Being pregnant with a first child could potentially bring out the worst in a couple. There are just so many new things to fight about – what to name the baby, how to budget for diapers, who is going to care for the baby. Joe and I have gotten through most of these issues, and more, unscathed (but please don’t ask us what we’re naming this child, because we’re letting that subject “rest” for awhile).
All that aside, there is one baby-related decision that we can’t seem to agree on. Joe wants to know the baby’s gender; I do not.
At this point, eight months into the pregnancy, it would seem to be a non-issue. We had the opportunity to find out the baby’s sex three months ago, and we passed. Call me old-fashioned, but I really think the baby’s birth will be even more special this way. I’ve also convinced myself that labor will be just a bit more survivable knowing that I’m that much closer to finding out whether the baby is a he or a she (I know this is not logical, but I have to resort to self-trickery to avoid having nightmares about my rapidly approaching hospital stay).
Unlike many other moms-to-be I’ve come across, I get a kick out of strangers’ predictions, from the shampoo-er at the salon who took one look at me and said, “Oh, you’re expecting a little boy!” to the clerk at Walgreen’s, who asked me when my daughter is due. The bubbies who lunch with my grandma all put their hands right on my belly before making their guesses, as though by osmosis the gender would suddenly appear before them.
Joe has grudgingly gone along with the plan, mostly, I suspect, out of fear that I will turn into a raging, hormonal lunatic if he dares to voice his objections. Ever the more pragmatic half of the partnership, he feels that knowing the baby’s gender would help us to plan better for his or her arrival. That, and he’s just plain dying to know, and doesn’t understand why I’m purposely torturing him.
None of my reasoning has helped to convince him. “There are so few surprises left in life” prompted him to list a dozen “surprises” we have to look forward to, like what the baby’s first word will be. “But I think it will make labor easier, since I’ll be so excited to find out” just got me a look that said “you’re insane and delusional.” And “I’m the one who’s pregnant for nine months, and I say we’re not finding out” didn’t end up working out very well (I’ve since learned when I can and can’t pull the “pregnancy card”).
At one appointment with my doctor, Joe asked if the doctor knew the baby’s gender, because he had decided that he’d find out what it was and just not tell anyone. The doctor said no, that no one other than the technician who had performed the ultrasound knew.
A few weeks later, at one of our childbirth preparation classes, the teacher mentioned something about the baby’s gender being in our file, and Joe realized he’d been had. He toyed with the idea of calling the doctor’s office and asking again, but decided that maintaining marital harmony would probably be a better plan.
And so we wait in anticipation, Joe bemoaning the fact that we can’t paint the nursery walls blue or pink (but in the end really liking the bright green we chose), while I daydream about whether we’re having a son or daughter.
I hope he comes around and realizes that it has been kind of fun not knowing. And if not, at least the torture is almost over for him. That is, until we have to decide on the name.