Will my children look like me?

I remember a time about 10 or so years ago when I was very worried whether my future children would look like me. If they didn’t look like me, would I be able to bond with them?

Now I know that sounds very shallow, and it is in many ways, but let me explain where it all came from.

You see, I don’t really look much like my parents. It’s not because I was adopted (though there’s nothing wrong with being adopted). It’s because my dad is ethnically Chinese and my mum is Caucasian (of Irish and Cornish heritage). So my siblings and I are “mixed” or Eurasian. We look like each other but I don’t think anyone can say we have a strong resemblance to either parent.

How we all look is obviously an issue to many of us growing up, especially during teen-angst filled years. Is our nose too big, do our ears stick out, are we too fat……you get the drift. But many of those thoughts for me were coloured by my ethnic background. It was hard to ignore, especially as kids in Australia during a period when Asian immigration was really only starting to pick up. We were the only kids in our school who were Chinese and only “half” Chinese at that. We were picked on and teased quite often, mostly by those who didn’t know us. Then when we moved to live in Singapore, the opposite happened. We were admired for our “lovely” looks – European traits are quite valued in Asia; just look at models and women’s magazine covers.

Anyway, I eventually got over myself and how my babies might look. What became more of a concern was their overall healthiness and well-being, especially as I became a mother at an older age. But of course, I was naturally curious. I assumed they would look mostly/totally Chinese because my husband is Chinese and I am half-Chinese.

So do they look like me? Yes, and no. Like with my parents and me, when there are clear ethnic differences, I think it can be hard to see an overall resemblance. But from day dot, I could tell at least two things about them that were clearly from me. They both have dark brown hair with reddish highlights (“NO!” screamed my husband, whose hair is black) and they both have my unattached ear lobes (my husband’s are attached).

Does it matter how they looked in the end? No. Did I still bond with them? Absolutely! I bonded with them from the time I knew I was pregnant, and increasingly as my belly grew and they began moving and kicking, and even more once they were born and started suckling.

This past week I was reminded again how the above used to be such an issue for me. We’ve been homebound due to the winter sniffles so I’ve spent a lot of time in close (apartment) quarters with the girls. And I noticed something, I’d never seen before.

We share the same left eye-brow! “Errr, what?!” I can hear you say. Can eye-brows be inherited??? Really?? My first reaction was amazement.

So how can I tell? The inner part of my eyebrow, closest to my eye, actually turns towards my nose instead of growing outwards towards my ears. And here’s the proof – well mine’s not so clear because I’ve been plucking it back but hopefully you get the idea!

 

    

I look forward to seeing more physical, personality and character similarities as they both grow up, like I have with my mother. And it doesn’t matter if we don’t really look the same. I’m still going to love them to bits because I am their mumma.

Did you ever wonder or worry how your children might look? What were the issues? I’d love to hear your stories.

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26 thoughts on “Will my children look like me?

  1. Hi I jumped over from FYBF- HI :D

    Interesting conversation because my boys are half Japanese half Australia – well really they are 1/2 japanese and 1/4 Australia 1/4 New Zealand as my mum is a kiwi. My husband is the Japanese part and we live in Japan.

    I have two sons and my older one looks so much like me as a baby but has dark hair and eyes like hub- he probably looks more “foreign” than “Asian” – I use these words because that is how people refer to him here and say he looks “foreign”. My younger son also looks very “foreign” with big round eyes but he doesn`t look so much like me.

    I think my husband has more of a hard time with it than me because when people see him with the kids and with me they always comment that they don`t look Japanese at all and he even had one of his colleagues hint that perhaps he wasn`t the father which was rude and ignorant. I personally think since both boys have dark hair and eyes that they will look more Japanese as they grow.

    I can totally see the resemblence in the eyebrows. My older boy definitely has my husband`s ears!

    • Hi! Thanks for commenting. I have more thoughts on how my girls will grow up being 1/4 Caucasian or 3/4 Chinese (can you ever really split them up that way?!), why I use the term “Caucasian” instead of “Australian”, and others from my own personal experience being Eurasian. For now, I want my girls to be happy, most of all, then one day fully understand their full heritage and their identity. I have visited Japan and worked with Japanese colleagues and I know that it is a very homogenous country, much more so than Singapore. I sense that while visual difference is quite embraced in many parts of South East Asia, it’s not so in more homogenous countries. It brings an interesting twist to how you raise your children and their sense of identity, aside from all the other things you bring to the mix like language, cultural experiences, food, etc.

