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?