Pregnancy and motherhood are a cause for celebration. A celebration for bringing in new life into this world. Although this journey toward motherhood isn’t easy for an expectant mom, those around her go out of the way to make her feel special. To do so, they come up with various ideas to celebrate her pregnancy journey. With time, some of them became an integral part of various traditions and cultures across the world.
One such tradition in India is performed on the 7th month of a woman’s pregnancy and is called Godh Bharai or Seemantham. Here an expectant mom would stay with her in-laws until she reaches her 7th month or third trimester. At this point, the woman’s parents and in-laws organize a grand function for her where she is showered with gifts and blessings of relatives and family elders. She is given gifts for both her baby and her – things which will be of use to her after the baby is born. This tradition is continued even to this day in India. Sounds familiar? Yes, it does sound very much like a baby shower. The only difference is that there is no emphasis on the gender of the baby with decorations such as pink and blue.
In other countries too, the baby shower is a common tradition. However, what’s making news nowadays is the gender-reveal parties. It is mostly followed in the West because a baby’s gender is not revealed before birth in countries like India and China. In such countries, gender identification through ultrasound is a huge crime. This is because not long ago, this method was used to detect and kill the female fetus in preference for a baby boy. To curb this malpractice, the gender-reveal before birth was declared as a crime. This was also one of the steps that the government had taken to stop gender discrimination.
However, in countries like the US and Australia, where revealing a baby’s gender before birth is still legal, soon-to-be parents and their friends are now coming up with unique gender-reveal party ideas to announce them. While initially, these parties were intimate, according to the latest media reports, such parties are now turning out to be disastrous for those involved. And by that, we mean disastrous in every sense of the word.
Initially, these parties were turning out to be hilarious bloopers and epic fails much to the amusement of social media users. However, of late, they’ve started to have more serious and dangerous implications. For instance, a gender-reveal party at Ohio’s Applebees’ ended in a major brawl with the people involved and the hotel management when the celebrating party was asked to clean up the confetti mess after the celebrations (1).
If you thought that was nasty enough, then wait till you hear about a 2017 massive wildfire in Arizona. When authorities investigated the cause of the wildfire that spread to a whopping 47,000 acres, they were shocked to find that it was ignited by an explosion set off to announce the gender of the baby! The person responsible for it was an off-duty border patrol agent who was awarded a penalty of $8 million in restitution!! All this a result of recklessly announcing the gender of the baby he was expecting (2).
Despite this, it seems as though the trend of dangerous gender-reveal parties is continuing with media reporting private plane crashes and pipe-bomb shrapnel killing people around. Which brings us to the question – are such gender-reveal parties really necessary? Agreed that it might be making expectant parents happy, but what about the deep-rooted gender discrimination in our society? Such kind of party trend is rising in countries like India too. And this will only weaken our fight against the evils like female feticide that still plague our society. Such celebrations, which are often recorded, will also impact young minds very early in their lives regarding gender stereotypes.
In this day and age where we are fighting for gender equality, isn’t it time we gave up such horrifying and discriminatory practices? Instead, let us celebrate pregnancy for what it is in the first place – an epitome of new beginnings!