Monday, August 23, 2010

Last day as a genderless fetus

Tomorrow is my appointment for the anatomy scan –the day we are supposed to find out the gender. That is, if the fetus is showing its privates. I believe this is the last ultrasound I have scheduled, so if it decides not to show itself, we could be surprised at birth.

I have mixed feelings. Part of me is excited. I question why, since during the first pregnancy I would have preferred to not know the gender (Mark wanted to know, so we found out, but didn’t tell anyone). I didn’t want to subject River to gender stereotypes before even emerging from the womb. I want to give him the chance to make his own mark.

This time I want to find out for reasons of very basic practicality – to simplify the discussion of names (River didn’t get named until just before leaving the hospital, despite knowing the gender ahead of time) and to plan the wardrobe. If it’s a boy, I’ll be moving clothing down from the attic. If it’s a girl, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for cheap baby girl clothes.

As much as I don’t like gender to define a person, I am becoming more comfortable with the idea that some differences are innate due to gender. River’s attraction to trains and cars was just too immediate and too strong to be credited to socialization.

This time around, I view the gender as just one more indication of who it is. It is human, I know its race and ethnicity, I have a sense that it’s fairly healthy and normally developed, but I don’t know what type of genitals or hormone makeup it has.

Mark is worried I will be disappointed if it’s a boy. I asked how he’s going to feel if it’s a boy/girl. He said he’ll be looking for my reaction. As long as it is healthy, and I hope happy, I will love it fully. In fact, I’d probably love it even if it’s unhappy and unhealthy.

If it is a boy, then I will still want a girl. But that won’t diminish my ability to love the boy. And if it’s a girl, I’ll be surprised and it will probably take me some time to adjust, because I’ve already pretty well convinced myself that it’s going to be a boy.

Mark will be there with me, so we’ll find out the news together. I’ve already announced the pregnancy news to family, close friends and supervisors (and blog readers!). If everything looks normal, after tomorrow, I’ll make the general announcement.

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