On finding out

There aren’t a ton of things that most people ask a pregnant woman.  “How are you feeling?” is a common one, of course.  “Are you / did you find out the sex?” is the other.  It makes sense.  There’s not a lot else to ask in a casual conversation.  Maybe questions about the nursery or weight gain or side effects, but really, there’s not that much to ask about.  It’s a small creature hidden away, swimming around in an amniotic sea, safe from prying eyes.  There’s not too much to say yet.

So you get asked about the sex of the baby all the time.   We went to the second (and hopefully final) ultrasound prepared to find out but the kid didn’t want us to know.  But the truth was that we were both already a little ambivalent about finding out, going in to that ultrasound.  We’d been enjoying spending the 16 weeks before that going, “it’s a girl,” “no, it’s a boy,” “you’ll have to stop saying that after our daughter is born,” “no, I won’t, because it’s a boy.”  And so on.  All very lighthearted.  We’re both well aware one of us is wrong and the other is (hopefully) right.  Before going in to the ultrasound, the doctor asked if we wanted to know, and we agreed yes.  But as time went on, and as our it’s a boy/it’s a girl game got sillier, I became more hesitant.  David admitted he felt like it was one of those things that you just kind of had to find out – you know, because everyone does, not because he really wanted to.  And because what else is there to learn at about the baby at that point, beyond the number of fingers and toes and the apparent presence of the requisite organs.  (Those ultrasounds are near impossible for the layperson, if you’re not talking about face, hand and feet.  Yeah, sure that pale grey blob is a kidney.  If you say so…)  Even in the parking lot, I mentioned that we didn’t need to find out, but we both kind of shrugged and agreed that it’s a surprise at 20 weeks or an equal surprise at 40 weeks, so we agreed to find out.  And then the kid kept itself all legs clenched and folded up, so we didn’t.  And have been playing the it’s a girl/it’s a boy game ever since.

And it’s been fun!   It’s oddly nice to not know.  It hasn’t affect much, other than offers of hand me downs.  We both have a certain amount of intent on not raising overly gendered babies.  (As in, either way, the kid’s getting lego and baby dolls and tiny little hockey jerseys.)  If the kid ends up loving trucks or ponies, we’ll go with it, but it will not be the only toy options on the table.  Same with clothing.  Until the kid’s old enough to have a say in the matter, I’m going to do my best to not gender all the clothing.  And what’s with that, anyway?  I was at the BabyGap and bought 2 outfits – one a cream wool onesie with a mother and baby penguin, and the other a blue onesie with a penguin with headphones outside an igloo.  We’ll ignore the fact that penguins and the Inuit are found at the opposite end of the world and focus on the fact that BabyGap found it necessary to peg one for girls and one for boys.  The hell?  Actually, BabyGap doesn’t even have a gender neutral section, not even for infants.  I think I’ll end up buying most of the baby clothes from Superstore, which is at least cheap and not quite so segregated.  Dinosaurs on skateboard pjs are awesome, straight up, for everyone.  (If only I could find them in my size…)

I don’t know.  I’ve always had a ton of problems with the pink/princess shit.  I was a tomboy, and didn’t start wearing pink until I was in my 20s.  (And then only because it’s a really good colour for my skin tone.)  I played with trucks and mutilated my Barbies and played in the backyard all the time.  I also did figure skating  for a decade, and Girl Guides, and loved baby dolls.  And that’s what I want for this kid, either way.  The ability to watch, do and play with things because they are fun, not because they are “girl things” or “boy things”.  And so we’ll at least start off with that intention, and do our best to at least start the kid out with as little enforced genderization as possible.  I am sure it won’t last forever or be perfect, especially if we get a boy who loves trucks or a girl who loves princesses, but at least we can try, and make sure to have as many choices on the table as possible.

And that?  Along with the fun it’s a girl/it’s a boy game, is why we’ve already decided we won’t find out in advance next time either.  Your mileage may very much vary.

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4 responses to “On finding out

  1. We found out last week, and while I don’t regret it, I do miss the boy/girl conversational games a little bit!

    And, as a girl who really really hated it when my mother bought me boys’ Garanimals (baby clothes were less gendered in the 1970s, but by school age everything was pretty clearly for boys or for girls), and always wanted sparkly pink stuff, but who also loved Lego and Star Wars, I’m a little unsure how we’re going to approach gendered vs neutral for our daughter. She’ll have Star Wars wallpaper in her nursery because my husband insists on keeping it up (he picked it out himself when he was eight), which somehow makes me much more okay with the idea of lots of pink sleepers and blankets.

  2. Hey, we went in to the ultrasound planning to find out, so I’m not going to judge!

    Also, I totally love the Star Wars border. That sounds really cute. And I’m not just saying that because I bought my husband the Millenium Falcon in Lego for Christmas. Nerds unite?

  3. Here’s a good book for you (whether you have a girl or not it is interesting): Cinderella Ate My Daughter. It gives a whole new perspective to the princess marketing phenomenon that is going on right now. I wish I could get every one to read it because it’s preaching to the choir in our house. So far I’ve been able to keep the princess shit at bay but that’s because I’m strict about toys and don’t let my kids watch TV so they aren’t advertised to. I do read the fairy tales though – even the ones where they die at the end because they have a purpose.

    And we didn’t find out for the first and did find out for the second. I liked it better when we didn’t find out – the discussion is a lot more fun then.

  4. It’s put on hold at the library! Sounds very much up my alley.

    After watching cartoons one day, David and I agreed that we absolutely had to minimize/eliminate commercials for the kidlet. They were all so loud and the toys so vile and the imagination deadening so obvious. Ugh.

    This baby thing seems to be making me a little more militant…

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