Random Blog A Musing Farf

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


So, I realized that I almost never blog about the pregnancy. And really, what’s the point? I feel fat and tired, have heartburn and insomnia and generally am no different from any of the other women before me at 21 weeks of pregnancy.

But actually, I am really lucky. I have a great support system of friends and family and two of my good friends are due within a couple weeks of me so my baby will have some ready made playmates. Plus, I am taking pre-natal yoga and made a friend in that class who is due right around the same time. But, despite the changes I have had to make – new clothes, no wine with dinner (well, less wine with dinner), more vitamins and meat cooked beyond raw – the fact that Husband and I are going to be parents has not really hit me.

I could never picture beyond the delivery day, never really pictured a baby or a small child in my life on a permanent basis. And when I did, I actually sort of pictured an arrangement like I have with my dogs – give them love and attention and they reward me with kisses and good behavior. But yesterday, all that changed.

Husband and I took some time yesterday to go to the doctor’s and get the required 20-week ultrasound where they check to make sure things like the fetus has all it’s fingers and toes and that the heart and brain are there. (Yes, I realize I am 21 weeks pregnant but since abortion is legal in NYC until 24 weeks, I knew that if something was wrong, we would still have time to make decisions). Thankfully, nothing appeared wrong. Everything seems to be progressing on schedule and normally. Sure, the fetus has unusually large feet, but so do I so it’s not like that was a surprise.

Going into the ultrasound, Husband and I decided that we did not want to know our future baby’s gender. There are so few surprises in life where either way is good, that we wanted to keep it a surprise from ourselves. Besides, the room was already painted yellow so it’s not like we were re-painting pink or blue. And being that my mother, grandmothers and countless generations of Jewish women before me have imposed their superstitions on me, it’s not like we are really buying anything before the baby is born anyway. But then, in the ultrasound room, the technician asked us if we wanted to know the gender and I looked at Husband who pleaded with me with his eyes to say “yes” and we looked at the picture and knew even before the tech said anything. So, we know that we are having a ______.

Oh, wait. Did I mention that we decided not to tell anyone what the gender is? We had actually decided that well before the ultrasound. We just wanted to keep part of the pregnancy to ourselves. And really, given that my family is mostly girls and Husband’s is mostly boys, we figured the odds were not stacked in any particular way. Plus, I was convinced we are having a boy and Husband was convinced we are having a girl and neither of us cared too much either way, so why make a big deal out of it?

But the thing is, it has become a big deal. My mother is so annoyed that we won’t tell and my father even tried to get it out of me. We are calling Husband’s parents’ tonight to tell them all about the ultrasound results and I am pretty sure they will be equally as unthrilled with our decision to not revel gender.

There is more to my decision though than just wanting to keep this one thing to ourselves for just a few more months (although that is the major reason), the other part is that my poor child will be bombarded by gender stereotypes pretty much from the moment it is born. Toys will be pink or blue, clothes will be the same and I am not sure I want all of that pressure pre-birth. I do not think it will scar a baby boy to wear a pink onesie (so Mara, pass on your hand-me-downs) nor will a little girl be disturbed by being in blue (Cari, that means I want your old stuff as well) and no matter the gender, this child will grow up with an appreciation of sports as well as the ability to whip up dinner and dessert for six without more than 60 minutes notice.

But for me, weirdly, knowing the gender made the fact that I am having a baby seem all too real. I can now picture future events from a specific perspective and the little thing we have affectionately referred to as “Sesame” (since it was the size of a sesame seed at the first appointment) now has an actual person’s name. I can look forward to a bris/baby naming and I can finally see a moment beyond the delivery.


new mom said...

New dad still says it's a boy and he doesn't care what anyone thinks! He wanted me to tell you.
I am just tickled pink or blue, and wish the best for all of you. (Sorry about the lame rhyme.)

wingin' it said...

wow, you're already using the baby as a source of control. You're 7 months early ;-)

Mara Clarke said...

Oh, the trouble you are letting yourself in for ;-) Did you know that J and I also knew the gender and did not tell people? And we never slipped up. Not once. We referred to Baby A as “our little foetus” for the entirety of my pregnancy. Or our “sprog” as kids are known in New Zealand, J’s home country. And the grief we got.

But there was a great upside to it, which was people didn’t bother us about names. Because when you agonise over names, and finally, finally find the perfect one (or three, like we did to give us a chance to meet the little one before saddling her with a moniker) and tell people, invariably someone screws up their face, raises their eyebrows and says, “Really?” in that annoying way that plants a seed of doubt. I’m just saying. As for the dressing kids in the “wrong” gender colour, I believe I’ve told you about my experience with dressing Adena in blue her first few months.

“What’s his name?”
“Her name is Adena.”
[outrage] “Why is she in blue???”

Response, in order of how much the asker aggravated me:

“They’re hand me downs from her boy cousins”
“We don’t feel the need to gender identify our baby”
“Were conducting an experiment to see if she grows up to be a lesbian.”

I’m just saying ;-)

You can have the hand-me-downs as soon as I get them back from my 2 friends who just had their second children, both within 14 months of their first babies. Expect a package . . .

Suzanne said...

I also just had a very long lunch conversation with someone who is not planning on sharing her future baby's gender when she finds out. It is intense how much insane gender stereotyping goes on, and I constantly rant about this. You and Mara rock.