Don’t get too excited if you expect a sexy kinky post, involving a blow-up pool and bikinis and butter cream icing.
When you’re pregnant, sex cake parties or gender-reveal parties are G-rated family affairs.
Friends and family of the expecting parents get together to share in the experience of discovering the baby’s sex with the parents. It’s a “tradition” that has taken off in popularity since the first YouTube posting of it in 2008 that involved opening the envelope with the result (New York Times) to cutting into a cake.
I’d never heard of this custom until I got pregnant and frankly thought it was a little narcissistic. It seemed like just another phenomenon of the social media obsessed, self-absorbed culture, people needing to share every moment of their lives with everybody. Video taping the ultrasound during the second trimester might seem tasteless or simply out of the question (I didn’t even think to ask when I had mine). Beside the U/S rooms are dimly lit and the black and white grainy images revealing the sex is cryptic to the layperson; whatever it is the technician sees to determine the sex by is, well, too small and nondescript to make much of a visual impact. So, I thought with one eyebrow raised, they’ve come up with this: cutting into a blue or pink cake that’s bad lighting proof.
But what do I care really? There would be cake and pizza and nice people and where there’s cake, any reservations I have begin to inevitably appear, well, self important and too serious to be serious.
Aside: The cutting into a cake to discover the sex of a baby reminds me, ambivalently, of Margaret Atwoods The Edible Woman. I don’t remember too much about it since reading it in high school but the pararallelism and objectification, the pornographic depiction even, of food and women in today’s media, leaves me contemplating the symbolic significance of using cake, cutting into it and eating it, eating her, eating the baby, eating two slices of it even like I did last night, to discover what is in the womb. But these are, of course, idle intellectual musings of a writer, not the feelings of a friend in reality. Besides, I love cake and I love surprises.
Last night, my BFF and her boyfriend threw themselves the only surprise party anyone can throw for themselves. With family and friends gathered around them, they found out they are having a…
The build up of anticipation over the course of the past five months, from the 24 hour wait between getting the gender result in an envelope at the hospital, the drive to the cake shop, to circling the the icing on the cake during the hours before the first cut, ended with an explosive reveal that was a joyful rousing relief.
My initial reservations about such a party notwithstanding, I was surprised by how this event made me feel closer to the couple and more invested in their baby. Sharing in a moment of joy of their pregnancy–often limited to the parents with only delayed and diluted experiences for those around them–in a immediate and intimate way was gratifying and worth the wait.
Warmest congratulations to the mom and dad to what we all expect will be a beautiful little girl who’s already loved more than she can imagine.