Notes on Homely Newborns and Other Sentimental Motherly Reflections

You might think being on the verge of the birth of your fourth baby, that all those motherly sentiments that keep us forever missing the faces of our children’s newborn faces would ease up a little. But in my experience the addition of another baby only pains me more. I see them in old photos, fat fleshy toddler cheeks and notoriously bad haircuts. In home videos just 6, and 7 lbs looking like old men wrapped in varying shades of receiving blankets. In these photos they were young, tiny and new.And now they aren’t. Their limbs stretching almost daily. Their hair changing texture and their features maturing, morphing right before our eyes.

They say as a parent you don’t know if your baby is ugly. But I would have to disagree. Our first born came nearly 4 weeks early. His little face colored by a couple red “stork bites” – common birth marks they assured us would fade within a couple years time. Swollen eyes, the result of such fast & intense labor. “Will that go away?” his father would ask me just hours after he was born, referring to the slight malformation of his sweet newborn head. At 29 years old, having no experience with babies in the least, his expectations were understandably pretty high seeing that picture perfect newborns in the movies was all he had to compare. So he sat, noticeably concerned about his beat up looking new boy, with a slightly pointy head. Who was not pretty. But shamelessly adored because he was our first.

Baby two would arrive perfectly handsome with a head full of thick black hair. His skin a warm golden shade unlike any other newborn I’ve yet to meet. He was unarguably a very “good looking” baby boy. And the vain mother in me couldn’t wait to show him off. I remember when we brought him home our neighbors were quick to smoother him with kisses, a house full of overly delighted Spanish tongues tossing around foreign complements dedicated to his dark features and thick hair, joking that he was one of them and therefore reason enough to love (and squeeze) a little harder. Which they did. And still do.

Baby three came as a shock to us all. First of all, his gender had been kept secret so the simple fact of seeing yet another penis caught me slightly by surprise. And then, while on my chest I was quick to note a single streak of white hair cutting through a single strip upon his scalp. Another, different kind of birth mark that would quickly disappear months later once all of his hair eventually turned the same shade of white. And those huge blue eyes on that grumpy little man face made for one homely newborn. Undeniably boyish features, coupled with a tiny bottom lip sucked in so tight I couldn’t help but keep pulling it out to make sure he actually had one. Yet something in me knew, staring long and hard at him in the hospital that first night after a swift and breezy labor, that he would undoubtedly grow into a strikingly handsome man. And quite possibly, the best looking of them all. In the way I would imagine maybe John Hamm or any other commonly desired celebrity with a prominent face probably looked as an infant, those first few months. I could easily picture him at 2, and 5, and 35 years old and have come to enjoy watching that very face evolve. My projections, so far, frightfully similar to what I envisioned that very first night I held him.

And now we wait with mounting anticipation. Not so much desperate to know whether we will bring them home yet another brother, or a new sister, but more anxious to meet the face we will come to adore in all kinds of phases, for the rest of our lives.

They say a mother never knows. But I do. And I take pride in every single feature, be it flawed or fawned over. However it comes to be.

-The Arrival of boy two, two weeks after birth.

5 Responses

  • I love this post and that first photo of little baby on the bed, oh my, what a sweet baby! My daughter is pregnant with baby #2, another boy for her, too , and grandson for me – I can’t wait! My daughter is beautiful now but when she was newborn she had a real cone head for a few days! My son was born with a little crooked mouth due to intense squeezing that caused a little nerve damage – as he grew it just was flat out cute -that crooked grin – and when he grew up the girls all loved it – they still do!

  • Oh I just love this post. Last time I commented I was trying for number two and now I comment expecting number two at 13 weeks gone. The excitement is so wonderful this time around and surprisingly I think I am even more excited this time around as I know the inexplicable joy of seeing babe for the first time: what it truly means to love in this world. I love your blog posts on here and on your personal blog and seeing your baby journey of current is a lovely companion through this pregnancy…. where is this new baby?! Must be really cosy x Emily x

  • I generally say that ALL newborns are – more or less – funny looking… part old man, part glow worm… I know you’re eager to meet your new one… he or she will come, that’s for sure. Whether it’s in another week or another day, only that little one knows. Hang in there, Mama. xoxo

  • I love this! It is so true, you love every perfect and imperfect part of them! I have 4 boys (7,4,3,2) and a 9 month old daughter. We didnt know what our fourth was and so when another little boy came out, there was a split second of disappointment. But the joy quickly took over and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although, I am very happy we did finally get our girl for the fifth one 🙂

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