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The Excessive Burden Of Hiding The Baby’s Gender (or Why Family Needs to Honor Parental Choices)

Hello, I’m hoping you or your readers can give me some advice about how to handle my new problem. My husband and I have recently informed our families that we’re expecting out first child in the summer of next year. Everyone is excited on both sides, but my family has decided that they don’t want to know the baby’s gender until the birth. (We haven’t even decided if we’re going to find out or not.) Now, this seems simple enough, but it’s not. Their request means a great deal of restraint on our part, and my husband’s family as well. It means if we find out, we wouldn’t be able to tell anyone of the baby’s gender. Our families and friends are all on social media to keep in touch with us, and if we inform his family especially, even through personal messages or phone calls, it’ll end up all over the site and my family will see. But it would also extend to our conversations, having to leave out any gender specific words, and also to any potential baby celebrations there may be. We’d have to hide any pictures of any party if it’s gender themed or if anyone brought gender specific gifts. Not to mention if my family attended the celebration and saw everything in person I’m sure I’d hear all about it. Now, remember, we haven’t even decided if WE want to find out which is still a ways away, but it seems like my family has tried to make that decision for us due to the impossibility of their request which they make known every time we talk to them. (And, one person in particular keeps saying, “Don’t do it!, every time we talk.) I’m pretty much at a point to tell them to stuff it and deal with whatever decision we make in regards to our child. Any advise on this situation would be greatly appreciated. 1125-13

I believe personal information is the possession of its original owner to do with as they wish.   That is why I believe it is wrong for people to break other people’s news or share information they have not been released to pass on to others.    The gender of your unborn baby is your news, your information and you decide when that information will be public.   It is your first official decision as parents.   Your family is putting a burden on you to constrain your news announcements and conversations in a selfish desire to fulfill their own expectations.   They have no rights to your news and information unless you grant them that power (which I suggest you don’t).  If you don’t mind knowing the gender of your baby or that this information is known prior to his/her birth, your family has an obligation to honor and respect your parenting decisions.   Cave on this one and you can expect further expectations from your family to modify your life choices and parental decisions to suit themselves.

I have the reverse situation where my pregnant daughter does not want to know the gender of the baby and has no intentions of telling anyone prior to the birth even if she knew.   One has to honor that right for them  to make decisions as parents of their own families.

{ 79 comments… add one }
  • Stacey Frith-Smith November 27, 2013, 2:58 am

    I can feel the frustration in your submission, OP, and I sympathize! What a lot of unnecessary pressure and drama. Anxiety can show up as conflict, emotional distance, projecting and triangulation. I don’t know why your family is determined to insert themselves into your “space” in this fashion. The good news is that you don’t have to put up with it. Their views are immaterial simply because, as Admin said, this is Your news (not to mention your life, your baby, your future). You can love your family and decline to carry the emotional load of their anxiety. In fact, the more differentiated you are in your approach to them- the more that you are at peace with yourself and your choices- the better they will be able (hopefully) to manage their own issues. Congratulations on your newest family member- may it be a healthy and peaceful season for you!

  • Allie November 27, 2013, 4:19 am

    Since when does anyone but the new parents have a right or even a need to decide if they get to know or not know the sex of a baby before he or she is born? That seems like nonsense to me. This is a personal decision and if you decide to find out and share the news, that is your business. I don’t think there’s any need to borrow trouble since it’s kind of a non-issue should you decide you don’t want to know. However, should you decide you do want to know, don’t worry about whether or not they find out “through the grapevine.” It’s your baby and your life. Your extended family (i.e. everyone but you, your partner and your baby) will just have to grow up.

  • Shelley November 27, 2013, 4:24 am

    If you decide to find out the gender you can respect their wishes and not tell them specifically and just let them know it’s up to then to keep off Facebook to avoid finding out the gender, same for the baby shower warn them that if they wish to not know they will have to avoid that too. I agree with admin that if you let them dictate how you go about this you are setting yourself up for worse once baby is born.

  • Raymee November 27, 2013, 5:23 am

    OP, your family obviously has a ‘vision’ for you pregnancy and subsequent birth, to the point that if anything threatens that ‘perfect plan’ then they get upset.
    In reality you are going to make decisions based on practicality or preference that are not going to fall in line with want they want- I’m thinking breast vs. bottle feeding, gendered vs. unisex toys/clothing, disposable vs. non-disposable nappies, private vs. public education…
    The sooner they realise that it is not their business, the better. Don’t be afraid to place clear boundaries.
    Congratulations on your pregnancy, and best of luck!

