Is it OK to think your baby is ugly?

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A famous story in my family goes that after my Mum gave birth to me, my Dad took a look at me -- fresh out of the womb -- covered in that revolting goo, bright red and screaming, my little face screwed up and wrinkled, and remarked at the midwife 'God, it's an ugly little bugger, isn't it?'

She got the right hump and told him to shut up and flounced off. At the end of the day though, he was right. What's nice about a screaming, slime-covered newborn, with a slightly pointed head? I'd probably rather look at a kitten or something. Much cuter.

As a growing baby, that little pointed head expanded to the size of a small planet. Looking back over old photos, the recurring theme is me struggling to carry the weight of my cranium without snapping my tiny little baby-neck. My huge, adult-sized head was round and fleshy and probably quite cute, when I wasn't screaming or puking, but still, massive. Also, I had what my Mum would refer to as "strawberry blonde" wisps of hair (ginger) and she was adamant that if it didn't turn blonde or go dark, she was going to dye it.  

Luckily, my massive football head ended up working out OK, and I ended up being quite a sweet toddler. Toddlers are always cuter than babies anyway because they can actually DO STUFF, rather than just lay there and fart, and they have actually little human-being personalities. From what I gather, as a toddler I was very squeaky and I really loved to (attempt to) read.

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My parents now think I am wonderful and fantastic because I am, and I don't spend every waking hour projectile vomiting or crapping myself or crying. They have no problem telling me that newborn story, because HEY -- not all babies are cute. It's true. I've seen some real zingers. Some babies have a face that not even their own mother can love.

A survey by PromotionalCodes.org.uk reports that 1 in 5 new parents admit that they are privately disappointed with their child's looks. I think surely the real number must be higher. I fully expect to give birth to a 100% wonder baby, with THE BEST FACE you've ever seen that takes the best parts from both Chris and I and looking like it's been carved by an angel. Obviously, I'm going to be disappointed.  I'm setting myself up for a fall here. 

The interesting part for me was that only 8% of the respondents said that they'd ever spoken to anyone about the fears that their child had been bashed by the ugly stick. I am picturing all these parents, sitting at home, suffering in silence, desperately Google searching 'Will my baby get good looking?', shutting down Facebook so they don't feel the inevitable pressure to post photos of their offspring. But that's the thing -- is it OK to tell people you think your child is ugly?

All of the new parents I have ever met, seen or read about traditionally rave about their own baby's beauty, regardless of whether they are The World's Cutest Baby or in fact a bit of a horror show. Is that the built-in part of a parent, that feels the need to tell everyone that THEIR BABY IS THE BEST BABY EVER BORN, even if they are actually having a bit of a shit time and would quite like to swap it for a new telly? Or do they genuinely believe it?

One father surveyed said: "There is a lot of pressure on new parents in all kinds of ways and this is something that remains taboo and just isn't talked about. Everyone seems to think they have the most beautiful baby on earth and as a new parent you feel you have to say the same even if you privately believe your baby is ugly.

My daughter is three now and she is gorgeous but when she arrived she was the most disgusting little thing I'd ever seen. She had a face only a mother could love, but even my wife admitted she was ugly...It's just not something you ever feel you can admit to anyone else and you do get offended if anyone ever dares to suggest your baby isn't beautiful."

I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter whether they'd ever admit to other people if they thought their baby looked like ET or worse. The overwhelming trend seemed to be that you can admit a baby is ugly, but NEVER when they are older -- although thankfully the general consensus is that babies can be ugly, but little children never are. 

Obviously, loving your baby is different than thinking it's beautiful. I'm sure that all those parents out there who secretly know that they've got a "less aesthetically pleasing" baby still love them just as much as they would a pretty baby. It just seems that parents feel pressure to say their new baby is beautiful when in fact only 4/5 think it's true.

So tell me, were YOU an ugly baby? Or have you got one? Ever been revolted at the sight of a friend's newborn? Is it really obvious that this whole article is a way of trying to throw Chris off the scent that my ovaries clang every time I see a baby and I can't wait to get knocked up? Let's share!

 

This story is reprinted with permission from xoJane.com

 

 

 

27 comments so far

  • Ah yes - ugly babies...
    Unfortunately I've met two....
    The first one was born to an acquaintance of mine who is a knob, a snob, completely pass-remarkable and no oil painting. His wife's no beauty either. He only knocked her up and then married her because she's a doctor. Anyway, their first born son came out as a long streak of ginger misery, resembling nothing like what a newborn baby should. The child was twice the length of a normal newborn, twice as narrow, had an old man's red, mottled face topped with a long overgrown shock of carroty, carroty, carroty hair.
    The second ugly baby was born to an Irish girl I know who is good looking but one of the most pass-remarkable people I have ever, ever known. No-one's appearance is safe from her spiteful tongue. Her husband, from south Dublin, is no Brad Pitt, bearing an uncanny resemblance to an Irish fictional character called Ross O'Carroll Kelly. Their first born daughter came out looking just like Dad (not good) with very noticeable huge nostrils. The nose looked malformed and the nostrils were already adult sized. Her mother got quite a land at the baby's birth, was visibly shocked by her appearance and ashamed to show her to well-wishers. I remember when she handed me that baby for the first time, I nearly dropped it in shock. You should see the kid on that nose. Unfortunately, as the child has grown, the nostril situation has worsened. The mother seems to have gotten over it since and has resumed her old brassy and obnoxious ways.