  2. Really interesting to read this, because my son looks almost nothing like me. He is a clone of his father so much that people stop us to mention it. If you put photos of my husband as a baby and my son side by side, it’s hard to tell who is whom.

    I don’t really mind, though I’m not sure if that has more to do with me embracing the fact that he looks like someone I love, or the fact that I have a rather poor self image!

    Thanks for linking up to FYBF.

    • Thanks for reading and your comment is really interesting. I guess I tend to see resemblances in many families so I guess I didn’t imagine there wouldn’t be in some. It all boils down to genetics, hey? Who knows what you’re going to get? I can see that in my nieces and nephews (kids of my immediate siblings). They are all only 1/4 Chinese but look all quite different in their features, some more or less Asian. And then there’s this mixed UK family (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2082429.ece); two sets of twins born 7 years apart, each set with one black and one white girl. Go figure!

  3. I absolutely worried! I worried that my children would look like my MIL the most (that sounds nasty, but when you don’t really like someone having a mini version walking around in your home is a frightening thought before you have children). I desperately wanted my little girls (if I had any) to get my red hair. I wanted them to get their father’s big blue eyes. I was lucky with both: Roo has strawberry hair and the boys have the big blue eyes – and they do look a little like my MIL because they look A LOT like their father, But like you say, it doesn’t really matter to me how they look. They are my babies and I adore them!

    • Daisy, I found a “lost comment”! I know what you mean about not looking like MIL, in the sense that, I often get told friends and family on my hubby’s side can see their relatives in my girls. I guess because my family is interstate, there just aren’t the opportunities to see what/if there are similarities on my side. Oh well, they can change a lot as they grow up so your boys may end up with reddish hair. You never know!

  4. I know what you mean, I always wonder if my daughter will look like me since she is mixed. She has my coloring in terms of dark hair and eyes, but it definitely lighter than I am in terms of complexion. She’s still changing a lot since she’s only 2, but no matter how she looks I will love her just the same!

    • Parents think like this sometimes, but I recall as a child that I intrinsically knew I was my mum and dad’s child regardless of how we looked. Most of the time our differing looks did not factor into the equation of our daily lives. It’s really only when others directly, or indirectly, pointed it out that I was conscious of it. I guess it’s an issue sometimes of how society categorises us by our looks. I sometimes wonder what I’m going to say about their heritage and identity when they ask in years to come. They’ll be some interesting conversations, if my childhood was anything to go by!

  5. Before Little E was born I was a bit obsessed about what/who she would look like. My husband is Anglo-Indian and looks it; I have blondish wavy hair and relatively fair skin. The Indian colouring gene seems to be pretty dominant – my husband’s brother and all but one of his cousins are dark haired/eyed/skinned and I was convinced Little E would look nothing like me. She surprised me by turning out a real mix of the two of us – light chocolate coloured wavy hair, her Dad’s lovely dark eyes and eyelashes, skin that is somewhere between both of ours. I think her features are shaped more like mine than her Dad’s, although upon birth I thought she looked just like him. A friend of mine theorised that newborn babies are a bit like polar bears – they look like their fathers so that the father will recognise it as kin and not treat it like competition and eat it!

    • Genetics can some really unpredictable things. Your next child might look totally different again. I’ve seen it in my sibling’s kids. Never heard the polar bear analogy though.

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    • A lot of people say my girls look like hubby but then my eldest has changed with time and I think people would say she looks a bit more like me and the youngest, who’s also changed in the 9 months of her life, looks like hubby. Maybe having the two together to look at sways people. It’s hubby that often says he hopes they look like me. Maybe it’s because he thinks he makes an ugly girl! Thanks for dropping by.

  7. I’ve popped in from the Rewind and I have to say that I don’t think I ever wondered about that when pregnant. Well, sort of. My husband is Italian and I am of Irish decent with red hair. I figured marrying an Italian I wouldn’t have any redheads (which at the time made me pleased). Of course, 2 of my 3 are reds and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I must say that apart from the red hair, my oldest two don’t look much like me at all. The youngest (fair, brown hair) looks more like me generally. My oldest daughter looks the most Italian (even with the red hair).

