Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Old Wives Tell Many Tales

Before I knew the sex of my baby, I already had a feeling that it was a boy. In fact, from almost the very beginning I had a tendency to use "he" when talking about him and had focused my name search and nursery ideas in a more male-oriented direction. Of course, I left open the possiblity that my "feeling" might be more subconscious wishful thinking than true intuition. As it turns out, I was right all along, but that doesn't necessarily prove that it was motherly instincts at work - after all, I had a 50/50 shot of being right either way.

Before I actually knew for sure we were having a boy, since my gut feeling was not exactly a reliable indicator, I went searching online to see if there were any signs that might hint at my baby's gender. I was totally amazed at how many old wives' tales are out there that supposedly help predict whether you're having a boy or a girl!

Once I found out I was having a boy, I was curious how many of these stories held true, so I went back and compared the tales to the truth, as it applies to me.

Tale #1 - If you experienced little or no morning sickness in early pregnancy, you are having a boy.

True - I had very little morning sickness - there were a few weeks very early on where I felt nauseous on and off for most of the day and certain odors were extremely offensive, but it never led to vomiting or anything of that nature and it only lasted a short while. I was actually surprised at how uneventful the earlier months were in that regard.

Tale #2 - If the fetal heart rate is below 140, you are having a boy.

X False - My baby's fetal heart rate has always been above 150. At my last appointment, it was 154.

Tale #3 - If you're carrying low, you're having a boy.

X False... I think - I'm not really sure what is considered "carrying low" vs. "carrying high", and it's possible that my belly just isn't big enough yet to really see a difference, but it seems that most of the weight gain is occurring at or above my waist and not hanging down at all. If that what it means to carry high, then this one is false.

Tale #4 - If you are carrying the extra weight out front (as opposed to on the sides, around the hips and in your butt), you are having a boy.

True - Everyone says that from behind I don't even look pregnant because you can't see any extra weight unless you get a profile view of my stomach. That's where all my weight is, at least for now.

Tale #5 - If your belly looks like a basketball (small and round) and opposed to a watermelon (wider and more of an oval shape, I guess), you are having a boy.

True - My belly is definitely in a more compact little ball shape with all the weight concentrated to a small area sticking out right in front rather than spread wide across the length of my body.

Tale #6 - If your cravings lean more towards the salty or sour versus the sweet, you are having a boy.

True - I normally have a wicked sweet tooth, but throughout this pregnancy I have actually been turned off by many of the confections I used to totally love. While I've definitely gone on a few urgent ice cream runs, my snacking these days is more likely to consist of things like salt and vinegar potato chips, Sour Patch Kids, beef jerky, or Cheez It's. And for the first couple of months, I drank almost exclusively lemonade - it was borderline obsessive.

Tale #7 - If your feet are colder during your pregnancy than before your pregnancy, you are having a boy,

X False - I haven't noticed any change in my feet at all, temperature or otherwise.

Tale #8 - If the hair on your legs is growing faster during pregnancy than it did before you were pregnant, you are having a boy.

X False - Hair growth seems to be the same, as far as I can tell.

Tale #9 - If you sleep in a bed with your pillow facing north, you are having a boy.

? Huh? - To be honest, I have absolutely no idea which way my pillow faces. Not someting I've ever had to think about. Maybe I'll investigate and get back to you. But probably not.

Tale #10 - If the father-to-be is gaining weight along with you, you are having a boy.

X False - I actually think my fiance may have lost a couple of pounds since I've been pregnant.

Tale #11 - If your urine is bright yellow in color, you are having a boy.

X False... I think - To be fair, I don't typically survey the toilet after I pee to see what color my urine is, but I haven't noticed any neon colors catching my eye so I'm going with false on this one.

Tale #12 - If you hang a needle on a thread over your belly (or your wedding ring on a chain, apparently) and it moves in circles, you are having a boy.

X False - Okay, this is so ridiculous that I had to try it just for kicks. For the record, it swings side-to-side rather than in circles, which, according to the old wives' tale, would indicate a girl. I would love to know where this came from, and I may research it later.

Tale #13 - If you are having frequent headaches during your pregnancy, you are having a boy.

X True and False - I had really nasty headaches in my second and third months of pregnancy, but since entering my second trimester I've been almost completely headache-free. So depending on which stage of pregnancy you consider, this one could be considered both true and false.

Tale #14 - If you add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month in which you conceived, if the sum is an even number you are having boy.

True - I was 25 when I conceived, and I conceived in the 11th month (November), which gives me a total of 36. So yeah, it's even. I think this is a Chinese numerology thing. I believe the Mayans have a similar system.

Tale #15 - If you are looking better than ever during your pregnancy, you are having a boy.

Actually, True - Sure, I have my days - nausea and sleep deprivation aren't great for the complexion - but overall I would say (and have been told) that I look incredible for being 5 months pregnant. I've had people ask if I had my hair done (which I haven't in far too long) because it looks so healthy and shiny and the color looks so rich. One woman even told me I looked "radiant", which gave me a good chuckle.

I heard that the theory behind this particular tale is that girls steal their mother's good looks, so if you're lookin' good you must not be having a girl. I would love to hear what mommies of little girls would say about that. Too funny.

Tale #16 - If you have no problem eating the heel of a loaf of bread, you are having a boy.

X Wtf?!?! - To answer the question, I never eat the heel of a loaf of bed, so that would make this false, but really, it's not even worth answering. Seriously, what's up with this?

There are probably many many more out there - if you're interested, you can always count on a good ol' Google search to dig up the absurd and obscure.

So my final tally is 6 True and 8 False. Not exactly definitive evidence either way, but you can see there is very little science behind these old wives' tales to begin with.

My conclusion: while it might be fun to reference these myths and try to guess your baby's gender, I wouldn't go painting the nursery blue just because you call dibs on the crusty end piece of a loaf of bread. Enough said.

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