Should I have a gender reveal party?
It’s a personal choice whether to have a gender reveal party or to tell people ‘I’m having a boy’ (or girl) during pregnancy. Some people want to find out the news when they’re with family and friends, so they ask their doctor or ultrasound technician to seal into an envelope a piece of paper that has on it the sex of their fetus, and give it to a baker to make a pink or blue cake hidden in a box until a reveal moment, or to a balloon maker so that a burst balloon can shower pink or blue glitter confetti at the right moment of the party.
Some ‘reveal’ cakes are iced with a neutral colour, and when they are cut into, the cake’s inside colour reveals the sex. Others go for a piñata or colour-coded streamer poppers. The environment will thank you if you avoid colour-themed smoke bombs, make sure you leave behind no glitter, balloons or little bits of tinsel shapes in any public place, and refrain from bushfire-causing explosions and fireworks (oh, yes, it has happened).
Side-hustle merchandising for these parties can include stationery for invitations, floral or moustache-sporting balloons and decorations, and themed lollies and cakes. While some people serve ‘baby sausages’ at a boy reveal party, sadly I’ve yet to hear of any vulva-shaped friands for a girl.
Points for a gender reveal party:
- Any excuse for a party.
Points against a gender reveal party:
- Depending on what sort of testing you have, there is no guarantee the gender prediction is right.
- Celebrating one gender can give an unintended negative message to kids of the other gender who are at the party.
- If somebody – say, a father-in-law – is likely to be upset if the baby is not the gender they’re hoping for, don’t ask that person to the party. If one of the parents of the child will be disappointed at a possible reveal, do not have a reveal party.
- Almost 2 in every 100 babies will be born without clear hormonal or physical indications of whether they’re a boy or a girl. Then, the question ‘Did you have a girl or boy?’ isn’t always so easy to answer.
- You might have a girl baby who grows up playing football and saying ‘vroom’ to trucks and only wearing purple bows. You may have a boy who loves singing princess power ballads, and tortoises. All of which is fine. Besides, the US-based gender reveal invitations you can buy that say ‘Glitter or guns?’ can be shoutily answered: ‘BLOODY NEITHER!’
- Buying into the blue-versus-pink divide can restrict your thoughts and expectations about what every kid can be. Boys should cry, and girls shouldn’t always be dainty. Having a ‘gender’ party makes assumptions about what your kid will be like. Why not wait, and instead let them just be their own lovely self, in their own good time?
In any case, there’s always the option of skipping the whole gender reveal party and having a joyous ‘It’s a baby!’ celebration instead. Unless you’re having a giraffe.
For more on pregnancy and birth celebrations, see the book Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy.