Gender Reveal Parties are Stupid.
Save your damn stamp. I. Am. NOT. Coming.
Sorry, not sorry. (do people still say that?)
Let's be honest tho - "Gender Reveal" parties are a just plain ridiculous. Am I right? Or am I right? Come on people!
What is the fucking point?
Why does it matter?
And WHY does it need to be celebrated?
I've held this one in way too long, and now it's finally time that I unleash the dragon (the unisex dragon to be specific).
I seriously can't deal. Just the idea of celebrating the inside color of a cake (pink or blue) makes me want to vomit all over it, and y'all know how much I love cake.
I don't give a shit if my "virtual baby" cake is made of mother-effing cotton candy, unicorn rainbow colors. I'm not going to make you come to a party to find out. I'll eat that delicious multi-colored cake in the privacy of my own home with my husband.
Pop the Champagne - we're having a unicorn!
Let's go sprinkle multi-color confetti all over a random field and take photos!
I mean, really?
For those of you that have been following our journey on Instagram, you know that we have recently made it through a lot of trials, tribulations and testing and have finally ended up with 3 genetically normal, embryos. Otherwise known as em-babies.
Thank you Egg Donor #922, I heart you.
Our three amigos (or amigas) are now frozen and stored away until we are ready to transfer them to me, one at a time! To put it simply, I have three tries to get pregnant.
Bring on the Hat Trick!
During the genetic testing process our nurse asked us "the gender question". We knew this question was coming at some point. By doing genetic testing, we have the option to select the gender if we want to. Crazy, right?
I'll never forget the day she called to tell us that we only had three embryos that made it through testing. I was happy. I was sad. I was in shock. We had started with 21 fertilized embryos (egg donor + Jonathan's Sperm), 9 that survived testing and ended up with our 3 that were considered "genetically normal". The 6 that didn't make it either had extra chromosomes or were missing chromosomes. Which ultimately "could" end up as a negative pregnancy, miscarriage, or genetic disorders. We almost didn't do the genetic testing, but our doctor didn't want to put us through any more grief. His exact words were - "My job isn't just to get you pregnant, it's also to get you to carry and deliver a healthy baby".
Well, okay then. Sign us up doc!
Don't get me wrong, I was over the moon excited about our three healthy petri dish babies, but I still needed to grieve the 6 little guys that weren't healthy enough to move on. For those of you that haven't gone through this may be thinking - that's nuts! Isn't 3 enough? And the answer is yes. Honestly, 1 is enough. All you need is one to work. But when you dream and envision a family of at least 2 children, and haven't had any positive results at any point in this process, you can't help but want to have more "at bats". I felt really comfy with having 9 tries to get pregnant vs. 3. Most people have infinite tries, I have 3. And if we want 2 children, our odds are challenging.
But, hey, we'll take what we can get!
When we got the news we were sitting in the car in the driveway together. I had buried my face in my husbands armpit and cried harder than I've cried in a while. What about the other 6? What if our slightly abnormal baby was in there? Did we do the right thing? We don't need a perfect baby, we just want a healthy baby. We don't expect it to be easy, we just want someone to love.
I hear a "hello, are you okay?"on the other end of the phone.
Shit, the nurse is still on the phone as I have a mental breakdown. Shit. Jonathan explained to her that "we" were having an emotional moment i.e. "I" was having an emotional moment. She totally understood.
And then with utter excitement in her highest pitched happy voice says... "So....Would you like to know the genders?"
Oh dear god. This is how she lightens the mood?
We knew this question would come at some point, but that was the furthest thing from our minds in this exact moment. I totally forgot! OMG that's right - the nurse knows the sex of our 3 babes!
And she better LOCK that shit up!
We looked at each other with fear in our eyes and answered in unison...
WE DON'T GIVE A RATS ASS WHAT THE SEXES ARE!
Sorry for yelling. We were worried you were going to tell us.
She laughed, "no its okay, I understand".
But seriously, we don't give a shit. We just want to know that we have healthy embryos that could result in healthy babies. Case closed.
You feel me?
So who chooses then?
We definitely didn't want the embryologist choosing either, I've never even met the guy! I can just hear him now - we need more "men" in this world, or some shit like that. Meh.
We were seriously puzzled. We didn't want the doctor choosing and we didn't want to choose.
So, now what?
The nurse suggested we have a family member choose and not tell us. Someone we trust with such a big decision. We had several discussions about who we would consider. Who would be the best person to give this assignment to? My 93 year old grandma? I'd put my fate in her hands any day! But then we thought about all the pressure and stress that could cause her. And, also making her keep such a big secret from everyone. That just ain't cool.
