It’s a… {Old Wives Tales Across Cultures}

Did she just look at my butt?

“You have a girl.”

“You think so? Why?”

“Because you got big here and here.” Patricia, my favorite custodian at the school where I work, puffed out her cheeks and pointed to my butt and thighs. Then she peeked around my backside again to confirm. “Yes, it is a girl. When I had a boy, I was small. When I had a girl, big (gordita).”

By the time I was 7 months pregnant, a lot of people (strangers and friends) told me I was “big.” It’s always a general “big” and we all politely assume they are referring to the size of my belly, which is, in fact, quite large. No one until Patricia (well, and my honest husband) has said out loud that my backside is getting bigger just like my belly. I mean, it is, I can’t deny it. I’ve gained (more than) my fair share of weight in the past 9 months and it all seems to be in my butt or belly. But obviously most Americans would consider it a faux paus to tell anyone (let along a pregnant woman!) she is getting fatter. Patricia is Latina, though, and as I learned in time spent in Latin America, commenting about someone’s body type or size is not a big deal, it is just the facts. So when Patricia tells me my butt’s getting big, somehow it doesn’t phase me (totally) – she’s just stating what no one else will. And, of course, using it to figure out if I have a boy or girl coming my way.

I can’t pinpoint the reason my husband and I decided to not find out the gender of our baby before it was born. I like to pretend it was for romantic reasons – to leave myself open to whatever gender baby we ended up having, for the surprise of it all. In reality, it was more heavily influenced by the practical – my husband is an avid garage saler who loves a good deal, I was going to be pregnant all summer (ie all garage sale season), and since so much baby gear is gender specific, I figured this would prevent us from acquiring too much stuff pre-baby.

There have definitely been times I have regretted it and wished we had found out, particularly when, 30 weeks in, I was still having morning sickness. Sometimes I wonder if being able to imagine having a boy or girl (and having the option of retail therapy whereby I could buy some super cute boy or girl clothes) would help me feel more excited and less like this can’t possibly be worth it.

One plus is that I have enjoyed hearing everyone’s predictions on the gender. And everyone seems to have an opinion. Some of the opinions are predictable – at the after school program where I work, almost without exception, the boys are convinced it is a boy and the girls are convinced it is a girl.

I’ve enjoyed learning some of the classic old wives tales from friends and co-workers:

-A lot of morning sickness = girl

-Carrying high = girl (Although people have told me both)

-Carrying in front = boy

One Burmese family told me that if I am hurting more on my right side (I am), then it is a boy. Another told me that if my own belly button is still an “innie” (It is), then it is a girl. And a Cuban dad took one look at me after asking me if I wanted to know the gender and definitively said “It’s a girl.” He wouldn’t tell me why, but said he was sure. Maybe he was looking a the size of my butt but didn’t want to say it out loud.

What I love is that they all were sure. No one said “It is probably a boy.” They said, “Oh, you’re hurting on your right? It’s a boy.”

Some people who I couldn’t pin down about anything else, they felt comfortable declaring they knew the gender. I’m still not sure why this particular instance was different — but it sure is fun to see this confidence come out in friends (and strangers). I guess they all have a 50/50 chance of being right, which is much better odds than most things — so may as well be confident in the guess — especially if you have something as obvious as a large backside to base your guess off of!



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