Q: I’ve been invited to some kind of “gender-tell or gender-reveal party” for my pregnant granddaughter next month. I must really be behind the times because I’ve never heard of such a thing. When I asked her about it, she told me it’s a party where we will all find out the sex of the baby, which is due in May. My daughter is hosting the party. My question is: Am I supposed to take a gift? I asked my daughter and she didn’t really give me a straight answer.
Also, when I was growing up, women and their families didn’t even talk about the pregnancy until much later in the process. It just wasn’t a proper subject in those days. I tend to agree with that. Many also thought it could jinx the pregnancy and the mother might have a miscarriage or something by telling everyone way too early. What happened to the good ole days of waiting until the baby was born to find out what sex it was?
A: Our society has definitely changed since you and I had our first child. I, too, remember my mother telling me that announcing a pregnancy was just not the thing to do until “at least one began to show,” at which time it became somewhat necessary to give some kind of weight-gain explanation.
Of course, sonograms were not a part of the equation then, either. The so-called “jinx” has almost evaporated as well because of the advancement in medicine and knowledge. Nonetheless, early announcement means a long-time of public waiting and watching for the arrival.
For the modern generation, it has become more socially acceptable to discuss or announce one’s pregnancy very early. Social media capabilities can provide immediate announcements of almost anything — whether anyone wants to know about it or not.
A large segment of our society also believes in telling all on Facebook, from a romantic breakup, a change in a relation or “I’m going to give my two-week notice at my job tomorrow.”
Whether it is appropriate or not is a split-decision, with some of us feeling it more proper to maintain privacy and some who feel we’re old-fashioned.
There can be regrettable repercussions. For example, the hurt feelings when great-grandma finds out about her great-granddaughter’s pregnancy from her neighbor who happened to see it on Facebook.
As to the recent trend of these gender-reveal parties, it is another form of early celebrating and an opportunity for the young couple to share their excitement with friends and family.
There are no etiquette rules about who hosts the party, what kind of party it will be, the location, whether a meal should be provided, or just dessert served.
The parties run the gamut of watching the cake get cut to find either pink or blue M&M’s inside or watching the mommy-to-be take a bite of a cupcake to find either pink or blue icing inside.
Are they fun and exciting parties? Yes. Should you attend? Yes, definitely, if at all possible because it is considered an honor to be invited to share in a part of this life-changing event.
As to whether a gift is required from invited guests, this is my answer: Any time you are invited to a party of any kind, a gift is appropriate. Does it need to be an expensive gift? No. Suggested gifts may include a baby book of names, a gender-neutral white or yellow receiving blanket, or a small stuffed teddy bear or little doggy.
This gift does not take the place of one for the future baby shower. Another separate gift is appropriate for that as well.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Suzanne Boyle, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.