I am not much into astrology as the title of my post might suggest. I did read the little blurbs on the back pages of ‘Patches’ when I was young so that I could check out what was in my stars for romance, but I can’t say that I ever expected it to come true or that it made much of a difference to me. I saw them as an exercise in creative writing rather than a guide to live my life by, and nothing ever happened to shift that view much. I didn’t go out of my way to read them and, as I got older, stopped looking at them at all. It felt like superstition and I didn’t go in much for that either, so I continued my life, unaware of any changes that the cosmos might be having to the events of my life.
The Chinese Chart
Some time later my sister became interested in what I remember her calling ‘The Chinese Chart’. I think it as actually a ‘Chinese Gender Predictor Chart’ and from memory her sister-in-law had told her about it. She was pregnant at the time and it seemed it had predicted the gender of her baby accurately, as well as many others in their family. I still was sceptical as there was obviously a 1 in 2 chance of getting it right anyway and the swinging wedding ring and the number of times you had sex following ovulation also seemed to have a reasonably chance at accuracy too. I had still seen nothing to change my view that astrology was poppycock.
She mentioned it a few times on and off over those childbearing years of our lives but I can’t say that I really took much notice. I wanted girls and that is what I had and, being honest, I never really thought I would have a boy. Something about it felt unlikely. I had no name for a start and the girls seemed to suit me. People who saw me pregnant swore I was having a boy due to the shape of my bump (all out the front) but I think the shape is more to do with your body than the gender of what is growing inside it. I fell pregnant again and miscarried. I was certain that had been a boy and that was the reason I had lost it. I felt that for some reason I would never carry a boy and my head told me that now I had proof. And I was ok with that.
Following that pregnancy I wasn’t sure if I wanted another baby. It wasn’t because I had lost one, it was more that, as one of three girls growing up, it seemed that one was always left out. As a mum, I felt like I wanted to avoid that so I hummed and harred a bit. Meanwhile in the background my sister was still studying her Chinese chart and working out the gender of people’s babies for them. She told me one day that I had a window.
“A window for what?” I asked.
“Well, for a boy,” she said.
She explained that she had checked the chart for me and that it nearly always came out as a girl but I had a window where I would have a boy.
Poppycock! Surely? I suppose something in me must have responded to the challenge. Something made me want to prove the chart wrong and I suppose somewhere deeper down I must have decided that I wanted another baby. So that evening I put on the black trousers that hugged my bum and went out with friends to a Tupperware party. Later that night, on arriving home, I gave my sister’s chart a chance. Only chance one mind you, but that was all it took. In those days, in this area, we were offered to find out the gender of the baby during the 20 week scan. I still remember the shock when they told me it was a boy.
“I told you so!”
My sister was delighted.
“See. I told you,” she said. And then admitted that she too was shocked that I was having a boy. Anyway, although I cannot deny the accuracy of the chart on this occasion, I am still not altogether convinced that my fate lies in the stars. It has not really shifted the doubt that I have in the importance of celestial movements over me. And if the answers do lie in the stars, I wonder if they knew that only a few years later, I was to become mother to four more boys, without the need for a chart or for even a pregnancy come to that!
If you’ve never heard of this little test for guessing baby’s gender, here’s a quick overview: It all goes back some 700 years ago when, according to legend, a gender prediction calendar was discovered in a royal Chinese tomb. It essentially involves plugging a woman’s birth date and the date of conception (or the baby’s estimated due date in some versions) into the calendar, which converts the numbers to her lunar age when she got pregnant and the lunar date of conception, and then tells you whether the baby will be a boy or a girl.
Extract taken from ‘What to Expect’
Note: I couldn’t decide between the terms codswallop and poppycock, but as poppycock is Dutch in origin, I went for that in honour of our Wicked Wednesday host, Rebel.
If you have enjoyed this post about my life before submission then you might also like this one:
A Tale of Long Ago (or don’t believe the wise old woman)