We had a scan on Sunday, a ‘JustGender’ scan to find out we’re having another boy. I didn’t realise how much I was anticipating it until the exhaustion I felt after. Perhaps the pressure of Ava’s hopes for a sister made me feel more anxious than I’d realised.
It was a private scan, so we were in and out without much fuss and with minimal time spent actually looking at the baby. But it was lovely, all the same, to be able to see him and to see all the similarities and differences between Ava and Ezra’s scans too.
Ava sat on the couch with Howard and when we could see clearly that he was boy, she was a little upset. Ezra stood beneath the screen and waved, saying ‘Hi baby!’
When we left, I spoke to Ava about how I knew she was disappointed but that I thought once he was born she would love him very much. I reminded her that Olivia, one of her favourite friends, has two brothers, which seemed to do the trick and almost immediately she accepted it and declared, ‘I don’t need another sister, I’ll have two brothers like Olivia! Let’s buy him a toy!’. And that was that, potential devastation swapped for joy and excitement. She wanted to buy him a giraffe since she has one and Ezra has one, so that’s what we did.
How lovely to be able to simply accept what is, so quickly and effortlessly? One of the perks of living in the moment. Ava also assured me she would just have a sister next time anyway…
But it was a surprise nonetheless, because we had grown so used to Ava’s insistence she was getting a sister that we’d just accepted it as fact. I didn’t know one way or another. With Ezra I knew without a doubt, but I couldn’t figure out if beneath Ava’s assurance I had any instinct at all.
(I did, during my first Yoga class, ask him if he was a boy or girl and immediately I thought, ‘Oh, he’s a boy!’ but then I seemed to forget about that until we were in the scan room and could see, clear as day, what he was)
This little one had such a pretty profile and such long legs. He was kicking and waving constantly, which certainly matches how it feels to carry him. Perhaps I should have known since my cravings have been so similar to being pregnant with Ezra, but when I think of it, it feels like this wee one has a soft and gentle, even energy, a more subtle energy than Ezra did.
With each of my children I feel a growing sense of their personality as the pregnancy progresses, and I’ve always guessed quite accurately who they might be.
The whole concept of gender is one I so often consider in relation to everything – how much of it is constructed and how much of it (if any) is inherently related to the sex. I’m surprised at myself that I enjoy knowing the sex whilst I’m pregnant, but I think it has helped my children so much to accept the reality of another, new person in the family.
Beyond that, it is such an abstract concept until the moment your child is born and then it seems irrelevant. Who they are is what we really want to know, and perhaps knowing if they are a boy or girl helps us to build a picture in our heads… helps us to translate a feeling we have about them. I never think of Ava and Ezra as their sex, or assume their gender, because it is their personality that makes them so wholly unique.
I’m interested in how there is always an interplay between expectations and motivations and… all the questions that gender poses. I know some people truly believe that little girls intrinsically love pink, but my experience is that it is so much more complicated than that. There seem to be some undeniable differences, generally, between boys and girls, and yet just as many exceptions and no real way of knowing whether those differences are purely biological and hormonal or also influenced by the culture we live in and absorb.
Regardless, we don’t knowingly have any expectations of our kids based on their sex, so when Ezra wears nail polish or shouts, ‘I a girl!’ nothing about that seems odd or unnatural. When he smashes his trucks into one another and jumps off the sofa I don’t feel a sense of pride in my boisterous boy’s physical prowess.
But knowing we’re having another boy seems like a fun, if relatively insignificant, way to start to get to know him. Much like I wonder if he will also have blonde hair or how big he will be.
Despite Ava suggesting many names (including, but not limited to, Count, Picture and Shoes, the latter of which has become his nickname) we decided on a name: Gatsby.
At night Ava brings him toys and places them round my bump, and Ezra says, ‘Gapbee in Mama tummy’ and gives it a kiss. Which is all so lovely, that I feel quite certain Gatsby, whoever he turns out to be, will be very much loved.