Care and Feeding

My Father Has Imposed a Really Difficult Rule About Our Unborn Child

I’m not sure we can keep this up!

A grandfather covers his ears next to a pregnant woman's belly.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

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Dear Care and Feeding,

We recently found out the sex of our unborn child and plan on sharing it with people, but not the name we have picked. When we went to tell our families, my father said he didn’t want to know the sex and just asked if the baby was healthy, which they are. The rest of the family still wanted to know, so he got up and left the room and we told them. Since then, he cuts us off when it seems like someone is going to say the sex and left the room again when it was being discussed at one point. It’s been a week and I’m already struggling with not saying “she” (it’s a girl!), and know I will slip at some point and it seems like he will be upset about that. Also, we’re telling anyone that asks, so I feel like he’s just bound to hear it from someone else who doesn’t realize he doesn’t want to know. My question is, what is our responsibility in continuing to make sure he doesn’t find out?

— Having an “It” If He Asks

Dear Having an “It,”

The stakes are pretty low here, so you shouldn’t worry yourself. If your dad can manage to avoid hearing someone say your baby’s gender before she’s born, great! It will be a lovely surprise for him. If not, oh well, it’s not going to ruin the experience of welcoming his granddaughter into the world. It is lovely for you to go along with this, and all you can do is to try to avoid slipping up and mentioning her gender in front of him. You shouldn’t feel any stress or pressure though; finding out early may disappoint him a bit, but I’m sure he’ll get over that quickly and focus on celebrating his new grandchild. Best wishes to you for a healthy delivery.

— Jamilah