To My MIL: Stop Telling Me Who My Baby Looks Like

I’ve always kept opinions to myself about who a newborn baby looked like, if anybody. I’m not sure why. I’ve always just said, “She’s adorable!” or “Look at all that hair!” Now that I have a baby, I see the wisdom of keeping my thoughts to myself. Because here’s the deal: My MIL can’t stop telling me that my baby looks just like my husband and it’s driving. me. crazy.

Don’t get me wrong. My husband is adorable. And if our kid grew up to look like him I’d be thrilled. A tiny version of the person I love most? Awesome! But for some reason, when my MIL gushes about how our baby looks exactly like my husband as a baby, I want to throw something.


It started the day our baby arrived. We video chatted with my in-laws from the delivery room, a couple of hours after the birth. There I am, sweaty, exhausted, totally obliterated, and over-the-moon for our baby, and I hear from the phone in my husband’s hand, “Looks just like you!” Pardon me? That’s what you’re going to say in this moment? Not something more inclusive like — oh, I don’t know — “Congratulations!” or “Beautiful!” Nope. I had to sit and listen about how the human that I just pushed out of my body had my husband’s nose, lips, and eyes. (And yes, the baby’s eyes were closed, so WTF.)

First of all, give the kid a second! I am here to tell you that the thing a newborn resembles most is probably a really cute potato. There’s no “He has your eyes” or “She’s got your nose” happening yet. This little person’s bones are literally still fusing together — don’t tell me you can pick out individual features. After a week or two? Fine. Maybe. But at a day or two old? Just let the kid look like herself. Why can’t we say that? That an adorable little baby looks exactly like she’s supposed to look, because she just looks like herself.

And aside from that, what really gets me riled up is that I carried this kid inside of me for 40 weeks. I took the vitamins, I did the prenatal workouts, I shunned every glass of wine that came my way. And by God, there has to be something about this kid that looks like me after all that work. Narcissistic? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. Maybe it’s a territorial mom thing, but when my husband’s family just gushes about how the baby is “all daddy,” it takes all I can do to keep quiet. Because the baby is, quite literally, half me. (Perhaps we need to review the science of how babies are actually made.)

My logical self knows that there’s really no issue here. But my inner tiger mom also knows that there’s something inherently wonderful in having your baby inherit your features, and the tiger mom wants that fiercely. And let’s be real, it doesn’t matter as long as the little one is healthy and happy… But you can bet I’ll be dressing us in matching outfits if the kid doesn’t end up having my eyes.

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Photo: Getty