Next to cat videos, gender reveals may be the next way to get a dopamine fix online. A big reveal can be a way for expectant parents to temper the stresses and discomforts of pregnancy with a fun event—and help loved ones near and far feel included. Still, not everyone is on Team Gender Reveal: Some criticize such events for being an unnecessary excuse for a party or for reinforcing cultural norms with their blue and pink themes. Here’s how two moms came down on the idea.
Show and Tell
Shikha Mehndiratta and her husband had been speculating about the gender of their baby ever since they found out she was pregnant. By the time they were about to learn the baby’s sex at the 20-week scan in 2015, they had waged bets: Her husband guessed it was a girl—and won. “He always wanted a girl. In fact, he wanted only girls,” says the Houston-based software engineer. “I picked a boy to create a fair game.”
On the way home, they began brainstorming how they would break the news to their friends. This was the first baby among their close crew. On a whim, the couple put together a treasure hunt gender reveal, picking up items on the way home to execute it. “Everybody was speculating about the gender, so we decided to make it a game for them to figure it out,” she explains.
Later that evening, their guests split up into two teams—“team girl” and “team boy”—and raced around the couple’s apartment building to beat each other to the next clue. “Team girl” won, which was appropriate because they were rewarded with pink champagne and M&M’s. Then everyone enjoyed a feast of pink food—including pasta and fries—and the party has become the stuff of legend among their crew. “They still talk about it,” Mehndiratta recalls. “Knowing the gender just made us feel closer to the destination and gave us something to prepare for—and dream about.”
Wait and See
Lauren Gardiner has thrown her share of baby showers and sprinkles for her friends, but she has little patience for gender reveals. A tutor in New York City and mother of two, Gardiner waited until the births both times to find out and announce the gender of her babies to family and friends. “I don’t know what we’re celebrating,” she says. “Most people have these parties before they even have the anatomy scan.”
As awareness of gender fluidity increases, Gardiner says, it’s presumptuous to celebrate the gender of a child who hasn’t yet had a chance to enter the world or assert their own identity. She has gay friends who joke about throwing a gender reveal where purple balloons pop out and nobody knows what to do.
“I didn’t want to find out for either one,” she says of her pregnancies in 2014 and 2017. “Instead, I wanted to celebrate the life inside me and be excited about that.”
People speculated the first time around about whether she was having a girl or a boy. But Gardiner says no one gave her a hard time about wanting to wait; many of her friends also made the same choice. “They thought it was special,” Gardiner says.
And how did she feel when she finally found out the gender of each of her newborns? “I reacted by being happy my baby was healthy,” she says. “Honestly, both deliveries were emergency C-sections. I just wanted everyone to make it out healthy.”