Monday, March 5, 2012

Let's talk about sex! (of the baby)

This week is an exciting one for the Professor and I.  We have both a doctor's appointment and an ultrasound appointment coming up and we are sooo excited to find out the sex of the baby.  At this point, approaching 22 weeks, I feel like I've been pregnant forever and I'm tired of referring to this baby as an "it" all the time.Plus once we find out the sex, we can talk more concretely about baby names and we can finally buy some clothes and toys for this little one!  However, despite the fact that we're both dying of curiosity to find out the sex, in the end it doesn't really matter to the Professor and I what the baby is. We just want a healthy little.  I know a lot of people say that and some people think I'm just trying to be politically correct or something, but I would honestly be thrilled to have either a boy or a girl.  (Ideally, I'd like to have one of each but that's getting ahead of ourselves a bit!)

I feel like ever since I first announced that I was pregnant to my family and friends, speculation and expectations about the baby's gender have been the main topic of conversation.  As soon as I tell someone I'm pregnant, after the hugs and the squeals and the exclamations, people first ask me, "how are you feeling?" and then "do you know the sex yet?"  I've had PLENTY of people predict the baby's sex for me relying on old wive's tales and superstition.  Apparently, according to an old Cuban superstition, if the baby's father's hair parts naturally in the middle, it's a boy. But if the father's hair parts naturally on either side (which the Professor's does), it's a girl.  According to Persian superstition, girls take away your beauty, so if you have pregnancy-related acne (unfortunately, true in my case), then it's a girl.  According to my aunt and uncle and a few girlfriends, the fact that I've had no morning sickness whatsoever and am "carrying the baby low" (whatever that means!), means it's a boy.

Beyond these predictions, some people have actually told me what they hope I'm going to have.  My mother-in-law, who never had a daughter, wants me to have a girl.  My husband's aunt and his cousin also want it to be a girl.  My sisters, neither of whom have expressly said they want a niece instead of a nephew, nevertheless have let me know that they themselves would want a girl if they were pregnant or have told me how easy it would be to raise a girl because being from a family of all girls, we understand how girls think and what they're like.

It seems to me that baby boys get the short end of the stick. People don't think baby boys clothing is that cute or say that little boys are rowdier and not as well-behaved as little girls. I've even had people tell me that little boys grow up and leave their mommies (which I think is total b.s.--I happen to be married to a mama's boy who not only loves and respects his mother but still calls her on days apart from her birthday and mother's day to see what's new in her life. There's no shame in being a mama's boy people. In fact, I think they make excellent husbands!).

I think a lot of this anti-baby boy feeling stems from a misconception about what kind of person your baby boy will turn into.  I think most women think that if you have a baby boy, one day you'll wake up and realize you have a man.  And not just any man.  A gross, macho, ill-mannered man.  I have to admit that before I met my husband, the idea of having a boy scared the dickens out of me.  I was afraid that I'd have a child who spat (I can't stand men who spit!) and adjusted his crotch-area all the time, a  boy who likes BB guns and baseball and race cars.  But ever since I met and fell in love with my husband, I've looked at boys in a whole new light.  I think of my future little boy as my husband was when he was a child.  A little boy who watched wrestling and collected sports cards, but who also liked taking things apart to see how they worked and building things from scratch and who wanted to be a veterinarian when he grew up because he loves animals so much.

I think all of us could take a step back from our gender-defining stereotypes of what little boys and girls are and what they grow up to be and realize that within each gender, a wide spectrum of personalities and characteristics exist which makes that child a person--not just a boy or a girl.  After all, I, who was raised in a family of all girls, am not a stereotypical girl.  I have never taken ballet classes, I don't like the color pink, I've never had a Princess-complex, I hate wearing dresses unless I have to, and I don't always remember to say my "please" and "thank yous".  And if it turns out that I'm having a little girl, I don't expect to feel limited by these same gendered generalizations when I'm raising her.

So with all that said (whew! talk about a long post for a Monday, huh?), I will keep you guys posted on the sex of this little as soon as we find out ourselves.  We're really hoping the baby isn't modestly curled up and hiding the goods from us.  Hopefully our baby is a little exhibitionist--at least for tomorrow!  Please keep your fingers crossed for us and hope that everything is okay and this baby is the healthiest little thing it can possibly be!

(Photo: We Heart It)


  1. Love reading about the different cultural ways of telling the gender haha! I've also heard the carrying low = big one but not any of the others. So interesting about women's fears of having a boy and what they'll grow up to be. Reminds me of this quote I saw on Pinterest: "Don't marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him." I was like HOLY F it's so true, even though it seems obvious. Once you find a good guy, it really changes your perspective on a lot of things in life.

  2. Kerry, I love that quote! I also agree that once you meet your guy, the whole world seems a different place :)

  3. Reading this post after already knowing the sex of the baby is a little bit interesting bc you get to apply your personal experiences to the statistics of whether or not pregnancy related old wives tales pan out accurately. In this case: 1/3 of them do. =) I'm super excited to be an honorary tia!

  4. Everyone thought my son was going to be a girl when I was pregnant. This was mostly based on the 10 boys born in a row in our group of friends (ours was the 11th), though, not old wives' tales. They just though the streak had to end with someone. I didn't care about gender either, but I have to say, raising a boy has so far been really fun and absolutely hilarious.