In August of 1992, when I was five months pregnant, I went in for my sonogram and asked to be told the gender of my baby. The technician looked at the image and said, “It’s a girl!”
[Image description: The photograph shows a sonogram image of a baby at five months’ gestation. The image is blurry, in black and white, and in a triangular shape against a black background with text above and to the right showing the date and various measurements.]
I was so happy! That’s because I had all kinds of retrograde ideas about girls and boys. Boys were little hellions. Girls were little cooperators. I was having a girl! Yay!
[Image description: The photograph shows the author at 34, two hours before going into labor. She is a white woman with long brown hair and bangs, and she is smiling into the camera. She is sitting at a table wearing a pink flowered jumper and a black shirt over her shoulders. Her arms are resting on her large pregnant belly and her hands are clasped.]
Then, in December of 1992, when my baby were born, the doctor told me again, “It’s a girl!” The nurse even put “Baby Girl Anderson” on the little crib that was my baby’s first home after coming out of my belly.
[Image description: The photograph shows the author in a hospital bed holding her newborn child in 1992. The mom is a white woman with green eyes and long brown hair. She is wearing a hospital gown and looking into the camera. The baby is wrapped in a white blanket and is wearing a white cap. The child is sleeping with a faint smile on their face.]
And I called my baby by a girl’s name. Two, in fact. And when anyone asked my baby’s gender, I told them proudly that I was the mother of a daughter. I even made birth announcements by hand.
Look how cute!
[Image description: The photograph shows a white child of about three months of age. Sitting in a white bouncy chair with multicolored butterfly designs, the child is wearing a light blue hat and white pajamas with light blue dots and light blue sleeves. The child has dark eyes and is looking directly into the camera. Behind the child, books are visible on a bookshelf that rests on a dark wood floor.]
But I was mistaken about my child’s gender — as were the technician, the doctor, and the nurse. My kid is not a girl. Nor is my kid a boy. My kid is of non-binary gender.
So again, in the 22 years later, I am celebrating the birth of my child — this time, by correcting the record and proudly announcing the coming into the world of my non-binary kid, West Anderson, whose gender pronouns are they, their, and them.
[Image description: The photograph shows the author on the right and West Anderson on the left. West is a white non-binary person with short brown hair; they are wearing a red cap and a black top. The author is a white woman wearing a red and purple velvet hat, glasses, a blue and white dress, and blue beads. They are both smiling and looking at the camera. Behind them area window and a white wall.]
West, you are abundantly awesome. Always have been. Always will be. I love you as I did the day you were born. No — I love you more. Because we’ve had all these years to get to know each other and to build memories together.
Thank you for making my life so rich and happy.
[Headline image: The photograph shows a pregnant person in a white t-shirt holding a pair of knit blue booties in their left hand and a pair of pink knit booties in their right hand. They have a diamond ring on their right hand.]