Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Would You Want to Know?

I had an interesting discussion last night over whether or not one would want to know the sex of their baby before delivery. This is a common question asked of pregnant women. While there are lots of things I focus my attention on, this is not one of them. So, when I find people having a lively debate on this issue, I feel a bit like a foreigner watching people interpret a local custom.

One woman at my dinner table argued, compellingly, that she didn't want to know what sex her baby was because she believed strongly in abortion and to know the sex is to start to think of names and once you think of names, well, . . . If one had to make the hard decision to terminate a pregnancy, she believed it was less painful if one had not yet named the child.

Another woman thought that not knowing the sex was sort of an antiquated ritual. With all the advances in technology, why not?

Others pointed out the "feminist" angle on this question: namely, what difference would it make if you had a boy or girl? The idea here is that those who would prepare for the new child by painting the baby's room pink or blue are buying into a rather silly cultural practice (which apparently has something to do with Nazi Germany, go figure?). It's not like "pink" says, independently of culture, "girl."

What do you think? Is this a moral dilemma? Is it a curiousity? Should feminists (or anyone, for that matter) think long and hard before asking themselves what the sex of the baby is?