My Baby is Not Pink or Blue

28 06 2011

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news for my, uh, 24? nope 25 week update. But I have to get this off my gradually enlarging bosom. See, there has been a lot of talk in blogs and the news about gender lately, and I have noticed it myself as well, although to a lesser extent.

It all started when I decided to not have any ultrasounds unless my midwife deemed them necessary.  I had one ultrasound with my previous pregnancy, and it was fun knowing in advance what sex my child would be. I only had half as many names to sort through (although I didn’t pick one until the midwife was filling out the birth certificate). I only had one color that came in for the baby’s stuff: pink. Lots and lots and LOTS of pink. In fact, as soon as I knew I was having a girl, I went and bought some pink socks and onesies that were so adorable.

But that was 10 years ago, and a lot has changed since then for me. My perceptions of what I find acceptable and safe and reasonable have changed quite a bit. Now I am not as quick to jump on the ultrasound bandwagon. Babies develop in the relative comfort and privacy of their mother’s womb. Sure, sounds get through, and I am sure that Bean can notice the difference between a hoodie pulled down over my belly or the sun shining directly on my skin. A fetus will shy away from painful, invasive procedures and things like ice packs placed on the belly. I know Bean reacts to his father’s voice in the morning, and he loves it when I play music on my belly. Bean really likes anything with a cello, and Manu Chao seems to get her really active.

So what does this have to do with having an ultrasound? It seems relatively harmless. Everyone is doing it these days. But how much do we really know about this technology as expecting parents? How well do you know your ultrasound technician? How well do they know their equipment? How well is that equipment calibrated? There are so many variables that come just with the machine and the technician’s competency, not to mention the fact that we are looking at a 2D image of a 3D inner world. Mistakes get made all the time. Mothers get diagnosed with “low levels of amniotic fluid”, babies get diagnosed with abnormalities that cause stress to the expecting parents, only to find out later that nothing was wrong. Babies can also get mis-diagnosed as too small or too large for their gestational age. This can cause panic at the least, or and induction and possibly a cesarean at the worst.

These are all things I took into account when I decided I did not want to have an ultrasound done prenatally. In fact, I feel so strongly about it that I don’t even want my midwife to use a doppler to check for heart rate anymore, Iwould prefer if she used a good, old-fashioned stethoscope.

Yes, I am still excited to meet my growing baby. No, seeing a blurry image of her skeleton in advance is not going to change how I feel. But if I am eating right, exercising, taking vitamins and horrible tasting fish oil so the he can develop right, why would I put Bean and I at risk for a glimpse that won’t matter in the long run, or could change everything?

So here is the truly amazing thing about MY choice to avoid external, electronic monitoring of the inside of MY womb and MY growing baby. My choice to not have an ultrasound has an effect on other people for some reason. I have actually had people reply, incredulously, “How will I know what color to buy, and what names to pick out?” “Excuse me? What do you mean ‘What colors to buy?'” “Well, pink or blue…” they say, sort of trailing off.

I am here to tell you my baby is not assigned pink or blue based on what sex it it. There are a whole rainbow of colors and people out there, and just because my baby has a vagina or a penis does not automatically mean it is limited to one of two colors. Bean will wear every color of the rainbow, and maybe even some made up ones. Bean will have access to a full range of colors, people, and anything else I can expose her to. He can make up his mind if he like pink, magenta, purple, black, blue, green or yellow best. I know that I have a vagina, yet my favorite color is blue. My skin is pinkish, isn’t that enough pink?

I suppose this won’t be the last time that the choices I make for my family are judged by others. But I get the feeling that when people are judging the choices I make, they are really basing their judgments on the choices they have had to make for themselves and their family.




One response

28 06 2011

I agree with you wholeheartedly! whata fabuolus post and point of view. Very refreshing, may you apply the same trust in your body to your birth also.

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