How it feels when your kid does not look like you.

My kid looks nothing like me. No, he’s not adopted. You see, even though I grew him and gave him half my genetic material, he is basically a tiny version of my husband. It’s like I wasn’t even there. (Though I remember the pregnancy and labour quite vividly.)

My son looks so much like my husband that the first thing the nurse said was, “Wow, he looks like Dad.” Yes, even as a newborn, when most newborns look like tiny, pink old people, mine apparently resembled my husband. No need to call in Maury Povitch on this one, folks. 

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Newbie Dad and Toddler MB watching the game. 

When your kid looks like their other parent, people feel the need to tell you about it constantly, as if you hadn’t noticed. Oh really? This tiny human looks like the other big human I live with? You don’t say! I thought there was something familiar about him…

My husband keeps saying he doesn’t see the resemblance. I am not sure if he is being modest or if I should book an eye appointment. I think he might be trying to make me feel better. This is good, because nobody else does.

Actually, most people love to deny that there is any resemblance to me. If I bring up any, they will laugh and either deny it or scold me for being jealous.

I thought my son had my eyes for ages, before my mother-in-law told me they were actually my husbands. Wait, are they??! Crap. I really thought they were like mine.

What if all the other things I thought were mine are not really like me at all? Do people think I am so delusional that they need to set me straight or am I just desperate enough to see similarities are not there?

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And now one with mom. See the resemblance? Anyone?

Sometimes it seems like I am going crazy. How does no one see me even a little bit?

“Look at his chin,” I want to say, “He has my chin! He’s also got my legs and feet. Oh, and my ears too.”

I don’t say this out loud most of the time because even I know it sounds ridiculous. All of these things are true, but they do not add up to an obvious resemblance. Unfortunately, for most people, the obvious is all they see when looking at my kid.  To the casual observer, my genetic contribution to my kid is just overshadowed.

I just want to pause to say that I am not a narcissist. I am not obsessively looking for my physical traits in my son. Neither do I feel sad that he looks like my husband. Mostly, I love the mini-Daddy effect as much as everyone else does.

But sometimes, just sometimes it irks me a bit. It look me a while to figure out why: it was because I didn’t feel like anyone really saw me anymore. This sounds a bit selfish, but I think most new mothers feel invisible at times. We feel overshadowed by the needs of our kids. We feel that people don’t care about us except in our roles as mothers. We throw our whole heart into these roles, but tend to only be noticed in our absence. When people see my kid, they see my husband. When people don’t see us in our kids, it can start to feel like they don’t see us at all.

Yikes, that got deep. Maybe time to put down the wine. Just one more sip. Okay, done.

So, to sum this up:

  1. Yes, my kid looks like his Dad. I have spent over a decade looking at that guy, so I have noticed. I do think he looks adorable in miniature though.
  2. It may not be obvious, but I do indeed share a few physical characteristics with my child. We have a lot of small physical similarities, except that while my husband got all the high-profile ones, I got the ones no one notices.  For example, no one ever says, “Wow Doug, your son really has your fingers! Spitting image of your hand.” Tough break, but that’s just how it goes.

My genes are, at least physically, taking the supporting role on this kid. Maybe I’ll get the next one.

 

 

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