May 13, 2015

Why we aren't finding out the sex...


A full week ago, I sat nervously in a doctor's office awaiting our "big" 19 week scan. Normally, I wouldn't consider myself an anxious person. With this pregnancy though, all bets have been out the window. It's probably because I've had a miscarriage before, but as I waited with baited breath for someone to confirm that our baby really was "ok" I felt the seeds of doubt creep in and take hold. 

Luckily, the radiology tech confirmed that our little one was completely healthy. Brain? Check! Four-chamber heart? Check! Functioning internal organs? Check! No clef palate? Check! Ten fingers and ten toes? Check! As the tech moved over each part of our little one and told us that things looked completely normal, I feel like for the very first time, I can get truly excited about this pregnancy and start preparing for a baby in the fall. 

Now, when you talk "baby preparation" everyone wants to immediately know the answer to one question: What are you having?
My typical reply is, "Probably a baby" but then again, I've always been one for sarcasm. You see, Adam and I are not finding out the sex of the baby. People have lots of good reasons not to find out the sex. Some people really like surprises. Some people don't want gender disappointment so they put off knowing until the baby is born. Some people say it gives you extra motivation in the delivery room. Some people like the old fashion nostalgia it brings. All of these are probably good reasons.

None of them are why Adam and I are waiting. 

We are waiting to find out the sex because frankly, we both abhor gender stereotyping and sexualization.

Yup -- you read that right. Sexualization

I think babies should be babies. Do you know what babies care about? Eating. Sleeping. Pooping. That's about it. So it bugs me to no end to see babies get shoved into stereotypical gender boxes at birth. Even worse, I hate seeing adults push grown-up emotions and motivations onto small children. Still don't know what I'm talking about?

I'm guessing you all have seen at least one onesie some of these sayings:

Big Flirt
Hung Like a Preschooler
Daddy says I can't date until I'm married
Does this diaper make my butt look big?
I hate my thighs
Future Pimp
Future Heartbreaker
Stud in Training
Ladies Man in Training
Too Sexy for my Diaper

I swear I didn't make up any of those. I found them all online or have seen them handed out as gifts at baby showers. Somewhere a baby has worn a onesie with these things on them and frankly, it really disturbs me. I don't understand why we immediately force tiny beings who only care about eating, sleeping, and pooping, into adult roles. Can't a baby just be a freaking baby? A 3-month old boy isn't a ladies man in training. He is pooping his diaper and likely peeing on his own face accidentally. A 9-month old girl doesn't hate her thighs. I can bet she doesn't even think about them. And yet, we tell the boy from such a young age that he should grow up to be a lady slayer and we try to convince the girl that it is perfectly normal to grow up hating her own body.

For us, the total pink and blue closets are bad and are something we definitely wanted to avoid at all costs. But we also refuse to participate in the the over sexualization of our child -- a child that hasn't even entered this world. Since sometimes that sexualization occurs by people who only mean well (i.e., "What's the harm in a funny onesie?"), the best way to accomplish these things for us personally is simply to not find out the sex of the baby. Of course, this only prevents these things from occurring prior to the child's birth and I'm sure we will have plenty of inappropriate or unwanted items to return or politely refuse after Baby "Florken" arrives, but we feel our decision is a step in the right direction for us personally.

Our little one's room won't be dripping in princesses or Tonka trucks. It will be neutral and calm. The Little "Florken" closet will house a wide array of clothing colors -- reds, blues, greens, yellows, grays, blacks, whites, pinks, purples, oranges, and more! As he or she grows, we will encourage them to seek out their own interests, rather than convince them they are "girly" or tell them what toys a "big boy" plays with. 

Perhaps Adam and I are nutters. I've already had more than one person tell me that we're crazy and that "all" our opinions will change when this kid comes along. Those people are right in the sense that we've never had a kid and we don't quite know exactly how that experience will impact us. That said, Adam and I both have very strong opinions about gender stereotyping and the hyper sexualization of children in today's culture and so we wonder -- if our opinions are already that strong, shouldn't our awareness and sense of protectiveness only increase when we actually get to hold this little bundle of joy we want so much?

I tend to think it probably will.

Do you notice gender stereotypes in today's baby obsessed culture? What about the sexualization? Does any of it bother you or do you think Adam and I are nutters?

29 comments :

  1. This is why we made an airplane nursery for our girl. The walls are painted grey at her fathers request. It is hard work on having a toned down nursery in a world where everything is pink or blue. I totally support your decisions. I got the onesie that said "does this onesie make my butt look big?" and it has already been returned. Lets let our babies be babies.

