Okay, I’ve said it. Babies are pretty ugly. Your baby, my baby, their baby. It’s controversial, but I don’t mean it maliciously. To be clear, I’m generally talking about newborns. They look like bald naked alien tortoises who have been accidentally dropped off on a planet that their bodies cannot cope with. Sometimes, they are not bald. Sometimes, they have more hair than should be humanly possible on a little person that size. In both cases, it doesn’t make for a pleasant picture.
Yeah yeah, they’re beautiful in the grand scheme of things, I’m not arguing against that. I’ve already said in other blogs that all children are miracles. But, when it comes to what they first look like, they look pretty severe. First of all, they come out purple and look drunk. And, what is that white gunky stuff all over them?! Actually, I don’t want to know.
These tiny floppy creatures also have squashed up faces like they’re competing in some freakish baby gurning competition. This may be owing to the fact they’ve just been propelled through, well, you know, the pregnancy portal, but that doesn’t change the facts. They are also clothed in a skin that is too baggy for their bodies. Frankly, it’s odd. When you have to grow into your own skin, you know that is not normal. They give Gollum a run for his money in the looks department.
99% of parents will, of course, not admit to their own children being ugly. It’s like a genetic defence mechanism that doesn’t recognise ugliness in their own babies and instead replaces it with unwarranted beauty. Trust me, all parents think that their own babies are more beautiful than other babies, even if they don’t admit it. That’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. The last thing you want is for parents to think that their own babies are grotesque. I guess the common phrase “a face that only a mother could love“ is pretty accurate.
A few weeks ago, we had our third child. A few people have come up to us and made various nice compliments like “awww, beautiful” and “she’s perfect”. This is, without a doubt, some of the kindest words you can offer a pair of fatigued and disillusioned parents and, of course, we’ve lapped it up. However, at the same time, it slightly unnerved me. I look at our children and believe they are the most beautiful children in the world (as per the genetic defence mechanism) but what do these people see in my child that I don’t in others? Maybe I have got this all wrong...
Yes, like all things, of course there are exceptions to this rule. There are some babies who do look less freakish and verge on acceptable. Maybe even cute. However, these are few and far between. They are so rare, in fact, that I am sure the ones that aren’t too grizzly are all snapped up by Gap, United Colors of Benetton and the like to pose as baby catalogue models. Otherwise, you’re left with the ugly stick victims.
And, I know, this doesn’t make us love these little beasts any less. I’m not saying I feel nauseous whenever I look at a newborn. It’s not that bad. They are all loveable and we love our kids regardless of how hideous they look, which probably says more about the human character than we think. That unrelenting affection towards those little blobs is profound and the most beautiful thing, which thankfully far outweighs the unsightliness of the little blighters. God bless them.
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