Saturday, 23 March 2013

I am so an original...

"Is it a boy or girl?"

Since the use of diagnostic genetic testing and ultrasound in obstetrics, it seems that almost all pregnant women and their partners can't wait to find out their baby's gender. At nearly every new OB visit with a primigravida, I mentally time how long it takes before they ask "how soon can we find out?" There are so many more options for novelty scans just to determine gender as well as a growing trend for 'reveal' parties. Yet, despite all this technology there are still some old school couples who want to keep the surprise until the end. I always found the delivery to be much more fun if the gender was unknown, and even when I thought I didn't ever want to have a baby, I always said that I would keep the gender a secret. (For the record, I have witnesses)

As Myrtle was a bit older than me, I looked up to her when we were growing up and I tried to emulate everything she did, which in turn really irritated her and she complained to her parents and mine that I was always "copying" her. Truth be told, I feared that I could be perceived as copying her again if I got pregnant soon after she made her announcement, which served as the silver lining for my next few BFNs. When she confronted me about seeming distant toward her pregnancy, she asked "Are upset that I became pregnant before you as you've been married longer?" I told her that was ridiculous and perhaps irrelevant as I wasn't sure I could become pregnant. In all honesty, I was jealous that she was pregnant and I wasn't. I was frustrated that I was struggling to conceive while it came so quickly for her. I wasn't bothered at all about her being first. Until she announced that she would be keeping the gender a surprise. Sigh. Should I ever become pregnant, I'll be seen as copying once again.

I don't know why I'm yielding so much to my inner 8 year old self. Infertility teaches us to appreciate what is really important and to disregard the trivial stuff. However, there is so much taken away from us during this process, are we to be denied petulant whining too? Co-worker just had her anatomy scan this week and also decided not to know their genders (although I had a dream she's having a boy and a girl). It's just another disadvantage of being infertile. Everyone around you gets first crack at shower ideas, nursery themes, baby names...etc... One of my other favourite scenes from 'the Baby Shower' episode of Sex and the City is when Charlotte discovers that the mother to be is planning to use her selected baby name. The other mothers can't understand why she is so upset; after all she's not even pregnant. Even though she probably agrees with them, Samantha comes to Charlotte's defense by yelling "You, bitch!" to the honoured guest and leads the girls to storm out of the party.

On some level there is a concern that the friends and family who promised, "it will be your turn one day!" might actually be too busy to give you the same attention when or if it does happen. Husband and I were quite generous to our friends in England when their babies were born, but as they all have at least two or three kids, I'm not expecting that we would get any gifts (not that it matters, at all). Alternatively, the other possibility is that you'll get everyone's used furniture and baby items, and not to be ungrateful, but it seems that it was more about your friend's need to clean the clutter from the attic than to give you a meaningful gift. Additionally, pregnancy is now old news as everyone has been there, done that. Although, you may have one friend who after being pregnant once, is now an expert and will lead you through what to expect while you're expecting, least you try to experience anything yourself. At the same time I also fear receiving extra attention and having others treat the pregnancy as if it is uber special, you know...given the circumstances...

In truth, I really don't want any attention if I do ever become pregnant. I won't tell my parents until after 20 weeks and I'm planning not to tell my staff at work. I want to see how far along I can get before someone is brave enough to tell me I'm getting fat. I don't want a baby shower or any gifts. I just wish I could be thought of as being original for withholding the gender until the end.


  1. You will still be original for deciding not to know the gender. So many people find out nowadays that whoever chooses not to is a bit unique. That being said, I can totally relate to feeling like all the fertiles are able to use cool ideas before we get a chance to. I guess we just have to brainstorm while we wait!

  2. It's so hard to be the last one in everything. As the oldest grandchild, I have had to sit back while so many of my cousins have had multiple kids already. My sister is on her 4th!!! All I know is that it's going to be that much more special when/if my time comes. I've also said I really really didn't want to know the gender, but those thoughts went out the window for me when I did finally get pregnant (miscarried). Kudos to you if you are able to hold out on telling people you are pregnant AND on finding out the gender. You are such a strong person, I have no doubts you will be able to do it!

  3. I can totally understand you wanting to keep low key once you are pregnant. I generally do not like to be the center of attention and once I get big, I really fear strangers talking to me and touching my belly.
    You will still be an original for not finding out the gender. I don't have the patience to wait, personally. I'm also afraid that a nurse would slip and tell me and it would be ruined anyway so I might as well find out. I have a question, though. Will you just not look at your ultrasounds? Seeing as you know exactly what you are looking at on an ultrasound, how will you avoid finding out?

  4. I appreciate your honesty in this post. And I have felt the same way. When my 16 year old cousin got pregnant (before we were even trying) I was pissed cause ours would not be the first great grandchild in the family. I fear that all of our friends are going to get pregnant first, and ours wont be as exciting. And of course (like everyone!) I am worried about someone taking our name, etc! If we do get pregnant, on the one hand I will be cautious and not want that extra attention. On teh other hand, it coud very well be our only time, and I will want to celebrate it. god damn IF for making everything so complicated!

  5. It's funny, most of my friends who've had babies have chosen to keep the gender a surprise... it seems just as common here (in Canada, I guess) to not find out, but maybe that's just our own circle. In any case, that decision is certainly not what's going to make you or your pregnancy original. I'm sure it'll be difficult when it happens because you'll be so thrilled while feeling like the whole pregnancy thing is "old news" for everyone else, but I guarantee PLENTY of friends, including Myrtle, will be excited for you -- because it's YOU. And the idea of YOU having a baby is awesome! :)

  6. Most of my friends back in England didn't know the gender as it's not told to them [it parts outside on London the information is withheld due to concerns about sex selection] but here I feel it's 1% or less who chose not to know (number completely pulled out of my ass, but in the 4 years that I've been at my current job, I can count on one hand the number of patients who chose to be surprised) and it's be some mathmatical probability that I happen to be friends with people in the <1%! Personally, I sometimes wish you and your partner could just spend your pregnancy together on a deserted island and be free from so many annoyances...