  • Kates November 27, 2013, 5:24 am

    As somebody who didn’t find out the gender, I will say that hearing the words “you have a son” after the birth felt so magical to my husband and me and we found it exciting guessing and day dreaming about either outcome during the pregnancy.

    That said – it is entirely your decision OP – many people find knowing what they are having throughout the pregnancy and being able to refer to “our son” or “our daughter” and being able to pick out gendered clothes just as exciting as the surprise. Your family have no right to expect you to change your behaviour to suit their preferences.

    If you decide to find out, tell you family that while you won’t deliberately go out of your way to tell them the gender, you will also not go out of your way to hide it and will use social media and have parties as normal.

  • Angeldrac November 27, 2013, 6:34 am

    Oh, I so agree with admins statement!!!
    If you chose to find out your baby’s gender, no doubt you will be doing it to develop a sense of bonding with your baby, to give it “personalization”, to plan things for it and to generally celebrate it. All of this woe be significantly impeded should you have to hide it all away from such a large group of important people. I think you should make it clear now “if we do decide to find out the gender, I hope you will join us in celebrating this baby”. This pregnancy is happening to you – for one time in your life this really is all about you so, quite frankly, your family needs to get over it.
    I had this in reverse – I was “so selfish” and “a pain” for not finding out my baby’s gender. When my sister fell pregnant and I told my friend that she, also, would not find out her baby’s gender my friend said “Ha ha – suffer! No you know what it’s like to have to wait”. She was surprised to hear that I didn’t actually care at all, and was excited to simply meet the baby when it was born.
    People are strange.

  • Kimberly November 27, 2013, 7:04 am

    Wow. This is a tough situtation all around.

    I think I would be telling my family, that sorry, if “WE” decide to find out the gender of our child, there is no way we will be able to not say anything on our social media site(s) or in person. We are excited as it is, let alone try to keep silent on the gender of our child, again, if WE decide to find out this information. At this time, we don’t even bring up the subject, but you continue to do so by telling us not to inform you.

    You have two choices. Go with what we decide for our child, if we decide to find out the gender or have no contact what so ever. I will not even try to contain my excitement if, again, WE, decide to find out the gender of our child.

    I would hate to see the latter happen, because I can only imagine what kind of rift this is going to cause between our families.

    And honestly, I would go with your statement in the OP, telling your family to stuff it and they will go with whatever decision you decide for your child.

    Hugs and Congrats!

  • Lythande November 27, 2013, 7:40 am

    I would have to point out just how unreasonable they are. “Look – if we find out the gender, there is honestly _no way_ you could avoid learning it.”

    If they still insist on clinging after that, it’s on them to make sure they don’t learn – I’d promise not to tell them directly, but it’s their responsibility to avoid Facebook and parties and talking to anyone who might know. If they want things to be a certain way, they should be the ones going out of their way to make it so.

  • AnnaMontana November 27, 2013, 7:52 am

    Hey! I am expecting our first baby in Summer 2014 too! My hubby and I decided before we got pregnant that we didn’t want to know what gender our baby is.
    My family are ok with it, except my brother, who desperately wants to know if we are having a niece or nephew. My husband’s family cannot understand our decision and they want to know the gender. We have only told our VERY close families about it, although it seemed people couldn’t keep their mouths shut and have shouted our news all over the town.
    My husband and I made a swift decision. We don’t want to know our baby’s gender, so if anyone asks us, we’re going to reply ‘Of course we know what we’re having: we’re having a baby!’ and leave it at that. His family and my brother have been told it is OUR decision and we shall decide what is best for OUR family and OUR child. They pretty much have dropped the whole thing now! If anyone asks, tell them you’re having a little baby and leave it at that!

  • earthgirl November 27, 2013, 8:00 am

    I had my first child almost a year ago, and my husband and I could not wait to find out the gender. Before we went in for the anatomy ultrasound, my father told me that he didn’t want to know — I think, in his case, it was because he didn’t want to form an emotional bond with his as-yet unborn grandchild, probably stemming from a late-stage pregnancy loss that he and my mother suffered when I was only a couple of years old.
    While I was happy to refrain from shoving the ultrasound pictures of my DS’s nether regions in my father’s face, there was only so much I could do to keep him from finding out without completely censoring myself every time I spoke with him, let alone to anyone else via Facebook or whatnot. My husband and I believed that it was our baby and our decision, and my father’s desire to remain in the dark about the gender was *his* decision therefore the onus was on him.

