To know or not know

Between the 12 week scan and the 20 week scan, there is an inevitable conversation. Between you and your partner and, oh, everybody else in the world who knows you’re pregnant. The conversation starts with “ooooooh, you’re pregnant, how lovely” etc etc and inevitably leads on to “Are you going to find out the flavour?” or some other equally weird way of asking whether you’re going to find out at the 20 week scan whether bump is a boy or a girl.

Well, are you?

First things first, your hospital or clinic may not allow you to find out. This is a fallout from the tragedy that is male babies being more desirable than females in certain populations. Yes, even in the UK. So you simply may not be given the option to find out.

Assuming your clinic will tell you, do you want to know? Can you face calling bump “It” for the next twenty weeks? Would it be easier just coming up with one list of names rather than two? Are you planning on decorating the nursery before bump becomes bimp? Do you already have three boys? Or three girls? Are you just too excited and simply have to know? Can you keep a secret? Do you want to?

I don’t think there are right or wrong answers to this (perhaps apart from the Do you already have three boys? Or three girls? Questions). I don’t think there is a right thing to do and a wrong one. I think there is personal choice and neither finding out nor not finding out is wrong. All I can offer is my perspective and our answers to the questions above.

Do you want to know? Yeeeeeeessssssss! Yes, yes, yes. We have the technology to do it and on every level I feel it would allow me to start bonding with the wee man (as it turned out). And no, I don’t think just because we have the technology we HAVE to use it. But it does mean we have the choice. And therefore the right to exercise that choice.

Can you face calling the bump “It”? No. I wanted to start bonding with bump, having conversations with him. I wanted to relate to him as a person and I wouldn’t call a person “It”. Actually that leads on to the next question, names (a whole post in itself!) but because we found out the sex, instead of just referring to bump as “he”, we started trying out names – a week per name to see if it was even allowed on the short list! It didn’t mean we’d selected the name before bump became bimp but it meant our short list became significantly shorter – Horatio and Methusalah were out. Especially with our last name.

Are you planning on decorating the nursery? Ha, we didn’t even have a house at that point but even so… I didn’t want swathes of beige or magnolia for the bimp. I didn’t necessarily want socially acceptable pink or blue either but knowing it was a boy allowed us to focus on what we did want (and the pressies other people bought us!). As it turned out the wee man got a jungle themed nursery which I would have happily given to a little lady as well. Perhaps that counters my argument for knowing. Hmmm. Next!

And finally, yes, you know what- we were too excited! We wanted to know because we wanted to start imagining our future with bimp and wanted to know the gender. Why should planning bumps future, our future, only start when he (or she) is born? They start changing your life the minute you realize you’re pregnant – you could argue, even before then. Has it changed what we’ve done? I expect so. Socially accepted mores are difficult to change, even in those who are super conscious of gender biases and want to avoid them. And what we plan for our wee man is probably subtly different to what we would be planning if bimp were a girl. But its not better or worse or less hopeful, just subtly different. Is that wrong?

Whichever gender bump had been we would have been over the moon. And we will be for the next one too. And you will all know then too- because, No, we can’t keep a secret.

The 12 week scan

There are moments in pregnancy you’ll remember forever; moments that you can recall in an instant – if you’ve read some of the rest of the blog you’ll know Waitrose and Finchley Road Station are two such personal moments.

But there is another moment. A dividing line between the ‘maybe’ and the ‘definite’. As you lie there in a darkened room holding your better half’s hand, there appears on the screen in front of you: a little movement; a small, coiled, human-like shape; the distinct outline of a head, a nose, perhaps a hand. There he is. 7cms of tiny human. Tucked safely, warmly away in your belly.

And right there, right then. It all changes. And you have the first picture of your baby.