Parental Decision Making

Now that I'm almost half done, it's about time for the big day. Ok, not *the* big day, but the next closest thing--the 20 week ultrasound. This is the one where they will tell you, presumably only if you want to know, if you're having a boy or a girl. Over the last month or two, we have been asked lots of questions about this. Are we going to peek? Will we share what we find out? Along similar lines are questions such as, have we picked names? and will we share them? These are standard questions and I have no problem with people asking. What is amusing is the responses to the answers.

Are you going to look? A "yes" answer meets with lots of head nods and statements about excitement, but is also occasionally met with a barely concealed disappointment. Really? You're going to take the shortcut and look?! However, "no" answers breed, "are you crazy" or "suuuuuuurrrrrre" looks.

Are you telling? A "yes" answer generally provides happy faces, whiles a "no" gets you some heated and hated looks. You know and you're not sharing? How could you. It turns out that if you look, people feel entitled to know and can feel personally sinned against if you don't tell.

Have you picked names? Generally, a "yes" or "no" answer to this question only determines the follow-up questions. Yeses lead to questions about sharing. Noes lead to offers of help and suggestions.

Will you share them? This is a tricky question. Really. If you tell people what you've chosen, you can get vague stares or "how could you choose that" looks. People also feel it is their right to try and change your mind if they don't like what you've selected. There are also considerations for sharing with people on social networking sites (I have discovered that sharing one's children's names is generally frowned upon.) A "no," on the other hand, leads to even more trouble. People feel entitled to this information--after all, you have to tell them once the baby is born. Why not now? Some of them almost visibly bristle with indignation. Others will try and guess and hope your facial expressions give it away. Guessing? Really? Like there aren't more names on heaven* and earth to go through making it very unlikely that someone would ever pick correctly?

Ultimately, what I have realized about all of these questions is that they are my first opportunity for parental decision making. Selecting a name, more than any other thing I do with as a parent, is guaranteed to last the child's lifetime. In some cases, longer, like if they get passed down. Answers and actions taken in relation to the other questions are not only the first opportunity to set limits, but also my first chance to hold my ground in the face of opposition. No one is ever going to agree with all of my parenting decisions (although I like to hope that Phil and I will agree on most of them). Learning how to stand firm in my decision in the face of dissent, whether direct or passive, will help me when I have to explain to parents, teachers, friends, etc. some parenting choice I have made with which they disagree.

So, in the interest of disclosure, here are my answers to these questions:

Are we going to look? Yes. I don't think it ruins the surprise. It was still a surprise; I just opened my present sooner.
Are we going to tell? Yes. I have always hated when people tell me they know a secret but won't tell me. Either tell me the secret, or don't tell me you know one.
Have we picked names? Yes. Long before we got pregnant, actually. We picked early in the process, not realizing how long this journey would be.
Will we share them? Yes, but not here.

*I am restraining from sharing my personal opinion about the latest trend to name girls "Neveah"--heaven backwards.

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