Why I Invite Strangers To Guess My Baby’s Gender


“Let me check you out from behind.” She heads toward my backside. “Ah, yes, a little extra on the rump. It’s definitely a girl.”

I’m expecting my first child next week. My husband and I do not know the baby’s gender. But apparently, everyone else knows.

Unfortunately, most of their theories are based upon where I have or have not gained weight. When you’re not expecting, strangers would never comment on the chubbiness of your back. But, apparently, when you’re pregnant, you’re fair game for surveillance.  Friends, family and strangers inspect me like a piece of meat, looking for bulges.

“You’ve gained weight in your face. It’s a girl.”
“It’s all in your tummy. It’s a boy.”
“Your ankles look large. It’s a girl.”

My husband and I decided NOT to find out the gender of our baby for multiple reasons. Sure, as many unknowing parents explain behind a sugary-sweet smile, “it’s one of the only good surprises left in the world.” But we also aren’t finding out because it doesn’t really matter to us. My parents already have grandkids of both genders. We have boxes of hand-me-downs in both blue and pink. We’re ready for tractors or tutus. And we can imagine either little John or little Jane being the love of our lives. (I’ll also admit that my sister warned me that labor could be so painful that the surprise of the gender might be the only way to keep pushing!)

But the most surprising outcome of not knowing our baby’s gender is the fun we’ve had in allowing people to guess. It’s incredibly entertaining to allow folks to share their theories, and in fact, I invite their opinions. A friend of mine, who boasts that he’s predicted the gender of the last ten babies in his neighborhood, is convinced it’s a girl because of the glow of my skin. My sister, who has three kids of her own, insists that it’s a girl because I painted my bathroom pink before I knew I was pregnant. A manicurist at the Dallas Fort Worth airport told me that the lines on my hand predict a boy. (She took the premonition further, also noting that my baby boy will grow up to be a professor.) And of course, I’ve heard many renditions of boy versus girl, depending on whether my belly looks like a watermelon (male) or a basketball (female). Depending on which way I’m facing, my belly looks like BOTH.

People hang wedding rings near my belly. They consult Chinese birthing calendars. They ask me about my sleeping position. And, one person even asked me to pee in a cup of Drain-O. (I put my foot down on that one.) I’m a human experiment and personally, I think it’s quite fun.

In fact, for a few weeks, I got wrapped up in the fun of prediction theories as well. After hearing from a friend with multiple children that all of her kids’ genders were predicted by her dreams, I decided to pay a little more attention to my sleep. For a month, I drank a glass of warm milk and hit the pillow, waiting for a dream of my daughter or son. However, I mostly dreamed of being invited onstage at a John Mayer concert, singing a duet, and then realizing that I’m only wearing my underwear. (But that’s a whole other psychoanalysis.)

Yet, even after all of the dreams and rings and watermelons and basketballs, I still have a theory. I think I’m having a boy. My husband thinks I’m having a girl. And neither of us have any reason for our belief but gut instinct.

One of us is right. One of us is wrong. And your guess is as good as anyone’s. But sometime in the next few days, the mystery will be solved. And it will have the perfect outcome.

September 15, 2016

5 thoughts on “Why I Invite Strangers To Guess My Baby’s Gender

  1. I loved this posting. I have three children and carried the same three times – two boys and a girl. Can’t wait to find out. Happy baby days.

    with a warm smile,
    Carolyn Mulligan, friend of Nancy Campbell


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