a Houston book club

Holy sh*t, I’m having a girl

Holy sh*t, I’m having a girl

Yesterday was my 20 week ultrasound and the ever-exciting gender reveal. I’m an incredibly impatient person, so waiting these 20 weeks has been ridiculously hard. I don’t know how people can manage to be “team green” and wait til the birth, I’d probably go insane.

And! As you can tell by the title of this post – my husband and I found out that it’s a girl! I’m excited… and scared. Let me explain.

Up until yesterday, we had been acting like our baby was a boy. Not because we REALLY wanted a boy, in fact we both agreed that we would be truly happy either way (we plan to have more kids, so there’s obviously a chance for kids of both genders). But for some reason we have really struggled to come up with girl names that we liked, and had the opposite problem with boy names, so we started referring to baby as “Robbie” and “Benjamin” both boy names that we love. But, little baby in there is a girl, so I guess calling her “Benjamin” is out of the question.

Now, let’s get to the “holy sh*t” part. I’m a middle school teacher. I’ve taught in huge public schools and in charter schools. It’s really, really, really hard to be a girl these days. And yes, I know it’s hard to be a  boy too. I’ve read many books about the struggles that boys have in schools these days (and seen it with my own eyes), books about behavioral issues (and dealt with those behavioral issues), books about how to get boys to enjoy reading (it’s not very simple), etc.

But, honestly, I really don’t think it compares to the struggles that girls face. And maybe that opinion is colored by my own experiences. I was a shy and very self-conscious girl growing up. I always felt like I was fat (looking back in pictures, I definitely was NOT), I had very frizzy hair that caused me so much horrible self-consciousness (thank God I discovered hair straighteners before I started 9th grade. Truly.), and I just had a hard time talking to pretty much anyone (the shy part). Boys intimidated me, but.. so did the popular girls. Or just anyone who wasn’t my friend.

Now I’m having a little girl and I’m feeling fiercely protective. I want my daughter to feel empowered, I want her to be happy. Really happy. I don’t want her to deal with the pressures of early sex that can pervade middle schools (yeah..) and high schools. I don’t want her to be bullied. I don’t want her to feel pressured to diet when she’s 10 years old. I want her to be healthy.

But now I’m also freaked out. How do I accomplish all of that?

I’ve met many girls in my years of teaching middle school who are beautiful and driven and seemingly happy (obviously I wasn’t their parent so who knows what happened at home), and also confident. How do I do the same for my daughter?

Throughout my years of teaching, I’ve read hundreds of books (and bought most of them, to my husband’s chagrin), and alot of them have been about the issues that teen girls face (unfortunately there aren’t many books about young girls, which I find interesting). But now they have a lot more meaning in the face of actually having a daughter.

So here’s my re-reading list (though obviously not all necessarily need to be read before baby girl is born!):

1. Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher

2. Parenting a Teen Girl, Lucie Hemmen

3. Learning like a Girl, Diana Meehan

4. Untangled, Lisa Damour

5. Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax

6. Schoolgirls, Peggy Orenstein

7. Girls & Sex, Peggy Orenstein

8. The Curse of the Good Girl, Rachel Simmons

9. Queen Bees and Wannabees, Rosalind Wiseman

10. Brave Girls: Raising Young Women with Passion and Purpose, Stacey Radin

I’m sure there will be many more to add to the list, and you can rest assured that I will add them. These were just the ones readily available and sitting out on my bookshelves already.

So, I’m happy, but holy sh*t, I’m having a girl.

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