On a crisp October night, after a very short labor, my youngest baby arrived. My husband and I breathed in the sweet scent of her wispy blonde baby hair and stared into her brilliant eyes. She was perfectly sheltered until we brought her home from the hospital.
As with her siblings, it was endlessly stated “she looks just like her father.” One day, fed-up, I finally refuted the claim by declaring, “I think she looks like both of us.” The response I received left me floored. I see she looks like you, but mothers should want people to say the baby looks like the father.
As soon as I arrived home, I researched online, and found, to my horror and astonishment, that she was correct. Turns out, people say that a baby looks just like a father for fear that the child might otherwise be abandoned.
Here are eight lies that you are also telling if you are one of those people who declare that every newborn looks like his or her father:
- Men are narcissistic and selfish jerks, therefore they must be tricked into accepting a needy infant. A man could never love a child who, say, had his wife’s eyes. He needs to wholly see himself within the baby in order to love it, because his deep love of self may then be transferred onto his child.
- Men have no responsibility in family planning. Just like it is not a man’s responsibility to prevent pregnancy, he would never be involved with planning to have a child. Because men are not involved in family-planning, or affected by pregnancy or childbirth, then they need to be told that the baby looks just like them in order to create a feeling of connectedness.
- A mother needs to keep a man around to support her and a child, even a man who doesn’t necessarily want to stay. A women could not possibly survive being abandoned with a child. It’s not as if a mother has anyway to support a child without a man. Society must do their part to keep the man in the picture.
- Parenthood is all about genetics. Establishing paternity is the single most important thing for the outcome of an infant’s life. Children who are adopted, live with extended family, have a stepparent, or are being reared by a single-mother are all doomed.
- Mother’s do not matter as much as fathers. They are selfless creatures who reproduce with no intent of seeing their own genes passed into the future. They would never feel overwhelmed or disconnected after childbirth. Mothers do not need positive reinforcement or encouragement. However, mother’s need to be reminded, for their own good, that the child may be the only thing that keeps the love of her life around after her body has been altered by childbirth.
- Mothers never abandon babies. It goes against their nature. When parents separate, the mother is always more suitable to become the primary caregiver of the child. There are no exceptions. Men neither want nor could handle the responsibility of single-parenthood.
- Women are naturally slutty and naive. It’s well known that women cannot be trusted. Any baby could belong to a male landscaper or mail carrier. It does a woman a favor to say that a baby looks exactly like the father, because the baby may not even belong to him.
- Children are responsible for keeping relationships and marriages intact. Each time parents split-up, it is the fault of a child who just wasn’t good enough to keep them together. Therapists’ offices are lined with these failures.
If you do not believe any of these things, then help me change this habit. When I see a string of facebook posts declaring how much a newborn looks “just like dad,” I interject and comment something like, “she is a beautiful blend of her mother and father’s best characteristics.” Why not say something that makes the mother and father feel connected to their baby and each other? Isn’t that one of the most beautiful parts of introducing a new life into the world?