    Genetics are a funny thing indeed. And I love Eurasian beauty. The best! x

    • Hi! Genetics are truly amazing! My nephews and nieces who are a quarter Chinese (if you can even splice people up like that) are a mixture of blonde, redhead and auburn, blue eyes, green eyes and brown eyes, slightly Asian, less Asian looking. You just don’t know. I surely didn’t expect my girls to have red tinges through their dark brown hair…….but then hubby’s grandpa did say he thought there was a distant ancestor that was called the “Ginger Girl” even though they are primarily Chinese. So there you go!

      I can see my girls changing even now in their young lives. Who knows who they’ll look like as they get older? As Miss T, who’s almost 3 said one day; when we asked her if she looked like daddy or mummy, she answered, “I look like myself”. True dat!

  8. How your children look and evolve is fascinating. Mine look a lot like there dad but the oldest has slowly started to look (and sound) more and more like me. Not much of a mix with us though, 2 white, curly haired, freckly skinned, English ancestry parents – pretty predictable results.

  9. hi! i married a guy from honduras (he’s a latino).. i am caucasian… our kids look like him… no big deal.. yet, i would have loved to have a little girl or boy with blond locks… WELL, they do have more of my personality! so they are a good combo of us….

    • We never know how the genetics will play out. It’s not just yours and his but your collective ancestry too. I suppose that’s why you hear stories about how twins can be born, one white and one black. Now I am a parent, part of me doesn’t care too much how they look because I know within me that they came from me and my hubby. I am more concerned how they feel about themselves and how society looks at them. I hated being bullied as a kid. They are too little to think about these things yet, thank goodness. I hope I’ll have the answers when the time comes! Thanks for visiting my blog, Daphne.

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  14. Thanks for your post! I feel much less shallow now seeing that I’m not the only one who has ever felt troubled by this, although I still think it wrong and hope to also move past it. I am also mixed; my father is black and native american and my mother is white- very pale. I am most often mistaken for being hispanic as I have very light tan skin and dark features and very very curly hair. I am in my early 20s and haven’t settled down yet, but whenever I date anyone very much lighter or very much darker than myself I have this unease about what our potential children would look like. This does not come from a place of racism where one would think that having a white-looking or black-looking child would be bad, it’s just that I want my child to resemble me. As you felt you did not resemble either of your parents I also felt the same growing up and was often teased for being mixed. Logically, I know that families come in all varieties and don’t need to look the same but there is I believe a sense of comfort seeing a resemblance of yourself in your family, which is something I only ever felt with my sister. I hope I too can move past this unease and into an acceptance that my children will resemble me in more than one way.

    • You’re welcome, Michelle, and thank you for your comment! In writing this post, I was attempting to be real about the situation. Personally, I don’t feel it is wrong, but rather a natural part of human nature to notice or align ourselves to those we feel a connection with, whatever that connection may be. Of course I do not endorse the negative aspects that go with identifying racial/ethnic difference in any way.

      I honestly believe many people deceive themselves by thinking they don’t wonder about these things. I mean if race (and I dislike that word if you read my other “race” related posts) / ethnicity were out of the equation, how common is it for parents to wonder if their child has their father’s eyes or mother’s nose, etc? I think people feel it’s taboo to draw attention to this curiosity if racial/ethnic features come into it. And even if we don’t raise it, other’s notice anyway. You and I have obviously experienced that growing up.

      What I’ve realised increasingly every day, as I see my beautiful girls growing up, is my preoccupation with the values and behaviour I want to instil in them. I am aware of their looks because people draw my attention to it but it really isn’t important. It never was. However, as I know others will inevitably ask me and/or them about it as they grow up, I am ready to encourage them to be proud and cherish every aspect of who they are. Being girls, if it is not their ethnic looks that people might question, it will inevitably be their height/weight etc that will be challenged as they grow up because that’s, sadly, how society currently is. For my part, I will be doing my utmost to build healthy self-esteem and confidence in them as best I can.

      Wishing you the very best as you navigate this personal journey.

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