I’ll let you in on a little secret.The black community, both African, Caribbean and sometimes the suggestive hyphen in between are a very secretive bunch of people. Most of the time the notion of secrecy can be damaging, especially if wearing an ill-fitted cloak of shame but sometimes the silence of a tongue heavy with the truth is not such a bad thing. And whilst perhaps the surge of the social media share overshadows what I’m about to say one thing that is still very much kept behind closed doors is the information regarding an unborn child.
It would be hard to believe with the amount of gender reveals popping off in the shade room. From magic tricks to hiring a fire truck to spew pink or blue colored water out of its spout there seems to be a competition in who can perform the most outlandish way of revealing whether their child has a vagina or penis. Whilst it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, it does make me chuckle a little because in the history of these reveals we have yet to hear the announcement of a hermaphrodite, woodland animal or UFO. It’s always the same thing. but I digress.
As someone who has shared their life on social media for years, It’s been hard finding a balance. Most of my responses to ‘when are you due’?, ‘What’s the sex?’ and ‘Do you have a name yet’? have been sketchy at best and flat-out lies at worst. It’s not that I think I’m Beyonce it’s just that where I come from, sharing such information with a world who beyond ‘just wanting to know’ has no investment in your child, especially spiritually feels a little off.
In the black culture (and I use that quite lazily as a blanket term because as I’ve mentioned before, one black does not describe all) we are taught that the spiritual protection of your unborn child is held the same level of regard as the physical.
Quite often I’ve had to dodge a persistent hand that’s out to feel my tummy or lock eyes with Papa B as he has had to restrain himself from dislocating the wrist of someone who was a little too quick for me, and now proceeds to caress my stomach in a manner that if there was no child within it would definitely be grounds for sexual assault.
We have been taught that whilst most people mean well, not all do. And to save ourselves from worrying about the vibes coming from a strangers hand into the aura of our children, we have just been told to avoid it all. Although that may sound mystical and borderline archaic to most, there are some ‘old school ways’ that I still find comfort in, this being one of them.
For the first couple years of a child’s life, their image is purely dictated by how their parent chooses to share them. Being an unashamed control freak, it is important to me that the only person in control of any information regarding my child is only shared when myself of their father decide to do so. Is there anything wrong with that?
Off-piste in both ways perhaps that’s why Kylie Jenner's pregnancy announcement gave me all the feels. There she is undisputedly one of the most famous young women in the world who decided to keep her most precious gift to herself. Although the gossip queen in me publicly debated the need for such secrecy, especially from a family who bankroll anything from sex tapes to vagina’s, her chosen way struck a chord with me.
Not everything needs to be for public consumption all of the time. But in our new world one in which you can now be actually paid to show you’re baby shitting themselves, sometimes the former sentence is easily forgotten.
As we speed towards the final hurdle, of course, I cannot wait to share the new kid with anyone who will pretend like said baby’s mushy features are the most unique and beautiful things they’ve ever seen. But until then it’s on a need to know basis and the only ones that need to know are us alone.