Monday, March 31, 2014

Reveal This!

This gender reveal video, after being on YouTube for just a week, has nearly 1,500,000 views. While it's completely appalling (we'll get there), I am contributing to all the views by putting it on my blog. Forgive me. We'll tear it apart in a minute. Take a look if you haven't already.

Horrible, isn't it? I can't believe the parents did the cake thing, first of all. Second, they recorded it and put it on YouTube! Wow. Such disregard for their (only) son's feelings. It's like they are laughing at him and now letting the whole world laugh with them.

This video really hit home with me because I have one boy (the oldest) followed up with 3 girls. He was totally fine and excited to have the first sister. So excited! We had a 20-week ultrasound with baby #3 and found out she was also a girl. He was devastated and blamed me. His 4-year-old brain (and heart) couldn't understand how we had no control over the gender of the baby. Thirteen years later, he's just now gotten to the point where he is OK with this sister - who he desperately wanted to be a boy.

Fast forward to baby #4. We didn't have any ultrasounds with that baby, but we just knew it was a boy. We had tried for a boy and the pregnancy had been most like it had been with baby #1. Daymon was at the birth and found out alongside everyone else that the baby was a girl. Let me tell you, it was DEVASTATING. He cried the biggest silent teardrops ever. He was almost 9 years old and a little more mature than he had been with baby #3. We have given him full "permission" to cry over this whenever he's needed to. I will add that the morning after her birth, he was the first kid downstairs. He snuggled into our bed right next to her, looked up at me, and whispered "I love her more than anything in the world." I believe being at her birth and finding out with everyone in the room -- and being allowed to grieve -- helped him in this process. While I wasn't sad this last baby was a girl, I was very sad that my son would never have a brother.

The realization that he might never get a brother - that he so desperately wanted - was so crushing. Over the years, he's made similar statements as this boy in this video -- things like feeling so alone surrounded by all these girls. He's wanted to run away. He's spent more time out of the house, just so he could be around other boys. It's just not fair that they got sisters and a brother but he just got sisters -- and a lot of them!

The sisters in this video were so confused and visibly moved away from their brother. The dad says that he wanted it to be a boy too but doesn't really let his son grieve. The girls are crushed, and confused. To see your brother react this way to having another sister is also so sad. Both girls have got to be left feeling inferior by the brother and the dad.

I don't blame the brother at all though. We knew our son really wanted a brother, so I'm sure it was not a surprise that this boy would react the way he did. Honestly, pulling him aside, without his sisters, would have been the compassionate thing to do. No dumb cake and certainly no YouTube video.

To the boy who isn't getting a brother-
I'm so sorry your parents told you this way that you are getting sister #3. I know you are devastated to not be getting a brother. Some boys want a brother more than others. I have a boy like that and it's been sad for him. He's graduating from high school in a couple of months and is OK with it now. He's had lots of friends, boys and girls, but I sense that he is still sad about it every-now-and-then. Love your sisters. I know right now you have different interests but one day you'll have more in common. Teach them some baseball and they'll teach you some cool dance moves. I'm sorry you are in this pain. Give it time. You will grow to love your new sister. I promise. It's OK to be sad though. Make good friends. You can't choose your family but you can choose your friends.

One thing I love about Dr. William Sears, the Father of Attachment Parenting, is that he always talks about respect. Respect your children and they will respect you. I wish I was a better model of this behavior, and we do try, but it doesn't always work out. This gender reveal should never have been put out on YouTube. It was a blatant publicity stunt at the expense of their only son. Interestingly, my husband and I saw it separately (I didn't even know he had seen the video) and he was most fired up about the father talking about not wanting another girl in front of his two daughters. He commented on a post telling the dad that he's ruining his daughters' self-esteem, and even called him a jerk. Most people I've talked to about this video were totally offended by it and couldn't believe it was put on the internet. How about you?

* P.S. Dr. Sears is coming to Fort Worth April 25-27 for the Southwest Birth Roundup. There are other speakers as well, including Jill Arnold of The Unnecessarean and, Jennie Joseph, founder of The JJ Way, and Kathleen Kendall-Tacket, with several other awesome birth professionals from around Texas. Tickets are on sale now and there is limited seating. Last I heard there are still tickets left. Get yours today!


Rebeckah Ferger said...

That is so heartbreaking.

Renee Campbell said...

