During pregnancy, there are two big sharing decisions. These decisions are also the two biggest questions you get throughout your pregnancy besides how many weeks are you (aka when is your due date). They are:
Is it a boy or a girl?
What is the name?
People can either go all out with sharing by having a gender reveal party and share the name to get monogrammed gifts at the shower. Or they can share absolutely nothing until baby is born.
Personally, after having our kids and watching family and friends also go through it, I think the best way to go is to share the gender when you find out at 20 weeks but withhold the name until birth.
Please remember, I am trying to tell you why we shared the gender and not the name. I hate articles that tell you that anything you decide is great, because that doesn’t help with making a decision. So, if you are trying to decide what to share or just want someone to play the devil’s advocate for you, here are my reasons so you can contemplate and decide what is best for you and your family.
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8 Reasons to share the gender at 20 weeks
To start I’ll tell you all the reasons knowing and sharing the gender during pregnancy was great. Then I will get into the reasons to wait to share the name. If you just want to see that, then scroll down to that section.
1. It is so much easier to pick a name
Unless you are picking a gender-neutral name that you will use if it is a boy or a girl, then knowing the gender will make this an easier process. Simply because you only have to come up with one name.
For our first baby, we decided to not find out the gender at 20 weeks. It was so stressful to have to pick two names. I felt like we would start to get somewhere with the girl name and then get off track because we would start to discuss boys’ names as well. I also felt like my mind was doing flips continually thinking it was a boy when discussing boys names and a girl when picking a girl name.
I also didn’t want to get really attached to a name that I would use for my potential boy or girl because I might not ever have a boy or girl. We were only going to have two kids so that was a possibility which brings me to my next reason.
2. Time to deal with gender disappointment
If you are really hoping for a specific gender, then you might want to consider learning the gender early. I know a lot of people will actually tell you to not find out the gender if you are really wanting a specific gender. The logic behind this is that you won’t have gender disappointment because you will have a beautiful baby in your arms when you find out.
However, one of my close friends who has two boys really wanted to have a girl. During her first pregnancy, she decided to wait until birth to find out the gender. She said she still had gender disappointment and it actually made those first few postpartum weeks harder when postpartum depression is really common.
The second time around, she found out at 20 weeks instead. She said that she still had gender disappointment, but she was able to be sad. You are supposed to be so happy when baby is born that it felt wrong when she felt sad after her first baby was born. After getting to feel those feelings the second time around, she said she bounced back and was able to get super excited for the birth of her second boy.
I know personally, I would be the same way. I would need to be sad about it to release those feelings and then I would get super excited about expecting a new baby and having a second boy. Additionally, if you share, you can feed off everyone else’s excitement, even random people. Tell a mom of two boys you are expecting a second and you are bound to get some awesome congrats.
3. I didn’t want a grey nursery with grey clothing and grey gifts
I don’t know why the only gender-neutral option is grey. It is what people feel safe buying and it is what stores offer I guess. I didn’t want a grey nursery. I know that grey nurseries are kind of in, but they just seemed so depressing to me. I’m welcoming a baby into the world, I wanted a fun, colorful, bright, happy nursery.
The last thing I wanted to put my baby in was grey. I really didn’t want a ton of pink but it was better than grey. Without knowing the sex, people gifted us so much grey. And honestly, if you’ve had a baby before, then you know people will get you stuff on your registry, but they still love to buy you cute baby clothes. Honestly, who can resist buying them! So be prepared for a lot of grey if you don’t share.
4. I could pick from so many more nursery themes
Similar to clothing, there are a very few good gender-neutral nursery themes. Once I knew the gender my choices really opened up. It didn’t mean I had to do pink for a girl or blue for a boy. In fact, my daughter’s room is blue. But I was able to really shop around and find some awesome things.
And at first, I wanted a gender-neutral nursery so I could reuse for baby number two. However, my kids are two years apart so my oldest was still using most of the original nursery. Also, I couldn’t wait to pick a theme and decorate a nursery again. If anything, try to use a theme and get items that transition well to a toddler room to make them last longer.