Finally, we discovered a study to participate in that measures the success of different methodologies used to choose the best embryo to transfer. The study is to evaluate the old-school way of embryo grading against the new school way - based on graphing and sequencing. Neither, us nor our doctor would get to choose the sex of the embryo selected. They just pick the one that looks the "best".
Done and done.
Look, I get that finding out the gender is important to some people. Had we not been through hell and back, we'd probably do it too. I'm a planner, and knowing the sex of my baby would certainly help with planning (I mean, I guess). But let's face it, there is still no guarantee of a baby. No guarantees of anything really. Planning or no planning, shit can always take a turn. We know this better than anyone. So, this is one surprise we'd like to reserve for ourselves. We earned it.
AND it doesn't fucking matter.
Here's my point - if we were to choose the "boy" embryo or the "girl" embryo. Would you care? NO!
NO one cares!
For example, if the inside of your cake ends up being blue versus pink, are people attending your party going to be happier one way or the other? NO. They don't care! They are happy for you regardless. And, I get that you want to know the gender, that's a very exciting moment! The anticipation of a new baby boy or baby girl is part of the process, but do we all need to get all dressed up, play games and eat cake together? Can't I just bring you a magnum of champagne to the hospital when the baby is born and make that shit rain?
Can't you just send a text - "It's a boy! (insert champagne emoji)". I do want to hear about it, I really do. I just don't want to find out in a room full of people groping your belly and making strange comments about how low or high you are carrying. Because we all know, carrying low means you're "definitely" having a boy.
And trust. I LOVE parties. I love a good celebration, but this is just crazy! It's some "first world" bullshit if you ask me. You definitely don't see people in other countries throwing gender reveal parties, do you?
And, for those of you that feel disappointed when you find out the gender of your baby, please think of people like me and my husband. For those of you that have 2 or 3 boys and are trying one more time for the girl, I get it, but please remember those, like us, that would take that 4th boy of your hands in a heartbeat. Be grateful for what you have.
Had I not experienced infertility, I would have probably been this person. That's the honest truth. I had multiple bridal showers and bachelorette parties, for Gods sake. Sorry! BUT, I've changed. My illness has changed me forever. I am grateful for my beautiful, invisible disease and all that it's taught me. How else would I have gained this new perspective and deep empathy for others?
I am grateful. So fucking grateful.
I hope that you, too, can consider this perspective if you haven't before. As you consider your invitations for your gender reveal party I ask that you think about others. Imagine the thoughts of a single woman at the party, who's longing to find love and is wondering if she'll even have the chance to have a baby one day. Think about the woman who carried her baby in her belly for 5 months and then miscarried. Think about those who have struggled with gender identity or has a child that is struggling. Think about someone who has tried everything humanly possible to conceive, yet ultimately infertile, like me and my husband.
One in eight couples struggle with infertility. #weare1in8
If you are guilty of throwing one of these parties, I'm not saying you are purposefully insensitive, I'm just trying to get you to think about it differently. That's why I started this blog - to give perspective and share my learnings with others.
Here are the things I think about now....
We don't actually know a child's gender before they are born. We know the biological sex - which is totally independent of gender. Children reveal their gender identity later in life, and that's for them to reveal, not us. Just because you are having a "boy" doesn't mean he will fit the typical boy stereotypes. So, is a blue cake really the best representation? Maybe he's more into dance performance than he is football? Maybe he'd rather be represented by the color purple?
And the truth is - no one really wants to play silly guessing games. I'm pretty sure I know the answer, it's either a boy or a girl. Duh. No one cares what the biological sex is, well except maybe your mom. And truthfully, she doesn't really even care that much. No one wants to throw pink confetti all over you or tie a blue ribbon around your belly. It's just weird.
You aren't celebrating the CHILD. You are celebrating the sex of the child. And that's extra weird.
Do you ever hear people say "Yay, Susie's reveal party is this weekend! I can't wait!"
Fucking shoot me.
Save your mason jars. Save your cake pops. Save your balloons. Save them for when there's actually something to celebrate. We have plenty of other meaningful things to celebrate in life! Right?
I sure think so.
Pregnancies are worth celebrating. Babies are worth celebrating. Birthdays are worth celebrating. The creation of a new life is worth celebrating. Getting an education is worth celebrating. Finding the love of your life is worth celebrating. Growing your family is worth celebrating! Let's celebrate it all!
Just let us know "when and where" and we'll be the first ones to put our party pants on.