On October 29, 2013 by Kunle Barker

It’s week 19 and since the events of last week’s emergency scan things seem to have settled down quite a bit. As an excited expectant couple, we are talking about pregnancy in a much more positive light. We focus on actually having a baby as opposed to what’s potentially wrong with it, and it’s been fun. However, there is still one issue that needs to be discussed – do we find out the sex of Kidney Bean at the 20-week scan?

Since announcing the pregnancy, almost everyone I talk to is eager to offer lots of advice regarding pregnancy, whether solicited or not. For the first few weeks, it was quite the novelty, now it’s just annoying, especially as many of these pearls of wisdom are contradictory. In just one evening, I was told I must let the baby sleep in our bed, I must never let the baby sleep in our bed, I must let the baby sleep in our room but in its own crib, I must put the baby in the nursery from day one. If I take all of this advice, where is little Kidney Bean to sleep? In the bathtub?

I know they say that opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one but the problem is the people I’ve been speaking to seem to have two or three. Perhaps the most frequent advice I have received is on the topic of sex; no, not like that, as in gender. For some reason, everyone has an opinion on whether we should find out the sex of Kidney Bean.



Surprisingly, the consensus seems to be that we should not find out the sex of Kidney Bean at our upcoming twenty-week scan, as finding out at the birth will be a nice surprise. A surprise? I’ll tell you what’s surprising, it’s surprising that in these technologically advanced days when we can’t go more than 30 minutes without consulting our smartphones to quench our thirst for instant and constant information, that we would then choose to wait five months to find out the sex of our baby.

Obviously, my only real concern is that Kidney Bean is a happy and healthy baby and the gender is totally irrelevant, but I’m utterly shocked at the amount of people who think that I should not find out the sex of my baby. Perhaps it’s just me, maybe I’m missing something but, hard as I try, I can’t prevent the pragmatic side of my personality refusing to allow me to accept some of the arguments put to me on this subject. In fact, the more people try to convince me, the more resolute I become. I will find out the gender of my baby especially if you are going to use ridiculous reasoning to try and convince me otherwise.

The two most common arguments against finding out the gender of Kidney Bean are:

  1. It’s a surprise – NO, IT’S NOT. It’s either a girl or a boy; so, by definition, the result cannot be surprising. When someone flips a coin you are not surprised at the result, you wouldn’t say, “Heads? Well I didn’t see that coming, who would have thought it?” You may not have been able to predict the correct result, but it’s not a surprise. If we were able to give birth to any member of the animal kingdom, I would probably wait till the birth for the doctor to announce that I was the proud father of a grisly bear. Now that would be a surprise.
  2. It’s tradition – NO, IT’S NOT. The technology simply hasn’t existed for that long, back in the early 70s you had no choice. Before the advent of the sonogram, people convinced themselves it was better to be surprised at birth. This was only because it was a more palatable idea than the truth, which was that it would actually be really convenient to know the gender of the baby but a way of doing it was yet to be invented.  People have confused tradition with a lack of technological innovation.

If individuals want to wait then that’s fine with me, it’s their choice and I respect that. However, I do object to people trying to make me feel guilty about finding out the sex of my baby, and I object even more to their poor reasoning. Would the same people advise me to travel to New York on a boat as it’s tradition? Of course they wouldn’t, that would be a ridiculous argument as it’s not tradition, as a species it just took us a while to develop commercial aviation. I’m pretty sure even the pilgrims would prefer to have flown to Plymouth Rock.


Luckily, Mummy Bean is in agreement as she wants to be able to get to know Kidney Bean, she wants to prepare herself for the baby’s arrival. This makes perfect sense to me. Part of coming to terms with becoming a parent for the first time is visualisation, and to do this you need to visualise a boy or a girl. When you picture yourself holding, feeding or even changing your baby you will picture a boy or a girl. This is perfectly natural but the problem is if you visualise the wrong sex it could make it difficult to connect to your new baby or even create feelings of disappointment.

There are a few stories of friends who were sure they were having a girl or boy, only to see the opposite pop out of the womb at birth. In some cases this meant weeks, even months of adjustment; just the other day an expectant couple said that they thought they were having a girl and were excited; when I asked them if the scan was inconclusive they then said that they hadn’t asked the doctor at the scan but just felt they were having a girl. Basically, they have guessed and so have a 50% chance of being very disappointed at birth.

At least Mummy Bean has put forward a sensible and reasoned argument to finding out the gender, she also makes another great point. Finding out the sex of our baby will still be a surprise, just not at the birth, it will be a surprise at the twenty-week scan. We like surprises, we just prefer to be surprised earlier rather then later.

I’m now very excited as in just under two weeks, I will know if we are having a little Kidney Bean boy, or a little Kidney Bean girl!

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