Sunday, March 4, 2012

the baby who doesn't grow


After church today someone we don't know well approached us.  Our babies were dedicated at the same service, they're roughly two weeks (maybe three?) apart, but we don't know them well.  I can't even recall their names. The husband came up behind me while I was chatting with friends.  I thought it was another close friend touching my shoulder, but when I turned around it was the husband.

"Does this guy ever get bigger?" he asked while rubbing B's head.  "My wife and I call him the baby who doesn't grow."

I laughed, "Yep, he is small, but he's growing."  Smiled, turned back to my other conversation, tried to let it roll off my shoulders.  Despite my efforts the comment has bothered me all day.  I know he was trying to be nice, just making conversation, reaching out to someone in the church he doesn't know well.

He doesn't know my first baby will never be older than an hour and a half.  He doesn't know she may have stopped growing in the womb.  He doesn't know how many medical charts I've seen with these words: neonatal death - IUGR? (Intrauterine growth restriction).  He doesn't know I get comments on B's size every time we go out.  He doesn't know I have to brush them off, smile, nod.  He doesn't know it hurts my heart every time.

And our society promotes big, strong, healthy babies.  Fat babies are the ideal, right?  My barely on the growth charts baby just isn't what people like to see, so they comment on it.  Mamas with big babies brag about how much they weigh.  I admit, with some shame, that he's not yet 14 pounds, that he still wears some 3 month clothes, but he is wearing 6 month clothes too.

Honestly, it makes me feel inadequate, like I'm not quite doing my job, like I may be failing him, like maybe I failed his sister.

Crazy how one innocent comment can blow what little mama confidence I had to pieces.  And after all that I had to go to a little girl's first birthday party. Love her more than anything, we didn't know if our lives would be blessed with her after a very tough pregnancy, she is a miracle, as are all babies, but it still hurts.  A broken heart can only withstand so much before cracking just a bit more.

18 comments:

  1. My daughter is just a week or so behind B and she still wears plenty of 3 month stuff. Shes in size 3 diapers because i was sick to death of her blow outs but she should be in size 2 lol. For me this is normal, both Emily and Megan also grew just Amanda. The only time you should ever worry in my opinion is when growth comes to a complete halt.
    Im sorry that it is bugging you. It would bother me as well. :(

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  2. My 17 month old wore a 9 month onesie today. Oh, and we went to an indoor waterpark near our house and he wore a 6 month swimsuit. I was thinking to myself that the six month swimsuit fit him so well, that there is no need to go up a size(or three to reach where he should be) this summer. He still wears size 3 diapers. He is below the charts on weight too, despite being a champion eater.

    But he can string words together like no 17 month old should. He is active and happy (most of the time). He has this knowledge and awareness in his eyes that I rarely see in a lot of other babies. B has it too, that look like he is taking it all in, and processing everything.

    You know B. You know that he is happy, and loved, and doing all that he should. I don't know why someone would say something so thoughtless and inconsiderate, but that is how people are. It is not a reflection on you or your parenting, Even if B is tiny. All it reflects is the speaker's lack of tact. Please don't let it affect your mommy confidence, you are doing a wonderful job. Take it from all the people who know you, and from some of us who don't know you in person, but know something about you as a mother from the words you share with us.

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  3. That would tick me off too. Not a graceful thing to say. My first was a peanut and she caught up to her peers at around age 3. My second was a chunk of roly-poly chub. They will grow as they grow! Nothing to do for it. :)

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  4. I hate those little comments too. Natalie was even smaller then your little guy at only 14 lbs at 9 months. Even Carter has dropped down into the 30% from being up into the 90%. He is tall, but every time I go in and his weight has dropped down I wonder if I'm not providing enough. Seriously breastfed babies should have their own charts because they are generally smaller in size. It is stressful worrying about weight, but I know you are doing everything right as a mother. B looks perfect and completely healthy to me.

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  5. You know that I think you were far, far more gracious than I would have been because of what I posted on FB...but I pray that you know your sweet little B is perfect. Exactly as he should be...healthy and happy and perfect. I was tested for a million different things when I was young because I was so small. Failure to Thrive nearly 40 years ago. I have ALWAYS been small. And people never, ever fail to make comments that they just do NOT think about or understand the magnitude of. To this day. I especially love people calling Luke a chunky baby. Yeah. So chunky, he's in the 18th% for weight. THAT's chunky? People just need filters. Too bad they don't realize it. In any event...you are an amazing mother. Amazing. Please don't let someone's thoughtless (and I'm sure, not even ill-intended) comment make you doubt that!

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  6. Owen is on the small side too, and I'm sensitive to it as well. It would have been really hard for me to hear that comment. You handled it quite graciously. (But seriously, it's RUDE to make comments like that, doesn't he know????) B seems like such a happy and healthy boy, and so very very loved, please don't doubt yourself mama. (I know how very hard it is not to, though, trust me.)

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  7. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers.

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  8. That is just so rude. I'll admit I'm at the other end of the spectrum, but I don't really like the comments either. Even my maternal child health nurse recently asked me "so, are you giving her anything else?" This was before I started her on solids and she didn't believe I was exclusively breastfeeding. It really upset me, as I've worked hard to get breast milk and only breast milk in to her. It has just made her very chunky and she's a six month old who is wearing 9-12 month size clothes. Sometimes I wish people would just think before they opened their pie holes.
    Bennett is beautiful and perfect in every way, and you're doing a great job. A brilliant job!
    xo

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  9. I always get comments about Eli as well. He's very very long, but very thin, he's my little chicken. At 20 months he only weighs about 24 lbs, honestly he wouldn't even have outgrown the infant seat weight restrictions yet. And still, he's incredibly healthy. I see nothing wrong with skinny babies, I'd rather have my baby with his chicken legs, knowing that he's healthy than a fat tubby baby who "fits" the scale of what a baby should look like because health has gone down the drain. It's all so skewed now.

