I struggle to refer to the baby with gendered pronouns. Even though we found out a couple of months ago that we were having a girl, I still find myself calling the baby “it” and “they” frequently. I even find it difficult to say that we are having a “girl” because I want to remain sensitive to the fact that the baby may not actually be a girl, despite the XX chromosomal makeup and genitalia present in the sonogram.
That’s not to say that the ultrasound technician was wrong when determining the sex (though that’s totally possible, especially for girls I’ve learned); rather, our child may very well be transgender and I shy away from ascribing gender identity to our child before they’ve expressed who they are. I have, on occasion, been corrected by well-meaning individuals when I talk about the baby that I mean “she” now. I smile and go along with them, but a part of me truly wants to get into it with them from my little soapbox.
As a compromise, when I need to refer to the sex of the baby, I use “girl” and “she,” but iterate if possible that I’m referring to the sex of the baby, not necessarily the gender. And I’m recognizing that it’s decently reasonable to use gendered pronouns, especially because statistically speaking the likelihood that our child will be transgender is minimal.
Beyond my discomfort in ascribing gender to our child, I have also been incredibly turned off by anyone who characterizes the baby as a princess simply because they know the sex of the baby. I have an uncontrollable reaction, almost disgust, anytime I see that word on one of my Facebook posts about the baby. I want our daughter (or son, in the case of a transgender child) to figure out who they are regardless of gender-normative expectations from society. Girls don’t have to like dolls and makeup and Disney princesses – but they can. Boys don’t have to like sports and mud and superheroes – but they can. Maybe this comes off as pretention and unnecessary non-normative sensitivity, but I’m a staunch supporter of not trying to control another person, and that starts with not forcing your child into an expected set of likes and dislikes based on XX or XY. Still, I don’t usually confront these types of comments, because it’s not as if the poster means any harm.
But what a privileged life I lead if what I’m most concerned about in my pregnancy is whether or not someone is forcing femininity on my unborn child.