Expecting

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via allthecolor on Flickr

For Maggie, making a trip to the store for baby supplies wasn’t all the other new mothers cracked it up to be. Finding a place to park was easy enough, as at least two front rows were reserved for expectant mothers. Wise marketers made access simple to lure women in and tempt them to buy the same old, same old.

Inside the double glass doors, Maggie may have stepped back into the ‘50s for all she could tell. A cotton candy machine could’ve exploded, splashing the clothing with saccharine pink and sky blue. “Here we go again,” she said. “Why is everything for babies sold as such a stereotype?”

She didn’t want to select clothes by gender … lace and frills for little girls or animals and mechanical motifs for the boys. Maggie resisted making her selections based on such a backward categorization. Lady bugs and footballs in abundance. She just wanted to get some cute baby things. Registering for gifts here meant “snips and snails and puppy dog tails,” all the old tripe from the past.

Guilty feelings crossed her mind at being so greedy as to hand-pick what friends and relatives should buy the baby. Much like begging for shower gifts. She felt a tinge of shame at taking advantage of their generosity.

An electronic scanner clutched in her clammy palm, Maggie half-heartedly waved the device at random objects. A hooded bath towel here, burp pads there, all with the same themes decorating the garb. Her heart just wasn’t in it.

Maggie considered going the generic green and yellow route. “Better to stay on the safe side,” she thought. She and her husband refused to find out the baby’s sex via a sonogram or answer intrusive inquiries about it. People were surprised at their own lack of curiosity. She wanted to tell the busy-bodies to go work for the Big Baby Boootie business chain and help put every newborn into a feminine or masculine pigeon hole.

She rounded the corner to the aisle with the registry kiosk and had a mild moment of panic. What would they name the child? Jordan, Taylor, Jayden, Morgan – a list of androgynous choices came to mind. The registry monitor loomed large in front of her, vaguely representing the first choices she’d make for her progeny in a world where so much was determined by arbitrary X and Y chromosomes.

The moment had come to enter her choices for “Baby Thompson” into the computer, but she had only a few measly items scanned into the system – some plain white onsies and drab cream-colored sleepers that would leave nosy people guessing. She felt helpless against the force of how society pits “girls against boys” from birth. Maggie nodded her head and resolved, “Luvs and Huggies it is.”

*A prompt from Studio 30+ this week was, “Here we go again.” Studio30

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11 Comments

Filed under feminism, fiction, writing

11 responses to “Expecting

  1. I felt much like her as well….LOVE the story! L

    • Thanks, Lanea! I was pretty disappointed at how few the cute clothes options were for boys than girls. You can probably guess, though, that pink wouldn’t not have been my first choice (of course, differentiating between P!nk and regular old pink). It’s funny, because I now love hot pink for me!

  2. Kir Piccini

    Unlike Maggie, I couldn’t wait to find out the sex of our twins and once I did, I bought green and yellow and cupcakes and boats ..(lots of nautical just like I would have with a girl) .

    It wouldn’t matter in that first few months anyway, babies are androgynous during that time and onesies and diapers are a good bet.

    Plus, all these years later…my sons still love to wear pink button downs as much as they love to wear their blue ones.

    • I found out, too, Kir. We were all over the place with color, but it definitely bugs me how toy companies market with gender. Lego Friends, really? Like there needs to be a difference?
      My son has a schoolmate who wears a shirt emblazoned with “Real Men Wear Pink.” I’m with that kid!

  3. It’s too bad kids are pigeon-holed even before they’re born. Guys can wear pink. Girls can wear blue. When my daughter’s twins were born I bought them bright red t-shirts with “Thing 1″ and Thing 2” displayed prominently on their chests.

    • My little guy even thought purple was a “girly” color when he was about five-years old. Purple? It’s a regal color! But he had already gained the notion (not from me) that colors are gendered, which irks me. I’m fighting the systematic sexism he experiences at school, from friends, on television, etc.

  4. My husband and I didn’t find out the gender of either of our children before they were born. Back then (they are both in their 20s) it wasn’t as big of a deal as it seems to be now.

    • I’m surprised by how much people get in other people’s business about pregnancy … what they’ll name the baby, what they think of the name (like it matters), etc.
      Thanks for reading, Tara!

  5. Joe

    From what I’ve gathered from some of my procreating friends and siblings, the nosiness and judgement only got worse after the baby came. I guess it’s some perverse second-nature.

    Anyway, another fine post, as always!

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