Dear Unborn Child of Mine:
We’ve been waiting for this moment ever since the day we saw those beautiful pink lines. In just two weeks we’ll walk into the doctor’s office to see your ultrasound that’ll answer the big question: whether you’re a boy or a girl.
Yet today, an increasing number of people believe that by looking at that ultrasound, witnessing the evidence of your gender, and celebrating that evidence is a cruel, thoughtless way to pressure a child.
Diane Stopyra writes in Marie Claire, “Aren’t they [gender reveal parties] potentially damaging to said tiny humans?”
Ms. Stopyra is among a growing number of people who believe this is bad for the baby; that “gender-reveal parties don’t actually reveal gender—they reveal anatomy;” that we’re simply “projecting gender perceptions onto a fetus” when we say it’s a boy or a girl; and that celebrating the baby’s gender is “ a little, well, narcissistic.”
Here’s exactly why your papá and I will be “assigning” you a gender (or rather, looking at the ultrasound screen and taking what we see at face value).
We’re not going to teach you to deny science.
There are absolutes in this world. A water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The sun rises in the east. It takes a sperm and an egg to make a baby. These things and so many others represent facts are not up for debate. They are absolutes.
You were created when the aforementioned sperm met the aforementioned egg. At that point, you began to rapidly develop … and depending on what chromosome the father passes on to the mother’s egg—that 23rd set of chromosomes in the human genome determines whether you are a boy or a girl. That was determined at fertilization.
Yes, there’s a rare chance you’ll be born with undetermined anatomy; maybe (as Ms. Stopyra references in her piece) you’ll be born with female genitalia on the outside, but the absence of a uterus and the presence of male testes on the inside.
(Fun fact: even if you’ve got anatomical anomalies, there’s a test called “karyotyping” that can reveal the makeup of that set of chromosomes—which means we’d know what gender you genetically are.)
There’s also a chance that you, like Nick Vujicic, could be born without arms and legs. Or you might be like Lakshmi Tatma, the little girl born with quite a few extra limbs. Yet we’re certainly not going to change the definition of what the human body is because of it.
You see, Nick and Lakshmi’s conditions were not normal. Human beings are scientifically defined as having two arms and two legs; anything besides that is abnormal. Don’t get me wrong—Nick or Lakshmi or anyone else born with a deformity is no less human and no less valuable; my point is that we’re not going to change the definition of “human being” because of their abnormal characteristics.
So let’s get back to absolutes: human beings are genetically assigned one gender, just as we’re genetically programed with a certain hair color, skin color, eye color, and so on. You can dye your hair but it doesn’t change what it genetically is; you can tan your skin but it doesn’t change what it genetically is is; you can wear contact lenses but it doesn’t change what they genetically are.
Does that mean that your gender HAS to define your personality? No. Does that mean you have to love pink if you’re a girl (and no, Ms. Stoprya, that didn’t stem from Hitler) or play with monster trucks if you’re a boy? No again—but we’ll get to that in a second.
We’re going to recognize the limitations of your cognitive development, and parent accordingly.
Right now your eyes are fused shut and your biggest concern is—well—floating around in my tummy. When you’re born your world will be my arms, your crib and your bottle. A little later on you’ll expand to rattles and blankies; soon you’ll learn to toddle along and play games. The point is simply this: your little mind cannot cognitively handle something as abstract as today’s gender identity debates for a long, long time. And yet today parents and people like Ms. Stoprya are forcing the debate onto you now.
As I wrote a few years back when teachers here in my home state thought it’d be a great idea to take young children to a sex shop as “education,” “Children aren’t miniature adults. Period.”
You, my little unborn baby, will pass through four unique stages of cognitive development—and forcing you to skip those stages by in fact forcing the ideas of gender as anything but concrete will not help you be “open minded;” it would be detrimental to your development.
We’re going to teach you to celebrate differences.
If you’re a boy, later on in life you might get screamed at for being too “masculine.” If you’re a girl, you might get screamed at for being too “feminine.”
In sum, there are many people in this world today who don’t believe in celebrating the remarkable differences in the genders. They think dressing you in princess dresses and giving you dolls if you’re a girl sends the message that you can’t someday run a company or run the country. They think giving you toy trucks and play army uniforms if you’re a boy sends the message that you’re supposed to be some kind of superiority fiend.
Here’s the deal: girls are uniquely equipped for certain amazing things, just like boys are. Why? Because physically, mentally, and emotionally—boys and girls tend to be wired differently. Is it really so outrageous to use those differences to their fullest potential? (And no, that doesn’t mean all girls need to be homemakers and it doesn’t mean all boys need to be the Brawny Man.)
We’re going to teach you about the loving God who made you special.
This one’s not going to sit well with some people. And you know what? That’s ok. Our religious opinion on the matter is just as valid as anyone else’s. Even as you continue to form halfway into pregnancy, you were fearfully and wonderfully made—including your gender. And we’re going to celebrate the God who did that—and who has an amazing plan for your special life.
So yes, little one, you are what you are. And we can’t wait to find out.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, M-F, 3-5. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree