For Vogue’s latest digital cover, Emily Ratajkowski has revealed that she’s pregnant. The model penned an open letter about the ins and outs of her pregnancy—and that she doesn’t want to know her baby’s gender until her child is 18 years old.
She writes, “When my husband and I tell friends that I’m pregnant, their first question after ‘Congratulations’ is almost always ‘Do you know what you want?’ We like to respond that we won’t know the gender until our child is 18 and that they’ll let us know then. Everyone laughs at this.”
She continues, “There is a truth to our line, though, one that hints at possibilities that are much more complex than whatever genitalia our child might be born with: the truth that we ultimately have no idea who—rather than what—is growing inside my belly. Who will this person be? What kind of person will we become parents to? How will they change our lives and who we are? This is a wondrous and terrifying concept, one that renders us both helpless and humbled.”
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She explains that she prefers “the idea of forcing as few gender stereotypes on my child as possible. But no matter how progressive I may hope to be, I understand the desire to know the gender of our fetus; it feels like the first real opportunity to glimpse who they might be. As my body changes in bizarre and unfamiliar ways, it’s comforting to obtain any information that might make what’s coming feel more real.”
In response to everyone’s opinions on what to expect from a boy or a girl, she writes, “I don’t necessarily fault anyone for these generalizations—a lot of our life experiences are gendered, and it would be dishonest to try to deny the reality of many of them. But I don’t like that we force gender-based preconceptions onto people, let alone babies. I want to be a parent who allows my child to show themself to me. And yet I realize that while I may hope my child can determine their own place in the world, they will, no matter what, be faced with the undeniable constraints and constructions of gender before they can speak or, hell, even be born.”
Ratajkowski is expecting her first child with husband Sebastian Bear-McClard. The pair had a surprise courthouse wedding in February 2018 after dating for just a few weeks.