Pink or Blue? Is It Important to Find Out A Baby's Gender While Pregnant?
I got asked this a lot: "Do you know what you are having?"
Our usual answer to that question was: A) a baby B) a big meal C) what do you think I'm having? D) a human, unless that alien abduction dream was true.
At which point the asker would then try and guess, either by using some superstition that had to with my skin, eating habits, the way the wind blows, the size of my stomach or something else with little reliability.
But is knowing the gender of your baby really that important?
This issue has been in the news recently because the acting editor of a leading Canadian medical journal said that ultrasound technicians shouldn't tell prospective parents the baby's gender until they are 30 weeks along in their pregnancy. This change would halt the (relatively small, but still disgusting) practice of aborting female fetuses.
The editorial started the discussion, which the Toronto Star picked up, on why so much focus is placed on knowing the gender of an unborn baby.
Experts in the article said that the answer isn't legislating what parents can be told, but doing the much more difficult job of working towards eradicating the extreme sexism that de-values girls in some societies.
My friend and mother of six, Julie Cole, also had some thoughts on this subject. She never found out the gender of any of her babies while pregnant and says about the trend:
“[It] might be a reflection of the fact that we are a knowledge-hungry society,” says Cole. “We have so much information at our fingertips that maybe there is a feeling of entitlement to have as much information as possible.”
When I had my first child 11.5 years ago, we weren't even asked if we wanted to know the sex. It didn't even occur to us to ask. That is until we hit an obstacle and I was put on bedrest. At the point we were having ultrasounds every couple of weeks and we wanted to know what we were fighting for. Also, after so many ultrasounds my husband could pretty much identify every major organ on the screen.
With our second, we didn't find out. We wanted a baby and we were very confident we were having one.
With number three, we did find out. We chose to have a third child and assumed that a third boy would be joining our family. We were surprised and thrilled to find out we were having a girl, but we didn't tell anyone until a few weeks before her due date.
Most would-be gender predictors told me I was having a boy and then we went home and laughed at them. Most people assumed that we wanted a girl which we found insulting to our boys and to us as rational adults.
One of the reasons we didn't tell people was because most people do seem overly concerned with the gender of our baby. We didn't want people making assumptions about us, our family or our baby before she was born (and we are little mean and liked to laugh at their predictions).
It seems that there is a growing trend to finding out the gender of the baby before it is born (and even announcing it at gender reveal parties). It is easier to plan, have the perfect nursery and layette set when you know if you are buying pink or blue.
But what this debate shows is that finding out the gender isn't as simple as it appears. At the end of the Toronto Star article, the reporter makes mention of the famous family who is raising their child Storm, gender-free. A year later, only seven people know the gender of baby Storm.
That family is trying to escape the gender characteristics ascribed to babies in the hopes that it will make for a freer society.
What about you? Did you find out the gender of your baby? Do you think all prospective parents should be able to find out the gender?
Want more chaos? Last year, I asked how do you talk to your kids about God?
- Gender: Tangled up in pink and blue
- Can you choose your baby's sex?
- 'We didn't do anything special and I had a girl'