photo by Ben Wicks
I’m officially 19 weeks pregnant, almost halfway there!! It is crazy to me how slowly the first trimester went and now how quickly the second is flying by! We get to find out the gender next week, which is incredibly exciting. But it’s brought up a lot of, um, interesting conversations.
First of all, whether or not you decide to know the gender, it is your choice. I had assumed that was kind of a common-held opinion nowadays...? But, apparently it’s not!
As the saying goes, there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's (sorry, I couldn't resist!)
If you like the mystery, I applaud your fortitude!
If you don’t and you’ve just got to know, I feel you…
For me, I have zero motivation in knowing the gender except for genuine curiosity and just an altogether lack of patience. I couldn’t possibly wait another 21 weeks to find out! Also, it will be nice to finally narrow down our list of names.
But, interesting for me, has been to find people’s reactions when I tell them we will soon be discovering what’s been cooking in there. From strangers at the DOT to cashiers at the bank to coworkers, pretty much everyone has a similar reaction: “Oh, how else can you decorate the baby’s room?”
So, a few things here. First, I am not going to knock anyone whose motivation in finding out the gender is for decoration. Everyone is different! Nesting takes on a different form for each of us and it's an important process for a lot of women; it helps us feel closer to our little one and to prepare for the big changes ahead.
Some people also like using the gender-reveal as an excuse to throw a party. I am not one of those people as I find hosting more stressful than it is enjoyable, but if that’s you—have fun with it! I hear so much hate about gender-reveal parties... loads of friends have told me, "please don't throw one; they're gross." But so what if wanted to? That's my choice! (Just please refrain from using pipe-bombs, which is a surprisingly weird new trend... that's my only bit of advice!)
Whatever you want to do to celebrate this baby and help prepare for it--whatever makes you happy--that's what you should do!
BUT, I always resent when people make assumptions.
Their first assumption being that of course I am going to decorate the room.
Why is that a must?
I have been of the opinion that the baby will not care if its walls are white, pink, blue, or yellow. I always want to respond by saying, “I was thinking of painting the walls white.”
Their second assumption is that decorations have to be gendered.
Haven’t we gotten passed this as a society?
Girls can like blue, boys can like pink… When I say this to people, it is inevitably met with, “Oh, I know! I mean, you can always do a gender neutral. Yellow is nice.”
THAT IS NOT MY POINT!!
This is one of many reasons why gender roles are so constricting… they are just colors, people! And, in my opinion, babies don’t care!
Now, if you want to paint your little girl’s room pink or your baby boy’s room blue—all the power to you! I am not saying that there is something wrong with that. I am just saying that there should not be this preconceived rule that it’s a given. And I find it odd that so many people not only assume that it is, but project their assumptions onto strangers.
So far, my preparation of the baby’s room has been to remove all of my things and find new spaces to put them. The spare room, till now, has pretty much just been my walk-in closet.
People seem appalled that I haven’t done anything more yet. I’ve heard quite a few jokes about how millennials always put things off.
But, again, they are assuming that of course I will be doing more.
I just figured I would stick a crib and a changing table in there and, voila, it’s a baby’s room!
I was recently discussing this with a friend who works in pre-K education and she suggested using wall decals as a fun alternative to painting.
I still resent the notion that I HAVE to do anything to the walls, but I’m not immune to the idea that adding a little something might be fun. So, I have opted in for some wall stickers.
And, later in life, perhaps our child can choose the color they want their room to be and we can paint it together. That way, it can be a fun memory for us both. (It’ll definitely be a lot more fun when I’m not pregnant and the fumes won’t give me a headache, that’s for sure!)
But, something funny happened when I was discussing this with my husband.
I mentioned the idea of wall decals to him and he was like, “Well, of course we are going to do something that like. I was thinking stars and moons with little smiley faces.”
So, one thing you should know about my husband is that he is very sarcastic. And not AT ALL into decorating. He usually leaves all of that stuff up to me and will weigh in with either a “yay” or a “nay,” but, even then, only if he feels very strongly on the issue.
So, when I heard this, I was like, “Okay, now you’re just making fun of me.”
“Not at all,” he insisted. “We weren’t just going to leave its walls white like a serial killer’s bedroom.”
I have been laughing about this for days. I am sure it's funnier for me than for anyone else, but honestly I couldn't believe it! Firstly, I never would have guessed that my husband, of ALL people, would have such strong feelings about this! And second, because I guess that he, too, is against white walls for a baby—go figure!
So we have opted for a jungle theme. Boys and girls can equally like the outdoors and animals, after all. (Not that girls can’t like space stations and boys unicorns, of course.) There will be monkeys swinging from vines around the ceiling and big palm trees with a variety of jungle animals spread around the walls. I am looking forward to putting these up. I think it will be very cute.
In any case, I just wanted to share this with you. Perhaps as a cautionary tale not to make assumptions. And maybe as a reassurance to any of those out there who, like me, weren’t planning on a huge decoration...it's always nice to know when you are not alone.
Whatever we decide to do, that’s the right choice for us and our baby.
And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks so long as we are happy with it.
Just don’t assume that what you choose to do is what others will want as well.
As always, please do share your experiences with me... Did you decorate your baby's room? Did you receive any outside pressure? I would love to hear from you!
I’ll be sure to let you all know next week once we found out if it’s a boy or a girl! Stay tuned.
I'm Kelsey! Proud Iowan native, world traveler, writer, wife to the most incredible husband, and now soon to be mother