  • The Elf November 27, 2013, 8:01 am

    Your family needs a helping of “get over it”. Boy or girl, a grandchild is a reason to celebrate! A quibble over discovering the baby’s gender is totally the small stuff not worth arguing about. Tell your family that you won’t try not to say anything directly to them but that you’re not going to go out of your way to keep it secret just to please them. They can figure out how upset they want to be over that.

  • HGolightly November 27, 2013, 8:05 am

    Oh I feel OP’s pain! We are due in January and have been informed by a couple of parties that if we find out what we are having, they are finding out too. One has said she will go so far as to go through drawers and closets to find any baby stuff we have hidden! This is our baby and our news, it will be shared on a needs to know basis only. Of course we are not telling the 4 year old big sister to be either….,then everybody would know.

  • Celia November 27, 2013, 8:10 am

    Couldn’t agree with Admin more! I have nothing further to add just because Admin said it perfectly!
    Best wishes to you and your DH Op on your happy news!

  • Michelle November 27, 2013, 8:40 am

    Admin and Raymee are right — this is just the beginning. Get used to not living up to their expectations — it will free you in the end. You are now in the process of establishing a new relationship with your family, especially your parents — one of equals in a whole new way. And it won’t just be your parents — sometimes it will feel like all of sociaety is against your choices (they’re not!). I had a voluntary c-section, hated breastfeeding, and returned to work as soon as I could. I also didn’t let anyone touch my belly! GASP! 🙂 I also had a friend pregnant at the same time who made the exact opposite choices. And we both learned to appreciate our differences. 🙂 Show love to your family by helping them see you in your new role.

  • internetmama November 27, 2013, 8:42 am

    Maybe this is overly dramatic but draw the boundary line now before the baby is born and people become even more demanding. The choice of finding out and disclosing the gender is up to you and your husband. Relatives who already think they can dictate your behavior about the baby will only get more, shall we politely say, “assertive” as the child grows. Soon they’ll be telling you what the child’s name will be, how they believe you should raise the baby and everything you are doing wrong. Nip it in the bud now.

  • Pen^2 November 27, 2013, 8:45 am

    Admin is absolutely right here.

    If people don’t want to know something, then the most they can do is request that you not go out of your way to share it with them. If you post it on Facebook or tell other people and it somehow gets to them, then it’s their responsibility to avoid the information. The notion that you, your husband’s family, and all your friends need to alter the things they talk about (especially something like this which would naturally be a topic for sharing) is ridiculous.

    You’re about to be a parent. It’s important to not decide to be caught up in silly things like this right from the get-go. “Okay family, I won’t ring and tell you. But it’s up to you to avoid hearing about it on Facebook or from friends. I’m still going to tell the people who want to know, of course! You’re going to have to be prepared to avoid hearing about it. Good luck!”

    Any requests of, “Can’t you just not tell other people so it doesn’t get back to us?” should be met with something akin to an arched eyebrow, puzzled expression, and a, “That won’t be possible.” Then change the topic. Don’t argue about this. It’s your information and your baby. You can do as you see fit, and it’s important to show this to avoid potentially worse trouble later.

  • clairedelune November 27, 2013, 8:53 am

    Agreed with Admin.
    It’s just too tough to twist yourselves into knots trying to keep this info from them, for all the reasons you mention, OP, so they’re just going to have to find a way to roll with whatever decision you make. It’s not your responsibility to turn this into a special surprise for them.

  • Lo November 27, 2013, 8:58 am

    Your family is being ridiculous. What do they care about the big reveal? It’s for you, not for them. You’re the one who the choice to find out the gender will ultimately impact.

    You need to tell them straight out that you won’t tell them the gender of the baby but that you will tell other friends which means they’ll most likely find out anyway, especially of a friend throws you a shower and invites them. They need to get over it.

  • PhDeath November 27, 2013, 9:08 am

    Spot on, Admin!

    OP, what a tough situation to be in. If your family decides to hold to this decision, I would pleasantly tell them that the impetus is on them to avoid any potential “spoiler alerts.” Thus, they will have to make the choice to staff away from Facebook/other social media, etc.

