This past week, I’ve encountered three people who opened our conversation by confidently guessing the gender of my baby.

“When are you having your little girl?” a woman asked on my way in for my fifth and final iron transfusion last Monday.

Mary's 38-week bump - Two Out of Three Complete Strangers Agree: I'm Actually Having a Boy

Author’s Personal Collection/Mary Mathes

“October 13th,” I told her. She replied excitedly that her birthday was the 15th, and her son a few days after. She’d hoped to have him on her birthday, but he’d had other ideas. I told her she was right; I was indeed having a girl. She said she could tell from the way I was carrying. I’m skeptical of the old wive’s tale that informed her guess, but I wished her well and went on my way.

Later that week, the cashier at a local store was convinced I was having a boy.

When I told her it was a girl, her face registered displeasure. “But she looks like a boy,” she said, eyes and hands aimed at my stomach. Well, sorry lady. NIPT and three ultrasounds say otherwise.

Speaking of ultrasounds, in addition to the anatomy scan, I’ve now had two monitoring scans thanks to my “advanced maternal age.” Each time, the tech has included the, “It’s a Girl!” picture in the few images she prints off for me.

I’m glad to have any pictures of my baby, certainly, but this feels odd. We’ve established that she’s a girl by now. You really don’t have to keep photographing her vagina for me.

I imagine my daughter might find this a bit awkward someday, years from now, looking through the little album of all my children’s ultrasound photos. At that point, I will probably just hug her and be glad she is here to be embarrassed by her ultrasound photos.

But I digress. The third incident came yesterday afternoon as I sat on a park bench seeking shade.

An elderly couple sat down next to me. After my son finished eating his Pirate’s Booty and ran off to play, the husband in the pair decided to weigh in with his prediction.

“That looks like a February boy,” he said confidently.

“Seriously?” I was so incredulous I couldn’t think of anything better to say at the time. If you honestly think this belly has five more months to go, why not also imply you think I’m having boys, plural? Sigh.

Mary's holding her son - Two Out of Three Complete Strangers Agree: I'm Actually Having a Boy

Author’s Personal Collection/Mary Mathes

I suppose I should be grateful I have made it far enough in this pregnancy for people to feel confident enough that I am, in fact, pregnant to comment at all. And at least in all three cases, they spared me the always awkward, “Is this your first?” question. But still.

The fact that I still have no idea what exactly will happen in the next 13 days (or less) makes it harder to bear these interactions with levity. The fact that I am having a baby in the middle of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month doesn’t help.

I remain hopeful that all continues to go well and that our little girl will be home with us soon. But I’m also nervous. And the nervous part of me wishes more people would just say, “I hope everything goes well,” if they’re going to say anything.

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