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

Photographer: Sheila GimNo Restrictions: Editorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

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.