Will You Pass the Caveman Paternity Test?

Jeanne Sager

cavemanMom, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but somebody has to do it. When your baby is born, he or she will probably not look like you.

Yes, after suffering with those cankles, developing stretch marks in unmentionable places, and the indignities of eating chalk, chances are that kid will be the spitting image of dear old dad. But a new name for this phenomena might make you feel better about it!

A writer over at MomLogic this week called it the "caveman paternity test." Her husband was demanding the new-fangled DNA kind of test (yes, her husband, and that's a whole other story -- you can read it over there), but that baby came out looking just like Papa.

Way to add insult to injury.

So why does it happen? The theories vary pretty widely:

Some scientists say it's all in mom's head. She wants to allay the fears of the father that this baby she's carried really is his, so her instincts tell her the baby looks like Dad. If she believes it, the scientists say, she'll put up a more convincing argument.

I hate that theory. It makes moms sound like we're a bunch of ninnies who might have accidentally forgotten we threw our legs open for some random guy despite our monogamous state. So let's move on.

The other reigning theory is the baby comes out looking like this for the man's sake. He didn't carry the baby for nine months, so he needs something else to push the instant bond -- and who wouldn't love someone who looks like them? Scientists have found we're attracted to people who have similar features; so why wouldn't this work in the father/baby sense?

This idea -- which supposedly dates back to caveman times (get it?) -- is less insulting to women. But it's more insulting to today's man, who you'd expect actually wanted this baby and doesn't need Mother Nature to trick him into falling in love.

I know this shouldn't really matter. If you had sex with a guy and you're expecting his baby, chances are pretty good you actually like the way he looks. A baby who looks like him is just icing on the cake, right?

Confession: it's OK not to want that. The kid is supposed to be the best of the both of you, and can't you wish that that utter cuteness comes from you without being a selfish bi-otch? No? Well then call me a selfish you-know-what.

I just had back labor. I wanted her to look like me! Instead, I looked down at her wrinkly little alien newborn and said, "oh my God, she looks just like you" to my husband.

But let's fast forward five years to today, when the words "she looks just like you" get me all fluttery at the grocery store or at the town Halloween parade. To borrow a few words from The Trevor Project: It gets better.

Are you hoping that baby will look like you?


Image via Lord Jim/Flickr

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