Boy or Girl, the Bets Are On!

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Winnie is Gender-Neutral, Right?

We do not know the sex of the baby.

No, seriously.

We didn’t want to find out.

Yes, we can live with it. Because: 1) We will eventually find out, duh! 2) Surprises are fun 3) There are only two options, after all.

In Canada, you can usually find out the sex of your mini-baby during the second ultrasound, at around 18-20 weeks. But when offered, we asked the technician to keep it a secret. So as she waved the wand around my still-kinda-flat belly, she didn’t say a word and I could tell she was trying her best not to linger around the baby’s genital area—a thoughtful gesture, but it’s not like I would have been able to find out by myself anyway. I mean, I can barely tell the head from the stomach and the hands from the feet! Ultrasounds are like modern art to me—intriguing and mysterious.

Early in the pregnancy, I asked Feng if he wanted to find out the sex of the baby. This is the kind of decision you have to make as a couple, after all. But we were on the same page: he wanted it to be a surprise as well.

We haven’t regretted it. It’s fun to keep the suspense going until the “big finale”.

Sure, I sometimes think about it. There are way more girls than in boys in my family, so I have always kind of assumed I would have a boy—statistics and all. Early in the pregnancy though, I was certain it was a girl. But maybe I was projecting—a woman imagining a little girl growing in there.

But now, I have no clue. Boy or girl, your guess is as good as mine. My pregnant woman’s instinct sucks anyway—remember, it took me six weeks to realize I was pregnant!

And the truth is, I don’t care. I imagine us with a baby, not with a little boy or a little girl. We are happy either way. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the grand-parents don’t care either.

However, people’s reactions to our choice have been surprising. Like with most pregnancy-related topics, complete strangers and kind souls feel they must absolutely share their opinion, and I find I have to justify our decision.

My in-laws complained that not knowing the sex “wasn’t practical”. “Buy red stuff,” I replied. “Chinese, good luck… you know. Or better, don’t buy anything.” (My in-laws tend to go a bit over-the-top when it comes to shopping).

My father’s family—very conservative and superstitious—wanted to dangle a freaking pendulum over my belly, a sure way to predict the gender according to them. “She won’t even notice,” my grand-father told my mother when she informed them that we chose to keep the gender a secret because we wanted to, not because useless Canadian doctors couldn’t tell a boy from a girl. Yeah, right. As if I’m letting you anywhere close to me with that pendulum. Get away from me, crazy people!

Random strangers who ask if it’s a boy or a girl either think I know and don’t want to say, or that I don’t give a shit about the baby. “But it’s so much better when you know you are learning to love a little boy or a little girl,” claimed a random woman. Gee, I can see beyond the gender binary, you know. I’m carrying a human being, it doesn’t matter whether he has a penis or she has a vagina.

Some people even told me we were selfish. “People want to know this kind of things,” sighed a complete stranger. Really? Like, who are you?

Alright, I must admit not knowing makes shopping for clothes harder. I can’t believe a lot of baby clothes still do the outdated “blue is for boys and pink is for girls” color schemes. Come on people, it’s the 21st century: men can be nurses and caretakers and women can be firefighters and presidents!

And it’s not just the gender specific colour scheme, it’s the message on the clothes too. I almost bought a set of greyish/blueish Calvin Klein (I know, I know…) bodysuits at Winners before I realized “brave little boy” or something to that effect was written on the front. Gee, great stereotyping, society!

Eventually, we will find out. Meanwhile, the bets are on and I feel like a Kinder Surprise.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Hah. In India, it’s illegal to determine the sex of an unborn child, because so many people prefer a male child to female child 🙁

    I’m glad you both want it to be a surprise, though, I did suspect you’d run into stereotype issues with clothes 🙁

    • I think it’s still illegal to find out in a lot of countries, and I’m not surprised it is for India. Thank you for bringing other perspectives to the discussion!

  2. “I feel like a Kinder Surprise” – too funny!

    I can’t believe people think they have the right to tell you you should want to know. So rude. I actually know a couple where one half knew and the other didn’t – how hard a secret would that be to keep?!

    • That would be killing me, I’m not that great at keeping these kinds of secrets! I sure couldn’t. I’m glad we were on the same page there.

  3. Hi Zhu, I am with you on this! For a long time while I was a child I thought it was impossible to tell the gender because either in India that’s not done or for many people I knew, such fancy medical tests (which is standard now) were unaffordable. As a result, there is a whole culture built around giving gifts to a pregnant woman. At the same time gender differences are not so stereotypical in all cultures… it’s crazy in north america to give a pink shirt to a baby boy for example. wtf?!

    • Oh, I like a culture that revolves around giving gifts to pregnant women! 😆

      I was also surprised to see the big gender divide, especially considering Canada prides itself on promoting non-traditional gender roles.

  4. The pendulum over the belly thing isn’t only a chinese thing. One of the nurses I work with uses a needle and thread and dangles it over your abdomen to guess the sex. I’m pretty sure she’s a witch. She’s white and from Kanata (very witchy here). She’s about 75% correct.
    I’d never seen that before. It’s a bit of a hoot.

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