The great gender debate

By Published On: December 1st, 2010

So, do you know what you’re having?” asks the checkout […]

So, do you know what you’re having?” asks the checkout gal as she glances at my beach ball of a belly. “No,” I smile, “we’re not going to find out.” Even before the rehearsed words leave my mouth (this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this question), I know how grocery girl is going to react. Mouth agape, she first stares in bewilderment as if she’s the butt of a practical joke (good one, ha ha!), and then, realizing she’s not being punked, shakes her head. “There’s no way I could not find out,” she says with the same conviction reserved for breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding debates. “I’m way too impatient.”
Impatient. There’s that word again. And it doesn’t just relate to pregnancy; it seems that society as a whole has to be in the know. With the sweep of smartphones and social media, we have to be plugged into everything 24/7, including the sex of our brewing babies. But not me. No, I’m patient, as patient as they come. At least I used to be. But my patience is running a tad thin, and the constant comments (and constant kicking) aren’t helping. Every time a clerk questions or a tummy-patter predicts, the more I crave the $64,000 answer.
Of course, strangers aren’t the only ones putting on the pressure. As soon as I told my best friend Rebecca I was preggers, she promptly got online, punched the due date into some Dionne Warwick-like psychic site, and assured me it was a boy. Ditto for Gyorgyi, who is 4 for 4 in the guessing game. When she conducted the ever-so-scientific “Ring Test” on me (someone holds a ring strung on a gold chain over your left palm: If it swings like a pendulum, it’s a boy; if it moves in a circle, it’s a girl), it swayed back and forth like a drunken soldier.And although Amanda is insistent that I try the “Drano Test,” I draw the line at toilet telepathy.
The bigger baby gets in size and personality, the more I want to know. At my last appointment, he-slash-she kicked the heart rate contraption right off my tummy. Certainly seems like something a rowdy boy would do … or a stubborn girl.
Shopping for baby gear isn’t helping either. Limiting nursery decor to neutral knickknacks is no fun, stopping myself from buying anything in pink or blue is wearing thin, and bypassing the frilly frocks and rough-and-tumble boys’ clothes in favor of gender-safe styles is getting old. But perhaps the most convincing argument comes from my friend Liane, who didn’t even consider not finding out the sex of her two kids: “You’re going to have enough surprises that day. Why add one more?” True—and almost convincing enough to make me break down and dial the doctor’s office, demanding to know. What is it? Boy? Girl? Tell me now!
Thankfully, before my irrational pregnancy brain has a chance to take over, up pops an email—or should we say omen?—from my former college roommate Andrea: “Don’t find out the sex—I didn’t, and it was awesome when our baby came out and David exclaimed, ‘It’s a boy!’ Best moment of my life.” Good point. And besides, what’s so bad about being surprised?