Months ago, before we were pregnant, a colleague of my husband brought a huge batch of kids’ clothes to the office for anyone to take. Mike had grabbed anything toddler-sized for our son, bringing home a shopping bag full of options. And a surprise, I learned as I sorted through the bag. Mixed in among shirts bearing dinosaurs, sports balls, trucks, and machines, was a small pink onesie with ruffled sleeves. There were two birds embroidered on it and the phrase “Little Sister.”

“Did this end up in here by accident?” I’d asked.

“No, I took it just in case,” he said with a smile. His optimism was touching.

I had to admit I also hoped we might have a use for this onesie someday. I noted with amusement the size: 9 months. The length of a pregnancy. That seemed fitting. I laundered the little shirt and set it aside.

After receiving our NIPT results, we shared our news more broadly with friends and family via Instagram and Facebook. The pink, ruffly “Little Sister” onesie became part of our announcement photos, including one sweet shot of my son snuggling it on the couch.

Mary's son hugging a "little sister" onesie - Mary’s Bump Day Blog: Week 15: Ruffles, Bows, and Price Tags On

Author’s Personal Collection/Mary Mathes

The news that we are having a girl has prompted much excitement from friends and family.

Some seem most excited about getting to buy pink, girly things this time. An aunt was the first to send a gift for the new baby: two very cute, very pink and frilly newborn outfits complete with hat and bow. We oohed and aahed over them, then I carefully packed them in their box, tags on, and stored them in the nursery closet. I briefly toyed with the idea of adding them to the laundry to get ready for baby. But it turns out, despite being past the first trimester and weeks further along than I got with my first pregnancy, I’m still nervous about cutting the tags off. There’s no rush, I might as well wait, just in case.

Soon after the gift arrived, it was Easter, and my in-laws came to visit. Walking into church that Sunday with my mother-in-law, we saw a little girl in her pink Easter dress and white tights. She squealed over how cute she was.

“You’re going to be buying all the fun pink stuff now!” she declared.

Maybe,” I replied half-heartedly. Partly I was bristling at the assumption that we will enforce traditional gender norms. Yes, I had used a pink onesie as part of my announcement, but that wasn’t meant to set the tone for her entire yet-to-be-determined wardrobe. It wasn’t a declaration that, yes, this little girl will have to wear all the pink and frilly things. That she couldn’t possibly re-wear any of her brother’s clothing. “Girls can like blue and dinosaurs too,” I retorted in my head. My own closet skews far more to blue, green, and red than it does to purple or pink.

But in larger part, I bristled because I can’t fully join in with everyone’s unbridled optimism and think that far ahead just yet.

I’m hopeful, certainly, but there’s still a long way to go. While statistically, the odds say this baby will be fine, and we’ll bring her home, emotionally, I don’t feel “safe” yet. And my husband seems to be the only one who understands this. I suspect that’s because he’s also the only one who remembers this isn’t the first time we thought we’d be bringing a baby home in October.

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