they are. The little girl you always dreamed of one day having. Or the son who will carry on the family name. We don’t often realize how many of our hopes and dreams are wrapped up in the gender of a child. The climactic reveal of that gender at the end of a long labor cannot be duplicated, bought, or found anywhere else in this life.

One of the best reasons (although I know there are others) to find out the gender of a baby ahead of time is if you really are having a hard time accepting a pregnancy. Whether it is your first or your last, a surprise pregnancy can be hard. That often has more to do with the circumstances around you than the baby itself. The pregnancy seems to magnify every other problem. Finding out if it’s a boy or a girl takes the focus away from “being pregnant” and points it to a person. In essence, it reveals the humanity and hope you carry, even in less than ideal circumstances.

So, how do you plan for a baby if you don’t know the gender? Here’s my trick: Find a store that still offers layaway. Then pick out all girl items. It’s best to stick with the basics. Then do the same for a boy. Put each one under the name you picked for that gender. After he or she arrives, send your spouse to pick up that layaway.

A new baby is exciting, traumatic, and overwhelming. The trick is to savor the best moments tucked in between.