What I Learned After Buying My Newborn Daughter a Gender-Neutral-Only Wardrobe squib

We were one day home from the hospital after delivering my daughter when my aunt called. "I want to make sure you got the flowers we sent. And I want to make sure there are no pink flowers. I told them twice not to send you any pink," she said, concerned that perhaps a pink rosebud may have slipped into the arrangement. It would be another two days before my postpartum haze dissipated and I would even spot the beautiful bouquet. No pink. We were in the clear.

My baby shower was also no-pink themed. I was against the gender-normative color wheel and had been this way since I was a child, instinctually turning my nose up at things like ballet tutus and dolls. My daughter wouldn't know it at the time, but I would rear her in a home that didn't force pink on her just because she was a girl. We would buy her only gray and gray-adjacent onesies instead.

While pregnant, I was turned off about what society expected of me, shoving pink bunnies and frou-frou newborn dresses in my face. While kind gestures, I'm certain, I loathed the presumptive nature of it. Why does my daughter have to wear this color?

Despite my firm grasp of the principles I wanted to instill in my daughter, I quickly learned after swaddling and zipping up countless gray onesies and blankets that, to put it plainly, gray wasn't her color. She was a vibrant, happy baby and deserved to live life in fun and silly colors, and I was robbing her of that. Though I'd ensured that she saw colorful toys during playtime, I realized everything I was doing with her related to color exposure was restrictive. From a pure aesthetic sense, she did not look good in gray. Why was I insisting that she be anti-pink or anti-"girlie"? Wouldn't a smarter approach have been to say that anyone can wear pink and to not limit her or my thoughtful aunt from buying whatever the hell they wanted?

I made her wardrobe about me. Sure, I didn't like when I told people I was having a girl and they responded with sentiments like "oh, so many cute dresses in your future," but I got lost in my own agenda instead of ensuring my daughter experienced life as a person with individual thoughts and interests and tastes. We all experience parenting blips, and I'm relieved I quickly saw the error in my ways and not only introduced her to all colors but also all patterns, toys, dress-up accessories, shoes, and more.

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