It’s come to my attention that there are two types of pregnant people in this world: those who find out the gender of their child as soon as they can and go around calling their stomach “Tommy” or “Jennifer” for the next nine months; and those who refuse to find out the gender of their child one nanosecond before the actual birth, no-matter-what.
Let me just stop right here a minute and say that I, in no way, advocate one choice over another. I firmly believe it’s a personal choice that should be left to the parents.
But, that said, what I don’t understand is why the very same people who refuse to look at the sonogram screen in the doctor’s office are perfectly fine with relying on Old Wives Tales to predict their baby’s gender.
Take, for instance, my friend Linda who tried to find out what she was having by twirling a needle on a string over her stomach.
“It’s a girl,” she announced gleefully over the phone. “The needle spun in circles.”
She was so sure, in fact, that she painted the nursery pink and stenciled ballerina bunnies on the walls. But, as luck would have it, when she tried it again two months later, the needle moved in a straight line, mostly between the refrigerator and television set. And everyone knows what THAT means.
But that’s not all. Once, when my friend Julie was pregnant with her second child, she heard she could tell what she was having if there was a white line above her top lip.
“Can you come over,” she said frantically over the phone, “I think I have a lip line. But I can’t tell if it’s really a line-line or a pale wrinkle or a milk mustache left over from the bowl of cereal I ate for breakfast.”
The big drawback to this method was that, once we determined that it was indeed a bon-a-fide line-line, we had absolutely no idea if that meant she was having a girl or a boy.
And, oh all right, then there was the time I tried the Chinese Lunar calendar method. But just for the record I want you to know it’s a highly respected system based on a complicated numerical combination of the father’s birth year, lucky elements, planetary rotation, and the number of his favorite local take-out place. (But I could be wrong about this last one).
But what I didn’t see coming was that to get an accurate result you need to be fairly good at math. So, after spending hours adding and subtracting cycle scores and percentages, I came out with a bizarre triple negative number that’s only been seen on university entrance exams and certain Wall Street corporate earning reports.
That’s just the kind of answer I usually get whenever I try to walk on the mystical side of life.
The other day my friend Linda, who’s now six months pregnant, said to me over coffee, “I’ve tried everything. According to the needle test I’m having a boy, the Lunar calendar says I’m having a girl, the heartbeat test falls somewhere between a boy and a girl, and the Drano test doesn’t say anything at all, but it smells really, really bad,” she sighed. “I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
“Then why don’t you save yourself the trouble and just ask the doctor?” I asked.
“What?” she said. “And spoil the mystery? Every parent knows that the gender of your child is the one greatest mystery in the world. Why would I want to go and ruin it?”
Granted I could’ve mentioned that she was a person who just mixed urine with Drano to see if it would make green.
But instead I said simply, “You’re right.”
With pregnant women, sometimes that’s the best way.