(This wasn’t the first real post I wanted to put up here. But I’m tired of the increasing pushes to “just give in” and make everyone else happy. So we’ll start off with a serious note and get to the fun stuff soon. 🙂 )
This is Spawn. Spawn is an extremely active bundle of amazing potential growing in my uterus. (And by active… I mean that when we were told to start doing ‘kick’ counts last week and that we’d have two whole hours to count ten movements, we LAUGHED. Every count has gotten to 10 movements in 3 minutes. Active, I say.) Pregnancy has been both utterly amazing and extremely challenging. I know parenting will only be more so. There are many days I already feel daunted by all the decisions that will come once Spawn is out in the world.
But by now, you might be wondering why I keep calling the baby ‘Spawn’ and not, at least sometimes, substituting a pronoun instead. He? She? If we’re doing kick counts, we MUST know by now what the baby is. And we do. But one of our very first decisions that we made on behalf of this bundle of potential was to keep that small bit of information to ourselves for as long as Spawn’s in the womb. Why?
We decided this because of everyone’s initial reaction to “We’re having a baby!” Which is: “What is it?” As humans, we want to classify things so that we know how to deal with them. It’s a normal, and in many cases, a necessary reaction. We need to know if an item on a plate is food or if that animal on the street is dangerous. Just like a peanut on a plate can be a yummy snack for one person but a deadly allergen for another and one neighbor’s cat can be vicious while the other neighbor’s dog can love every human on the planet, our classifications aren’t always right. Peanut doesn’t always mean delicious and not all pets are friendly. We feel the same is true about people. Having a penis or a vagina will eventually cause certain hormonal changes during puberty. As an infant or child, that difference is only used to classify a child- having a vagina in our society means one likes ponies and pastels while having a penis means one likes space and sports. The problem with classifying human beings is that it also limits. It says that *because* you have one formation of cells, you don’t (or are not allowed to) like and enjoy certain colors and activities.
So if we were to answer the “What is it?” question, each person who asked would begin to classify- and limit- our baby into certain categories. While we can’t practically put this off forever, the real answer to the question is “We don’t know.” We know what genitals our baby has. What we don’t know is who Spawn is, and that’s the more important question. It’s also a question we can’t answer for a very long time- once Spawn has a chance to figure that out for him- or herself. Based on how this baby acts now, I feel comfortable inferring certain personality traits. I know Spawn is extremely active. I feel that we’re going to have a happy, content baby- with a good dose of mischief (The kid moves nonstop- until someone else wants to feel. Then instant stillness. Every time.). But I could be wrong, certainly. There’s no way for me to guess what Spawn’s favorite colors or characters or sports or books or ANY of the rest of that will be. And I refuse to make those assumptions any more than I would say that Spawn’s going to enjoy crafting because we have the same nose. It doesn’t make sense.
What does make sense is leaving the options open. Letting Spawn tell us these things. We’re not talking about letting children run the house. We’re talking about guiding Spawn to be a caring, compassionate human being while allowing our baby to explore his or her own identity.
Sometimes it sounds nit picky to keep this one bit of information to ourselves for just a bit longer. Sometimes, based on the pressure we’ve already received to just make things easier on someone else, I wish we could keep Spawn away from everyone’s demands for a lot longer. If it’s driving you crazy because it’s that important for you to know what genitals our baby has, I wish you would examine your own motives. Because, when it comes down to it, it’s simply not about you. It’s not about your personal beliefs about gender. It’s most definitely not about making it a tiny bit easier for you to shop for Spawn or talk about Spawn. It’s not about making you jump through hoops. It’s not about us being difficult. It’s about respect. Whether we’ve agreed with someone else’s parenting choices or not, we’ve tried to respect the fact that someone else’s child is not ours to raise. We’ve tried (hopefully successfully) to keep our opinions to ourselves unless we’re asked. We’re just expecting the same in return. Pretty simple, huh?