I couldn't even finish watching this video. Totally breaks my heart. We just found out that we are having a boy after having had three daughters. I can't imagine turning the gender reveal into such a sad event.

JoyBelle said...

I don't think I can watch the video. I'm sure people are blaming him for his emotions, calling him names. And that sickens me. Bullying is wretched but even more so is when it is adults bullying children.

Rosemarie said...

My first reaction was -- there are some things that don't need to be "revealed" to children. He's so young, it didn't need to be a big act. He'd find out sooner or later and not making a big deal if it might have lessened the blow for this poor kid.

dianthe said...

I haven't watched this video and don't plant to. I don't have to because I lived it. After Baby #3 was born, we called the kids (1 boy and 1 girl) to tell them. Sydney asked if it was a boy or a girl (they both wanted a girl) and when i told her it was a baby boy, she was devastated ... and MAD! She yelled that she we already had a boy and she wanted a girl. I felt awful for her especially because I knew we were done. Instead of having her come to the hospital, we waited to make the introductions til we brought the baby home. That gave her enough time to warm up to the idea of having another brother and gave my sister to play up all the wonderful things about being the only girl. As soon as she held him, she immediately fell in love as I knew she would. I would never make light of something that was so important to my kids.

Sarah Clark said...

Well I FINALLY watched it and couldn't finish it. So wrong on so many levels. Oh my goodnes- go pick up that boy and take him in another room and give him a hug- AND a talk about how we don't say those kind of things about people. For freaks sake, what parent would allow their child to trash on their siblings like that for minutes on end? That was awful. I couldn't finish it. And the father. Where is the mother? Where is there compassion for ANY of the children? I hope they make lots of money off their youtube video because they will need it for institutionalizing the children they used as pawns. So glad my husband and my son LOVE the three girls we have in our home. They are a gift.r

Kaysea said...

It is expectations that give us disappoinments. Stop setting up expectations and one will not be disappointed.

Rozy Lass said...

We had a girl first followed by four boys. I was the one who cried for two hours when an ultra-sound, the day before giving birth revealed another boy. I was so sure it was a girl. Our daughter was always excited for a new baby and I don't recall her being disappointed. Fast forward to the teen years and there were plenty of tears and yelling about being born in the wrong family and why did she have so many dumb brothers. Fast forward some more years and now she's in the Air Force surrounded by males. "Mom, I'm so grateful I had brothers. I understand guys and get along with them. I can't stand the girls, they are so self-centered and nasty." God doesn't make mistakes! I hope and pray this young boy will overcome his parent's mistake and learn to appreciate the family God placed him in.

Delightful Domestic Science said...

I don't think a cutesy cake reveal is the best way to tell kids full stop. I was sad for this little boy left physically alone as he sorrowed and raged through his feelings, Dad couldn't put the video camera down to comfort his son? How much more wonderful could it have been if he took his son in his arms and spoke softly to him and listening to his breaking heart?

Keeping the gender as a low key as possible can offer kids privacy and an example. Does gender really need to matter that much? It's enough that a baby is coming, parents that perhaps offer a more rounded approach by suggesting that "as long as baby is healthy we don't mind what we have" set a neutral example of zero expectation, don't set one gender above another and show gratitude from the beginning. Sure some kids (I know I did) latch on to the idea of reeeaaally wanting one particular gender over the other but the parental example will be their fall back in time.

I've seen many gender reveals gone wrong. Kids aren't for sport, respecting their feelings and helping them through the disappointments of life is an opportunity to show them compassion and to grow together.

I have two brothers, no sisters. There are times when I still think about how much I wish I had a sister, that feeling never necessarily goes away. It also doesn't mean I wish my brothers away either.

I have had a negative reaction from one of my parents when I was bullied into sharing the gender of our third child. It was awful."Ugh, another one!" isn't what one likes to hear. Each baby is precious and has a purpose in their family and on this earth.

M.S. Wilson said...

Like others said, I think all gender reveals are lame. This might be unrelated, but I've seen many girls very disappointed about having a boy instead of a girl first. That girl is so not ready for motherhood. Maybe you could tell your son or daughter (in this situation) that if it's not their gender for the final baby, they can get a dog. What do I know though? Just brainstorming here.

Jeanna Stay said...

It's the dad's reaction that kills me the most, though. My hubby and I have two girls and a boy, and he was equally thrilled about each child. I hate to imagine being that little baby and watching the video someday and knowing how much my dad didn't want me.