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  2. I definitely hate those onesies, and I hate the "ladies' man" shirts for kids even MORE! But I don't think this would keep me personally from finding out the sex... Any gifts like that would just end up in the back of a drawer.

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  3. Wow I love this post! I haven't had children yet when that times come, I don't plan on finding out the gender for exactly the same reason. I don't want everyone giving me 1,000 pink onesies because I'm having a girl. A friend posted an awesome picture on IG the other day of her baby girl in a camouflage colored "boy" onesie with airplanes on it. Why? Because she thought it was cute. I LOVED that. I'm curious to know how your family feels though...you don't have to share if that's too personal but I can see members of my family being really opposed to the mentality...not just of not finding out the gender, but the entire idea between keeping a gender neutral nursery.

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  4. Very well said. I've always cringed at some of the phrases on onesies. To some they're probably "harmless," but they just seem inappropriate.

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  5. I think you guys are being really smart! Holding your own against opposing views and making sure to put your baby on a healthy track early in life is an excellent way to begin life as a family of three in my opinion!

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  6. I love this. We have talked about when we have kids if or when we are going to tell people the sex. I love that you aren't sharing.

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  7. one of our closet friends didn't find out & it was so much fun waiting for the day... I was blessed to be in the room when the baby was born photographing the birth so being one of the first ones to know, it was SUPER exciting :)

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  8. As a psych nerd I love your post and mildly obsessed with the topic of gender neutrality and over-sexualization. When I hear people say "oh I hope she has a boy (or girl) so they can stop trying" I just want to vomit and punch them. Equally, when I see a 9 week old with a huge bow on her head and her ears pierced my heart hurts.

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  9. This is such a great post. Here I sit anxiously waiting for my gender scan (which I think should be called a sex scan because gender describes characteristics where as sex is the biological anatomy - but that's a post for a different day!), when really I should be soaking in this moment and this pregnancy with my BABY and not dreaming or bows or baseballs. I do agree with you on the onesie issue. I absolutely despise those onesies! Regardless if baby Sparks is a boy or a girl, he/she will not be wearing any of those demeaning outfits. What an exciting day it will be when you deliver your little one!

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  10. I feel like finding out the gender so you know how to decorate the room, or finding out and enjoying that experience of know whether to purchase that adorable little glitter onesie or those awesome little baby boy air jordans - I feel like all of that doesn't create gender stereotypes. We wanted to find out because (1) I can't not know (2) I wanted to know how to do the room and (3) neither Chris nor I would have been disappointed by the gender - all we want is a happy healthy baby, knowing the gender ahead of time is a bonus for us.

    For me, I am not a neutral person at all - I want to know which way to shop so for decorating because it makes it easier for me. For example, we are decorating her room with a fairy tale forest theme and are girling it up with a purple accent wall and 3D pink and purple butterflies. Just because I am doing that does that mean I am buying into gender stereotypes? No, it doesn't and at the same time I am like why shouldn't my little girl have a room fit for a girl - especially if that's something she wants in the future. On the other hand, if my little girl comes up to me one day and is like momma I HATE glitter, bows, and ballet all I wanna wear is my sneakers and running shorts and to decorate my room in soccer posters then I will be fine with that.

    All that to say to each their own, I just hope you understand that not everyone wants to be neutral -some people want all blue or all pink closets and that is okay, just like it's okay that you are going with a neutral theme for your little one.

    Addressing the other topic in this post, I completely agree with you on the oversexulization at a young age. I don't like those "funny" onesies, I find them offensive and ignorant. I get that they can be a joke - but come one, really you really think it's "funny" to see a baby dressed up in a onesie that says "too sexy in my diaper"? Ugh. It's just not funny or cute and needs to be stopped.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley! I normally respond to all comments via email, but you are a no-reply blogger so I can't. I thought I'd type my thoughts here in case you came back to read them:

      I definitely do not mean to imply that finding out the sex was "wrong" by any means. It's not. It is all a personal choice. This post was simply about the parenting choices Adam and I intend to make and how not finding out the sex relates directly to those choices.

      For us personally, neutral works. Adam and I both gush over gender neutral clothing and are in LOVE with the idea for our gender neutral nursery that I *hope* to share on the blog in a couple of weeks. If those things don't make someone else's heart go wild, well... then it probably is not the right choice for them.

      Personally, I don't think in terms of "is this fit for a girl or boy" but rather, "is this fit for a healthy, happy child?" For our family, that means encouraging our future kid(s) to explore ALL things and colors while they grow so that one day they can decide for themselves what their passions are. I honestly feel like this is the way I was personally raised (albeit in a different time and slightly less sexualized culture) and I loved having the freedom to play with dump trucks as much (if not more) than I did Barbie dolls. I honestly think that freedom helped me become the person I am today.

