My daughter was almost four years old.
I was giving her a bath when I felt something different on her left breast. I did not think much of it until the following day during my daughter’s weekly ‘Tui Na’ session, when her Chinese physician also felt that something was amiss.
I grew worried and began searching for more information. I found out that it could be a sign of precocious puberty. I became even more anxious.
My husband and I decided to bring our daughter to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) to see a specialist. The specialist said it was a breast bud and it could be a sign for precocious puberty. Our daughter was prescribed a series of tests to find a cause for her breast bud. The doctor concluded that there was an external source of female hormone in her body that was responsible. The source, however, was not determined.
Without being given any medication or treatment plan, we were told to monitor our daughter’s condition, and return again in four months’ time. The doctor added that we should return to the hospital immediately if her situation worsens.
I was helpless. It was a great struggle for me, not knowing where the external female hormone was coming from. The unknown made me terrified. I became wary of the food she ate, the utensils she used, and the toys she played with; they could have been estrogenic. I was living in constant fear; I could have given something estrogenic to her because of my ignorance.
Precocious puberty is when a child’s body begins changing into that of an adult (puberty) too soon. Puberty that begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys is considered precocious puberty.
The cause of precocious puberty often can’t be found. Rarely, certain conditions, such as infections, hormone disorders, tumors, brain abnormalities or injuries, may cause precocious puberty. Treatment for precocious puberty typically includes medication to delay further development.
Even when it’s happening to average 12-year-olds, puberty can be a confusing time. It can be all the more stressful for younger kids with early puberty. They might feel awkward about looking different from their peers. Early menstruation can be unsettling for girls who are 9 or younger — or who are developmentally delayed.
I couldn’t cope with the fear of the unknown. In addition to praying, I started to read and listen to online sermons. I learnt, that even though we live in a world that is uncertain and full of hidden danger, we can trust in God who is all-powerful and all loving. My husband and I also prayed together for our daughter’s healing whenever we could.
Even so, I struggled with faithlessness because her healing did not come immediately. My daughter’s condition tested my faith in a big way. It tested my faith in a sovereign God who says that His grace is sufficient, no matter what is to come.
At that time, the reading of this passage from the Bible encouraged me greatly:
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
— Hebrews 11:17-19 (NIV)
It added courage unto me; should even the worst happen, God is still bigger and ultimately sovereign. God also reminded me that good as it may be to have a healthy child, it is more important to love my child. It is good to be healthy; but to have Jesus with us in the midst of sickness is a thousand times better than being in the pinkest of health, without Jesus.
“SHOULD EVEN THE WORST HAPPEN, GOD IS STILL BIGGER AND ULTIMATELY SOVEREIGN.”
One day, I found out what I believed it was the external source of hormone – BPA (Bisphenol A). It is a chemical compound used in the production of plastic products. Even though I abstained my children from plastic products as best as I could, I know that it is impossible for us to be totally plastic-free. I give thanks to God because I know that He is with us and that He is able to protect my children.
“FOUR MONTHS LATER WHEN WE WENT BACK TO KKH FOR HER CHECK UP, THE DOCTOR DECLARED THAT THE BREAST BUD HAS DISAPPEARED.”
I thank God for His healing upon my daughter, His grace, and His patience with me even when I was faithless and fearful. It was a terrible and horrifying experience for me as a mother, to know that my daughter could be going through precocious puberty. Without God’s assurance, I truly did not think that I would have been able to live through the four months of uncertainty.
Now, I do not know what is ahead of me, but I will always be secure that Jesus will walk with me through all seasons. It is better to have Jesus with us through our problems, than to lead a problem-free life without His presence.
Mdm Lim is currently a stay-home mother. To protect the interests of her young children, Mdm Lim chose to remain anonymous in this article. Yet she hope that her story of faith can still touch many others in the same situation.