thoughts and things

Hey Good Looking…do you look like me?

Isn’t it funny how when a baby is born, everyone starts to try and work out who the baby looks like. A great grandmother, an aunt, an uncle twice removed. Everyone thinks a baby looks like someone from their side of the family.

Maybe it’s our natural desire to identify and connect to a new baby in the family by relating it to what we already know – our families. And yes, I’ve done this too. I know we feel compelled to start comparing baby photos and dimples and eyebrows.

But sometimes I think we forget how all this comparing can make people feel. Especially the mums. My sister had a terrible time when she was younger and compared to our cousin Barry (no offence, Baz).

It’s not just family, however. Friends and strangers can get in on the act too.

I do find it a bit funny when both sides of the family are in the same room. It’s a subtle probably almost unconscious contest into who’s side of the family she looks like the most. Photos and such evidence are brought out for inspection.

Yet I hardly ever hear that she looks like me.

I get it, I do. I have dark hair, she has blond hair. She has a rounder face and I do think she looks a lot like her dad.

But one time, I’d love it if someone could just say something about how she’s like me. Even if it’s just her little toe.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But I refer back to our natural desire to relate and connect. I want to feel that my daughter, this person I have grown and given birth to, is like me a bit. So that I can identify with her, connect with her. Of course I do this anyway and we have great fun. But sometimes when people say she looks like everyone else under the sun except me, I feel sad.

When I had her and I was in hospital for that week trying to feed her, I needed to feel a connection to her. I had to grasp everything I could. I wanted someone to tell me that she had my eyes, or ears, something, anything so that I could feel close to her.

I have talked to a lot of others who feel the same. I guess some of it is that I feel a bit left out, or the odd one out. I don’t look like her, or any of that side of the family. So it makes me feel a bit funny when I heard one time that when she was with her Aunty, she was mistaken for her mum. I’m her Mum. I want people to be able to know and identify this at a glance, not look at me as if I’d stolen her.

It all seems so silly and trivial written down. I guess it is. I know she loves me, and I know I am the one she comes to when she needs a cuddle. I know me and her have a great time together and that we have a bond. I know when people say “oh she looks like Aunty so-and-so” that they don’t mean it in many negative way. I know they’d be upset if they knew that I reacted this way.

She is a beautiful girl as she is, and I wouldn’t have her any other way. But my mummy brain is funny. I just wish she looked like me. What can I say?



32 thoughts on “Hey Good Looking…do you look like me?”

  • When Gwenn was born, my mother-in-law (don’t get me started …) was constantly comparing her to Andrew and his brother despite the fact that my own Dad couldn’t tell the difference at first look between a photo of Gwenn as a baby and a photo of me as a baby. I could feel my toes tensing with rage every time she mentioned it. I wouldn’t have minded if she didn’t look so much like me, but the MIL was definitely clutching at straws in her attempt to lay some sort of claim to my child!

    Gwenn’s one now and sometimes she looks exactly like me and sometimes she looks exactly like Andrew. I’m happy with that, I suppose!

    x

    • Emily, I keep telling you and have always told you from when Noos was a few months old that she looks exactly like you did when you were a small child. AND I SHOULD KNOW!! You had blonde hair, not quite as blonde as Noos it is true but you did and it naturally darkened as you got older. I can see you in the gestures she makes. the way she holds her head, he way she laughs and smiles. Sometimes there are flashes of Dan evident which is as it should be. Noos is her own person to be frank, with her own personality which is what makes her and you so unique. We are all a mixture of the powerful soup of genes passed down and it is inevitable that comparisons will be made and not unusual to have traits of each side. Look at you and Eleanor you are exactly alike and favour your paternal grandmother facially, with a bit of me thrown in – sorry it was my ‘comfy’ shape you inherited and not Aunty Sue’s cheekbones 🙂 xxx

        • I do know what you mean. Noos is your child, absolutely and totally and anyone who fails to see the connection is just being selfish and deliberately obtuse for their own reasons. I am biased I know but you are turning out to be a fantastic Mummy whose beautiful daughter loves her unconditionally and above all others and if that isn’t something to be happy about, never mind the colour of her hair or shape of her nose, then I don’t know what is. xx

      • In that, in the moment when people are talking, sometimes you can feel left out of the loop. It’s not necessity about how she looks. If you get me! Although I do feel she doesn’t look a lot like me and her blonde hair stands out (as in me here today) x

  • Omg em how can u not see it! She is 50 dan n 50 you most definitely! I can see you in her! You would definitely no your mother & daughter! & I think she has your personality too. N is just so gorgeous! Doing so amazing with her 🙂 xx

    • Haha I can’t see it, I can see how she looks like others though. It’s not the first thing ppl think I don’t think. I guess it’s not necessarily about who what she looks like just in that moment when someone says she looks like so and so you just feel a bit left out!

  • I totally get this!! I went through a 40 hour labour and then an emergency section and when he finally arrived the inlaws kept saying how he looked like my mil (who hadn’t even really spoken to me till then!!). I was like “whaaaaaat!!???” …or I would have if I wasn’t so high on morphine. Babies and kids do change so much though and thankfully my little one does look like me now 🙂

  • I completely understand the need for that connection.
    My son is a blonde version of my husband, who has the blackest of black hair. When M was born his fairness made everyone marvel about how much he looked like me and how little like my husband. I never saw the likeness and used to tell people to ignore the hair, especially in front of HB as he was getting upset at all the comments. The thing is, now it’s the other way round: everyone keeps saying he looks more and more like his dad every day and I’m feeling a bit left out!
    We give so much of ourselves emotionally to these children, it’s natural we want them to resemble us. I think it’ll be the same when more and more aspects of their personalities start becoming apparent (though I definitely hope there are some bits of me he hasn’t picked up!)

