“She’s your clone.”
“She’s just like you.”
“It’s your mini-me.”
I cringe, give a smile, and think to myself, “I hope not.”
I hear these comments regularly because I gave birth to a miniature version of myself. It’s a harmless and beautiful compliment to give a mother, but it doesn’t sit that way for me. I am someone who doesn’t easily accept compliments and has a negative self-dialogue running in her head like a teleprompter.
I wish I saw having a mini-me as a positive, but it mostly frightens me.
When I learned I was pregnant, I imagined my first child being a boy, not for any particular reason but in the hopes that a male wouldn’t have the experiences growing up that I did. I’ve struggled with weight and mental health for as long as I can remember. I thought a boy would be easier and the opposite of everything I am.
So when I heard the sonographer exclaim, “It’s a girl,” my heart sank. As a first-time mother, more than anything, I didn’t want a child to be anything like me. I was honestly disappointed.
As my daughter was placed in my arms, I saw the resemblance and felt the deepest connection. Fluffy blond hair, bright blue eyes, and happily pudgy (perhaps that is why we bonded so quickly). She was so obviously mine.
This striking likeness and connection did not wipe away my fears for her as a person. Would she be like me, talk, think, and have emotions like me?
My daughter is eight and a half years old, and while the resemblance is still the same, she is not like me. As a child, I quickly quit extracurricular activities like summer camp, piano lessons, and anything outside my comfort zone; I’d find a way out. My daughter joins, commits herself, and excels. She walks into new social situations and makes friends easily, a skill I am in awe of.
It is immensely rewarding to watch her grow and NOT be like me.
There are days when I catch a glimpse of her rage, frustration, or intense feelings, bringing me back to times when I looked just like her and had big feelings I couldn’t control. Like when I broke the mirror when my hair didn’t look how I wanted it in elementary school, or felt like no one could understand me. Or when I hear her mirror my parenting with her brother and sister, I think, “Oh, what have I done?”
In these moments, the fear rises again, and she reminds me so much of myself and not just in looks.
Becoming my daughter’s mother is my greatest gift, one of my proudest accomplishments, and the most fulfilling role I am blessed to have. If she looks like me, then so be it. I am supporting her to be her own amazing self and have a big, beautiful life.