    Congratulations on your baby!

  • Chelle November 27, 2013, 9:10 am

    I agree with and want to stress a point that Admin made. If you cater to your family now, they will expect that type of catering to continue. You’re in for a rough time if you don’t stop that boundary stopping now. As others have said, put your foot down now. YOU are the parents- you make decisions for your child.
    Congrats on your pregnancy!

  • Mer November 27, 2013, 9:11 am

    I agree with the admin, however, I do ask, is there possibility that the “we don’t want to know the gender” was meant in the spirit of “don’t worry, we don’t pressure you to find out the gender”? You only know as you were there and know the exact wording. In my mind this just would make more sense and sometimes misunderstandings happen.

    Whatever the meaning was, this is something up to you. If you want to find out it and publish it, it is your decision. If not, that is too. I feel, that you may publish it as you please, but if this is something your family is for some reason very adamant, warn them. “I know the gender and I’m most probably going to mention it in Facebook/baby shower/to friends/in-laws. Then it is up to them to avoid potential places if this is something more important than participating fully for those things.

  • Angie November 27, 2013, 9:15 am

    OP, I feel for you! In your situation, I think if you decide to find out, tell family that you will do your best to not mention the gender to them, but you aren’t going to feel bad if they find out. Then it is up to them to decide if their not knowing is worth not being involved or supportive of you. They will have to fore-go social media, conversations, even a baby shower if they want to stay in the dark. I would also point out that the important thing is the new child, not finding out 4 or so months ahead of time the gender of the child.

  • AMC November 27, 2013, 9:20 am

    First, congrats! Second, Admin is absolutely right; this information belongs to you and your partner, not anyone else. If the extended family really doesn’t want to know, then it’s up to them to police themselves (staying off social media, not attending baby showers, leaving conversations when Baby is brought up). You are under no obligation to either restrict or release this informaton against your will.
    Should you decide to find out your baby’s gender and make it public, and Aunt Susie exclaims “I don’t want to know!”, I think I’d say something like, “Well plug your ears then because we’re shouting from the rooftops.”

  • Nicole November 27, 2013, 9:24 am

    If you give into them on this, expect that they will then think they can control other baby decisions. The name will be next – of course you will want to use the name they pick! Then it will be bottle vs. breast, which daycare, etc. etc. I have seen it happen with a friend, when she gave in to the family on what seemed like a small decision about the baby, the family got mad when their further suggestions weren’t taken.

  • DGS November 27, 2013, 9:33 am

    As pp’s have said, the gender of your child, and anything you do decide to do regarding your child’s upbringing is your business and your choice – and you absolutely do not have to take into account your extended family’s wishes regarding revealing or finding out or not finding out the gender. How preposterous to go around telling someone what to do regarding their pregnancy; the nerve!

  • Mae November 27, 2013, 9:40 am

    I agree with Admin & pp. This is a personal choice for you & your husband. Your family has no right to try to tell you when or how you choose to announce the gender of your baby.

    Be upfront. Use the E-hell approved line ” I cannot accommodate your request”.

    I find it very unusual for the family of the pregnant couple to say “do not tell us the gender”. I think @Raymee (comment #4) hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

    Congrats on your pregnancy!

  • Wild Irish Rose November 27, 2013, 9:48 am

    First off, at the risk of sounding pedantic, I really wish people would stop confusing “gender” with “sex.” You don’t find out a baby’s GENDER (which means “masculine” or “feminine”); you find out its SEX (which means “male” or “female”). That said, you do whatever you want to with revealing YOUR baby’s sex. That decision is not your family’s to make–it belongs to you and your husband. If you decide to find out whether you’re having a boy or a girl, that’s up to you–and it’s up to you whether or not to tell anyone. We didn’t find out our first child’s sex before he was born (and it was kind of funny because the delivery nurse was convinced we were having a girl based on readings from the fetal monitor, and the doctor delighted in declaring her wrong when my son was born) and we loved the surprise. We did find out with our second child, but only because I had to have an amniocentesis due to an abnormal blood test. That time, we had fun telling everyone we were expecting a daughter. Either way, when your family starts in on you again about not telling, just remind them that if you choose to tell, it’s YOUR choice, not theirs, and you’re not going to apologize if the surprise is “spoiled” for them.