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  10. Sorry that you had to hear that ignorant comment. I can't imagine HOW he would have thought that was funny/worth saying/the start of a conversation?? At least you had the grace to smile and laugh, I don't think I would have! Just remember as you look around at people of all ages, we are all different sizes, shapes, weights, heights...how boring would we be if we all looked the same? As long as B is healthy (and he looks terrific!) you know you are doing a great job!

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  11. I really dislike baby size comments, and I'm on the completely opposite end of the spectrum. I've heard, "Wow, that's a big boy" or some variant thereof more times than I can count. So my baby is tall. I always get kind of defensive about it, even if it's meant as a compliment. I feel like saying, "Seriously people, ALL babies are DIFFERENT!" It's not like they come packaged and start out the same! I usually laugh it off and just hug my "little" guy (who everyone else seems to think is a giant) because I love him just the way he is. :)

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  12. Oh ouch. Oh that must have stung. Innocently and kindly meant I'm certain but . . . ouch.

    Like Michele, I've had had two completely different experiences. People were always saying how tiny Jessica was and I did find it upsetting as I felt it was my fault that she was born so small and didn't thrive for a while. It always made me feel very defensive.

    And with Reuben everyone tells me how big he is and how he should be walking and he's growing into a big, fat lump! And it also makes me feel very defensive!

    So you can't win. Please don't let these sort of comments make you feel inadequate. You are a lovely, consideration mother and Bennet is lucky to have you. He's just gorgeous, he looks alert and healthy in all his photographs and, as Devon rightly says, every baby is different. You're doing a great job, don't doubt yourself xo

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  13. Even without the context of knowing you've lost a child, I contend that's a rude thing to say! "My wife and I call him the baby who doesn't grow"? Who says that?? Seriously. I'm sorry you had to be subjected to someone so rude. I know I just see pictures, but Bennett is clearly thriving! Try as hard as you can to brush that comment off, and I wouldn't bother learning those people's names....Maybe you can call them The People Whose Names I Don't Need to Know. :)

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  14. I don't understand why people have to make comments like that. What's wrong with just saying, "Your baby is beautiful, congratulations.". Should have said back, "Oh yes, we call your child the baby that won't stop growing"....I know...mature, right?:)

    My daughter has always been small...she wore 0-3 months until she was about 9 months and I heard about it all the time. I think people make comments about smaller babies to make THEMSELVES feel better that THEIR babies are big:)

    Keep up the good work:) I know it's hard not to get hurt by what people say. Building up tough skin comes with time and knowing in your heart that you are doing your best.

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  15. I simply do NOT get people! I mean I can see trying to have a conversation with someone you don't know well but I mean of ALL the things to say to someone that seems rather ignorant. Some babies grow slower not EVERY baby is a fat baby and that in no way means that B is not a great healthy boy.
    He's obviously a happy, sweet, little one and doing just fine! You are not inadequate at all. There seems to be this small window of baby perfection. You have ones that are to skinny and then ones that end up on TV shows because they are obese babies. There is this small amount of perfectly sized babies. I know that I will most likely be on the larger side of the scale when Logan is born because well, big babies run in my family. Trust me, I won't enjoy hearing "Wow your baby is huge" either :( It's hard to not want to punch slap someone when they something that stings so much! That would feel good wouldn't it ;) LOL
    (I have people look at my belly and go WOW still 7 weeks huh? and I'm like YES I know I have a big belly geesh!)

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  16. I'm sorry you were on the receiving end of such an unkind comment. :( It's so true, people just don't think before they speak which causes a lot of hurt. Bennett looks great and you are doing a great job! And if helps ya feel better, my little Olivia is almost 8 months old and only weighs 11lbs, still in 0-3 month clothes. That's how all my kids have been so some people just truly have small babies, period. If I had a dollar for every person who came up to me in public and said they thought I was carrying a DOLL around, I'd be rich! (what would possess people to think I as an adult would be carrying a doll around in public, sheesh! LOL)

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  17. People really put their feet in their mouths when it comes to saying things to new Moms. I had a lot of similar comments with my baby - "Wow, he's small" when I said how old he was in response to the endless questions. I didn't really feel like explaining that he was born 9 weeks early to every random person who wanted to chat about the baby. Sometimes I would mention that he was born prematurely and the person would then say "Oh, that explains why he's so tiny!" I really began to dislike interacting with people while I was out and about with my little guy.

    If there's one thing that I've learned about babies it's that as soon as you get used to something, it changes. Now at just over a year old, he is tall (but still lean) and I get a lot of comments about how big he is! Now that the size comments are diminishing, people try to give advice about toddler development, like sleep training, discouraging walking, etc. So prepare yourself - the inappropriate comments aren't likely to stop.

    Bennett looks great and certainly not like he is malnourished. You are doing great!

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  18. My first son has always been little! He has consistently stayed on the low end of the growth chart. Our ped. said she wasn't concerned because he has stayed on "his curve" on the growth chart... his normal path. He just turned 4 and isn't quite 30lbs!

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thank you!

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