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.