  • Ripple November 27, 2013, 10:08 am

    This is your baby, and your decision. No one else (besides your husband) has the right to limit the information you decide to get, nor how you go about letting others know. If you do find out the gender, you don’t have to tell your family specifically, but you do have the right to post to Facebook or tell others who will spill the beans anyway. I agree that, if you try to accommodate your family on this, then there will be other “accommodations” wanted in the future, including possibly baby names, who will be in the delivery room with you, etc. Stand your ground and do what feels right for you.

  • Margie November 27, 2013, 10:11 am

    I didn’t learn this line until after the baby was born, but I wish I could have used it:

    “What are you expecting?”

    “A baby. But it might be a velociraptor!”

    Good luck dealing with your family. Keep your sense of humor, make the choice that makes you happy, and don’t let anyone second-guess you.

  • Raven November 27, 2013, 10:15 am

    Admin is right. If you cave on this, you will be caving forever. It is not up to anyone but you and your husband. If people don’t like it, too bad. It will prepare them for the rest of your child’s life (where you make the decisions you feel comfortable with, and if they don’t like it, too bad). Unless you are doing something dangerous regarding your child, people do not get a say in what goes on. This may seem like a little thing, but it’s the set up for a lot of bigger things later.

    Also – congratulations!

  • Angela November 27, 2013, 10:17 am

    It’s fine for your family to have a preference but it’s overkill to insist on it over and over again. I agree with Raymee that it sounds as if the family has a “vision” for how things should be. I can tell you as a child of someone who had those “visions” and expected me to make them materialize, you don’t want to encourage this behavior. It took me a while to understand that I didn’t have any responsibility for someone else’s vision and didn’t need to feel guilty about not coming through with it. Stand your ground, whatever you decide.
    It may sound a little harsh, but when a family member continues to press an issue a good response is “The matter is not under discussion. Let’s find something else to talk about” (a more explicit bean dip?). If you continue with that line, the person will protest, but eventually stop talking to you or drop the subject. You don’t owe anyone a conversation, especially a discussion. That particularly holds when you know that the other person isn’t really interested in your point of view but rather wants to beat you over the head with his or hers.

  • PJ November 27, 2013, 10:24 am

    Congratulations on the addition to your family!

    I agree with all of the statements posted. It is your news, and your decision, and if your family doesn’t want to know, then the onus is on them to ignore your facebook page for a while and skip any showers where folks know the gender (they can always enjoy photos a couple months later). I also worry that this can be the first boundary-overstepping demand that your family is gearing up for.

    Personally, I found out the gender of my babies as soon as I could. I figured I could be surprised at 22 weeks, or surprised at 40 weeks. My impatience and excitement dictated the 22-week option. I didn’t hesitate to tell anyone who would listen. The courtesy I gave my parents and parents-in-law was that they were the first to know.

    I also thought about what this would look like in the opposite direction: what if you decided that you didn’t want to know the gender until he/she is born but your family really really really wanted to know? Would they be entitled to that knowledge? I think in both cases, it is your news learn and share as you choose.

  • Cat November 27, 2013, 10:32 am

    No problem. Just tell them, if you decide to learn the gender, that they should not read any of your social networking entries and that they should tell everyone that they don’t want to know. It’s their problem, not yours.
    Keep in mind that doctors can make a mistake. If you are planning on a Samantha, you may discover that what you have is a Samuel. I’d go for neutral yellow or green and, once all doubts have been erased, do the gender specific thing if you want to.
    Make sure you have names for either a boy or a girl. A girl I knew ended up being Dickie because her parents were convinced she was going to be a he. They were set on a Richard who would be called Dick. Unable to think of a girl’s name, she became Dickie. She kept ending up in boy’s PE.

  • Cammie November 27, 2013, 10:32 am

    It’s time to stop worrying about what your family wants and start being concerned about what YOU want.
    You are absolutely correct in that your family is trying to place a huge burden on your shoulders for no other reason than they want to. This is where you have to stand up and be a parent, wife, and centre of your new family and make the decision for yourselves, and darn the rest of them. Otherwise you will spend the rest of your life trying (and probably failing) to satisfy someone else’s agenda.

    Next time (since you say it happens all the time) take the offender by the hand and gently say “This isn’t about you. It’s about me and my family. If you don’t like the decisions we make that’s unfortunate because you have no say in this matter, or any other concerning my child. Now, I don’t want to hear about it any longer.”

