When I was pregnant my husband and I decided we weren’t going to find out the gender of our baby.
Apparently this is a very old school way of doing things. People in my parent’s generation all praised us for keeping the surprise. Oh how fun! Nothing is a surprise these days! Doctors ranged from impressed to confused. You actually don’t want to know? People in our generation didn’t know how to handle it! But how will you be able to get ready for baby?
How will we get ready for baby? What do you mean by that?
How do you buy stuff if you don’t know the gender?
Oh, you mean do we buy pink or blue? Do we paint the nursery pink or blue? Do we buy pink or blue blankets and stuffies and accessories?
Here’s the thing… it wasn’t the surprise I was most excited for. I honestly got more joy out of watching people squirm because THEY didn’t know. For some reason the gender of the cells dividing and multiplying to create this new life was important to people. They didn’t know how to purchase a baby shower gift if they couldn’t buy pink or blue. Pro tip: buy diapers or other useful items. New moms are going to buy their own kid PLENTY of clothes and we’ll have more money to do so if essentials like diapers and wipes are taken care of. Baby is going to puke and shit on any colour you buy them anyway, so relax.
I was fine not knowing. In fact, I was a little afraid to find out. I was terrified I’d have a boy. Not that there’s anything wrong with boys. I just felt I’d be a better mommy to a girl. It’s what felt right to me, besides the fact that the ratio of boy babies to girl babies in my extended family is about 3:9. I figured I just knew what to do with a girl better. Maybe it was an instinct that kicked in, letting me know very early on, without the help of an ultrasound, that I was indeed having a girl.
I’m also not a huge fan of the colour pink. The idea of having a pile of gifts wrapped in 50 shades of pink wrapping paper and opened to find 30 different pink outfits for my kid to shit all over, made my stomach turn. I was equally repulsed by the idea of the same image done in blue. Baby stuff is adorable. I love shopping for my kid. But I really love variety in her wardrobe (I shop in both the boys and girls sections to find cool, fun clothes), and I prefer gifts be thoughtful and not generic gendered colours. Oh she’s having a girl, I’ll just grab this pink outfit and pink elephant stuffie. Done.
When she gets bigger and decides everything must be pink, so be it. I dont want my daughter defined by a colour though. I didn’t want anyone putting gendered expectations on my baby before they were even born. My fetus didn’t know it was a girl. The only indication I had that she was a girl was a few pregnancy dreams and the fact that girl-power pop music always made her roll around in there.
So why does knowing the gender matter? Why are bakers everywhere making money off gender reveal cakes? I understand the excitement of finding out if it’s the gender you wanted. Everyone always has a preference. We’re going to try for a boy! We’re hoping for another girl! What if you find out its the gender you didn’t want? I didn’t want to feel any disappointment in my child before I had a chance to even meet them.
Gender identity is something that can only be defined by the individual. As my daughter ages she will decide what kind of female she will be. It is a touchy and controversial subject in the world today and all I can do is support her.
My job as her parent is to love the shit out of her. My goal is to ensure that she is happy and healthy and safe. My hope, is that she will grow up in a world where it is possible for her to confidently walk down the street, proud to be exactly who she is.
My favourite colour is purple, which just so happens to be both pink AND blue. Maybe my daughter’s favourite colour will be orange. That is the colour of her nursery after all. As it turns out, it’s not THAT hard to prepare for a baby you don’t know the gender of.