Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ugly Truth

I've had a lot of friends have babies recently. And a lot of friends of friends. Through the power of Facebook you can see those babies in all their newborn glory within a few minutes of popping out.

The comments below the pics are always along the lines of "Congratulations she's beautiful!" "He's adorable!" and "OMG soooo cute!".

The thing about these comments is that the person has had time to filter what they really think before saying something. That luxury doesn't exist when you go to visit them at the hospital or at their home. So I have been known to prepare myself with some good lines, just in case, ya know?

Newborns tend to not be the most attractive creatures. Sometimes it has to do with their mode of delivery (be it via the escape shoot or the emergency hatch), and sometimes because Mother Nature can be a bitch with a dark sense of humour.


Every mother and father think their child is the most wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous creature to ever scream it's lungs out. It's hard wired. A lot of the time the extended family and friends think it too. Sometimes our perception of the parents influences our view of the child. A case of either rose coloured or shit-stained glasses.

Before Tricks was born I wondered if he'd be fabbo or fuggo. I even blogged my thoughts, in one of my early loooong paragraph posts with no pictures and actual research behind it. A friend remembered it when Tricky was born and wrote "Congrats, you didn't get a fuggo". Best.Compliment.Ever.

To make it fair, here's one of Tricky's more fuggo photos from when he was a newborn. I think he looks like a cross eyed Shar Pei - you know the dogs that don't fit their skin? Yeah, I just called my son a dog. I used to call him my Shar Pei-by until he grew in to those folds on his forehead. Be sure to write that on my Mother of the Year nomination, won't you?

One day old Shar Pei-by
As usual I put it out to Twitter and the suggestions included:
A TV catchphrase - "Breathtaking" - @Alexricia (quoting Seinfeld)
Pointing out the cute - "How cute are her little toes?!" - @MeganBlandford
Sticking to the facts - "She's so alert!" - @KerriSackville
Blatant lying to save face - "Cuuuuuuttttteeee" - @x0xJessikah
Size matters - "She's so big!" - @Glowless (yeah, that's me)
Genetic Questions - "Oh my gosh *pause* who does she look like?" @VaughnsMum

What do you do when faced with a less than gorgeous bub? 
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Glowless rocked the Aussie Bloggers Conference thanks to

34 comments:

  1. I go with the base fact: "So precious." About all I can give it. So sue me.

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  2. Oh.. and little Tricky looks adorable in that pic. I love the puppy skin!

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  3. It is time to lie, lie and then lie some more, I think.

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  4. Caz (thetruthaboutmummy)March 29, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Yeah - really - even the super ugly ones are cute to me. (Doesn't cute mean interesting but ugly at the same time:)

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  5. Awesome, I love this post! I also like that I'm linked to it ; )

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  6. Love this post....whilst of course we always think our children are beautiful it is funny to look back at those newborn photos and cringe a little. Maybe because we have the older, cuter filled -out versions to compare to! But as a child photographer I have become pretty good at letting mum and dad know that their little cherubs are 'just divine' even if in my head I am already photoshopping out their spots and dots!

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  7. I had the same fears with my first. The second? Not so much. But the first, yes, i was very worried he's be fugly. He actually looked like an alien for several months, and had a buttload of milk pimples to go with it, poor thing. An alien in puberty.
    But eventually he grew into his looks and got cuter.
    Greenie, well he just looked like an old men. Why is it babies look like old men?

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  8. I tend to go with "oh, isn't he/she just so precious."

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  9. Tricky had his milk spots photoshopped out when he had a newborn photoshoot! His spots were very angry that day and you'd never know it!

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  10. There's a website called uglybabies.com or something like that and I think about 90% of them are gorgeous... not always the best angle but still cute!

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  11. At birth my son looked like a tiny, distorted version of his father, like one of those African voodoo heads that have been shrunk and placed on a stick. It was NOT pretty. Everyone got around it by saying 'Oh, he's just like his dad!' Happily, my daughter was gorgeous. By the time Boo came along, even I was happy telling the truth. 'Funny looking, isn't she?' I'd say. 'Oh, but SO bright,' they'd say. She was 48 hours old.

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  12. I don't think I've seen a newborn that I would call ugly. I think all newborns are adorable - I love the old man/alien look. I suppose I'm one of those people that just marvels in the miracle of new life and the fact that it is possible for a person to be so small. When my Seagull was born, I remember seeing a lot of what I considered to be really ugly 6 month olds. I had concluded that it must be an "ugly" phase that all babies go through and I wasn't looking forward to it with my own kid. In the end, Seagull was a very cute 6 month old (well, I thought so and everyone used to tell me that he was so he either was or people were lying), so I dodged that one. :)

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  13. I comment on the cuteness of the baby’s outfit (though sometimes am caught out if it’s just a hospital blanket). Then, because I can’t help myself, I ask about the labour/birth and hope they put the horrified look on my face down to their tale of agony.
    And that pic is hilarious!