  • Green123 November 27, 2013, 10:37 am

    Oh, why does no-one like the element of surprise any more?!

    OP, if you don’t want to know the gender of your baby until the moment it is born, then you don’t have to, no matter what your family and friends ask of you.

  • Powers November 27, 2013, 10:45 am

    “I believe personal information is the possession of its original owner to do with as they wish.”

    Wouldn’t that be the baby, then?

  • Library Diva November 27, 2013, 10:47 am

    Why don’t you raise all of this with your family? It’s very likely that they haven’t thought how much work hiding the information will entail if you decide you want to know. Reasonable people would not want to put you through all that. Reasonable people would rather be included in the baby shower, rather than having to stay home to avoid finding out the baby’s gender. Reasonable people would rather be able to converse with you and your husband about the pregnancy, rather than having it be a banned subject so that you don’t accidentally slip and use a gendered pronoun. Reasonable people would rather go on using Facebook, Twitter et al as normal rather than staying off of it until you deliver lest they find out The Secret a few weeks ahead of schedule.

    You haven’t given any indication that they are generally unreasonable people. I think they just haven’t thought through all of the implications of keeping a secret from them. Once you lay this all out to them, I’m sure they’ll agree to abide by your wishes. You can tell them that if they don’t want to know, you won’t specifically call and tell them, but you can’t be responsible for your friends and the other side of the family, and any slips of the tongue you may make. I see the appeal of wanting to be surprised, I truly do, but this is a lot of contorting for something that will become public knowledge by this time next year anyway. And what can they really do other than pout a little?

    Good luck, and congratulations. Don’t let this be a blot on what is otherwise a very special and exciting time.

  • Emily November 27, 2013, 10:51 am

    OP – I think you need to step back and realize that you don’t have to do any of the things that you listed in your post. If you decide to find out the gender of your baby in advance, you are under no obligation to even attempt to hide that infromation from your family. Live your life, enjoy your pregnancy and share what you want, where you want with who you want.

    I actually don’t think this is a tough situation unless you make it into one. Personally, I would just tell my family that you aren’t going to even try to hide this information from them (if you plan to learn it) and that they will just need to deal with it.

  • EllenS November 27, 2013, 11:06 am

    OP, I wonder if this is the first grandchild for your parents? In my experience, first-time grandparents have just as many unrealistic expectations as first-time parents, and mellow quickly when the abstract idea of Baby starts to become real and practical. For example, my own dear mother insisted that she must be called “Grandmother” and would answer to nothing else. Of course, my SIL tried to teach this to my niece.
    By the time my children were born, my mother had realized that she missed out on a good year or more of sweet baby names because of her unrealistic expectation, and she regretted that. So when my baby pointed and called her “Na-Na”, Grandmother happily became Nana.

    I agree with Admin and several PP’s. Make your decision about whether YOU wish to know, and whether you wish to tell anyone, for your own reasons. Let your family know that you will not tell them yourself, but you will be telling those who wish to know. (if that is the case). Maintaining their veil of secrecy is their own responsibility.

    I imagine that when your family realizes their insistence means staying away from the baby shower, etc., they will quickly relax their attitude.

  • EllenS November 27, 2013, 11:23 am

    Oh, and just as a personal aside, I like “Kates” did not find out the gender of my children until the birth (and got a good bit of flak over it – mostly from strangers!). It was so special and wonderful to have my DH tell me “it’s a girl”, rather than being told by a sonogram tech I would never see again. We also had a lot of fun picking out a boy name and a girl name.
    However, that is a really personal decision, and there are a lot of advantages either way. Good luck and best wishes to you!

  • Anonymous November 27, 2013, 11:26 am

    Why not proceed as normal, and then put the people who don’t want to know the baby’s gender on Limited Profile on Facebook until the baby is born?

  • Alie November 27, 2013, 11:43 am

    How utterly bizarre. I don’t have kids, but I am an aunt, and I can’t remember thinking it was any of my business whether my sibling told me the gender of their children. It really had no effect on me, except when I found out my sister was having a girl, I bought a little dress for my niece that matched a dress my sister and I had (handed down from her to me) when she was little. But if she hadn’t told me, I probably would have gone and bought the dress just a few months later.

    See – for someone who ISN’T having the baby – it doesn’t matter to me. But I can see how that would matter to the people having the baby a lot.