      Then again, everyone has different childhood experiences and I think every single parent is entitled to make their own choices -- even when those choices don't agree with mine. I'm anti-blue/pink but that doesn't mean I think there is anything "wrong" with people who aren't. They are raising their kid. I'll be raising mine! :)

      And yes! I agree 100% on the onesies. I think most people consider them innocent, but our culture is already dripping in hyper-sexuality. I think it's safe to say that you can never be "too careful" about over-exposure.

      -Kate

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    2. I didn't realize till after I posted my comment that I submitted under my personal account and not my blog! Sorry about that! Now I see your POV and agreee completely. I had the freedom to go from playing with my mom's makeup to rolling in the dirt with the boys. I think it's important to have both experiences when you are growing up! I think we are on the same page now that you elaborated a little more, I understand what you were trying to convey :)

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  11. I couldn't have handled not knowing, but we didn't tell most other people until after the baby shower. I definitely agree with the reasoning behind your not finding out, but you could and just not tell anybody ;) One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say babies or children are flirting. No. They're not. They have no idea what that even means.

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  12. I agree 100% on hating the sexualization of babies. It's ridiculous! It shouldn't happen. I think when I have kids, I'll know the sex, but state in baby shower invitations not to get those. Then again, I don't know how I'll be when I actually have kids, but you get the idea.

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  13. O.M.G. Hung like a preschooler?I hate my thighs? These are horrendous onesies and inappropriate. Go you for not finding out the gender!

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  14. Wow those onesies--I've actually seen some of those too!!! I'm also not a huge fan of the whole "Daddy's little soldier/fill-in-the-blank-with-a-stereotypical-male-job" and "Mommy's little princess" ones personally either. We probably will be finding out the sex of the baby when the time comes because I'm sooo not a patient person haha but I like the idea of not telling anyone and keeping things mainly gender neutral. Definitely some food for thought!

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  15. Obviously I am a HUGE fan of not finding out the gender - for a variety of reasons! One of the reasons I'm glad we didn't find out is because I loved not being able to picture/stereotype what my baby would be like, and I'm glad other people couldn't either. Her room is green and she still wears some 'boy clothes' (why is red a boy color!?) that we were given as gifts when I was pregnant. I even have some (awesome) friends who still buy her 'boy clothes' because they're actually gender neutral but just labeled as 'boy' by Gap or whatever other clothing store. Don't even get me started...

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  16. I had the same anxiety going up to my scan last week. The first thing she did was check the baby's heartbeat and it was at 183 because I was so worked up!!! At the end, after everything had been cleared, I had calmed down and baby's heartbeat was back down to 145. Oops :)

    Probably the most surprising part about the whole thing-- C and I were definitely excited to find out the sex, but the little monster wasn't cooperating. I found that I really didn't care once I knew that everything else was ok. We did eventually find out (after 45 minutes), but I think if we hadn't been able to tell at that visit we would have surprised ourselves by not really caring that much.

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  17. AMENAMENAMENAMENAMEN!!! I had no intentions of learning the gender for the very same reasons, but changed my mind at the last-minute because I felt so disconnected from my pregnancy and thought knowing the sex might help me feel closer to the baby. Admittedly, it did, but I still totally feel the same way. A good (well-intentioned) friend of mine got my son a bunch of onesies that said things like "Chick's dig chubby dudes." Let me tell you, my 4-month old doesn't "dig" chicks. You know what he does like? HIS TOES BECAUSE HE'S A FOUR MONTH OLD BABY!

    I did make one exception though, for a dinosaur onesie that reads, "I'm rexy and I know it" because that's just plain ol' punny ;)

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  18. AMENAMENAMENAMENAMEN!!! I had no intentions of learning the gender for the very same reasons, but changed my mind at the last-minute because I felt so disconnected from my pregnancy and thought knowing the sex might help me feel closer to the baby. Admittedly, it did, but I still totally feel the same way. A good (well-intentioned) friend of mine got my son a bunch of onesies that said things like "Chick's dig chubby dudes." Let me tell you, my 4-month old doesn't "dig" chicks. You know what he does like? HIS TOES BECAUSE HE'S A FOUR MONTH OLD BABY!

    I did make one exception though, for a dinosaur onesie that reads, "I'm rexy and I know it" because that's just plain ol' punny ;)

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  19. I totally get it, and I feel like I get you. I also want a gender neutral baby room, clothing, name, etc. etc. I agree that the sexualization of children and in general just putting expectations on them before they are born is INSANE. Some people get WAY too carried away. I think we will find out the gender for that reason though, because we know that we don't want to force those kinds of expectations on a child and hopefully that means we won't. It definitely doesn't mean we can't force others from doing the same, which is unfortunate. I can say, just having a friend who is also waiting to find out the gender, it KILLS me! I think society is so used to celebrating the "gender reveal" that it almost feels like the excitement is coming to a lull for them, which isn't true obviously because they have a HEALTHY baby and that's what matters- but I think we often use the 20wk gender appointment as a midway celebration. I don't know, I'm rambling. Great post and I think you're awesome!

