This humorous article takes a look at some of the old wives’ tales, hunches, and predictions about whether a woman is expecting a boy or a girl.
Just because you’ve decided to wait until you deliver to find out if it’s a boy or a girl, don’t think it’s not up for discussion.
Whether your belly is shaped like a medicine ball, an overgrown pear or a hamburger bun, everyone and their crazy aunt will have an opinion about whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl. Except me. The midriff of every pregnant woman I’ve ever seen has looked decidedly roundish. Now if some lady had ever walked by with a triangle or trapezoid sticking out from under her shirt, I would have had something to say.
My future husband and I were visiting Southern California when a wild-eyed stranger, with flowing white hair and beard, approached us to let us know that in the future we’d have a beautiful daughter together. Since this guy actually looked like he might havebeen a biblical prophet, I believed him. In mid-prophecy, though, he snapped to his senses. Realizing his abrupt opening had been a socially inappropriate way to begin a conversation with perfect strangers, he gasped, “Whoops! I’ve said too much!”
Really, do you think?
When I finally was pregnant, four years later, I wanted to wait and be surprised about my child’s gender when the baby was born. I didn’t care what we had. I can’t say the same for my husband. Whenever anyone would conjecture about the possible gender of our offspring, he would titter, “Ooh, I hope it’s a human!” When he put it that way I realized that I really did have a preference about what we had after all.
Old (and Young) Wive’s Tales
I won’t pretend I wasn’t a wee bit curious. Were the coworkers right who said I was having a girl because I was carrying high? I was pretty sure that was because I’m almost six-feet tall. Had I been carrying low, say knee-level, well that would have been a problem.
There are all sorts of nut-ball theories floating around out there about what gender a baby will be. They involve heart rate, odd cravings and, for some reason, house keys. I read that if you can’t get enough to eat chocolate you’re having a girl. Who makes these things up? What woman can get enough chocolate?!
I put my foot down at mixing my urine with Drano to see what color it made. Since no one at my baby shower could agree on which color indicated a boy and which color indicated a girl I was not going to subject myself to that stinky little science experiment. At least not until I got really curious.
When the big moment finally arrived there was far too much drama in the delivery room. When my daughter finally popped out our sleep-deprived doctor assured me with a relieved smile, “He’s just fine! Perfectly healthy!” Bedbound and stirrup-footed, I was in no position to question his judgment. My husband, though, had a better view of things. Having scoured all the requisite baby books, the man who’d been confident that he knew all the body parts was suddenly second-guessing himself. Studying her anatomy he asked hesitantly, “It’s a girl, isn’t it?”
Try and Try Again
I’ve had friends who’ve tried for girls and friends who’ve tried for boys. I’ve never known one of them to have a partner who didn’t enjoy the fun of trying. All of these women, who seem to have gleaned insights from every last “old wife” on the planet, have been confident that they’ve known exactly how to conceive a girl or a boy. If you find yourself in this position-literally-I do not even want to know about it. Do not, I repeat do not, offer me or anyone else monthly progress reports on your various postures and positions. Too much information.
A Sure Thing
Very early in my second pregnancy I was in a Manhattan deli with my toddler. An employee asked innocently, “Thinking about number two?” Asking the parent of one child if she’s considering a second is like a fortune teller divinely intuiting that your mother had a head. It’s a sure thing. Of course a parent of one is thinking about number two. I can’t say what they’re thinking, but they’re thinking. Still, I fell for it.
“Yes! I’m pregnant now!” I exclaimed, amazed at his keen intuition.
Confident, he assured me, “It’s a girl.”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
He inquired, “Have you had the test?” I knew he wasn’t talking about Algebra. I had not yet had an ultrasound which would determine the sex of my baby.
“No,” I answered.
“Don’t waste your money,” he assured me, “It’s a girl. I can see right now-feet are up, head’s down. I can see it.”
Though I felt a little uncomfortable that a perfect stranger-who wasn’t even a superhero-was using some sort of voodoo x-ray vision to look through my clothing, I was strangely intrigued. I would think of Captain Deli-Man often over the next six months. When I delivered-you guessed it-it was a boy.
You get what you pay for.
I’d like to say that strangers stop throwing out completely uninformed guesses about a baby’s gender after the bundle of joy has been born. I’d like to say that. Sadly, it is untrue. I could dress my baby girl in pink from the soft spot on her head down to her last little pinky toe and strangers would still pat her little rose petal hat and ask, “So, what’s his name?”
Ditto on the boy baby. I put my second in a football helmet, mouth-guard and miniature protective plastic cup just for kicks to count how many well-meaning strangers would tell me what a sweet little girl I had.
There’s one thing I can say for sure: everyone who’s got an opinion is either right or they’re wrong.
I’m sure of it.