Mark and I are having a boy! Well, a child with boy-parts at least. I kinda had a feeling all along, to the point where I was referring to Baby Rox as “he” and people would ask, “Oh, so it’s a boy?” and I would say, “Well, no, but…I just think it is.”
Anyhow, Baby Rox is totally healthy (yay!) and will now also be known as Jonah Gabriel RoX TioXon. Craziness! It just gets more and more real. We have a little person, growing inside me, and that person’s name is Jonah. I’m so in love.
So I’ve been keeping a private journal where I pen my thoughts about pregnancy and parenting, and write letters to Baby Rox, and document any milestones (first movements, etc.)… and a while back when little Jonah was just 5 weeks old, I wrote the following, after reading some articles about couples who are keeping the sex of their children a secret. Gender identity is something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot, especially since we decided to find out the sex of our child. So I thought I’d share my thoughts with the rest of you. You’re welcome. =)
“We do plan on finding out the sex of Baby Rox in utero, should ta choose to cooperate when it’s time for that ultrasound. (Ta is my gender neutral pronoun for Baby Rox, FYI. It’s the Chinese pronoun for he/she/it.) At first I wasn’t so sure we would do that… then we wouldn’t have to worry about receiving lots of pink frilly outfits or baby blue basketball outfits. But…I realized that’s nonsensical thinking. Even if I get a pink frilly outfit, it doesn’t mean that a.) that is all Baby Rox will ever have to wear, b.) it will have any lasting impact on my child’s gender identity. There’s only a 4-month difference between when we find out if Baby Rox has male or female sex organs. Finding out the sex of our child is NOT the same as finding out the gender. Our child will discover ta’s own gender identity.”
We live in a gendered society. My child will be exposed to gender stereotypes regardless of how gender-neutral we try to be. As parents, it is our job to create an environment where our child feels safe and comfortable exploring concepts of gender – do the norms feel “right” or will we have a “boy” child who likes to wear pink frilly dresses? I can’t decide that for my child. But I can provide a range of different outfits, different toys, different media images, different role models and let my child celebrate the many ways to interpret gender and to create a gender identity – an identity that does not have to remain static over time.
I don’t want to raise my child gender-neutral. I do want my child to feel comfortable pushing the boundaries of gender norms. I want to present the “typical” and “atypical” expressions of gender identity and make sure my child knows that whatever ta feels pulled to is perfectly ok.
You hear that, Baby Rox? Probably not yet. But you will. And your dad and I love whoever you are going to become.