Gender reveals — at which a parent or parents reveal the sex of their unborn baby — have become as common as baby showers in the last decade, with each one seemingly more elaborate than the next.
But the California mom-of-three credited with having one of the first headline-making gender reveal parties has since had a change of heart about the trend.
Jenna Karvunidis explained on Facebook that 11 years after writing about her daughter’s gender reveal, via her now-defunct blog, she has “felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture.”
“Who cares what gender the baby is?,” Karvunidis wrote. “I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now – that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs.”
Karvunidis shared a family photo in the post and described her daughter today.
“PLOT TWIST, the world’s first gender-reveal party baby is a girl who wears suits!,” she wrote.
Karvunidis is the mom of three daughters, now ages 5, 8 and 10.
When she had a gender reveal for her oldest daughter, Bianca, in 2008, it was a simple cake with pink frosting on the inside. Karvunidis recalled wanting to celebrate her daughter after suffering “several” miscarriages.
“When I was pregnant with Bianca I just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop,” she said. “So when I got to go to that 20-week-old scan and I saw her beautiful face and her gender, I finally had some humanity to attach to the baby I had wanted for so long,.”
“Unfortunately the first detail we find out about our baby is not the most important detail about our babies,” Karvunidis added. “We find out the sex first because that’s all we can know and parents are so eager to know something, that first detail ends up being something they give so much more importance to.”
Karvunidis recalled that she first wrote about her gender reveal party for Bianca on her blog and it was then featured in “The Bump” magazine.
“It reached a tipping point from there,” she said. “I’m sure I’m not the first person to throw a gender reveal party, but that’s what put form to the party and elevated it.”
The internet is now full of ideas for gender reveals destined to go viral and the celebrations have creeped into popular culture, even being the center of an episode of the TV comedy “Black-ish.”
This month, Pretty Little Liars” star Shay Mitchell revealed her baby’s sex with the help of Power Rangers characters. Mitchell’s subsequent YouTube video of the gender reveal has more than six million views.
“I think the extreme nature of the parties has started to emphasize gender as an extreme fact,” Karvunidis told “Good Morning America.” “The truth of the matter is whatever gender the baby is is not the most extreme fact when you’re raising a child.”
“Their talents and their interests are going to be what really guides their life,” she said. “Gender shouldn’t be the total focus.”
Karvunidis’s post has garnered tens of thousands of likes, shares and comments on Facebook.
Many commenters applauded Karvunidis both for evolving her thoughts on the issue and for being so open about it.
“The best part of this is the lesson that says it’s OKAY to behave one way until you know better. It doesn’t matter what we did in the past. We learn, we grow, we change our ways. Thank you for being brave enough to do exactly that,” wrote one commenter.
“[I’m a] parent of a trans kid. I just wrote a blog vent on how I loatheeeee these parties. And this post…is just excellent. Thank you for sharing this. Gender might be over,” wrote another.
Other followers chimed into say they are sticking with gender reveal celebrations as they are, or evolving with them.
“My wife and I just had a gender reveal because we wanted to … your opinion is your own. We did it to bring family and friends together and celebrate my future child. I will love my child no matter what. That being said… I am having a girl. Human DNA states that. Whatever happens after is up to her. Don’t judge other people for what they believe. I will do the same,” wrote one commenter.
“I’m 30 years old. We recently had a gender reveal party for me because I have come to terms with the fact that I am non-binary. Thank you for this,” wrote another.
Karvunidis said she did not set out to “parent shame” anyone for having a gender reveal celebration, but just to point out that gender is “not the important thing” about a child.
“I have three girls and people come up and ask me all the time if I’m going to try for a boy and my response is always that if you saw a mom with three brunettes, would you ask her if she’s going to try for a blond?” Karvunidis said. “Gender is another aspect of our entire person hood, but it doesn’t deserve the focus that it gets with the iterations of the gender reveal parties.”
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