    I guess I just feel that this is utterly no one but parents’ decision or business. And so there’s no reason to bend over backwards to accommodate someone else when it’s not their decision. So you don’t tell them. If they choose to avoid you and your friends to avoid finding out, that’s their choice, but really really sad.

  • acr November 27, 2013, 11:52 am

    OP, please don’t tie yourself in knots trying to please these silly people. Perhaps a pointed question, such as, “Why do you think your preferences on this matter trump mine?” may wake people up to how rude they are being. Sometimes people can get so invested in an idea that they don’t realize that they have gone from being excited to being rude and pushy.

    OP, is it possible to make the revealing of your baby’s gender a surprise in and of itself? Such as a gender reveal party? If you are not comfortable inviting people to a gender reveal party (some people are turning this into a way to sneak in an additional baby shower, apparently), you could simply invite them to a dinner party, and have a cake that says “It’s a girl/boy” or something at the end. Perhaps your family doesn’t want to find out such momentous news over the phone or through Facebook?

  • gramma dishes November 27, 2013, 12:13 pm

    I agree with every word in Kates’ post (above).

    OP, if your family is so dead set on not knowing in advance (should you make the decision that you and your husband DO want to know), then it’s entirely up to THEM to avoid social media and other contact with people who will know. That’s their self imposed exile, so to speak. You are free to know or not know, announce or not announce. They have no say in the matter past their own behavioral choices.

  • Marie November 27, 2013, 12:13 pm

    I’m going to be blunt on this one.

    It’s YOUR baby. It’s a FREE country. They have no right to tell you to shut up about your babies gender should you wish to find out if it’s a little boy or a little girl. If they do not want to hear about it, they are the ones that should stop all communication, be it by phone, social media or in person.

    This is not your problem, it’s theirs. Don’t make it yours.

  • WillyNilly November 27, 2013, 12:24 pm

    This is your and your spouse’s decision alone. Regardless of what your family wants, your wants override those.
    One thing your family might be thinking is there is no big SURPRISE aspect to just being told the gender, its become so commonplace to know these days all the excitement is sucked out of it. Doing a fun and suspense fulled gender reveal can help bring back that ‘big moment’ feel to the announcement and perhaps that is a good compromise for you.
    I too am pregnant and had to deal with the gender issue with family. We decided to not reveal the gender until the end of the baby shower (the last present I opened was a box with balloons (I’m having twins) in the gender related color – our case pink). We did this because we did not want to be bombarded with PINK everything, but rather gender neutral items, or even blue stuff (there is no reason girls can’t wear blue!) We were called all sorts of things “difficult”, “ridiculous”, “dramatic”, “silly” etc for this choice, but we stuck to it. And when it came down to it, everyone loved the gender reveal, it was fun and exciting and made for great photos.
    There are all sorts of ways to do a gender reveal, balloons in a box as I did, or a cake (you cut it to see the color frosting inside), and all sorts of others. Just search the internet for ideas and you’ll find plenty. You an orchestrate it yourself, or you can ask your Dr to put the gender results in a sealed envelope which you hand to a baker or party store owner and ask them to prepare the reveal so you are surprised with your guests.

  • Elizabeth November 27, 2013, 12:40 pm

    Real simple: this isn’t up to them. It is up to you and your husband. It isn’t their request to make and they need to be reminded of that: “Well if we decide to share the gender, all surprises are off.” And if they want to try to hide from the news, well then the task is on them (no FB, etc.). I am shocked that they really think they can make this proclamation and everyone else is expected to work around how they want this to unfold – really, this is pushy.

  • magicdomino November 27, 2013, 1:21 pm

    I wouldn’t go too crazy keeping half the family in suspense, but for social media purposes, the OP could use a nickname for the baby, Jellybean or Peanut for instance. Aside from obscuring the baby’s sex, it also avoids the whole “I hate that name/I knew a Name in third grade and she was really mean/Why aren’t you naming the baby after Relative?” controversy. Just for fun, you can randomly change pronouns, using he/his one day and she/her another day.

  • Harley Granny November 27, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Congrats on the baby!

    I totally agree with Admin and the others.

    If asked again by your family I’d smile sweetly and say…”I’ll let you know what WE decide to do. Care for some beandip?”

  • AE November 27, 2013, 1:53 pm

    First, congratulations!
    Second, tell whoever you want and leave it up to your family to avoid the spoilers. That’s their choice and their problem.

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