5. Let family join in the fun and the excitement
Your family is so excited for you! They want to be a part of your pregnancy. I realized the first time around by not telling anyone anything that there was no way to make them feel like they were part of it.
Sharing gives them another way to relate. For instance, if your aunt only had boys and you are expecting a boy, then she will be able to share stories of her boys. Or your mom only had girls and is super excited that you are having a boy since that will be a new experience for her too.
Does this mean they wouldn’t be excited if you were having the other gender? No, absolutely not. It just allows for them to connect more and makes it more fun for you to talk about your pregnancy with others.
Also, your parents are going to tell everyone and anyone about their upcoming grandkid. They will be so excited to share the news on what they are expecting. And I mean everyone including the random person at the store or on the plane. It gave them (and you) something to look forward to during that long pregnancy.
You also can do a gender reveal party or tell your family in a fun way.
6. It allows people to make more personal gifts
Once we found out we were having a girl and shared, the gifts became more personal. I don’t mean that they were all pink (most of them were) but that they carried more meaning.
For instance, a family member made our daughter a doll and said she had one when she was little and loved it. I knew she had so much fun making our daughter something that she loved as a child. My daughter got gifts that people picked out saying their girl loved them. It allowed them to revisit the time when they had a baby girl and join in our excitement.
I realized that while they could have picked out a great gift for a baby (gender not known) or a boy, there was something so sweet on both sides (giving and receiving) since there was more sentiment.
Now, I’m sure the gifts would have been just as wonderful if we were having a boy but I don’t think they would have been as personal if we didn’t share the gender. Without knowing the gender, it does limit what people will think is an appropriate gift. They don’t know what you would consider gender neutral, it makes people unsure of what to give.
For example, I don’t think our daughter would have received a handmade doll. Instead she might have gotten a more gender-neutral handmade gift. If the person couldn’t think of something she thought we would consider gender neutral, she might have just gotten us one of those grey gifts from the store.
7. You get to enjoy the reactions from others or get over them before the birth
Sometimes you aren’t the only one hoping for a girl or a boy. While you can’t control what grandma or your best friend hopes you have, you can control when you have to deal with the reactions.
In fact, I have a friend whose first child was a girl. She just found out she is now expecting a boy. She was so mad that everyone seemed more excited when she announced she was having a boy than when she announced she was having a girl. She felt hurt that her second seemed more loved (wanted) by her family than her first.
Whether that is true or not doesn’t matter. What matters is she is able to process and deal with those emotions she felt before baby’s arrival. Now knowing this, she is going to take precautions with visits from family to make sure that her toddler doesn’t feel overshadowed by baby.
It allowed her to become aware of this biass and be able to do some damage control. She told me that she is glad she isn’t dealing with these feelings for the first time after birth. Giving birth and those first few weeks are hard enough emotionally.
On the other hand, if you are dealing with gender disappointment, everyone else’s excitement can really help you through. That can be a big plus to sharing. Or, if you are just excited then enjoy everyone else’s excitement because boy can pregnancy be long, painful and boring sometimes.
8. You can better prepare a sibling
To prepare a child for a new baby, you can read books and talk about it. However, it is really abstract in a way. I even had a hard time believing that there was a baby in my belly even after having two kids. One way to help a sibling prepare is to tell them the gender.
It makes it a little easier to picture and makes it a little less abstract. You can talk about other kids who have little brothers or sisters. The more you talk and share with your child, the better prepared they will be.
9 Reasons to withhold the name until birth
Now, while I am all about sharing the gender before birth, I would never consider sharing the name before birth. I really think you have a lot to gain by holding onto that name until birth, especially if you name your baby after someone.
1. It is just your choice
I wanted our baby’s name to be our decision. I didn’t want it to be influenced by who suggested a name. For instance, I didn’t want to feel the need to go with my mom’s name suggestions, etc. I didn’t want to feel guilt when I didn’t go with someone’s suggestion. I wanted to just have it be us who picked it.
By keeping it to ourselves, it cut down on suggestions like crazy. Almost no one asked us any questions once we told them we wouldn’t be sharing until baby was born. I really liked that.
Another bonus was that since it was just us picking, my husband became more involved in the process than I think he would have been originally. We had to spend time working on a name because no one else was going to do it for us.
