Let me begin this post by offending half of the people who read my blog: I hate gender reveal parties.
I understand completely why people want to celebrate the upcoming arrival of their bundle of joy, and those few details that are knowable before birth. I recognize that it’s nice to have your excitement and enthusiasm shared by others. I had a Puppy Surprise toy as a kid, so can even appreciate the thrill that comes with seeing that glimpse of pink or blue. But I just can’t get onboard the gender reveal party train.*
After watching other people’s pregnancy announcements appear on Facebook for the last several months—with due dates further and further after ours— Sea and I counted down from three and posted our own. I changed my cover image to three pairs of shoes and updated my status. Sea posted a picture from Friday’s ultrasound.
Friday was the big 20 week anatomy scan: the first ultrasound we had had in seven weeks, and possibly the last one of the pregnancy. Sea and I had both booked the afternoon off, and it felt strangely like being on vacation. It was sunny and warm. We went to one of our favourite restaurants for lunch. We visited the library. I drank my body weight in water, as required by the ultrasound clinic. And then wandered into a small, beige office to see Bingo.
For almost my entire life, barring the first moments of infancy and the brief stage between 6-8 when almost everybody is lean, I’ve been round. Chubby, pudgy, fat: however you want to phrase it. And in this body, I’ve spent plenty of time dealing with fatphobia: both the fatphobia of the world around me, and the internalized kind that creeps in when you aren’t watching and leads to a particularly pervasive kind of body hatred. The kind of body hatred that leads you to waste a great deal of time as a child and teenager wishing yourself into a different body, always to no avail.
But then I learned that fatphobia was both a word and a system, not a natural response to something bad. I met a lot of fantastic folks, who were not only fat but also activists radically embracing their fatness. I thought of the many fat people who I found attractive, and began to consider how that might also be applied to my own body. It occurred to me for the first time that I could be fat, that people could like me and– more importantly– that I could like myself. Which is how I moved into an adulthood of relative body acceptance: believing that I had conquered fatphobia.
But then, I had never grown out of my pants in the span of four months.
The idea originated in the narrow aisle between the racks of men’s long sleeve knits and children’s clothing. I’d been Pinteresting creative pregnancy announcement ideas for months and the ones toward which I always gravitated were the various incarnations of the shoe lineup. If you’re half as obsessive as I am about all things baby, you’ve seen the straight version: dad’s loafers, mom’s heels, and a gender-appropriate pair of pastel baby booties. I couldn’t exactly justify spending $22 on genuine baby Chucks for a fetus, but nonetheless I eagerly imagined staging a queer take on the aforementioned announcement with a lineup of Converse.
To the announcement cards, sent my my cousin. Subject line: MAZEL TOV!!!
“I’m screaming with delight as I read your exquisitely designed announcement and look at the very first picture of my new cousin. You two sure are good at keeping secrets! I had no idea you were trying to become pregnant. Which is very smart as the last thing you needed was the constant concern of others during what can be a difficult process.
Do you know the sperm donor? How are you feeling, A? So you weren’t actually on anti-biotics at Seder, right? I always remember who drinks and who doesn’t. 😉 But you looked really well, so pregnancy must suit you.