I’m Referring to My Unborn Baby as “They/Them” and This Is Why I’m Convinced It’s the Right Thing to Do
For a mom-to-be, the excitement and anticipation for the new addition to the family are undeniable. Despite being a deeply personal journey, at some point the news of pregnancy would be spread, and the woman’s decisions regarding her own baby may sometimes be met with curious glances and raised eyebrows, even spark some unexpected reactions... Unsure of whom to turn to for guidance and support, this pregnant lady shared her unique experience with the online community.
“I am just about done my first trimester of pregnancy. Most people in my life know that I am pregnant at this point. I have been getting so much judgment for referring to my own baby as ’they’ or ’them’. It initially shocks people, because they think I am having multiples, and then I’ll have to correct and just say ’No, just one baby!’
I don’t know the gender of my baby yet, therefore I’m pretty opposed to calling my baby ’it’ and it’s unnatural for me to constantly refer to them as ’baby’ so what has felt the best is calling them ’they/them’. Even with all the individuals who know I am only carrying one baby, they will still kind of scrunch their nose at me and continue to question why I am referring to them that way. I personally don’t think I’m being confusing. But that’s what people around me keep saying anytime I say ’they/them’.
I’m probably just in my own pregnant head about it and being insecure. Maybe I am confusing people and I should speak differently, but this is what is natural to me. I just didn’t know who to pose this question to...”
People reading her letter jumped to her defense:
- “I think that’s completely benign. I suspect this might be because ’they/them’ pronouns have become a bit more controversial in recent years. I feel like if you referred to your unborn child as ’they/them’ 10 years ago, no one would be that confused (or claim that it’s confusing).
Your reasoning seems perfectly sound to me. You don’t know the gender, and ’it’ isn’t very nice. If someone wants to have a problem over something so petty, they can have that problem. You shouldn’t have to tolerate that.” © 3qtpint / Reddit
- “I think if anyone is so asinine as to complain about using ’they’, you should just tell them it’s because the baby identifies as non-binary. Their sputtering in response will give you time to get away!” © IHQ_Throwaway / Reddit
- “It’s maybe the world’s most benign use of ’they/them’. That is a perfectly normal and ordinary pronoun set to use for people whose gender you do not know, and that has been the case for longer than I’ve been alive.
It would be even more confusing if you just started dropping a different name into every conversation when discussing the baby. ’James kicked me in the ribs yesterday.’ ’Amanda was laying on my bladder all night.’ ’Xavier is giving me heartburn.’ Then people would either want to know who you are talking about, since the baby’s gender is not determined yet, let alone the name.” © Alert-Potato / Reddit
- “I used these terms for all my three pregnancies a decade or so ago, no one batted an eyelid. The pearl-clutchers these days are just on the hunt for anyone who they think is displaying LGBT tendencies. So tolerance, love, acceptance and all this normal things now set them off on a rant. Don’t change, you do you!” © Own_Speaker_1224 / Reddit
- “I used ’it’ once, and my husband hated that. He thought it sounded like a thing, not a person. It totally makes sense to use ’they/them’. People not understanding ’they/them’ as a gender-neutral single person pronoun are being willfully dense. It’s not that hard of a concept.” © PennyProjects / Reddit
- “My mother-in-law got mad at me NOT referring to my pregnancy as ’they/them’ (I said ’it’ once) and then immediately went on a rant about transgender kids and nonbinary people. Like. Do you hear yourself?” © DuckDuckB**B** / Reddit
While many mothers-in-law provide warmth and support, some can be overly controlling, critical and interfering in their child’s parenting decisions. In this letter, a mother shares her personal experience with her nosy mother-in-law, reaching out to the online community for support.