Tuesday, August 01, 2006

i'm having a boy (or a girl)

I've been thinking over the past few days about why I've been so adamant about not finding out the sex of this baby. The first reason is that Josh really really really didn't want to find out. If I'd been desperate to know, perhaps I could have persuaded him, but he was certain that he didn't want to know. The truth is, though, that I simply don't care. I can imagine having both a girl and a boy as my first child, and either one seems splendid and wonderful. Either one would be magical and carries with it so many dreams and ideas. I will be equally happy either way.

Mainly, though, I have this weird theory about life that ties into it.

I believe that along the way, we make decisions and choices that change our life's trajectory. Some are within your control, and some are not, but all choices become part of your life story. If you choose to go to law school, whether you practice or not, you'll always have been changed by your time in law school. If you get married or not, you'll be changed by that decision. If you move across the country on a whim, you'll never be the same person again. In the same way, when you make certain choices, you close off doors to a different choice. In some cases, that choice will never be available to you again.

When I said yes to Josh's proposal, I knew that this would be the only time I'd ever be engaged for the first time. When we got married, I knew that this part of my story was set. I hoped and hope (!!) that this is it for us, but regardless, this is our first marriage, our first mistakes, the only time we'd have this innocent giddiness, the first time I'd have my first married fight.

When Josh and I decided to stop using birth control, I realized that my life story was being set in a certain way. I was going to know soon (hopefully) whether I'd ever be pregnant. From then on, I'd never go back to that state of not knowing what it is like to try to get pregnant. There is something in that first excitement of trying, when you think it'll happen right away, when you imagine that it'll be easy and blissful. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but from then on, your story will be different.

Right before I took the pregnancy test for this baby, when my boobs were on fire and I'd crawled out of bed before Josh woke up to see if my suspicions were true, I thought to myself that this could be the last time I ever got a positive pregnancy test for the first time. Every other time might be wonderful and special and unbelievable, but it would never be the first time again. When it came up positive, I didn't know much. I didn't know whether I'd carry a baby to term, whether tomorrow I'd get my period, whether any of it would work out, but I knew that I could get pregnant, even briefly.

All of that, all of this, is the beginning of our story to build a family. This will be the only time I carry my first child, no matter what happens. If I'm lucky enough to have a first or second or third child, they will all be equally amazing and different, but it'll never be the first time I do it all. The first ultrasound, the first kicks, the first birth, even the first episodes of morning sickness.

Today, I know that I am having a baby. That part of my story is set. If I find out whether it is a boy or a girl, that part of my story will be set too. From then on, I'd imagine myself with one or the other, and I'd know what my first child will be. Not knowing feels like this delicious secret that will be unveiled to me at the very end. As many people have mentioned, it doesn't matter whether I know today or at the birth, it will still be a surprise. But when so many decisions that we make change our life's trajectory for us, it feels nice not to know.

In reality, our story is already set because this baby IS one or the other. But until I know, I can dream about both. I can imagine my husband's cleft chin on a boy, or my dimples on a girl. Life is so short and goes by so quickly, and it is fun that this part of my story is a secret, even to me.


KLee said...

Well, add this among the things that you already know -- you're going to be a wonderful mother.

No matter what you child is -- boy OR girl, s/he will be VERY lucky to have gotten such great parents. That child will be loved so much, and is already.

I like your theory. It says a lot about you. All good things, of course.

Jess said...

That's a really charming way of approaching that decision. I don't think that theory is all that weird.

But I read the last page of every book first, and I always peek at my Christmas presents, and I want to know how it all ends. Always. I wish I had your restraint. I'm a total spoiler whore who will absolutely want to know boy or girl if I ever have that opportunity.

But I think it would be nicer not to know.

Phantom Scribbler said...

This is really lovely, Halloweenlover!

Kris said...

So sweet! Do you want to hear something funny? With my first we decided we wanted to have the fun of telling people the sex after the birth, but we wanted to know.So we found out and told everyone that we didn't. My neice to this day suspects that we did that, but I'll never admit it. (ssshhh.... don't tell!)

