Dec 18 2012
the pastor and the bartender: gender vs. sex and some thoughts
A mega-pet peeve of mine is when people confuse gender and sex. Sex is what you are born with - and there are more options than we tend to think of. Male, female, intersex (what we used to call "hermaphrodite"), no sex organs. These are all possibilities. This is what an ultrasound can (sometimes) predict. But everyone has a story of someone who knew someone who was expecting a girl and out popped a boy.
Gender is something else. I cannot predict what gender my child will be. This is something that he or she will express in time, and sometimes through choice. I cannot even really predict what gender Vicki will be at this point. She has not consciously adopted one or another. People can choose to identify with one gender or another. In our culture, we sometimes call it "a woman being trapped in a man's body," or vice versa. And it does not stay static. Perhaps at one time in your life you identify with one gender, and then it changes. Sometimes people undergo surgery to make their sex match their gender (although "match" is a loaded term, as though there were only one sex that goes with each gender).
All of this just so totally betrays my theological training and background. But when we get that question: "so what gender?" Or when people talk about a "gender reveal," it drives me nuts! What you are revealing is what you think the sex of your child will be, with science that is not fool-proof.
So, now that my rant is out of the way, we have news!!
We think we know the sex of our baby, after the ultrasound this afternoon!
We think it's either a boy . . .
Or a girl.
Okay, okay, just kidding. It's a boy!
To quote the ultrasound tech, this baby was "almost obscene" in how revealing he wanted to be about his sex organs!
We went back and forth and back and forth on:
a) whether to even have an ultrasound. But this one was great. The tech saw everything she needed to see in terms of heart, bones, organs, and so on. And I do feel much more connected to this baby, after feeling that this pregnancy was still sort of imaginary. Also turns out the placenta is anterior! Midwives are so smart.
b) whether to find out the sex of the baby. At first I felt firmly: no. Then Jeff started to cave (insert sigh because I married an instant gratification junkie). Once he said he wanted to know, but he wouldn't tell me, it was all over. We both had to know. Then we debated whether to tell anyone else. But it just felt sort of crappy to say, when people asked, "Well, we know, but we're not going to tell you!" So we decided to tell you. I hope you feel special.
Is your next question about names? We covered that too.
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