The other day, some girlfriends and I were discussing the gender reveal – do you or don’t you? Suzi and Brittney are very much in favor of finding out their babies’ genders when given the opportunity. Amanda loves the surprise and has even blogged about it twice. Kat also loves a surprise. Personally, I’m on the fence about whether I prefer being surprised myself or simply surprising everyone else. In any event, when I’m pregnant, don’t bother asking me my baby’s gender. Either I won’t have found out or I won’t be revealing. You can wait until my child is born to find out if I had a boy or a girl. But be forewarned: if you harass me too much about knowing the gender, you may not be around in my life long enough to find out.
When I was pregnant with Pop Culture Toddler, my pregnancy expecting board had three different color groups of expecting parents: Team Pink, Team Blue, and Team Green. Team Pink consisted of those parents who were having a girl, Team Blue a boy, and Team Green those who wanted to keep the baby’s gender a surprise. At some point, however, I added a subset to Team Green – Team Noneya.
“Noneya” is a term one of my former secretaries used whenever she scanned or created personal documents for herself or for me. The first time she did it, I was really confused. When I asked her “Why ‘noneya’?” she said, “So if anyone looks at it, they’ll know it’s ‘noneya’ damn business.” I liked it so much I stole it.
The Team Noneya subset of Team Green included us parents who broke down and found out our babies’ genders but chose not to share them with anyone. Everyone had slightly different reasons for keeping the gender a secret, but at the root of it all was our shared belief (a belief shared by the parents who didn’t find out their babies’ genders) that people who were not involved in the process of contributing fifty percent of the baby’s genetic material should not really care what we were having, and if they did care, well, that was their problem, not ours.
Well, we were wrong. People care, and they care passionately. In fact, some people cared so passionately during my pregnancy, that they made me downright angry and just a wee bit stabby. Want to make a pregnant woman cry and see just how long a Cancer can hold a grudge? Tell her you wouldn’t bother to decorate her baby shower because she wouldn’t share her baby’s gender. Want to see just how far an envelope opener can be thrust into someone’s heart (at least in my mind)? Then try your chances in the office by harassing a pregnant and hormonal me every single day about her baby’s gender and interpreting every single box that is delivered as a “sign.”
I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. Why does it bother someone so much that the parents either choose not to find out their baby’s gender or to not reveal it until the baby is born? Why? Why?? WHY??? Because, you know what? It’s noneya damn business. It’s not. And people’s stinky attitudes toward me when I was pregnant and keeping my Pop Culture Fetus’s gender identity a surprise (a surprise I thought would be nice, mind you) have increased my resolve to never reveal my child’s gender no matter how many children I have. I refuse to play people’s stupid little games – particularly when it truly does not, or at least should not, concern them.
I had a couple of reasons for not wanting to share the gender of Pop Culture Toddler. The first reason is that Pop Culture Dad and I had originally planned to not find out at all, and we wanted to half-honor that spirit. Before my 20-week ultrasound, we had already picked out both a boy and a girl name and painted the nursery. Three of the nursery walls were blue and yellow. The fourth wall was painted like a quilt wall – blue, yellow, green and pink. It’s the fourth color that gave people pause. Even though I hadn’t found out my child’s gender yet, I have heard several times (and still hear to this day) that we “let” pink be the fourth color because I knew I was having a girl. I didn’t. And I don’t care. I’m perfectly fine with my son having 5% of his bedroom pink. And there really wasn’t anything revealing in the choice of paint color – it simply matched the Care Bear border I had bought in my 9th week of pregnancy when I decided to design a nursery around a Grumpy Bear I had purchased on eBay five years prior. But I digress…
Pop Culture Dad and I decided on the morning of the ultrasound – on the way to the ultrasound – that we would find out the baby’s gender, but we decided to keep it a surprise. Pop Culture Dad decided he would make his life easier by simply telling people that we didn’t find out. I (as always) was feeling a little more brazen, so I decided I would have no problem telling people that we just weren’t going to reveal the gender.
Another reason for not revealing the gender was purely personal to me. I have a very large family, so I have been to a lot of baby showers. One thing that always irked me was the color conformity of the gifts. If it was a shower for a boy, everything was blue; if for a girl, then everything was pink. It was almost as if each guest went to Target and thought, “Oh! I’m sure no one else thought to get blue onesies! I must make sure I get a dozen!”. These all-blue and all-pink baby showers bothered me; but they weren’t my showers, so I put it out of my mind. I always tried to do my part, however, by mixing up my gifts a little. I always stick to the registry, because I refuse to presume that my preference overrides someone else’s well-thought out plans and specific requests (I’m considerate that way). But if there’s no registry, I try to get a mix of things. Yes, I will buy your little boy blue, but I will also buy green, orange, brown, whatever.
Even though I was [until I had a daughter and was forced to go shopping for her] a huge fan of pink, I hated pink until I was 21. I blame Hello Kitty for the transformation. Back then, it was hard to find anything Hello Kitty that wasn’t pink. Slowly the two concepts melded in my mind, and… well… ask my husband how he feels about the pink rice cooker, toaster maker, sandwich press, griddle and gameroom…. However, I never intended for my pink fanaticism and Hello Kitty obsession to dictate everything I bought for my child, even if it was a girl. I knew that if I had a girl, I would find myself stuck with everything pink and frilly [for the record, I still do and always will hate frilly]; just like I knew if I had a boy, I would find myself stuck with everything blue and baseball-related. How did I “know” this? Because the same people who bugged me constantly about my baby’s gender said the reason they “had” to know was so they knew whether to buy pink or blue and Hello Kitty or football – exactly the result I wanted to avoid. So, yes, boy or girl, no one was going to know my child’s gender ahead of time.
[Oh, and for what it’s worth, Pop Culture Toddler does not look good in pink unless it’s a very dark, fuchsia-type color (not the kind you get at baby showers). You know what else doesn’t go with pink? Eczema — of which PCT has plenty! PCT does, however, look fabulous in green, purple, and black – not that anyone forcing their pink preferences down my throat would have been thoughtful enough to consider that.]
At the root of all this is the fact that people are selfish and sometimes downright rude and pushy. If I could trust people to know my baby’s gender and then respect my wishes by not buying pink or blue, then maybe I wouldn’t mind revealing the gender so much (assuming I find out). But the fact is people don’t. Even knowing how I feel very strongly about this, I had people shoving their preferences down my throat when I was pregnant with PCT [didn’t they ever learn not to cross a hormonal pregnant woman???]. I feel the same way about this I do about our choices of names – if you didn’t put this baby in me and you’re not carrying it, you don’t get a vote, and I could care less about your preferences.
The thing is, if people feel so strongly that newborn girls should be swaddled in all pink and newborn boys in all blue, the solution is simple: have your own baby. If you already have your own baby, then you’ve already had the chance to put your opinion to work. But for those of us who decide to keep our babies’ genders a surprise – whether a surprise from us or only a surprise to everyone else – don’t rain on our parades. We’ve made our decision, and this like most other parenting decisions, is very subjective and not up to a community vote. Deal with it. Because, really, it’s noneya damn business.