Robin said...

My sister in law wanted to find out what she was having so they told her at the ultra sound. She didn't want to be surprised. She was told she was having a boy...absolutely positively it was a boy.
When she delivered a girl....she was surprised....lol.oooooops. So much for knowing ahead of time.

nancy said...

What a beautiful post! I love reading the warmth you have for everything in your life. Boy or girl, it is the most amazing experience ever.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Great post, and I think I share your philosophy on life and the choices we make.

Piece of Work said...

What a beautiful post, HL! I just love the way you describe it--and I totally agree--not knowing is a delicious secret. I loved not knowing.

Jessica said...

I love how you recognize the firsts and consciously take them in....few people do that.

Songbird said...

So sweet.
I've done it every way, knowing nothing, knowing possibly (ultrasound), knowing for sure (amnio). But oddly I was most "certain" with the one I never knew about for sure until the birth!
Keep enjoying the firsts!

Chatty Cricket said...

I've always said that the sex of your baby is one of the only true surprises left in life. When it's so easy to know everything (almost) that is going to happen, it can be almost magic not to know who this little person might be.

tra laaaa!

ccw said...

A beautiful post!

Trisha said...

Very well written. Enjoy the moments now when you don't know. Those are magical. It will be amazing when you find out the sex of your baby after the delivery, nothing is better than that first moment.

donna said...

Well said! I like to think of it like this. I wouldn't skip to the last page of a mystery novel to find out who the killer is, and I don't want to know until the end in this scenario either. It's a fun journey to think and dream about both.

...my 2 cents said...

I like your theory. I know alot of people who are all having babies right now, and only one couple that I know has decided not to find out what they're having. I think that's cool.

pPB said...

My sister was adamant about not knowing---to the point that she wouldn't look at the screen until the tech assured her that no clues were visible. and it drove everyone nuts! (I thought it was fun).

I love this post--all the firstness of it all. It's a very spiritual and grounded way of staying in the moment you have.

liz said...

Like I said before, I wanted to know if my doctor knew. NOBODY gets to know more about my pregnancy than me!

But if he didn't know? I was okay not knowing.

I'm glad we found out though, because it ended the arguments over what to name a girl. I'm still lobbying for Margaret (after Maron) or Josephine (Tey).

halloweenlover said...

I'm so glad you don't all think I'm crazy! I hesitated before posting because I was worried that it sounded too nutty or philosophical or something of the sort. Thanks for your kind comments!

I definitely think that a surprise is a surprise, no matter when you find out, the question is whether you want to know how the story ends (or begins) earlier rather than later! Both are fun!

Lisa V said...

Perfect. We never knew with any of our kids. We LOVED not having someone tell us the gender of our child but seeing it ourselves first hand.

mamatulip said...

This is an amazing post, HL. I love how you look at this, how you're approaching this absolutely amazing first in your life.


Kristin said...

What a cool way of thinking about it. Almost makes me want to not find out when/if we get pregnant, and no one has ever made an argument that made me even consider not finding out.

something blue said...

It's incredible how you really cherish every moment. You are living life to the fullest!

I completely agree that half the fun is in the daydreams.

Rae said...

Thank you, I find your theory very lovely and comforting.

Heather said...

Nice. I'm digging your theory...it's similar to the one that I ponder whenever I get on long stretches of highway.
I'm not finding out about the Squishums, either.

Kristin said...

Lovely, and so entirely true.

You are my newest bookmark.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I didn't find out for either of mine and I don't regret it.

Love how you are savoring the moments of your life.

Every moment is a new moment and a new miracle.

Cal said...

What a beautiful, thought-provoking post. I love the way you look at life, and I agree- the anticipation and dreaming is the best part of the journey.
I wish you lots of joy throughout!


Waya said...

That's so true about your take on "the firsts" of everything. The path won't be the same again. I wish you luck with the birth of your baby.

Nancy said...

What a great post! We had our first almost 7 months ago and we did find out. If we are lucky enough to have another one, I wouldn't find out. There are so few surprises in life, why not enjoy this one. Congratulations!

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