Friday, September 14, 2007

At the End of the Day

My c-section is scheduled for a week from today. I am looking forward to meeting my son. I am also at a loss for how the time went by so quickly.

My pregnancy was so different this time from the first time. No morning sickness. No blood clots in my eye. More sciatic nerve pain. Knowing the sex of the baby. Having a one year old to chase after.

One thing I keep reflecting on is knowing the sex of the baby. This morning, Jeff and I came to the conclusion as to why we found out the sex. Because we wanted to experience knowing that piece of information. And that experience, has convinced us we would rather be surprised.

I feel almost as if I have cheated my son of a little of the excitement of his birth. We were so excited to meet Shelby, to know this brand new person of whom we had no pre-conceived notions. I don't feel that same anticipation. In fact, I have felt a lot more anxieties as a result of knowing I was having a son.

"Will I be a good mother to a son?"

"As good a mother as I am to my daughter?"

"Will we be able to foster the closeness we desired for our children knowing that they are the opposite sex ahead of time?"

People told me countless times that it is important to know the sex of the baby so you can "be prepared." As Jeff said, "What did we do differently because we knew the sex? We bought a blue bouncy chair. That's pretty much it. "

We had already had the to circumsize vs not debate while pregnant with Shelby. We had enough yellow clothes and unisex outfits to get him through his first six months. Our nursery theme was specific to a child not a boy or girl, the way we would have done it regardless.

My mother feels that it is easier to connect with the baby if you know the sex. But that has not been our experience. Children are very strange to me, because you really know nothing about them when they are born. All you know is you love what you are given. So, it doesn't matter the sex of the baby.

I will say that during my first pregnancy the people who annoyed me the most were the ones who asked if I knew what I was having. Especially those who asked repeatedly when they knew we wanted to be surprised. It was a bullying technique to get us to find out. This time, though, those people have been replaced by the ones demanding a name. We have names narrowed down, but people want a name. The name. And unfortunately for the rest of the world. The Herrett Family--Jeff, Kristen and Shelby--have to meet their son/brother in order to name him. It's just the way it works in our house.

Now, all of this makes me wonder, at the end of the day how did my parents, and so many parents, and grandparents manage without knowing the sex of their baby and also many did not give out names. And the answer that it was because the technology wasn't there is only a part of the answer. They weren't pressured in part because people did not want to nor expect to buy personalized gifts for an unborn infant. At your baby shower, you got the basics, cribs, diapers, sheets, burp cloths, etc. Stuff that you needed regardless. People nowadays want to theme your shower and give you clothes (something most people waited for until after the baby was born in times of yore) and engraved or monogrammed items. My father commented, after Shelby was born, that when we (my brothers and I) were born, we just had a few white t-shirts and a couple of onesies to wear until about a week or so when gifts from friends and relatives came in. As a culture we were more patient, easier to appease, and perhaps more relaxed about life in general.

The most common reason I hear now for finding out the baby's sex is this: I'm too impatient and I need to plan. I think God conceals babies in our wombs for nine + months to help us learn the importance of patience and to let us learn the valuable lesson Jeff and I learned as we had our c-section in the middle of the night for Shelby: we move on God's time, not our time.

Don't get me wrong, if you want to find out, find out. But as we found, the grass wasn't greener. In fact it turned out to be brown, needing water, and brittle. So when we might be blessed with baby #3 don't be surprised we don't know the sex and we're not giving out names. Just use it as your own lesson in patience.

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