    Commenter
    biggestbunny
    Location
    Ireland
    Date and time
    August 26, 2013, 7:57AM
    • It's a running joke in my family that pretty much all baby humans are ugly.

      You can google search just about any baby animal and for some reason they are all adorable. Even baby spiders seem kind of cute.

      Human babies? DEMONS! Especially in that newborn stage, they've got little peeping eyes and mushed heads and when they scream until they are purple. Its scary.

      Then they become toddlers and all of a sudden they are like baby animals, cute and pottering around and touching and grabbing and wide eyed and smiley and when they laugh its adorable.

      Until then though, pass me a kitten please.

      Commenter
      Adrian
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 26, 2013, 9:06AM
      • Dunno - newborn anything is pretty scary! When I was a kid we used to breed rats, and their babies come out looking like bald, blind, red sausages. In a week they become the cutest, fluffy, bright-eyed little angels ever, but on the first day they look positively horrifying. Kittens too!

        Commenter
        Red Pony
        Date and time
        August 26, 2013, 9:48AM
      • True red pony - did you see those pandas born at a zoo in the USA last week ? The newborns were pink and scary, but very soon become those gorgeous black and white miracles we all love.

        Commenter
        coops90
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        August 26, 2013, 10:30AM
      • I think babies born via C section come out cuter, no cone head. I am Mediterranean and my husband is Aussie. My uncles and aunties look the same ie the aunties look like the uncles except my uncles have less hair. Ugly women in my family so when I got unexpectedly pregnant at 19 I literally had nightmares that the nurse handed me an ape and I'd scream. Anyway when I woke up from the general he was fed, washed and wrapped the way God intended, not covered in muck and I have to be honest and I know most mums say this but I do not have any maternal instincts at all, he's an only child at 19 (I'm anti abortion but only had one oops) he was the cutest little guy I'd ever seen. It was love at first sight. We just stared at each other for ages. Then my little bro exclaimed loudly "wow he's cuter than the dog". i wud hope so. He stayed cute thank God and is a perfect son. I couldn't have asked for a better boy. I'd be happy for him to live at home forever. But when my uncle rang my dad to tell him he'd had a son, his next words were "he's the ugliest thing you'll ever see". He was but grew up handsome. I'm curious, do parents who have more than 1 favour one? I see it with my friend and I don't like that.

        Commenter
        Anne
        Date and time
        August 26, 2013, 9:45PM
    • I think its healthy to be honest about our children fullstop! We're not doing our kids any favours by filling them with false praise, whether that be telling them they are gorgeous and should go on Australia's Next Top Model when they are not, or encouraging them to go and sing at the school talent quest and telling them their voice is amazing when its the complete opposite.
      Some babies are ugly but they usually grow into gorgeous adults!

      Commenter
      Lulu
      Date and time
      August 26, 2013, 9:08AM
      • I think you make a good point Lulu and i feel its always better to praise kids for things they achieve rather than things they can't change of have no influence over "i.e. you're so beautiful/pretty/handsome"

        If they build a tower out of blocks or do a colourful drawing then praise them for this behaviour; being creative, doing productive things etc and so forth.

        Commenter
        Adrian
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 26, 2013, 9:31AM
      • Yep, best not praise that baby or its head would get EVEN bigger.

        Usually at that age the praise is more for the parents benefit. I just try to remember that in their mind this is the most precious baby ever born. An 'aw cute' really won't really inflate a baby's ego and might just make a parent feel a bit better about their scary looking little wrinkled bundle.

        I love how strong features that look so wrong on a baby turn into striking characteristics on a toddler. How the kids with the giant pumpkin heads eventually grow into them. Or baby girls who look like cross old men turn into cute little angels. Then they turn into teenagers and it all goes to hell again.

        Commenter
        Pecan
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 5:45AM
    • There is a old saying: plain in the cradle, beauty at the table. Similar to the ugly duckling saying and so often it is so true.

      Commenter
      Paula
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 26, 2013, 9:40AM
      • Cool. Cause both mine came out looking like kim jong il

        Commenter
        Deus Ex
        Date and time
        August 26, 2013, 11:19AM

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