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Dream of a little girl to play fairy princess with? Some parents are shelling out $18,000 for gender selection procedures. But, be careful what you wish for....
Thinking about getting pregnant and want to make sure you know what you’ll get? Procedures like pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), sperm sorting, and good old-fashioned in-vitro fertilization can help you choose the sex of your child. According to an in-depth article on Slate, we are now able to take the mysteries of the universe into our own hands. Gender selection is a $100-million-dollar a year industry. And Americans are choosing girls!
Why? Well, duh — girls are fun!
In online forums, Slate writer Jasmeet Sidhu found a subculture of women desperate for daughters. “Reading the posts on these forums is like entering another world,” she writes. “Users adorn their avatars with pink and princess imagery.” In interviews with several of these women, Sidhu found they choose these procedures (average cost: $18,000) in part due to “a desire to engage in stereotypical female activities that they thought would be impossible with a baby boy.”
Putting aside the fact that many girls don’t actually enjoy “female activities,” let’s think this through. It may sound fun to dress up a girl, play fairy princess, and take her to the dentist for her first tooth whitening when she’s ready for the pageant circuit. However, mothering a daughter is not all bows and baby dolls. As the mother of a female (age 12), I want to let you in on a few of the issues you’ll be dealing with.
Pressure to create a Pinterest-worthy nursery
Boys are easy. You have your blue, your green, maybe some yellow. Girl nurseries need sophisticated palettes and understated chandeliers. They require coordinated hangers and embellished diaper wipes.
Infant wardrobe overwhelm
Do you know how many combinations there are of onesies, leggings, tops, hats, barrettes, cute little socks, and booties? That’s right: Infinite. And one spit up or blow out sends you swirling in a vortex of re-coordination. Don’t even think about letting Daddy dress a girl.
Constant self-esteem vigilance
Mothers of girls need to start practically at birth to counteract the Disney Princessification of their daughters, while encouraging a healthy femininity — one that is not based on waiting for someone else to choose us and then put our slippers on for us. Honestly, it's exhausting.
Many grandmothers think a Whore Barbie is an appropriate gift, but they may as well send a manual on How to Please Your Man with Vacant Expressions and Suggestive Body Language.
Loss of personal belongings
A daughter will steal your hairbrush, nail polish, good leggings, and eventually — every last pair of shoes you own.
Oh, you didn’t want a boy? Congratulations, genius! When your daughter hits puberty you will have not one, but several of them hanging around. Added bonus: As a mother you will suddenly see perverts everywhere and hear your mother's warnings about men, alleys, and dark parking lots on a constant mental loop.
Better hope that the demand for gender selection pushes the price down. Though highly unlikely, it is possible your daughter will take after you in every way -- right up to the day she asks you for the price of a private island so she too can avoid perpetuating the nasty Y chromosome.
Truly, I do feel sorry for the poor daughterless mothers of the world.
It is a special joy to raise a girl. Just like it’s a special joy to raise a boy. Part of becoming a parent is realizing that it's not about us; these little people we raise get to lead their own lives, not the "pretty in pink" ones we plan for them. If these women cannot be grateful for the miracle of life in any gender, they don’t deserve a daughter — or a son.
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Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA. Her writing is featured regularly in family and parenting magazines throughout the United States and Canada. She blogs about marriage, motherhood, and life-after-40 at After the Bubbly.