A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine was pregnant and having a hard time deciding whether to find out the gender of her child, or wait until he or she was born. Her five-month check up arrived and she decided that she really couldn’t wait.
I’m finding out, she said.
I don’t blame you, I said.
When I talked to her after her appointment I asked, so? How did it go? Boy or girl? She responded, we found out but decided that we would keep it a secret. This confused me. It also annoyed me a little. She found out, so why wouldn’t she tell me? It seemed a little like someone intricately planning her own birthday party – and surprising her guests. It’s a bit backwards.
I understand why parents want to be surprised and wait until the baby is born to find out the gender. Well, in theory I do. I could never wait to find out my child’s sex – I can barely wait to find out what I’m having for lunch tomorrow. When the option to be informed of the sex of our child came up, it was obvious which route we would go.
It was also obvious that since we knew, we would be sharing the information with everyone else who cared to know. Why not? Clearly, this information was most exciting and important to us, right? Why would we keep it from our friends? Isn’t that sort of assuming and implying that it’s their surprise, instead of ours?
Earlier this year, I started noticing stories about a trend that surfaced that is equally as puzzling; the Gender Reveal party. This is separate from a baby shower. Its sole purpose is to reveal the gender of the baby in some cute and original way. Some people bake cakes with pink or blue dye. The cake cutting happens and everyone delights when the color of the cake is revealed. Or, they roll their eyes and think; I can’t believe there was a whole separate party for this. Do these people actually think I have endless amounts of free time?
This may be a cute tactic if it was one used on your significant other – but a party for all of your friends? Really?
Self-absorbed parents are fodder for social media shaming. The popularity of sites like STFU Parents makes it increasingly apparent that some of us who have chosen to reproduce are annoying the shit out of everyone. I personally love sites like STFU Parents because they remind me that I am actually a pretty well-adjusted mother. It is abundantly clear that the actions of a few are sullying the reputation of the rest.
Yes, you are having a child. Yes, it is important and life changing and fantastic. But when you act like it is the most amazing event that has ever befallen your friends, don’t be surprised when people start distancing themselves and/or making fun of you.
It’s understandable. You get pregnant. You get excited that you are making a whole human baby! It is a very big deal – to you. I’m not implying that your friends and family aren’t thrilled. I’m just suggesting that maybe you shouldn’t act like the sex of your baby is the biggest surprise since The Crying Game. Nobody is losing sleep over this. Nobody. If you find out, what is the purpose of keeping it from everyone else?
Imagine buying the best present in the world for yourself, wrapping it up, and inviting all of your friends over to be surprised when you open it. This makes no sense. If you really want to be surprised by the gender of your baby – I am with you. There are very few things in the world that are truly a mystery anymore. I get it. But if you decide to find out, don’t keep it a secret. It’s just silly.