In Defense Of The Gender Reveal
I don’t wait patiently for anything. The “are you going to find out the sex?” question was laughable to anyone who knew me. The mere idea that the ultrasound tech would know and I wouldn’t made me twitchy.
During my first pregnancy, I remember lying on the exam bed with the cold jelly slowly warming on my skin as the tech moved the wand around until – a girl! I went home and shared the news. No big gender reveal because I felt like the moment in the ultrasound room was exciting enough.
For baby number two, my husband and I looked away while the tech searched for the telltale signs of boy or girl; she then wrote down the sex on a piece of paper and sealed it inside an envelope.
Let me back up for a second to say that I understand the difference between sex and gender, as well as the fluidity between them. But saying “gender reveal” is how these events are best known. This was never intended to start stereotyping my child early – it is simply a knowable fact that I wanted to know.
Some people despise gender reveals, and I respect that. I understand why it seems to be placing undue importance on the presence of a penis or vulva. My need to know would have meant finding out the sex of the baby either way, but the gender reveal was for one person.
From the moment she found out I was pregnant she was adamant that she wanted a little sister. The chance of a brother was unimaginable to her. She also felt the loss of her single child status acutely. Everyone was talking about her new baby brother or sister and she felt left out.
After staring at the envelope for the rest of my work day I met my best friend at my house. My husband and I went out to a nice dinner by ourselves, as my friend and daughter worked on the big surprise. We let her choose which color would represent which sex, reminding her there are no boy colors or girl colors. Of course, she still chose blue for a boy and pink for a girl.
Two hours later we were sitting at the dining room table with a lovely chocolate cake placed in front of us. Would we have a boy or would we have another girl? I slowly pulled the first piece of cake back to reveal… blue! My daughter was so excited to have gotten to know the sex of the baby before we did, that she got caught up in the fun and temporarily forgot how much she wanted a sister. Later it opened up new conversations with her in regards to gender stereotypes when she lamented she had no “boy toys.”
She loves to tell people how she knew she was having a little brother before her father and I knew. She felt involved and important. And she got cake!
Sometimes she still wishes she had a little sister, but she has learned that brothers are not so bad, after all.
I wouldn’t change a thing.