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Does the Sex of Your Baby Really Require a Party?!

Photograph by Twenty20

I’m not one of those people who thinks you need to wait until the baby arrives to discover their gender, but I am a little weirded out by the elaborate gender reveals that seem to be so common these days. A creative little picture and a post on Facebook makes total sense, but if telling everyone whether it’s a girl or a boy requires a formal invitation, it’s gone too far.

I blame Pinterest. Somehow it’s no longer enough to have a sonogram tech look over at you and your husband and spill the beans. Discovering this way isn’t very flashy or particularly photogenic, but it's still exciting to the two people who have the most interest in the sex of the baby, the parents. It's intimate and special in spite of the doctor’s office equipment and jelly- covered belly.

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But these days social media encourages us to go big or go home. Do you even care that you’re having a girl if you didn’t bake a cake with hidden pink frosting? Are you truly thrilled to be welcoming a boy if there’s no video of you gleefully opening a box of blue balloons?

Having a baby is totally worth celebrating, but it shouldn’t require multiple extravagant festivities.

First we felt pressure to plan the perfect wedding complete with engagement party, bridal shower, and post wedding brunch. Do we really need another social engagement? Presumably those invited to the gender reveal will also be asked to attend a baby shower in the coming weeks.

Having a baby is totally worth celebrating, but it shouldn’t require multiple extravagant festivities. In fact, you might want to save some of that energy for when the baby arrives, especially if you plan to throw Pinterest-perfect birthday parties for the little guy or gal. If it's truly what will make your heart sing to throw a gender reveal party, by all means do it! However, if you feel obligated to orchestrate a blue and pink bonanza, please know that it's wholly unnecessary.

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The thing that bothers me most about gender reveal parties is that they put too much importance on gender. It’s not that the sex of your baby doesn’t matter, it’s just that maybe it shouldn’t matter that much. Can’t a baby just be a baby? Isn’t there something sweet, tender, and almost genderless about a newborn? There will be plenty of time for “Daddy’s Little Princess” and “Lil’ Slugger” onesies. You might even find that as your little one grows you will struggle to loosen the strict gender roles society tends to inflict on children. Someday you might look down at your daughter building a Lego car or your son pushing a pink shopping cart and wonder why you thought the reality of their sex required a party all it’s own.

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