“You’re baby is just precious!” That’s what I tell parents when I don’t think their little one is attractive. Not cool? Well, what’s worse in my opinion is telling the truth—the ugly truth—when they force you to tell them what you think of their child who is still pink, bald or chaffing. Recently, a baby photo circulated on Instagram with a long trail of rude remarks. People called the infant names and joked that he looked like an old man and probably partied at nightclubs with his parents. So not nice! And so bad for karma! Growing up I always heard people say, “Don’t talk about someone’s baby’s looks or else your baby won’t look good!”
I never saw a baby that I thought was ugly. Babies are beautiful—each in their own unique way. Little bundles of joy and mini miracles. But when they first come out of your you know what, they aren’t always as cute as a button. When my daughter made her grand entrance into the world and the doctor held her up, I froze. I tilted my head slightly to the side and wondered if she really came from my uterus. She didn’t look like mom or dad. And he was the only person I was with for years before conceiving; I knew the paternity test would come back in my favor unlike the dozens of women on sleazy talk shows that I will never admit watching (never, I tell you!)
Although I wanted to immediately shed tears of joy and shout from the mountain tops that I had the most beautiful baby ever created next to sweet baby Jesus, I didn’t. I probably had a stupid look on my face as I wondered if my baby was cute. Becoming a mother in a matter of minutes (or 27 hours, depending on how you look at it) was shocking. I was shocked because I pushed another human being out of my body. I was shocked because no one told me the epidural would wear off. I was shocked that she didn’t look like anyone in the family and was much lighter than I ever expected. Her dad snapped a very awkward photo of her on the scale and text messaged it to my family in the waiting room. My sister later admitted that they pulled up the picture, and there was a silent pause.
This all lasted for about two minutes maybe while I was still in the bed debating silently—I dared not admit aloud that I was thinking about if she was as nice-looking as my nephew who people talked about years after his birth instead of if she had ten toes. Those two minutes seemed like a very vain lifetime. Then the doctor handed my child over to me, fresh and clean, with a head full of shiny black hair. She had long lashes, rosy cheeks and supermodel smizing eyes like Tyra Banks. She was absolutely and positively the prettiest girl I ever did see! But for a split second, I didn’t think she was hot stuff. I don’t think I ever told anyone this—not even my sister who was happy to learn that the not so photogenic picture of her niece was just an odd pose and bad lighting perhaps. Instead of saying, “She’s so precious,” she told me she was gorgeous.
Before you judge me, know I did know that she was healthy with a perfect Apgar score. But you should also know I’m not alone! A recent (although unscientific) poll suggests that a fifth of new parents are disappointed with how their baby looks and most suffer in silence. I suffered for seconds–and now blame it on two hours of pushing.
Did you think your baby was unattractive at first? Did you share your feelings with anyone other than your husband or partner?