Your Baby Is Ugly. Deal With It.

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You may tell everyone that your baby is basically the Channing Tatum of babies, a veritable Wee Helen of Teeny Weeny Troy, with a face perfect enough to launch a thousand tiny ships. Well, the gig's up — we know that you know, deep down, that your baby is the sort of baby the other babies would describe to potential dates as having a "great personality." Your baby is... ugly. The good news is that it's okay to feel like this. You're not alone.


The venerable British academic journal Daily Mail published the results of a survey of new parents and found that a fifth of them think their progeny is unsightly, despite overwhelming cooing to the contrary. And social pressure on parents to pretend that their fresh-from-the-womb little bundle of snuggles is the most gorgeous thing they've ever seen prevents them from ever expressing their true feelings.

One father of two who asked to remain anonymous 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.

Hear that? The world at large's crushing expectations that parents dote on their children like they're little cloud-farting angels sent down from heaven by a God who doesn't want you to sleep more than 2 hours in a row is keeping you down. But how is a parent supposed to tell an admiring acquaintance that little Jaden/Brayden/Aiden/Kadyn is the ugliest effing baby they've ever seen without prompting said acquaintance to at first back slowly away and then sprint to the nearest phone to call Child Protective Services? How does one cope with knowingly raising an ugly-ass baby?

The first step to coming to terms with the beastliness of your babe is to realize that babies, as a population, don't look super great — "tiny and virtually hairless and sometimes sort of purplish" is by far the least aesthetically pleasing incarnation of human — or any animal, really — which is why the internet doesn't feature many pictures of hairless moles doing adorable shit and why no one wants to fuck Jerry Lewis. Babies are behind the ugly 8-ball simply by virtue of being babies.

The second step toward accepting your baby's ugliness is to understand that your baby's ugliness has nothing to do with your failure as a person or unsuitability as a parent. This isn't fairy tale land, where a mother's harlotry leads to a baby being cursed with an unpleasant countenance. And knowing that you have an unsightly baby doesn't mean you don't love your baby, it just means you can leave the house every day without fearing that Anne Geddes might ambush you in the parking lot, swipe your baby, and whisk it away for a weekend of being photographed dressed as a sedated aphid snoozing on an oversized leaf. She never steals the ugly ones. Everyone knows that.

The third leg of your Ugly Baby Acceptance Journey is to dismiss the hot baby industrial complex outright and realize that it really doesn't fucking matter if your baby is ugly. No one is going to deny your baby a job due to its looks (because your baby is lazy and will not get a job). Your baby isn't going to have trouble finding dates; your baby should not be dating at all. Your baby isn't going to be made fun of at school because babies do not go to school. There are literally no social repercussions that face ugly babies; they don't even know that they're ugly because they don't look in mirrors and then leave the house and face a world of idealized images of babies that make them feel bad about themselves. And furthermore, maybe it's good that your child is getting its ugly phase out of the way before there are any actual social consequences.


And lastly, just give it time; by the time they turn 2 and start chattering in those little toy child voices of theirs, they're just about the cutest damn things in the whole world. Besides fennec foxes, that is.

Illustration by Sam Woolley.




Seriously though, I find babies fall into categories...

1) Standard: This is the most common category. Generally speaking, newborns aren't wildly distinguishable from any other newborn. I mean, it's a baby. It has big eyes and no chin and it flails around a bit. Think of two infants: can you verbally describe their appearances as being all that different from each other? If you can't, you have a Standard model.

2) One-Weird-Thing: This is basically your Standard model baby, but if I asked you to distinguish it from another standard model using a neutral descriptor, you could. For example: a baby with a full head of hair or a birthmark. A particularly chubby or tiny baby also falls into this category.

3) Ugly: An ugly baby is kind of like a gay kid in a conservative family. Everyone knows it except for the parents, but no one is going to say anything to them. Sometimes people put babies into this category too hastily, like right after they're born. No one should have their appearance judged when they first wake up in the morning and that goes double for when they're just pushed out of a birth canal and exposed to sunlight for the first time. But sometimes, the squishy ugly look sticks. Fortunately, most grow out of it within a year.

4) Gorgeous: Every now and then, you encounter a baby that's not so different from standard, but there is something about it that bumps it up a notch, such as particularly lovely lips, or a nicely shaped head or something. More often than not, however, it's like Justice Stewart said "I know it when I see it."