Want to keep your twins sexes a surprise until delivery day? One mom did it and she shares her top 6 tips to make sure you get the best surprise ever.
It’s one of the first questions you’ll be asked as soon as you announce that you’re pregnant. It’s a question you’ll be asked over and over, countless times throughout your entire pregnancy by family, friends, and complete strangers: “Do you know what you’re having?” While this question often sets up the inquisitive person for a sarcastic response (“Uh, yeah. A human baby.”), it is an unavoidable intrigue of pregnancy.
It’s almost like people can’t help themselves. They’re dying to put a bow or bowtie on that mystery in your womb. In fact, ultrasounds to determine the sex of your baby keep being offered earlier and earlier, and there are even elective blood tests mothers can order to find out the baby’s sex almost as soon as those two lines appear on a pregnancy test.
Finding out and announcing your baby's sex has truly become a big deal, with cupcakes, balloon launches, airplanes skywriting in pink or blue, and family parties honing in on the suspense of that momentous revelation.
And then there are the “crazy” people, like me. The masochists, surely, who choose not to find out because they just want to ruin everyone’s fun and act as if the world revolves around them. I can imagine some people are reading this right now with a resounding “WHY?” echoing in their minds. And to those people, I say I wholeheartedly respect a person’s desire to find out as soon as possible. I’m thankful this is a decision each parent gets to make for themselves.
But let me tell you: waiting until my babies' (all six of them) births to find out the sex was one of the most exciting, suspenseful, and happy times for me. I remember the moment I heard what sex each of them were. Some were major surprises (like my first daughter, after we were firmly convinced we could only have boys), and some weren’t that shocking, because I already had a strong feeling. But each one was special and memorable, and I have no regrets about deciding to wait.
If you’re considering keeping your twins sexes a surprise, be prepared for some people to be unhappy about this. You may have some actually ask you why in the world you’d choose to put yourself through so many months of not knowing. Here are some good reasons to wait to find out the sexes of your babies:
There aren't many surprises in life anymore
It’s been said many times, but it’s true. There aren’t many surprises in life anymore. If you’re expecting multiples, you’re not just getting one surprise, but two (or more)! This truly is an exciting, joy-filled time of waiting, imagining, and wondering. I imagined all the scenarios of what my twins could be – boy/boy, girl/girl, or boy/girl. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to fully embrace each possibility, knowing I’d love them no matter what.
There aren’t many times in a person’s life when they can be completely free of gender expectations.
The truth is that even if you find out the sex of your baby, there are countless other things you can’t know about them. Which hand they’ll write with, whether or not they’ll be good at soccer, what color their eyes will be, and so on. For nine months a human can exist free of the assumptions and expectations that are so often placed on people based on their sex.
While finding out the sex can be fun and useful for planning, it really is not necessary for having a healthy pregnancy. Leaving the sexes a mystery can be a good opportunity to practice open-mindedness about your children, knowing you’ll love them no matter what.
Because it's YOUR pregnancy
A good reason for keeping your twins sexes a surprise is because you freaking want to! This is your pregnancy and waiting to find out genders is completely your prerogative, if it’s what you want to do. While some people won’t like it one bit that you’re making them wait for a whole (gasp) 9 months (it’s really not that long people), they need to respect that your pregnancy means your decisions, and they’re welcome to handle their own pregnancies as they choose. Don’t feel bad for choosing to wait for no reason other than you just really want to!
How to Keep the Twins Sexes a Surprise
If you want to wait to find out your babies’ genders, but are still unsure about how that actually works, here are some tips to make sure the baby's sex stays a surprise until you give birth:
- Tell every sonographer you're waiting
- Resist letting others know before you
- Go neutral with clothing and decor
- Make an extra long baby names list
- Ignore the myths
- Do a surprise reveal for family at the hospital
Tell every sonographer you're waiting
Be sure to inform sonographers before they even begin an ultrasound that you’re keeping the sexes a surprise. I had tons of ultrasounds with my twins and I had to make sure to remind the sonographers every time that we did NOT want to know our babies’ sexes.
Resist letting others know before you
Understand that if you cave and let even just one person find out the sexes (grandma, sister, best friend, etc.), you run the risk of having the surprise accidentally ruined. You may spot a pink onesie in their closet, they may slip up and use a gender-specific pronoun, or the word may just get out and spread until it comes back to you. If you don’t want to find out, the best option is to make sure the sex is a surprise for everyone.
Go neutral with clothing and decor
Buy gender-neutral baby gear and use gender-neutral colors for baby showers. Or plan to have a baby shower after the babies are born. Planning ahead isn’t impossible just because you don’t know your babies’ sexes, but it may take a little extra creativity. Reminder: this is what everyone did in the old days!
Make an extra long baby names list
Make sure to come up with enough names to cover all possible gender situations for your multiples. Two girl names, two boy names, and an option for if your twins are boy/girl. Even though this is a lot of work, it can be really fun, and in the end, since we only needed one name from each sex, we were able to choose the one we thought best fit the baby.
Ignore the myths
Supposedly a woman carries a girl differently than she carries a boy. I’ve had four boys and two girls and have carried them all exactly the same. Another myth is that you can tell the gender of a baby based on its heart rate. My twins’ heart rates were always within 1 beat of each other or else exactly the same, leading me to assume they were going to both be the same gender. I was pretty shocked when they were born and I had a boy and a girl. There are lots of myths for attempting to guess genders. Know that these are just for fun and are usually not accurate.
Have a surprise reveal at the hospital for family
If you want to still be able to have a fun reveal of the sexes, plan one for family and friends who visit you in the hospital.
In the end, after almost 9 months of keeping my twins sexes a surprise, my twins were born via emergency c-section. Because I was fully dilated with two breech babies upon entering the hospital, I was immediately put to sleep and taken to surgery.
Needless to say, nothing happened as I had envisioned it when dreaming about finding out their sexes at the moment of their birth. I woke up groggy and in pain to the whispering voice of my husband. He told me both babies were healthy and then he quietly announced to me what their sexes were: one boy and one girl. I could hardly open my eyes or vocalize a response, but my heart was soaring. It wasn’t a balloon popping open with colored confetti while friends and family cheered. But it was perfect. And that moment was worth the wait.
Natalie Downey is a stay at home mom to six rambunctious but lovable kids. Her two-year-old boy/girl twins were the surprise of her life and keep her on her toes. She gets by with lots of help from coffee and yoga and enjoys literature, spontaneous dance parties with her kids, and playing guitar.