This British mom-to-be found out that she and her partner were expecting a baby girl. Wanting to spoil the new arrival, she decided to start shopping for her child. After spending a staggering $4,000 on pink baby stuff, she received an unexpected surprise in the delivery room.
Sarah Sharples, 25, and her partner Lee Stephenson, 37, live in Northumberland, England. The couple first met in 2012 and began their relationship in January 2013. And in April that same year, Sarah announced her pregnancy on Facebook with a photo of an ultrasound scan.
At Sharples’ 20-week scan, the couple wished to know the baby’s gender, so that they could get everything ready for the new arrival. The doctor subsequently told them that they were expecting a girl. As a result, they splashed out on pink accessories for the baby ahead of the birth. “It was my first baby and so we had to buy all the essentials,” Sharples told the Daily Mail. “I wanted everything to be perfect for her so that she would want for nothing.”
And the baby would certainly have everything that she could ever need or want. The mother-to-be even bought a pink pram costing $2,000. In total, Sharples, spent an eye-watering $4,000 on clothes, accessories and toys for her newborn. And friends and family splashed the cash on pink presents, too. One of them even gave the couple a personalized blanket with the baby’s chosen name, “Lily-Mae,” printed on it.
The couple had also painted the baby’s nursery pink and filled it with pink furniture. And stenciled on the wall of the baby’s room was the name that her parents had chosen for her. “Being prepared was my main concern,” Sharples explained. “Seeing as I knew I was having a girl, I didn’t see the harm in buying everything in pink.”
And in one important sense, it was perhaps a good job that the couple had done so much preparation for the baby’s arrival. Because Sharples went into labor a full four weeks before her due date. In the delivery room, however, the first-time mom received the shock of her life. “The midwife said to Lee that there was something we needed to see,” she recalled. “I instantly started panicking thinking what could possibly be wrong.”
Sharples and Stephenson didn’t need to worry, though, as the surprise wasn’t necessarily a bad one. The nurse merely wanted to congratulate them on the birth of their son. Yes, that’s right, the couple who had prepared so meticulously for a daughter were instead blessed with a son. “I couldn’t understand it when the midwife said it was a boy,” Sharples admitted. “All our scans had confirmed it was a girl, and I had everything prepared in pink.”
“We looked at each other and couldn’t believe that Lily-Mae was actually a boy,” she added. And, of course, with this revelation the baby would need a different name. “We decided to name him Joseph as we didn’t think he would appreciate the name Lily-Mae,” Sharples explained.
Joseph’s nursery also needed a make-over to reflect his gender. So the walls are no longer pink, but a pale blue. And they now feature Sully and Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. There’s also a plaque in honor of the local soccer team, Newcastle United. “The nursery is now redecorated with a Monsters Inc. theme, so we think Joseph will prefer that to a pink room,” Sharples stated.
It wasn’t just the nursery and name that needed changing, however, but also all the pink products that the couple had purchased. These needed to be exchanged for less girly toys and clothing for baby Joseph. Since they had spent such a large amount on the pink baby items, the couple needed to get their money back so they could buy everything they needed for Joseph.
“There was so much to change and friends and family have been so helpful,” Stephenson explained. “We had bought most of the clothes from ASDA, and they were fantastic and let us exchange everything.” Luckily for Joseph, the shop let his parents swap pink dresses for little blue tops and cute dungarees.
Unfortunately, though, since they had already personalized some of the baby accessories, the couple were unable to exchange them for baby boy products. “We still have a lot of pink things that we can’t return and so we’re keeping them and hoping, at some stage, we have a girl,” Stephenson said.
Yet despite the stress of having to swap pink for blue, the couple are thrilled to have a baby boy to start their family. Their friends, too, took to Facebook to congratulate the new parents. Mandy Townsend wrote, “Sarah, many congrats he is gorgeous, well done to you all.”
Since Joseph’s surprising birth, the family have celebrated many more milestones. In October 2013 Sharples posted a photo of the baby in church, dressed in his white baptism robes. And in December the same year Joseph celebrated his first Christmas by meeting Santa Claus.
The following year Joseph’s parents reached a milestone of their own. On March 30, 2014, Sharples revealed on Facebook that she and Stephenson were engaged to be married. As of late 2017, however, it appears that the couple still haven’t quite finished planning their wedding yet.
Since their engagement, though, the couple have been somewhat preoccupied. Not only with raising Joseph, but also the news that Sharples was pregnant with their second child. So, would this mean that the couple could finally use the pink baby stuff that they couldn’t return to stores after Joseph’s birth?
Well, the couple’s second baby was indeed a girl. Born on March 13, 2016, she weighed 5 pounds 6 ounces. They did not, however, use the name that they’d picked out for their first child back when they thought it was a girl. Instead of calling her Lily-Mae, they opted to name her Olivia Grace.
And the couple were probably quite happy to at last be able to use the pink baby accessories. Nonetheless, some suggest that the color of baby clothes shouldn’t actually be affected by the gender. For instance, a 2013 The Huffington Post article entitled “My Son Wears Pink” tried to combat these gender stereotypes.
The author, Supriya Kelkar, wrote, “Just a few generations ago, the colors assigned to gender were reversed. Blue was seen as dainty and gentle, while pink was strong and manly.” She later added, “There is no way a color can alter a person’s sexuality one way or the other.” So, perhaps we should be less worried about the color we dress our children in.
Kelkar instead believes that we should “begin changing minds subtly and start a movement to create an accepting environment that fosters independent thinking, sparks creativity and leads to unique, sensitive, strong, intelligent children, whether they’re boys or girls.”