He’s Nothing Like Me

There are certain things in life where the truth is better left unsaid. And, if you absolutely must say something, you lie. Plain and simple.

“Your baby looks nothing like you!” is one of those things. If you catch me on a good day, I will politely smile while mentally slapping you across the face. On a bad day, I’ll skip the smile.

When our son was born, I was taken aback by all the remarks about my baby’s physical appearance. It became a quintessential part of the congratulatory comment. Congratulations! He looks just like his dad! 

I know I’m not the only mother who cringes when anyone and everyone nonchalantly mentions my son bears no resemblance to me.

Is it because we mothers need confirmation that our child is, in fact, ours? Is it because we need affirmation of our own identities through our children? Or, perhaps, our insecurities need to be remedied with the help of your empty words?

No. No. And, hell no.

Your innocent statement seems harmless; but, the truth is, when you say, He looks nothing like you, what I hear is He is nothing like you. 

And, here comes the cringe.

Don’t tell me my son looks nothing like me because I have a lot to do with his existence. Let’s not talk about the nine months of nausea, swollen ankles, backaches, throbbing feet, and sleepless nights. Let’s not even mention the first 4 months of his infancy, which are a foggy memory because of the sheer exhaustion of around-the-clock hourly feedings, diaper changes, and 2-hour long bouts of crying. Let’s ignore the fact that for 14 waking hours a day, my showers, meals, bathroom trips, and household chores are scheduled around the baby. Let’s, for a moment, forget the immeasurable, incomparable, and logic-defying sacrifices mothers make for their children each and every day.

Instead, let’s consider the fact that a part of my heart walks outside of my body. Every little tumble he takes, my heart is thrown down two flights of stairs. Every time he giggles, my heart sings a million glorious melodies. And, on the rare occasion where I find myself without him, my heart yearns to hold him again.

So, don’t tell me he looks nothing like me. He is me

You might have to look past his big, brown eyes, his round face, button nose, and fine strands of chestnut hair. You might not see it in his long limbs, or lean physique.

But, you’re not looking hard enough.

You’ll see it when he dances for joy. You’ll see it when he runs in, full-speed for hugs and kisses. You’ll see it when he shrieks with excitement at surprises. You’ll see it when he screams in frustration and anger.

You’ll see it in his fascination with cooking. You’ll see it in his love for reading. You’ll see it in his kindness towards animals. You’ll see it in his over-the-top dramatic tears, and his stubborn insistence to be independent.

If you can’t see he looks like me, you’re just not looking hard enough.

Published by Anjali Joshi

Anjali Joshi is a science educator, author, and lifelong learner. She is mom to two curious boys who keep her on her toes!

6 thoughts on “He’s Nothing Like Me

  1. YES! I have had the same experience and also the reversed one. When my son was born he looked like a photocopy of me when I was born. Everybody who came to see us in his first month would go “awwwww so cute! MY GOSH HE LOOKS JUST LIKE YOU! THAT’S AMAZING!” > right in front of my poor husband… and to me that was not ok. My husband would kindly smile but you could tell that he was a little hurt everytime, so after the first week I started lying. I would simply reply “really? I don’t really see it, to me he looks like his dad a lot!” – and now my son actually looks a lot like his Dad and everyone says “they look like twins” and I’m the one left out… oh well… I know he’s my son, and he knows too, because when I come around the corner after being gone for less than 1 minute, he gives me his biggest smile like we haven’t seen each other in weeks and flaps his arms happily 🙂

  2. Ugh. Every word of this is true.

    I hate to admit how much it hurts when people say my daughter doesn’t look anything like me. And, my poor husband will try to make me feel better by pointing out that she has my long fingers. It’s strange that we make the connection between our child not looking like us, and that they aren’t like us… when really those are two very separate things.

    At the same time, you wouldn’t tell an artist that her work of art that she shows off so proudly doesn’t look like it’s hers… right?

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