I spent about 4 months of my first pregnancy with Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” stuck in my head for a really strange reason – I couldn’t decide if I wanted to know what gender our baby was going to be, so every time I asked myself if I wanted to know, the song, naturally, jumped into my head. It’s not even a song I’m particularly fond of, so I don’t really know why the connection was so strong, but it was.
The problem really laid with the fact that I wanted to go Team Green – I didn’t want to know what gender he was until we met because I thought it would add to the fun of the experience, and I wanted to try and maintain neutrality in everything I bought and decorated – but I was alone in this desire. Everyone who I told that I didn’t want to find out basically told me that I had to know for the first one. It was my first baby, and the people who wanted to buy me gifts and throw me showers felt then need to drown me in gender appropriate clothing and gear.
This was particularly funny to me later on when I didn’t actually end up having a shower at all; I had one awesome little ‘sprinkle’ hosted by a friend that provided me with some clothes, books, diapers, blankets, creams, and other knickknacks, but we ended up needing to buy everything else, with exception of the stroller, for ourselves. I think I actually preferred it this way because I was able to make sure that I got all of the important, big-ticket items in neutral colours and prints so I would be able to reuse them comfortably with our future kids… not that having a playard with a blue monkey print would have prevented me from using it for a girl in the future, but you know. Anyway, that is neither here nor there.
So, I catered to everyone else’s will, and we found out. I had been hoping for a girl, and when I found out that he was definitely a he, I was briefly disappointed. I feel bad about my short-term regret every day, like it made me less worthy of him, and later struggled with feeling like I’d deserved to lose him because I’d had the audacity to ever be upset about his gender. How obnoxious of me.
When I found out we were expecting again, one of the first things I started wondering about was the same thing all over again – did I want to know this time around? I pretty immediately decided that, no, I didn’t. And, this time, I have the strength to tell people that it’s my decision to make and I don’t particularly care if they appreciate my choice or not. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I feel like I didn’t have a lot of control over my last pregnancy, and I had a bad habit of bending to the whimsy and requests of others.
The only person whose opinion I cared about, of course, was my husband. I told him I did not want to know this time and asked if he cared. He waffled slightly, but came around when I gave him my reasoning. What do you want, a boy or a girl? I asked him. A baby, he replied.
Exactly. In the wake of our loss, a lot of things that mattered before don’t matter now. Things like gender won’t impact how much we love our child: all we want is a happy, healthy baby. I will have plenty of time to appreciate his/her identity and uniqueness later on, and even then, I don’t want it to seem like I am more or less proud of him/her and what they achieve because of their gender. Gender stereotypes seem more and more silly to me as time goes on, and getting an early start on being accepting of whatever my child wants to do, regardless of what gender it seems to ‘fit’ into, seems like it can only be a good idea.
Everyone who I have told this time around has, so far, been perfectly respectful of our choice. Since I am high-risk this time around and will have a lot of ultrasounds (probably as often as biweekly in my last trimester), I am prepared for the possibility of finding out accidentally (either by seeing something telling or by having a tech slip up and tell us accidentally) but the plan, presently, is to not find out. I hope that I don’t find out and can have the discovery add to the inevitable excitement of his or her delivery, but I will be happy with whatever I get at this point as long as there is a healthy baby at the end of it all.