Pop!. . . boy or girl. . .Gender reveal parties now popular in Zimbabwe Lee Ann Bernard and her husband at their gender reveal party

Flora Fadzai Sibanda, Chronicle Reporter
ONE of the biggest highlights to expecting parents is finding out the gender of their baby and letting the family know. Over the years this has shifted from the old and most reliable way of waiting till the baby is born to using scans and revealing the gender to the family through gender reveal parties.

In contrast to what our mothers and fathers used to do by waiting for the baby to arrive, parents nowadays find pleasure in finding out the gender of their babies not later than the third trimester and letting the family know through a gender reveal party.

Gender reveal parties happen when the parents find out the gender of their baby and keep it a secret from the rest of the family or look for a trusted family member to find out the gender from the doctor so that they can also be surprised during the party.

After getting the gender, a pink and blue theme party is organised and close people are invited and expected to bring baby gifts or any other gift to the party.

At the party, various ideas might be decided on how the gender of the coming baby will be done.
It could be in the form of balloons that are stuffed with ribbons of the colour that will represent the sex of the baby and the family will pop it to show everyone, a cake with the inside themed with the gender colour, a gender reveal scratch card, the famous gender reveal smoke bomb and the paint-while-blindfolded game for the couple.

After an idea for how the gender will be revealed has been decided, for example, if it is decided that it will be revealed through the blindfold and paint game the parents-to-be are made to stand in front of everyone with their backs to the people.

The person who knows the gender brings paint which indicates the gender of the baby and asks them to dip their hands in the paint and use it to paint each other’s white T-shirts.

When the host is satisfied with the obviously messy paints made, he asks the couple to turn and look at the crowd while slowly removing the blindfolds on the curious parents, that way everyone learns the gender.

Saturday Chronicle spoke to Lee Ann Bernard who said to her gender reveal was an exciting way of knowing the gender of their baby, especially for her husband who was very anxious.

“At the party, my cousin made us wear plain white T-shirts and put a dish in front of us that was full of paint. After that, we were made to paint each other’s shirts and remove the blindfold when we were satisfied. I am really happy that we used a different way of knowing our baby’s gender instead of using the normal routine that everyone does. People should try to do this kind of reveal because it is really fun,’ said Lee Ann.

After talking to Lee Ann, Saturday Leisure crew spoke to a few people on the streets just to know how they feel about gender reveal parties.

A woman who could only be identified as Gogo Dlodlo (65) said gender reveal parties pose a danger to the unborn baby.

“During my time, we were not allowed to tell people that we are pregnant before the second trimester started and the baby bump started showing. People were told about the gender of the baby after the baby had grown (the umbilical cord has fallen) because people carry different spirits; these spirits are bad for the baby. Imagine what could happen to the child if someone who does not wish you well has this crucial information about the coming baby. I would never allow any of our children to do such a thing, we shouldn’t forget our roots,” said the granny.

Gogo Dlodlo has a point — in America gender reveal parties have proved to be dangerous. According to GenderRevealDeathCount.com, there have been more than six deaths, at least one missing person, more than 20 minor injuries and over 69 000 acres destroyed by wildfires as a result of gender reveal parties gone wrong over the years.

Even when these hazards are removed, the whole concept of a gender reveal party negatively reinforces gender-based stereotypes. Society has progressed immensely since 2008 when gender reveal parties first became popular. In fact, blogger Jenna Karvunidis, who first helped start this trend with her gender reveal cake filled with pink icing, has expressed how her views around gender reveal parties have changed over the years.

“Who cares what gender the baby is? I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019, and didn’t know what we know now — that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs,” Karvunidis said in a Facebook post back in 2019.
Sindi Dube (26) said this was a way of making pregnancy fun.

“Pregnancy is not always fun for most people as they have to deal with hormones, anxiety, sickness, and cravings. So parents-to-be should make it fun by doing these activities like daddy showers, baby showers, photo-shoots, and the now-famous gender reveal. Once l am ready to have a baby it will definitely be on my bucket list of pregnancy adventures. Besides, it’s a way of creating memories for the coming baby,” she said.

Nkosi Siziba said the whole party might be a waste of money as scans aren’t always accurate. He said he does not see himself doing a gender reveal because of that uncertain detail.

“Scans can sometimes lie, I wouldn’t want to waste money and be surprised when I get my baby. Otherwise, the whole gesture is a good way of having fun,” he said. — @flora_sibanda

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