Family & Education

Why you really shouldn't have a gender reveal party

Balloons, cakes and cannons to announce the gender of your unborn child are a seriously bad idea, says Joy Sable


Reports emerged recently from Texas of a small plane which crashed after dumping about 350 gallons of pink water” to indicate that a friend of the pilot was going to have a daughter. In September, a woman from Iowa met an untimely end when a party cannon rigged to go off in an explosion of colour, misfired and send shards of shrapnel in her direction. Two reasons to think twice about gender reveal parties — a trend which started in the US and is increasingly popular here.

These celebrations started simply enough. Friends and family gather mid-pregnancy to find out whether they’d be welcoming a boy or a girl. It started with cutting cakes to reveal a pink or blue interior, now balloons are popped revealing pink or blue sprinkles, or cannons are blasted, showering the guests with the right shade of confetti (and hopefully not shrapnel).

From a Jewish perspective, there is no halachic prohibition on discovering the sex of a baby before its birth. Indeed, with so much ritual involved in welcoming a boy in the Orthodox community (a bris, a pidyen haben, a shalom zachor), some might say it is useful to know that a boy is on the way so that you can be prepared, book a mohel and order those bridge rolls.

Are we right to want to know whether a girl or boy is on the way? Scans are incredibly accurate now, but there is still room for error, and a baby may be in a position in the uterus where it is difficult to spot what is, or isn’t there. Is it tempting fate to announce to the world that you’ve expecting a Jacob, when he might turn out to be a Jade? And as the world becomes less gender specific, it all feels a little out-dated anyway.

You might feel disappointment if the cannon’s blast shows the ‘wrong’ colour. How awful if your guests see that in your eyes. That is not the way to welcome a baby into the world. Once it’s born, you’ll adore it, whatever its gender.

So forget about balloons and cup cakes and concentrate on the most important thing when it comes to a birth: boy or girl, as long as the baby is healthy, that’s the only thing that matters.

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