  • We’ve totally had this discussion but I’m still saying something and that is mainly that there’s loads of time yet…not that it makes people’s comments any less hurtful. When she’s 5 she might look just like you 🙂 and even if she doesn’t she will look just like HERSELF and that’s the coolest thing, well I think so anyway. Apparently Jess has my face and I mainly feel sorry for her when people say it (I can’t see it) and hope she’ll grow into her own 😉

  • Ha! I get the “who does he look like?” thing all the time. It makes me want to shout “he looks like himself, ok?” I don’t get the need to compare all the time. Why can’t our babies just look like themselves?? (Ok, with a bit like their mummies thrown in for good measure….shh…)

  • Neither of my two look like me, they’re the dead spit of their Dad. They both have blond hair and when we went shopping with my blond friend, SHE got complimented on HER beautiful and well behaved children!!!

    I do wish they looked a bit more like me, but they share a lot of my ways and behaviours so I can tell they’re mine, even if no-one else can xx

  • I totally understand your feelings and almost mentioned it in my post today – why are we all so obsessed with who our children look like? They look like themselves for goodness sake?! But secretly we do all want them to look like us for some reason and I agree about it dividing families! My children have changed over the years, sometimes looking like me and sometimes their dad. They evolve and essentially are a mix of both of you so that’s how it should be 🙂

  • Great post! I always find it funny when people do that. Babies do not look like anybody, they look like tiny versions of wrinkly old people 🙂 Mel

  • I remember feeling exactly this way with my first, mainly because it was my mother in law who went on and on about how he looked like his Daddy! Drove me insane!

  • How eloquently put! I feel exactly the same. Over the last 6 years nobody has ever said that my daughter looks like me. It is almost as if people look elsewhere for who they look like! I have decided that she looks like HER and that is how it should be! She is herself and nobody else…so I don’t care what people say now. She is an individual!

  • Lovely post btw, I remember when ours were born oh family said they looked like someone from their said my family said the opposite but my bruv said they looked like me to which I replied poor child lol popping over from #pocolo

  • I always thought my daughter was like my side of the family, but recently we found a picture of my Father-in-law at a young age and when we put it next to a photo of her aged 5 the resemblance was astounding! However I also found a picture of myself aged 18 and a friend of mine said “OMG” that is Pib!” I think kids have the genes of both sides and change as they get older. When I look in the mirror I can so see my mother looking back at me!

  • I don’t think you are silly at ALL . I totally get what you are saying. I’m guilty of playing this game with my new (step) grandson, but I am VERY careful to make sure I’ve included everyone at some point or other!! #PoCoLo

  • This is so beautifully written and I know exactly what you are saying. Apparently my first is the image of me (that might be the tantrums ha ha) but my second is also blonde where I am dark and that throws others I think. But after all we go through to have them it would be nice to get a bit more credit for how they look, I agree! I read this crazy thing the other day, which came to me when reading your post, ”Studies show from 3 days old a baby will prefer her mother’s face to a stranger’s.’ It’s the same sort of thing isn’t it. You’d blooming hope so after 9 months of growing it, popping it out and giving it life. It’s definitely a ‘not knowing what to say,’ thing. A bit like when you’re pregnant, people feel they have to comment on your bump. Every time they see you. Yawn… Really lovely post #PoCoLo

  • Totally understand where you are coming from!

    When Cameron was little all I got was ‘He’s the spitting image of his Dad’ Now he looks more like me and I am over the moon with that!

    Lucas however is his fathers child, there is no me in there whatsoever lol!!

    But I often thought, does it really sodding matter who my kids look like. I grew them, I carried them around for 9 months, they are bloody mine!!!!

    I know most people use the ‘Doesnt s/he look like…’ as a conversation started, but Oh my, does it get old and boring x x x

  • I totally get this feeling, although as all mine are boys there is less of a chance! My first one is absolutely nothing like me so I was pleased when my second came along with eyes that NOONE can miss are exactly like mine. Hurrah! I think also, maybe people think it’s a given that your baby looks like you, partly at least, so they’re just trying to cast around for who else is in the mix. I guess you could see it as a way of saying your new baby belongs to a larger family than just yours…in a rather tactless way. Lovely post, Emily – have a top weekend with your little doppelganger 😉 x

  • When my son was born people are saying how he is not as white (I am Filipino and husband is British) as his Dad. This bothers me as my husband hasnt seen my son yet and I was thinking is he going to accept him! This is just days after giving birth. I am stressed already! They ar saying he looks like me and I cried cuz I always see myself as ugly. My poor baby. #pocolo

  • Poor you, that must be hard but you know what, when she gets a bit bigger she’ll probably be the spit of you! Have you tried digging out your baby pictures? I bet you would see some similarities in them, even if other people don’t see it now. I have the opposite problem – everyone always says my girls are the spit of me (poor things!) and I can see it especially in my eldest but I can also see them look very like their cousins on their dad’s side too.

  • This is a great discussion post Emily. For a long time, Grace looked like her father but as she has started to turn 6 and 7 years she looks more and more like me….and I am SO pleased it is that way around! I am sure that, given time, the same will happen for you 🙂 Thank you for linking to PoCoLo xx

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