All of a sudden, I’m realizing that having a girl makes issues I used to be able to ignore suddenly relevant. The number of issues I will have to research, study and take decisions on will grow.
Among the new topics:
The HPV vaccine. I’m too old, so it’s not of concern to me. I will have to decide whether or not to get it for my daughter. There is still lots of time to think about it, so I’m not jumping in now. But I will be paying attention to information that comes out in the next few years.
Breast cancer, the BRCA gene and related topics. I’m not at high risk and it doesn’t run in my family, so I don’t follow such news carefully. But my husband’s mother had a double mastectomy as a preventative measure. She didn’t have the BRCA gene, but she had a triple negative breast cancer. And her mother had breast cancer twice. So it may well be an issue of concern for a daughter.
Early puberty. It FREAKS me out how early girls are entering puberty in this country. I used to look at it from the sidelines, as an interesting and disturbing sociological phenomenon. I don’t want my daughter developing breasts at eight. I want her to physically be a child as long as she is a child. While I try to go for organic, grass-fed meat and dairy products, I’m not religious about it. But with a daughter, I will probably step up these efforts. I’m going to want to learn more about the potential causes of early puberty and do what I can to do to help her avoid it.
Any other topics in which you find that that having a girl made you suddenly have to develop a certain level of expertise?
One nice thing about a female fetus is that Mark and I find girl’s names much easier to agree upon than boys. I think we are set with a first name and it’s just the middle name and the configuration of the double last name left to work out. It’s weird to me to identify the fetus with a probable name four months before birth. Especially since River didn’t have a name until a few days after birth. Even after he’d emerged, he was still nameless.
What are your thoughts on telling people the name? Part of me wants to skip it because I’m not looking for opinions. I think once the baby is born, people won’t be likely to say how much they hate it or to lobby retroactively for their favorite. Also, I’m hesitant to give it such a formal identity. It feels weird to me when people refer to their unborn children with names. What if something happens to it? Then that name is pretty much useless in the future. But another part thinks that if people ask, perhaps it’s not such a big thing to share.
The boy name I came across and liked (and Mark accepted) the week before we found out the gender? That one I’m hanging on to. Just in case.