As part of the Won’t You Be My Neighbor? series, I’ve invited Melissa Sher from Mammalingo to guest post today. Melissa’s a big deal, people. She’s written for Babble and been featured on the Motherlode blog for the New York Times for creating new words to define the experience of motherhood. I am so happy to have her here.
by Melissa Sher
The first thing I should “spill” is that about a year ago, right around the time I launched my own blog, I wrote Jana a fan letter. I mean, it wasn’t an actual letter. It was an email. I last used a stamp in the early ‘90s. But, you get the point. It said, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, you’re awesome.” So, obviously, I’m flattered that Jana asked me to write a guest post. (Cue Kathie Lee Gifford singing “If My Friends Could See Me Now” aboard a Carnival Cruise line.)
But, that’s not all I’m going to spill – in part because I assume Jana wanted me to write more than 80 words. There’s more to divulge. I hate surprises. I always have. Surprises are supposed to be fun? Nah. I don’t like the feeling of being caught off guard. So, if you’re going to surprise me, please have the decency to warn me. My family knows that they are never supposed to throw me a surprise birthday party. I would not enjoy it. I would be too busy recovering from shock the whole evening. Even when I was young, I used to flip to the backs of Sweet Valley High books because I didn’t want to wait 60 pages to find out was going to happen between Bruce Patman and Jessica Wakefield. And I was, obviously, not a fan of the television show, “Lost.”
So, it shouldn’t come as a shock that I wanted to find out the gender for each of my three children as early on in my pregnancies as I could. And while I know you won’t believe me, I would have been happy – every time – with either a boy or a girl. (For the record, it was a boy each time.)
It’s just that since the information was available to me, I wanted it. If the doctor had told me that I could also find out how much my baby was going to weigh or how long labor would last or what the hospital would be serving for dinner that evening, I’d want to find those things out too.
I’m in the minority among my friends. Most of them waited until the actual birth day to hear, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” And, I’m always impressed when I hear that a parent-to-be wants to “be surprised.” What willpower! What strength! This person would obviously do much better than me if we were taking part in a psychology study at some university somewhere.
There is, however, a little hope for me. Having kids, as you know, is just full of surprises. Sometimes surprises can happen in the time it takes to answer the phone. “Hey, I can’t talk. My toddler just scribbled all over the tan couch with a red pen.” But most of the time, the surprises aren’t shocking. They’re just unexpected. And many are absolutely wonderful. Like the first time I saw one of my sons smile. Or laugh. Or say, “Mama.” On second thought, maybe motherhood has changed me. Maybe I like surprises after all.
What about you? Do you like surprises? And did you – or did you not — wait to find out about the sex of your baby?