At my last doctor’s appointment, my obstetrician said that we are a few short weeks away from being able to learn the gender of our baby. Her voice went up with excitement, and if I had to guess, I would say that she probably thought that my husband and I would burst into tears of joy or song and dance or something.
Except that, we aren’t in any rush to get through this, our last pregnancy. We want to enjoy it, go slow, and hell…maybe even be surprised. See, the ultimate surprise, for us, is waiting until the baby is born to find out the gender — just like we did with our first child and just like we’re considering doing now that I’m expecting our third. When I was pregnant with our second child, we let ourselves get talked into finding out. At first we were excited about all the planning for a boy, but in the end, if given the chance to do it over, we would have chosen to be surprised.
Later that day when I called my mother, mother-in-law, and my BFFs to give them all the low-down on my little growing sprout, the one question that I got from everyone was, “So what kind of gender reveal do you want to do?”
None. That’s what.
No judgment of the mums out there who get excited and book photoshoots and create elaborate Pinterest parties to tell the world if they are expecting a boy or a girl, but I won’t be doing that. Mostly because I think those parties are stupid. There, I said it. Gender reveal parties are ridiculous.
Scrolling through my Facebook feed or thumbing over Pinterest ideas for baby stuff, I see the images of dads shooting balloons filled with coloured powder or women beating the snot out of pinatas with coloured lollies or other over-the-top and absurd shenanigans to tell the world, “I’m having a boy!” This seems truly bizarre and in some cases kind of violent to me. Am I alone in this? And those ugly cakes with the dumb strip of pink or blue inside? No.
Why do we need to turn everything into an expensive party and photo-op? Not everything needs to be turned into a choreographed event. The last time I checked, a pregnancy announcement, the baby shower, and then ACTUALLY HAVING THE BABY were really the only events necessary for rallying family and friends to eat cake and say congratulations. What’s next? I Missed My Period parties?
I blame social media for this nonsense. Facebook can sometimes feel like a competition for attention. How else do we explain the over-posting of kids doing boring things like peeing in a potty or falling asleep in awkward places? Parents want to share their bliss but even more than that they want their audience of family and friends to Ohhhh and Ahhhh for longer than a like or a “so cute” comment. They want fireworks, dammit.
When pregnancy announcements started getting into reality TV-type territory (there was that guy who announced to his own wife that she was pregnant, WTF?) and our collective ante was upped beyond what is doable, we all decided to move on to epic pregnancy photo shoots. But when even those got crazy competitive — that mum with the dolphin photo bombing her photoshoot, um, how does one book that? — we started obsessing about gender reveal parties, because what else would obsess over?
My husband and I are not exactly trendy people and so this sort of fuss and fluster over our child’s gender would never fly. We’ll stick to the old fashioned word of mouth or, we’ll just avoid that little gem of information and let our friends and family be surprised along with us on the day of the child’s birth. Instead of focusing on one more thing to plan, I want to focus on pregnancy milestones and enjoying the slow pace of my swelling belly in the relative quiet before babyhood starts up and takes us into the land of no sleep.
We still don’t know if we will find out or opt to be surprised by the gender of our baby and I love the idea of keeping people guessing, us included. After all, there are so few things that we can be truly surprised by anymore, why not bring some magic back into pregnancy and leave the party planning and the stress for future birthday parties?
More mum confessions:
- I Never Thought I’d Be a Boy Mum (& Then I Became One)
- I Refuse to Apologise for Being Attached to My Daughter
- Why Parents Need to Stop Saying, ‘Trust Me, it Gets Worse,’ to Each Other