So, What Is It?

The number one question people ask when they find out I’m pregnant is whether the baby is a boy or a girl.  When I answer that we don’t know, inevitably the number two question is whether we’re going to find out.  That these are the most frequently asked questions is not a surprise, of course.  But how common a certain response is certainly has been.

Excepting the kind folks who want to start dressing our baby right away—and do not want to be restricted from purchasing gender-specific clothing—most everyone has reacted beautifully to our waiting-and-seeing.  A couple of people have told me that this is one of the very few real surprises left in life; someone put it even more powerfully last week, when she told me that it’s the only surprise where either result is good news.  What a wonderful way to think about it!

I’ve always known I wanted to be surprised, at least with the first one, and I was so happy when John said that’s what he wanted, too.  But the reactions I’ve had from other people—wow!  I didn’t realize how consistently radiant people’s smiles are when they’re talking about new babies, even when they barely know the parents!

Now I do honestly mean that every time I have this exchange with someone, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am.  My hope in people and their values is renewed, and that’s a great thing to have happen about three times a week, on average.

But at the same time, having the same conversation over and over again can get a little . . . tedious.  So I’ve started coming up with new ways to answer these questions in order to amuse myself, while still getting my point across.  Unfortunately, I’ve quickly realized that what I think is funny after having the same exchange fifty or sixty times is rarely amusing to someone hearing the news for the first time.  Rather than deny anyone else the unobstructed joy of hearing about a new baby, I thought I’d better share my thoughts here.  Maybe then I can go back to a big smile with a cheerful “We don’t know, and no, we’re not going to find out.” Period.

A week or so ago, someone asked me, “What are you having?” I tried to say, “Well, so far we know it’s human.  You know, not a dinosaur or an alien or anything.”  I got a very strange look.  Definitely not using that one again.

For most of my pregnancy, when someone asks me, “Are you going to find out if it’s a boy or a girl?” I’ve answered, “Not until it’s entirely obvious.”  A little over the top, a little too clever, I know.  Can I blame it on hormones?  Or just an over-active sense of sarcasm?

Wait, it gets better (and by better, I mean worse). I’m now a month and a half past the typical date for an ultrasound wherein the gender could be revealed.  I understand that many of the people I talk to don’t know the general timing of things, plus I’m sure lots of doctors do things differently.  But lately when people ask me if I’m going to find out, I tell them that that time has passed, that ship has sailed.  Again, a bit harsh, but to look at me, it’s quite obvious that I’m pregnant.  Even if you don’t know the timing of things, mightn’t one figure that if I wanted to know, I’d know already?

I guess not, and I know I can’t really blame anyone.  I still can’t look at a baby and tell if it’s three weeks or three months old!  I’ll chalk this up to another humility check and a reminder that we’re all somewhere unique on our journeys, whether or not they involve children.  And boy (or girl!), do I have a long way to go.

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2 Comments to “So, What Is It?”

  1. I know! I am pregnant again with my second human (hopefully!) and that is by far the most asked question. This time around I am really throwing them for a loop when they ask what hospital we are using and I respond that hopefully, if all goes well, we are having this one at home. The current stress on gender is so annoying to me. As a mother the gender of my child is so not a concern. Besides, all kids look great in brown burlap and barefeet! I think it is who they are as people that will show their colors not what society tries to squeeze them into.

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