Today’s ‘Dear Abby’: the tragedy of an ugly baby

I have to admit I was stunned by the 2/25 Dear Abby. (First letter.)

The gist of the letter is, the letter-writer had two beautiful children with her first husband, and now her second husband wants to have a baby. She’s reluctant (no, she’s loathe to have another baby because)…

The new baby might be ugly.

No really. The previous children were beautiful, and what if this baby is ugly?

Don’t you envy a world-view where that’s the worst possible thing you can think of happening?

Abby told her to get over herself (a bit nicer than that, but still.) And really, I’m kind of stunned that anyone would even think about appearance as a reason not to have a child. “Well, my husband was ugly as a baby, and if I have a baby with him, maybe my baby will be ugly!”

Let’s say she does have a baby, and it’s not as beautiful as her other two: Will she love that baby less because the baby isn’t going to be on the cover of a magazine? Will she introduce “Venus and Adonis, my two beautiful children. And this is Francine. She’s smart”?

Do you think the Catholic Church would see this as a grave reason not to have children? (“Forgive me, Father, for I have reproduced, and the child is not stunningly gorgeous.”) Or am I just being cold-hearted and totally missing the point here?

BTW, I’m coming toward this as someone whose baby was missing the top of her head, and honestly, after the first second when I looked at Emily, I never really saw that part of her again. It simply didn’t matter to me after the first moment or two, not as an appearance issue. Of course, it mattered to me because she was going to die because of it, but Emily’s appearance was not an impediment to loving her.

And that’s the way God looks at us too. Our souls are worn out and sinful and bedraggled and threadbare in spots, and I’m sure human ugliness looks awful to Divine eyes. But God sees past the appearance and the sin to love us. Love us as we are separate from how we could be or how we measure up to others.

In other words, God made us knowing we’d be ugly at times. And God made us anyhow.

I hope the letter-writer gets her priorities straightened out, or comes to terms with whatever her real fear is, because what she’s expressing as her fear might not be the actual fear. It might well be that having a baby with this new guy is bringing up fears of abandonment the previous guy left behind, but this is the easiest fear to latch onto. Regardless, she needs some kind of insight into her own heart.