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  14. Well I don't know about doing it tactfully, but when I shared some photos of MasterFive at 6 wks, my friend, who doesn't seem to believe in sparing my feelings said, "Don't you just love the stunned expression that babies get in photos?"

    I was a lot kinder to him when his daughter entered the world. I don't hold grudges.

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  15. Haha! My line when I'm not sure, is old faithful..."He/She has such beautiful eyes!!"
    Not exactly a lie, but not saying the actual baby is beautiful either.
    Although, I rarely need say it these days, especially since having babies of my own. Now I see the beauty in all babies (insert gag reflex here). Luckily my husband provides a reality check "Oh, your joking ! She's a bit ugly don't you reckon!"

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  16. "hello little one and aren't you just glowing" :)

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  17. Both of mine were fat with little frowny faces. I told them if they were so unhappy to be born they could go right back in, I could use the sleep.

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  18. Usually "you did well"
    Very descriptive haha

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  19. I actually remember telling the midwife he looked like a hairless baby spider monkey. He was all gangly arms and legs. She looked at me shocked and said "You can't say that!!!"

    If I can't, who can?

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  20. What about, 'oh, whiff that NEWBORN smell! Like a drug, isn't it?'

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  21. Argh! That was me above! I suck at Discus

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  22. And again! It's Sharon from Hear Mum Roar. LOL

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  23. Tara@OurWhirlwindAdventuresMarch 29, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    When I think of ugly babies, I think of the Nurofen ad with the song "You're gorgeous".
    Therefore, if I say in an exaggerated way "Awwwww he's gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgeousssssss", it's because I believe the baby has a shot at being on that advertisement, but don't have the heart to tell the parents "I would shove the baby back in and ask for a refund if I shot him out of my hoo-ha!"
    When my kids were born, I was afraid of fuggo's, too.
    Mr. M was a fuggo.
    Seriously, ugly!
    In fact I am going to blog, right now, about how fuggo he was as a baby.
    If I'd seen baby photo's of him before he knocked me up, I wouldn't have even risked it and sewed my stuff up before he went near me!
    When Master S was born, the first thing I said was "thank GOD you aren't ugly" but now that I look back on it, I was so wrong. I am glad I was unaware of his "ugliness", though, because otherwise I wouldn't have wanted to breastfeed him, or leave my house until he "turned cute". Which would have been about 7 months if the photo's are anything to go by.
    Miss E was cute, but I secretly thought her brother was cuter when he was born. Harsh? My first sight of her was a photo my Mum took while she was still attached to me, because I was in a position where I couldn't see her, and she was covered in poo!
    If that is the worst photo you have of Tricky, then you must know, I actually think he looks beautiful [not gorgeous]! Definitely was NOT a fuggo!

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  24. " Oh... well on the plus side I'm sure he / she will have a lovely personality"

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  25. Glowless you make me laugh again!

    I aim for the "arent they just so precious?" angle.

    And it could just be a biased mothers love but I distinctly remember when H was born that my first thought on seeing him was "Thank God he's cute!"

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  26. Amy@New AdventuresMarch 30, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    I like to go with " Aww, isnt he/she special? " Because - yea, the parents think he/she is special, but it doesnt say anything in regards to what the baby actually looks like. Failsafe!

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  27. Love it! The post, that is, not visiting ugly babies... ;)

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  28. I have only ever seen one truely ugly baby and I said something like "Aww, lovely." Which was a little awkward.
    I think that photo of Tricky is gorgeous in that photo. I love those dogs, too.

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  29. Oh my! I actually visited a friend who told me IN. THE. HOSPITAL. that she didn't think her baby was that cute. And when I stated the obvious: Oh, she's so small! I didn't lie. She was tiny (and really ugly). xx

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  30. but I think that photo of tricky *is* gorgeous,.. seriously. Anywhoo. My son was not born photo ready. He had dry cracked skin that bled in places and when he cried he turned bright red and splayed his hands. He looked like a sunburnt pterodactyl (thanks spell check).
    When faced with an actual fuggo I just go "nawwwww, can I have a hold?" I love newborns. Not within minutes of the birth though, they are grey and wet and eww poo icky to anyone but the parents. After a bath they are precious.

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  31. yes! cute means "so ugly that it's appealing". true

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  32. Perfect post! I find it funny when people insist they can see who the baby takes after when it is a newborn. I think I would be offended if someone insisted my little E.T. looked like me! I think most babies look gorgeous once over three months, was super surprised when I finally saw an ugly older baby, the poor darling!

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