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  20. Such good points! I've always felt a little conflicted on the onesies. Like "ladies man" is funny if you take it in the context that a baby has no idea what that means and no concept of sexuality, then it's funny, because it's so far removed from truth or reality. But it does also contribute to sexualizing children, and that was the side I was missing. I'm so glad I read this. The only reason I can think of for wanting to know ahead of time is that it seems like it makes things more concrete or easier to picture in your head. But if we need the gender to form a mental image, then I suppose that's proof we're putting gender expectations on that child, even if we don't realize it. I'll be interested to chat with my significant other to see what he thinks.

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  21. I agree 100% with the over sexualization of children. It makes me sick. Yes, we found out the sex of our child. And yes, my mom threw us a "gender" reveal party (even though the idea that it wasn't name Sex Reveal Party upset me, it was her party to throw and you have to pick your own battles when it comes to family).

    I respect your reasons for not finding out. We found out so that we could bond even more with the little boy growing in my uterus, to pick a name and to shop. Yes, the baby already has a wardrobe that can compete with Ryan's. But you don't know how hard it can be to find clothes that don't scream "Heartbreaker" "Daddy's #1 Player" etc. We want to raise this little boy with an open persepective, to be a gentle and kind boy that knows he has the freedom to choose who he wants to be. The idea of doing so in a society that is overwrought with forcing sexual identities on children at younger and younger ages terrifies me so I'm reading up. I'm currently enjoying 'The Wonder of Boys".

    I was raised with a brother and felt the freedom to love both playing in his hand me downs outside while also loving to play dress up with my dolls indoors. I was unaware of body issues and interest in dating until High School and feel fortunate...but times have changed so much in the past 20 years and I'm so scared to raise someone in this world. Oh god, and now I bored you with a novel. Good conversation.

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  22. I love this! I think personally I would want to know for some of the reasons other commentors have pointed out, naming and feeling that bond, but I'm not pregnant so who knows how I would actually feel. That being said I feel pretty strongly about keeping things relatively neutral. I had a friend recently that when they announced they were having a boy went on and on for paragraphs (on fb) about all the things their little boy was going to enjoy (trucks, tools, baseball, etc) and it made me feel kind of uncomfortable, to me there is a big difference between noting a child's sex and giving them personality and interests before they have even been born. My biggest fear with that is if you put too much emphasis on the traits the child might have it is harder to accept when they don't live up to those expectations. If you go in with an open mind then no matter what your child actually is interested in will fit your expectations.

    On a different but related note I've always been frustrated when I see a little girl and a little boy playing together and people immediately label them boyfriend and girlfriend. It is not only weird to assume that kind of intimate relationship between two children, but also it sets them up to believe they can't be friends with the opposite sex without it being a romantic interest, and don't even get me started on how it effects sexual orientation. They are just two kids playing together who happen to be a boy and a girl.

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  23. I love this and goes to show why you two are the best. I can not wait to meet Baby Florken and you guys are going to be AMAZING parents, I can. not. wait. :) :) :)

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  24. I agree with the entire post. While I dont know if I could wait if I was pregnant, I definitely hope to one day. I love neutral everything right now in my own life. I wear blacks and greys mostly and dont do many of the typical "girlie" things. I grew up with no brothers so I was the girl who sat with my dad watching football during the world cup and basketball playoffs. I so get this. so get this.

    Also those onesies are just wholly inappropriate. Im all for a good joke but hung like a preschooler??? wtf!

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  25. I love everything about this post!! I had a similar one in draft because we weren't going to find out the gender, and then my dad got into his motorcycle accident and we spent weeeeeks in the ICU and all needed a little pick me up so I changed my mind and found out the sex. I agree with you about the gender specific clothes and little "hey handsome" etc on onesies. You know what's super annoying? I dress M (for the most part) very gender neutral - she has a couple of pink or "girly colored" things from friends and family, but anytime I put her in the teal or green or blue clothes that I bought her I always hear "oh he's so handsome!" when we're out and about. It fills me with fire lol. I always respond with: Girls can wear blue, too, you know!!

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  26. I am pretty positive that IF we have children, I'm going to reference this post in every way possible. I have read this at least half-a-dozen times and it's probably my favorite post by you. Thank you.

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