yes, i have a gender preference

i’m over nine weeks pregnant at this point. i wonder if i will, at some point during this pregnancy, give it a rest on including gestational age in the first paragraph of every blog post i write. time will tell. but it’s actually relevant to what i want to write about in this case because i am feeling kind of insecure about the fact that i don’t really look pregnant at all. i mean, i can tell that my body looks different, but i’m the only one. to someone who knows me well, i maybe look a little fatter than usual, like maybe i’ve been gorging on krispy kreme. to someone who doesn’t know me, i probably just look like your average run of the mill kind of fat girl.

i did a google image search for “nine weeks pregnant,” theorizing that maybe people who were already on the larger side of things when they got pregnant just don’t show right away. but it seems like there’s not really any formula at all for who will pop right out of the gate & who won’t. there are skinny girls posting their nine-week belly photos & they don’t even have a whisper of a bump. there are fat girls posting nine-week pics that are undeniable pregnancy shots. i guess that, as with so many things related to pregnancy & female bodies in general, there’s a whole range of normal.

i also did some research on that new over-the-counter baby gender test, intelligender. it advertises results of up to 80% accuracy. jared & i have planned from the start to wait to learn the baby’s sex once it’s born. it just doesn’t really matter to us. we wouldn’t buy different baby gear or really do anything different if we knew we were having one sex or the other. we’re just going to buy what’s cute & functional, & who cares if it’s pink or blue? but how many times in my life am i going to be pregnant? i’m just experiencing some idle curiosity over whether the intelligender test would accurately predict my baby’s sex.

&…honestly…i do have a gender preference. i very much want a girl, & the only reason i am nervous about waiting until the baby is born to learn its sex is that i’m afraid i might need some time to pull myself together if it’s a boy, & of course i will feel like a prize asshole if that happens. in my casual surveying of parents, it’s pretty common to have a gender preference, but most people say that once their baby was born, they fell in love with that particular baby, parts be damned. i know i’ll feel that way too (or at least i hope i will), but if i could get a little forewarning that it’s a boy so i could come to grips with it before someone is handing him to me & expecting me to weep with joy, i feel like i’d be a lot more comfortable. unfortunately, it’s not like i can have a sonogram done & be like, “only tell me the sex if it’s a boy.”

i have asked myself a million times WHY i have a gender preference & i just don’t know. it might boil down to the fact that i’m just kind of a misandrist. i don’t really like most dudes, i have way fewer dude friends compared to lady friends, i don’t feel as comfortable or connect as well with dudes, & the idea of raising a dude child stresses me out. it’s a lot of pressure to think about trying to raise a good dude who treats women respectfully & has a healthy relationship with his own masculinity (if a masculine gender ends up being what he wants to pursue) without predicating it on anything gross & fucked up. & also, even though i’ve had sexual relationships with cis dudes exclusively for the last twelve years, penises still weird me out. it’s hard for me to fathom the concept of having to take care of a baby penis. i know i’ll get over it–i have awesome, amazing mom friends who have sons & they’re doing such a great job with them & their kids are so smart & kind & thoughtful & interesting. & of course i’ll have jared parenting right alongside me & he honestly has no gender preference at all, although he does have 32 years of experience in penis ownership. & sometimes i think about some of my dude friends that have especially incredible relationships with their moms & i think, “that could be me & my kid someday,” & i feel good about the possibility of having a son.

my preferences for a girl are kind of dumb & predictable, in light of what i’ve just written about why a boy makes me feel freaked out. i feel like i’d connect with her better, & feel more comfortable around her, & i am familiar with how lady parts operate (no baby boners–yes, it happens!). i would relish the challenges involved in raising a girl to have healthy self-esteem. just your typical retread “i was a teenage feminist & i want my kid to be a feminist too!”. which is dumb. now that i am writing it out, it really just seems like a political person’s riff on those moms that want daughters so they can dress them up in cute frilly dresses & buy them cool dolls or whatever. & as if raising a boy to be a respectful, thoughtful, non-sexist dude wouldn’t be fulfilling that same political desire? & as if there’s even any guarantee that my kid will identify with its birth-assigned gender when it’s an adult?

okay, i may have talked myself out of having a gender preference. (& PS–i know a lot of people have a lot of genderfeels about people using the word “gender” when they mean “sex” when talking about fetuses & babies. i do know the difference between gender & sex, but it is sometimes difficult to use the word “sex” accurately when writing about these topics. i feel weird calling intelligender a “baby sex test” because…come on. that sounds really fucked up. i feel weird saying that i do or do not have a baby sex preference. yikes! okay, just throwing that out there.) but i am still curious about the accuracy of intelligender or if it’s just snake oil or what.

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5 responses to “yes, i have a gender preference

  1. I get where you are coming from. One of things that really occupies my mind when thinking about having a kid is separating who that child is/grows up to be, from my own fantasy version of “my child.” I believe strongly that parents need to sidestep the trap of making their child into an expression of their own (the parents) unique individuality. You have to let the child be whoever it turns out to be. I’ve got no interest in sports, but maybe I’d have a kid who turns out to love baseball, you know? But on the other hand, you can’t deny the role that parents have in shaping who their children become. Ultimately, you’ve got to separate the inconsequential stuff (liking baseball) from the important stuff (being non-sexist). It’s a minefield. I feel like it would be easier if I had a girl — her experiences would be closer to mine and whatever “wisdom” I’ve managed to come by, I could hopefully pass on. But perhaps having a boy would be even more rewarding because it would require me to think beyond my own limited experience.

  2. I have some unsolicited advice! Completely convince yourself that you are having a boy, so that if you do, it won’t be a shock. That’s what I did. I so wanted a girl, but ended up having a boy. Now I can’t even imagine what I’d do with a girl.

    • that’s pretty good advice! i think i have been kind of sub-consciously doing this ever since i got pregnant. i still haven’t had any major bouts of gender intuition (i’m still trying to accept that there’s a baby in there at all), but whenever i do think about, i think, “it could be a boy, it could be a boy,” over & over. having some really good boy names picked out has also been helpful. we’re still utterly undecided on girl names.

      • I took it to the extreme. Like I’d completely ignore the girl clothes, and tell myself “you won’t be needing those!”. If people asked me what I thought I was having, I’d say “boy!”. I just sort of set it up in my mind that I was having a boy, and that was that. I think people feel guilty saying they have a preference (including myself), but its a very real thing. I come from a family of girls, so for me I was like, jesus, I don’t even like dudes that much. But I ended up liking my dude pretty well.

  3. I felt just the same as you in my early pregnancy, in fact I couldn’t even imagine that I would have a boy! I found out the gender at my 20 wk ultrasound & yup, I was having a boy. Now my son is 4 months & I can’t even imagine myself as thr mum to a girl, tho maybe next time…

    Hmm, guess that was a pointless comment, just a variation of the “you’ll love your child whatever the gender” thing. Ah well.

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