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Con: Not knowing the sex offers an element of surprise

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 8, 2011 at 3:08 a.m.


Did you know?

Nationwide, people prefer boys to girls, according to a Gallup study released in late June.

The study indicates that if Americans could have just one child, 40 percent would prefer a boy, versus the 28 percent who prefer a girl.

The rest have no opinion one way or the other.

Gallup has conducted similar polls 10 times since 1941, with results leaning toward a preference to boys each time.

During the most recent study, men favored boys by a margin of 49 percent to 22 percent. Women were split, with 33 percent preferring girls and 31 percent boys.

Source: Gallup news release

Diana Tisdale prepared for her baby's arrival 26 years ago much like any other mother does.

She picked out tiny clothes, stocked a diaper bag and had other necessities on hand for when the big day arrived.

The only catch: Because the Victoria resident didn't know whether she was carrying a boy or girl, she stuck mostly with greens, yellows and other neutrals.

"Back in the day, nobody really asked to know the sex," she said. "For me, my family was just excited I was having a baby, period."

Although a majority of people who visit the Victoria Women's Clinic want to know the baby's sex, some still keep it a secret, said Traci Monroe, the clinic's ultrasonographer. Mothers-to-be often take other people's opinions into consideration but, in the end, it comes down to what they want.

"Mom gets to call the shots," she said with a laugh. "Her decision trumps everyone. She's the patient."

Monroe knew the sex of her second baby before the birth, but not the first, mainly because ultrasound technology didn't offer the clear images it does today.

For moms who do choose to wait, the surprise element seems to be a key factor, Monroe explained.

"They're very comfortable with not knowing a gender," she said. "Some will change their minds later into the pregnancy, but not many."

While the surprise is one reason for parents to forego the knowledge, there are other benefits, according to parents.com.

Not only can it make the pregnancy's last few weeks more bearable, but it also allows parents to fantasize about what life would be like with babies of either sex.

On another level, it's also a way to annoy one's relatives, the site said.

As for Tisdale, she said she stands by her decision to keep her baby a surprise.

When her baby did arrive, a bouncing baby boy, she said she was delighted. And then she was able to hit the stores and buy more gender-specific clothing and more.

"It's a baby," she said. "As long as it's healthy, that's all that matters. The surprise can be worth it."

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