2. You won’t have to hear critiques
If you share your top names or even your front runner name before birth, then you are bound to hear what people think. If you decide to still go with that name, then it could be awkward knowing someone’s opinion on the name. You will also never forget it if someone criticizes your name choice or tells you how much they hate it.
Before I had kids or was even pregnant with my first, my friend and I started talking about baby names. I already had a girl name picked out and she went on and on about how much she hated that name. She had no idea that it was my favorite name. I still to this day haven’t forgotten what she has said about that name.
Once you have committed to the name and baby has arrived, people won’t comment. They won’t say anything unless they have something nice to say.
3. It will make baby’s birth announcement more special
It is a little anti-climatic to announce the name to everyone during pregnancy. You can share it beforehand, but it won’t carry the same weight as if you announced it after birth. It is much more exciting to announce the name with the person.
It’s like one is talking about a future event (Her name is going to be Emma) and the other is a welcome to the world present moment (Meet Emma). Just like when you get a present, if someone told you what was inside, then opening it wouldn’t be as fun.
4. Don’t have to give excuses for people’s suggestions
In addition to not having to hear other people’s opinions on your top name choices, you also don’t have to make up reasons why you don’t like their suggestions.
While most people might not need an explanation, your family might be a different story. The pressure from some people might be high and letting people down can be more avoided by announcing at birth. Trust me, grandma isn’t going to be mad that you didn’t pick her name when she has a baby in her arms.
5. Name guessing is a great shower game
The best shower game I know is the guessing game. Have guest guess the following:
- Baby’s birthday (day and time)
- Baby’s weight
- Baby’s height
- Baby’s name
- Baby’s eye color
- Baby’s hair
Collect your guesses and then you can share who was closest after baby arrives. I guessed my friend’s daughter’s name correctly. It was fun to be included in the birth in that way.
6. It is fun to have a secret between just the two of you
Similar to having inside jokes or code words, the name can be a secret between you and your other half. I found this to be fun. Sometimes, I didn’t want to share my pregnancy. It was my daughter being born and I wanted to keep just a part of it to myself.
7. You can change your mind
The great part about not sharing is that you can change your mind. You can be so sure and all about a name but then decide after a month that it isn’t the right one. You can of course change your mind if you tell people, but it feels awkward. I would also feel this need to explain why I changed my mind.
8. Someone could steal your name
If you are having babies, then you are in the baby phase of life where everyone you know is having babies. There is a chance that if your friend or a family member is also pregnant, then they could pick to use your name choice if their baby is born first. Then you have to decide if you will still go with the name or if you now need a new one.
You might think this reason is silly, but I have seen it happen before. It is better to be safe than sorry.
9. If you do name baby after someone, then you will have a super special moment
Announcing the name with the baby already makes it sweeter. However, if you are naming baby after someone (alive or dead), then you need to wait until birth. Here are two scenarios so you can see how you would miss out on such a precious moment.
Let’s say you decide to name your baby after your dad (William). Option 1 is that you can tell him in person while still pregnant. Option 2 is when he visits the hospital and holds his new grandson for the first time you tell him (This is William). I can tell you that if you go with the second option, you better have that video camera rolling.
The moment can still be precious if you name the baby after someone who has passed. For instance, my friend named her baby Emma after her grandma who had recently passed away. Her grandpa and parents came to visit at the hospital when the new baby was born. When the grandpa held the baby for the first time, they told him that her name was Emma. It was a sweet moment for the grandma and her mom since the grandma had been her mom. I can tell you there wasn’t a single dry eye in the room.
Pursue your pregnancy Today
No matter what you decide, the important thing to remember is that you are going to have a precious baby who will be loved. I decided to share the gender and not the name during pregnancy because that worked for us.
It was a great balance between including others in the pregnancy but also keeping part of it to ourselves. I loved being able to make the pregnancy more fun while still keeping the birth announcement exciting.
Some people are over sharers and that is just who they are. Others like to keep to themselves. I think in the end you should do what makes you most comfortable and happy. It’s your new baby and you should enjoy pregnancy (between the morning sickness and aches).