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Do You Think ALL Babies Are Cute?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I do. I’m one of those people who falls in love with newborns instantly—they make my uterus ache. Every time I visit a friend in the hospital who’s just given birth, I am transported back to August 29, 2009, the day my son was born. I love the newborn stage—they’re so innocent and precious, and so dependent on you for everything. I don’t think I’ve met a newborn baby I haven’t fallen head over heels in love with the minute I met him/her. I’m going to steal a friend’s term for this unconditional love and adoration: baby goggles.

But I have friends who feel quite differently about this. In fact, most of my friends polled said they thought at least one of their kids was pretty ugly when it was born. One friend said he thought his daughter looked like an old man—“Benjamin Button” was how he put it, and his wife referred to the same daughter as “Yoda.” (Personally, I thought she was adorable from the start, and she’s even cuter now.)

My friend Julie had this hilarious story to share: “I was told C-section babies come out looking perfect. So I was surprised when [my son] came out looking exactly like my father-in-law. It really freaked me out. So much so that I think it may be the reason I pumped instead of nursing him for 10 months. Every time I put him on my boob I saw my father-in-law…kidding. (Sort of.) But it didn’t take long for him to turn beautiful…” And he is gorgeous, like a little blonde, blue-eyed surfer boy (from two brown-haired, brown-eyed parents).

Another friend said, “I have never seen an ugly puppy, but I have definitely met ugly babies.” The general consensus among my friends was that most newborns are wrinkly and gross. One friend said his daughter looked like she “got involved in a bar fight and lost.” But, as he put it, “She did get cuter with every passing day, and it was not long before I thought, before I knew, that she was truly beautiful in every way.”

Admittedly I have baby bias—I thought Preston was the cutest baby in the world, from the minute he came out (via C-section). As a newborn he was precious and perfect. Literally perfect. I can’t really describe the infatuation other than to say, I didn’t think a cuter more amazing newborn had ever existed. I would (and still do) stare at him while he's eating or watching TV, like he’s a work of art, studying every inch of his face—the eyes, the mouth, the ears, the nose—in awe of what we’ve created. Sometimes I still can’t believe we made something so perfect, I have to pinch myself. He’s not only beautiful on the outside, he is so sweet and funny and good-natured, even when he’s being difficult and rebellious (which is much more frequently now that he’s almost two).

But I’ll be honest, looking back at some old photos of him recently, around the time he was four-to-six months old, he wasn’t as cute as I remembered. He had such a round chubby face, big head and long body (still does), but he’s grown into his looks now as a toddler. At the time I still thought he was total perfection, but now I see he had an awkward stage. The photo I posted of him on my very first Parenting Post blog—um, what was I thinking? That doesn't even look like him. In the one above he’s only four weeks old…I mean, is that not a cute newborn baby?

Have you ever looked at your kid and thought he or she was not cute? Have you ever met a friend’s kid and thought it was ugly? Would you tell them if they asked? Or do you have baby goggles on like me?  

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